Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M Christmas romance just released by Jay Northcote. SECRET SANTA is a sweet story about a holiday mall Santa and the man he falls for. I really liked it, just like I’ve adored all Jay’s books to-date including SUMMER HEAT, PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, and THE LAW OF ATTRACTION, and TOPS DOWN BOTTOMS UP.
About the book:
Keeping secrets is never a good way to start a relationship.
Theo hardly has time to date. Between work and caring for his four-year-old son there aren’t many hours left over. He’s lonely though, so he joins a hook-up app and starts chatting to a guy called Luke. Luke seems friendly and they arrange to meet. Theo doesn’t mention that he has a child. It’s early days and he’s worried about putting Luke off before they get to know each other.
Luke is currently working as Santa at the local shopping mall. He figures Theo never has to know. Christmas will be over soon and Luke will move on to a new, less embarrassing job. He’s surprised when Theo and a little boy visit Santa one afternoon. Theo doesn’t recognise Luke, and Luke realises he’s not the only one with a secret.
Despite misgivings on both sides, they start dating, and the chemistry is amazing. But as Christmas approaches their secrets pile up like colourful packages under the tree. If they’re not careful, they’ll lose the best gift of all—each other.
Luke and Theo are two lonely men who want to find a partner, not a hook up. Still, the easiest way to find someone is through a hook-up app. Luke is attracted to Theo’s unconventional pic, and reaches out–and they seem to find a connection. They enjoy chatting so much, that they move off the app into private chatting and it seems to go very well. They meet in person, and hit it off.
Thing is…Luke doesn’t tell Theo his seasonal temp job is as the local mall’s Santa. And Theo doesn’t tell Luke that he’s co-parenting his son, Archie. The next time they meet, well, it’s when Luke brings Archie to see Santa. So, Luke isn’t sure if Theo is a married man cheating on his wife or what the story truly is. He’s afraid to ask, but soon learns the truth from Archie’s own lips. While he’s okay with Theo being a parent, he’s not okay with Theo giving his generic excuses and bald-faced lies regarding how he spends his time, and why he can’t meet up. It’s a weird situation for Luke, and he’s not sure if he should tell Theo that he knows all about Archie–especially as they continue to make return trips to Santa’s Grotto.
I really enjoyed this sweet read. Luke and Theo have some moral dilemmas to face: Theo doesn’t want to hide his son, but he’s had some bad reactions from men in the past, and he wanted to get to know Luke, at the very least, before potentially scaring him away with his news. Luke is a bit embarrassed about his current job, and then he’s faced with “unmasking” Theo, a man he’s growing to like a lot. He’s hopeful that Theo will come to trust him enough to tell his secrets, and each time Theo fakes an excuse, well, it’s hurtful. They have to take a mini-break, but when all the secrets are laid on the table they don’t hesitate to make things right. They knew they had something worth working out, and their happy ending comes (hard and often) on Christmas day. There’s some yummy sexytimes, and some sweetness with the kiddo. Archie is a cutie, and he acts very much like an unaffected 4 year old. I loved his love of all things dinosaurs, stuffed pals and Santa.
About the Author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!