“Better Not Pout” by Annabeth Albert does a wonderful job of evoking winter and the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The evolution of the relationship between an older straightlaced career soldier and a younger tenderhearted man with a degree in social work is delightful to follow, enhanced by the flame that stubbornly grows, despite concerted efforts to ignore the attraction. I love that Nick tempers Teddy’s boundless enthusiasm and rush to completion and it was wonderful to see how they complement each other and get past their respective painful pasts.
Alternating points of view give insights into each man’s thoughts and each has a chance to showcase his talents and prowess at his chosen profession. There are lovely “aw” moments as well as a few heartstopping ones, and the heat that develops between the pair seems natural and probable. This is a feel-good and fun story and I daresay you will be humming a certain seasonal tune for a while after reading it.
This story is a contemporary adult gay military romance that follows Sergeant Major Nicholas (Nick) Nowicki as he copes with not only being conscripted to portray Santa Claus for a few weeks but also dealing with the forced end of his twenty-eight-year military police career and the prospect of moving to a warmer locale. The ebullient elf to his Santa, Theodore (Teddy) MacNally, is younger, loves his hometown, and adores the holiday season. They have nothing in common, but forced proximity could make this a Christmas to remember.
One hard-nosed military police officer.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.
Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?
Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.
Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.
The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.
This book is approximately 65,000 words