Let me get this out of the way, up front….a little note (begging, pretty please, with a cherry on top) to the author… I can’t stand the possibility that Paul will have to wait until next winter for his happily-ever-after. Seriously, it’s killing me! Last year when Marcus and Frankie met and fell in love in “Let It Snow“, it didn’t seem too bad with Arthur and Paul in their usual holding pattern. I mean, granted, their relationship wasn’t ideal; it was more about convenience than love, but still, they had one another. Now that Arthur and Gabriel have paired up, that leaves Paul the odd man out; and Paul, he is the one who should least be alone. He’s the one, more than Marcus, more than Arthur, who is pining for his soul mate. So, please, Heidi, could you make it soon? For Paul… OK. I can’t figure out how to transition from begging to book talk, so pretend that happened. (Thank you.)
Sometimes I buy books willy-nilly, not paying any attention to authors, sequels, prequels or anything at all, and that is especially true at the holidays. I read the premise of “Sleigh Ride”, loved the title, the cover art and bought it. Days later I picked it up to read. It begins with Arthur’s mother very obviously trying to set Arthur up with the town’s librarian, Gabriel. When I looked at Gabriel through Arthur’s eyes in those first few pages, I thought, “Eewe! No!” And likewise, when I read about Arthur through Gabriel’s eyes, it was the same, “Oh, no! No way!” I could have quit reading right then and there, they were both so unappealing.
To show you what I mean, here is a little commentary from Arthur regarding Gabriel: Arthur had hated his own thick, unruly orange-red hair until he’d met Gabriel, and then he’d thanked God for small favors. Gabriel’s hair was curly, at least four inches long and dishwater brown. Technically Paul’s was the same color and equally curly, but he wore it short, close to his head. Gabriel’s curls were fucking ringlets, and they bounced and flopped every time the guy turned his head… Gabriel’s curls seemed soft, yeah, and Arthur would lay money they made great handholds, but he had no desire to find out. As skinny and pale as Gabriel was, that hair made him look like a mop. With glasses. Yeah, thanks. Arthur would jerk off instead of tapping that. And the hell he’d date that. (Chapter 3)
And Gabriel’s descriptors for Arthur: boorish, untutored oaf; foul-mouthed man-whore; Arthur was horrible. He was rough and rude – and short. He was cute if one was into ruddy, roguish bears. Gabriel was not.; he would rather run naked and wet down Main Street than try to be Arthur Anderson’s friend. (Chapter 2)
But then, in the midst of being put off by both our heroes, I realized who their friends Frankie and Marcus were. It hit me that I was reading the sequel to “Let It Snow” from last winter. I got really excited about the story, looked up my copy of “Let It Snow” and re-read that, then went back to “Sleigh Ride”.
Arthur and Gabriel’s story was a lot of fun. It was brilliant the way Heidi steered the characters and the reader smoothly from “No way!” to “Yes, please!” Arthur and Gabriel have a unique relationship that is intriguing and exciting with a little bit of edge, a little bit of kink, and a lot of just right for the two of them. They are each the perfect combination of bad boy and sweetheart.
I also appreciated Heidi’s portrayal of librarians, libraries and library culture. It was fun to “hear” Gabriel read books for story time and recognize them; to hear about the ins and outs of a small town library. I loved it. I wanted to go there!
You should go there. Really.