Note: This ARC was provided by Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
“I am fucking miserable without you. You broke me.”There were words that had to be said in answer to that. “You made me whole.”
I have a couple of favorite Amy Jo Cousins-penned stories from her Bend or Break series, but I'm going to have to knock those down a peg and leave the top spot for her latest release, the holiday-themed Glass Tidings, which is part of Riptide Publishing's 2016 Holiday Charity trio with The Trevor Project this year's chosen charity. I was expecting the author's usual spot-on gift for weaving a tale I could really get into, but there was something extraordinary about Eddie Rodrigues and Grayson Croft's story. No insta-love, no insta-lust, though there was a good deal of mutual attraction going on because these guys were both lookers and neither one was blind. Theirs was a story of two strangers who forged a relationship of sorts--from reluctant housemates to employer and employee, fellow bookaholics to kinda-sorta-maybe friends, and then bedmates into something more. These two are an unexpected pairing, but that's the thing I love about the holidays--there's this magical feeling in the air, where anything and everything is possible. When they do happen, you don't question. You accept and be grateful.
Eddie Rodrigues is making his way to Texas when he witnesses a hit and run that leaves the female victim badly injured, leading Eddie to call 911. The police officer in charge of the case needs him to stay in Clear Lake, the quaint little town Eddie now finds himself in, and she asks Grayson Croft to put him up for the night. The grumpy hermit isn't thrilled by the idea, but he agrees nonetheless. When Gray offers Eddie an extended temporary stay and suggests he come work for him at the Christmas Shoppe, the family-owned store that now belongs to him, Gray not only surprises Eddie but himself as well. And over the next few weeks, Gray and Eddie adjust to one another's quirks. Eddie's curiosity has him pushing Gray's buttons but Gray is frustratingly quiet and reluctant to share. And yet, the transient artist and the lonely shop owner find some common ground and soon they give in to the want they've been trying to ignore. But soon enough, the want turns into a need, and with Eddie not the type to stay for long and Gray not the type to leave, will these two be forced to end things or will the New Year bring glad tidings?
I lost count of how many times I smiled throughout this book. Eddie and Gray have gotten used to being on their own, only relying on as limited a number of people as possible--Eddie when he works at the Renaissance Faires and Gray when he needs help at the Christmas Shoppe. Eddie's life has been moving on before he's outgrown his welcome while Gray has simply spent the last decade not wanting to interact with people after his ex preferred to be elsewhere. Gray has always had a home while Eddie hasn't had one ever since he became an orphan. It may have seemed that it was Eddie who needed Gray more in the beginning, but just like what Gray tells him later in the story, Eddie gives back and repays Gray's kindness by also giving him something Gray has needed but has not actively looked for and they gain both in the process--love and companionship. Just like the delicate glass creations that Eddie makes and the heirloom tea cups that Gray keeps, some things in life are fragile, but risking breakage can well prove to be worth it rather than letting a chance pass by. Glass Tidings is a five-plus-starred 2016 top read. ♥
Date Read: 08 December 2016
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