Reviewed by Vicki
SERIES: Minnesota Christmas #4
AUTHOR: Heidi Cullinan
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 227 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 8th, 2016
Trimming the tree is more fun with three.
Twin Cities developer Dale Davidson has come to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into Christmas Town, not to give in to Arthur Anderson’s offer to join him and his fiancé, Gabriel Higgins, for a Christmas Eve threesome. Dale is polyamorous, but it’s clear Arthur is offering a night of fun and nothing more. Maybe one night with the couple he admires so much won’t hurt…
Together the three of them light a fire hot enough to boil Lake Superior in January, and one night of fun becomes an extended engagement as Dale puts down some tentative roots in his new hometown. Everyone loves Dale, Logan’s own Santa Claus, and somehow no one knows what wild times are happening right underneath their noses. No one knows, either, the complicated ways they’re falling in love with one another.
But a shadow from Dale’s past emerges, an abuser threatening him with violence and shame. Ronny doesn’t want a happy ever after for Dale, only to draw him back into a consuming darkness. It will take the love of not only Gabriel and Arthur but all of Logan to convince their Santa he has nothing to be ashamed of—and that he will always have a home in their hearts.
Santa Baby takes us back to the small town of Logan Minnesota, and back in to the lives of the three established gay couples we have met in the first three books. Logan the town, is sort of a character on its own, as we have seen the improvement of the town due to the activities of these men. They have worked hard to turn the town in to a holiday destination for families. Part of this improvement is due to the attention of Dale Davidson. Dale works for a development company, and has spent a fair amount of time in Logan, getting to know the townsfolk, and especially the three couples. He has also developed an attraction to Gabriel, the shy Librarian, partnered with Arthur. After a bit of flirting and conversation, Arthur and Gabriel invite Dale to spend an evening with them. But when Arthur and Gabriel talk it out, Gabriel freaks out and can’t go through with the evening. This sends Dale back to Minneapolis in a tail spin, and sets him up for an encounter with a very bad man….
Eventually Gabriel comes to terms with his polyamory, with the help and acceptance of Arthur. It takes some work, and it takes even more work to get Dale to come back to Logan. unfortunately Dale has his own drama to deal with. He has had a long time “relationship” with a man named Ronny, and it eventually comes out that Ronny has been abusing Dale and his need for domination. With the help of all of the men in Logan, but especially Arthur and his dominance, Dale is able to recover from his abuse.
So I loved the first three books in this series, but I had a really hard time with this one. I liked Gabriel and Arthur as a couple, and I’m not sure introducing Dale as a partner for them was the best choice. I didn’t see the need for a third for them, they seemed very complete to me. It’s not that I have an issue with thruples, but the concept of one partner being polyamorous and the other not, was hard for me to grasp, when both Arthur and Gabriel have a relationship with Dale. I don’t get why that was polyamory and not a three-some. The romantic part seems to focus on Gabriel and Dale. Arthur and Dale also have sex and have BDSM scenes. I think I would have preferred a new couple or thruple including Dale, and Gabriel and Arthur stayed a couple.
I liked the story line of Dale and his abuser, and his recovery. I liked seeing the other people we know from past books, including some visitors from Minneapolis and other books by Heidi! But I don’t think I cared for the introduction of Dale in to an existing relationship. I liked Dale as a character, and I liked Arthur and Gabriel, but… I am sure other people will love this book and the polyamory storyline. This is just a personal preference and understanding issue for me, and nothing that the author has done wrong. She wrote what worked for her, and I didn’t care for it. Not her fault! I stilled liked the book as part of the overall series, and I still love Heidi’s writing. I’m going with an average rating for this book, since I did like it mostly, I’m not going to lower the rating because I personally didn’t like the main relationship.
If you have read the others in this series, you need to read this one. If you are interested in polyamory you should definitely read this book. I learned about a type of love that I was not familiar with.
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
Heidi is graciously offering a copy of Santa Baby to one Lucky winner!
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