Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: In Case of Emergency
AUTHOR: Keira Andrews
PUBLISHER: KA Books
LENGTH: 120 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 30, 2017
Former stepbrothers find Christmas romance under the tree.
After years alone, Daniel Diaz is finally ready to shake up his orderly, solitary life. He’s about to leave for a cozy Christmas getaway with his new man when he gets the call from the ER that his former stepbrother has been admitted with a concussion and a broken hand—and Cole put him down as his emergency contact. Why the hell would he do that? Daniel barely knows the guy. After all, their parents’ marriage lasted less than a year and it was a decade ago!
But Cole has no one else to look after him and strict doctor’s orders not to be left alone. So fine, Daniel will bring him along on vacation to make sure he doesn’t starve or fall into a coma. This is supposed to be Daniel’s chance to explore romance again after locking down his feelings for too long—except it turns out his could-be boyfriend is more interested in partying and being an obnoxious jerk. Daniel sends him packing, and now he’s stuck with a virtual stranger in an isolated mountain cabin.
Cole Smith crushed hard on cranky Daniel when they were teenagers. Alone with him in a romantic winter wonderland, those feelings roar back to life. Glimpsing the caring, vulnerable man under Daniel’s frosty shell, he yearns to get closer. Christmas is a time for surprises, and Daniel and Cole discover a scorching connection that just might melt their hearts.
Daniel and his former step-brother Cole haven’t talked for nearly a decade–and even when they had been living in the same home as teens they were hardly close. So when Daniel gets a call from the hospital alerting him to the fact that his almost forgotten step-brother has put him down as an emergency contact, he is a bit confused. Also a little annoyed. Because he had planned to spend the holidays with Justin, his maybe-if-things-go-well boyfriend. Taking care of some guy he knew years ago hardly fits into his plans. But once he is in the same room with Cole, he can’t seem to find a way out without looking–and being–a complete jerk. So he agrees to look after his step-brother. But Cole playing third-wheel to Daniel’s romantic get-away is hardly the only surprise in store for him this weekend.
Mostly my feelings on this book are that the first two-thirds were really good, and the last third was just ok. Up until the last third of the book you had some really great interactions between Cole and Daniel (and some various other secondary characters). It was funny and light, but you could also feel the barely held-in attraction the two had for each other. The dual povs worked well in this book, letting us get the story from both sides and seeing the doubts and wants that they clearly were not ready to just blurt out. After all they’ve only just met again, and despite the fact that they are very vocal about “not being brothers” there is that whole dynamic in the back of their heads, I think. I don’t think I would classify it as a slow-burn, because the story really isn’t long enough to warrant the “slow” moniker, but it has all the elements of one, just done in an abbreviated time frame.
Unfortunately it also has some of the common drawbacks of slow-burn stories, in that some authors seem to end-load those stories with excessive amounts of sex to make up for the fact that you had to wait so long to get some skin on page. While the sex here wasn’t badly written, it did seem to overtake all other aspects of the story once they were free to bang each other’s arses off. The subtly of the chemistry built up in the “slow” portion of this book basically explodes into smithereens the second they finally kiss. Which is fine–in fact that first sex scene in the hot tub was very well written–except that is all it seems to become till maybe the epilogue. All the interpersonal relationship stuff gets pushed off to the side so they can bang, and I think the story founders a bit because of it.
That aside, it did do a good job of being a light Christmas holiday book. And while I think I could happily have seen some certain secondary characters buried under a mountain of snow till spring comes, the cast of characters surrounding Cole and Daniel do help propel the story instead of just existing in the space. I also enjoyed the slight geeky-nature to Daniel.
It was a good read that was a bit more sex-heavy at the tail end then I prefer. If you don’t mind that kind of thing (or even prefer it) I think you’ll really like this one, but if you are like me don’t let it put you off. The other parts of the story more than make up for it.