Ever since ghostwriter Jason Burke ended up in loco parentis for his orphaned niece, Mallory, he’s been trying. He goes to parent/teacher events, and he makes packed lunches, so he definitely didn’t mean to forget about Christmas. He just hasn’t celebrated it since he left home under a cloud years ago.
Put on the spot, Jason makes the snap decision to take Mallory to see where he and her father spent their Christmases as kids. The last thing he expects is to run into Tommy, his ex—ex-best friend, ex-boyfriend—who is still living in town… and working as a sheriff’s deputy.
It’s hard to avoid someone in a small town—and maybe Jason doesn’t want to. He got Mallory a Christmas, and maybe now it’s time to get himself a Christmas boyfriend. But first, he owes Tommy some explanations.
When I finished reading this story my immediate thought was that this could make a good novel. Don’t get me wrong it is a solid short story with just enough background to keep me happy but it could easily be a lot more. I’m not certain if I felt any sympathy or empathy for Jason. I certainly did for his Niece Mallory. It’s very clear Jason is out of his depth caring for Mallory when both of them are still grieving. And that might be why he decided to take her back to where he and her dad grew up. I liked Tommy, he’s the strong dependable one, just what Jason and Mallory need to give them some stability. The only thing is that we as the reader get an idea of why Jason had to leave home at eighteen but I don’t think he ever really explained it to Tommy. I loved the ending, gave me a contented sigh. This is a good short story full of homecoming forgiveness and new starts. Personally I would like more.
4 of stars out of 5