adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Military NetGalley Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) second chance at love

Don’t Stop Believing by Gwen Hayes

don't stopBlurb

The Ogre from the Hill

Simon Powell, the town recluse, only comes to town to deliver firewood and get supplies. Two days before Christmas, he sees the new librarian’s car in a ditch and knows he can’t leave him on the road, but it’s too late to take him back to town. He’ll have something he’s never had in his cabin in the ten years that’s he’s lived there…company.

The Book Nerd from the City

Adam Parker moved to the small community to make big changes in his life, but being snowbound with the bearded lumberjack in his rustic cabin was something he’d thought only existed in his fantasies. Simon pushes away anyone who wants to get close to him, but Adam sees what he’s hiding in his heart and he wants it. Badly.

A Christmas to Remember

Adam smells like cinnamon and redemption and Simon aches to run his fingers over the scrape of stubble on his cheeks. To pull him into a kiss. To reignite feelings he’d denied himself for too long. Life is right there, blazing in the eyes of the town librarian. A man who isn’t afraid of him. But he learned long ago that everything he touches gets tainted, and he’ll do anything to keep his darkness away from Adam’s light.

But Adam has something else on his side—he’s been a very good boy this year and all he wants for Christmas is Simon.


Simon is the ogre who lives happily (?) by himself up in the woods. The town humors him but he doesn’t let them get too close.

Adam is the new town librarian. He’s seen (and drooled over) the local misanthrope/lumberman but hasn’t yet been able to break through his icy reserve. When he’s stranded on the way out of town for Christmas and rescued by the recalcitrant Simon, it’s time to turn up the heat and see what miracles Christmas can truly bring.


This was a super cute holiday story! Gwen Hayes gives us some deliciously witty characters and a sweet and sexy romance. Simon’s internal dialog is hilarious and Adam is terribly sweet.

I loved that we were able to get our guys from not speaking, through their first time together all the way to their HEA in this short story. It was very satisfying.

With the exception of some sentences that could’ve used some contractions, the writing is smooth and effortless. I’d never read this author before but I will definitely look for her in the future.

I highly recommend this holiday treat and give it 5 of 5 stars!


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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley

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