3 stars Angst Level Anthology Book Christmas Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Families/Weddings Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Holiday m/m Mid level angst Monthly Theme Morgan Older MCs Part of a Series second chance at love Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Standalone Unrequited Love

Holidays: The Mature Man’s Guide to Surviving Change (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Chris Scully

Dreamspinner Presents


In the sunny playground of Palm Springs, growing up was something confirmed bachelor and bad-boy chef Joel avoided at all costs—until a close friend’s death made him reevaluate his priorities. Ever since, he’s been dedicated to helping his widowed friend Perry get back on his feet by teaching him to cook and providing a shoulder to cry on. But when Perry announces that he’s ready to start dating again and then begins receiving gifts from an anonymous secret Santa, Joel is forced to confront the feelings he’s suppressed for so long.

As Joel struggles with jealousy and guilt amid the holiday season, he must decide if he’s ready to grow up and reach for what he’s always wanted but never thought he could have.


Though this is already a short story, I think it’d have been better even shorter. There just wasn’t enough story to support all the words. I got really tired of Joel’s hemming and hawing and besides their time spent together before Dale’s death, I wasn’t sure what Perry saw in Joel.

I loved the secondary characters and thought the overall premise was interesting, but it dragged on too much for me.

2.75 rounded to 3 of 5 stars


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