Title: Lessons Learned, Wishes Earned
Author: Cassandra Gold
Length: 34 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Playing elf to Haven, the boss’s son, leaves Lachlan feeling he’s firmly on St. Nick’s Naughty list. Lachlan is sure Haven is just like the spoiled rich boy who broke his heart and ruined his life a year earlier. But after watching Haven help the less fortunate, Lachlan longs to offer him shelter on a lonely Christmas Eve. Maybe this year, he’ll actually get his Christmas wish.
This story begins well with feisty and morose Lachlan glad to be able to finally put away the elf costume for the year. It’s bad enough that his short stature gets him typecast, but for the last few days Santa has been played by the boss’s son, Haven. Lachlan had his fill of spoiled rich men in his previous job, but Haven turns out to be full of surprises.
I rather liked Lachlan who had a forceful personality and works hard at his job at the store. He has a big chip on his shoulder about those who seem to get all the breaks in life, thanks to a bad experience, and his attraction for Haven is tempered by his past hurts and this was played well. We don’t really get to know much about Haven, other than he’s the boss’s son and that Lachlan misjudges him badly, but that was OK, given the length of the story.
Where the story worked less well for me was that I felt the theme was a little heavy handed. Haven doesn’t just work hard, he’s also a wonderful human being who gives of himself over and beyond what many people would do. Whilst this was nice to see, the theme of ‘being thankful for what you have’, or ‘don’t moan about your own situation until you walk in someone else’s shoes’, was hammered home a bit too much and I ended up feeling a little preached to.
However, the romance between Haven and Lachlan was nicely done, with an ending which was high on the awwww factor. If you like stories with a moral bite and are looking for a sweet romance, then this could be the story for you.