Title: It’s Not Yule, It’s Me
Author: Michael P. Thomas
Genre: Gay Romance, Holiday themed, Comedy
Length: 15,700 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Shannon hates Christmas. Mostly because Christmas hates him. It sure seems like it, anyway: every crummy thing that’s happened to him since high school has befallen him at the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Every humiliating break-up, every high-rise hotel fire—heck, a few years back, one guy he had the hots for up and died. Which goes a long way toward explaining why he’s a whimpering mess when he meets Ben the barista one Christmas morning at his neighborhood coffee house. It doesn’t completely excuse his using Ben’s T-shirt as a handkerchief—while Ben’s still in it—but Ben’s nothing if not a good sport. Ben’s such a bright spot that after a while Shannon wonders if maybe his Christmas Curse hasn’t been lifted. And what better place to test this theory than at Ben’s family festivities? It’s not like Christmas is actually cursed.
JMS Books: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29_98&products_id=1575
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Yule-Me-Michael-P-Thomas-ebook/dp/B0190NALJM
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-Not-Yule-Me-Michael-P-Thomas-ebook/dp/B0190NALJM
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Its-Not-Yule-Me-Michael-P-Thomas-ebook/dp/B0190NALJM
“I’m Shannon, by the way,” he eventually says. “Have we done that already?”
“I don’t think so. Not officially, anyhow. I’m Ben.”
“You don’t sound French.”
“You should hear me arguing on the phone with my mom.”
“I mean ‘Ben.’ Doesn’t sound like a very French name.”
“Maybe not, but Benoît is more trouble than it’s worth.”
I was born in France, but raised in Colorado; I’ve only been to France a handful of times, none of them recent. My mother was born in this country and raised in Washington, DC, but by French parents. Her mother is ethnically Gujarati, but French by virtue of being from Réunion. We’re still parsing the extent of my French-ness when Seth rolls in, only fifteen minutes late.
“Hiya, Benny-Boy” he warbles, planting a kiss on the top of my head as he swoops by; Seth enjoys flaunting his straight-but-not-narrow status. “What’s goin’ on?”
“What you get is what you see,” I tell him.
“Zis what Santa brought you?” He jerks his chin at Shannon, makes a show of sizing us up as a party of two. “You musta been a pretty good boy this year.”
“Ix-nay on the Anta-Say,” I scold Seth, although we’re all three laughing. I get up from the table and bus it clean by way of making preparations to call it a day.
“Rough trip down the chimney, eh?” Seth says, waggling his eyebrows.
“Pretty much the worst euphemism ever,” I assure him as I shrug into my jacket.
He laughs, offers me a fist bump and a “Peace out,” both of which I return.
“So …” I say to Shannon, sidling up to him. “I’m done here. You wanna get a drink or something?”
“It’s like noon.”
“It’s Christmas Day.”
“Dude, how hard are you gonna make me work for this? What, you never had Chinese food?”
“It’s just, I’m supposed to go to my aunt and uncle’s … it’s not that I don’t want to … maybe another time?”
I shrug. “You know where to find me.”
I love Christmas stories, curling up with a great holiday read and some cocoa under the tree is a favorite pastime of mine, and this book right here, It’s Not Yule It’s Me, by Michael Thomas is absolutely perfect for a quiet afternoon of reading and baking. Shannon is a hot mess, a wonderfully tragic, quirky hot mess with a Christmas Curse that even the Grinch would have trouble being happy about. When you see how many holidays have gone wrong for him in the boyfriend department it’s easy to understand why he’s practically given up on Christmas.
Enter Ben, or more like, enter Shannon into the coffee shop Ben works at, and poor Ben just tries to be a nice guy and comfort him, and whoa, tears everywhere and how could Ben possibly forget that? The relationship that grows between them is sweet, touching, funny, loving, warm and just right for the holidays. There is an amazing twist of a moment that kind of sneaks up on you, and wow, did that throw my emotions into chaos for a moment.
I felt as if I got swept up in the story. I found myself cheering for Shannon and hoping that in Ben he’d found someone who would restore his faith in Christmas. And in Ben, I found a wonderfully loving character, who was charming, amusing, and very in-tune to Shannon’s emotions. Together, they were just the right level of spicy and sweet for an afternoon holiday tail. Four Dancing Gingerbread Men for this story that I plan to read at many more holidays to come.
About the author
Michael P. Thomas is a flight attendant whose writing is continually inspired by his work with the flying public, who flatly refuse to be boring. The author of three novel-length gay romances and a number of romantic and erotic shorts, he writes gay fiction because when he was coming out he sure was glad to have it to read. After misspending his youth in San Francisco, he now lives in his native Colorado with his husband.