The Dickens with Love by Josh Lanyon
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Rating: 4 cherries
Review by Cactus
A quirky holiday romance about Faith, Hope, and…er…glow-in-the-dark condoms!
Three years ago, a scandal cost antiquarian “book hunter” James Winter everything that mattered to him: his job, his lover and his self-respect. But now the rich and unscrupulous Mr. Stephanopoulos has a proposition. A previously unpublished Christmas book by Charles Dickens has turned up in the hands of an English chemistry professor by the name of Sedgwick Crisparkle. Mr. S. wants that book at any price, and he needs James to get it for him. There’s just one catch. James can’t tell the nutty professor who the buyer is.
Actually, two catches. The nutty Professor Crisparkle turns out to be totally gorgeous—and on the prowl. Faster than you can say, “Old Saint Nick,” James is mixing business with pleasure…and in real danger of forgetting that this is just a holiday romance.
Just as they’re well on the way to having their peppermint sticks and eating them too, Sedgwick discovers the truth. James has been a very bad boy. And any chance Santa will bring him what he wants most is disappearing quicker than the Jolly Old Elf’s sleigh.
Warning: This book contains an ocelot, songs by America, Stardust martinis, tinsel, long-lost manuscripts, Faith, Hope and…Love.
Whipped chocolate crème brulee body cream, peppermint condoms, hot men on chilly nights – these are a few of James’ favorite things! Rare book finder James Winter is forced to work for some shady individuals after a forgery scandal rocked the tight knit community. Trying to make ends meet, James agrees to broker a deal for a previously unpublished and unknown Christmas book by Charles Dickens. However, James’ life gets complicated when he falls for the book’s owner and his cache of delicious, edible sex accoutrements. Although Sedgwick Crisparkle was looking for a fling, he might get more than he bargained for with the tasty book finder.
This fun and delicious story is meant to be light holiday fare and succeeds rather well. The story itself is pretty decent, although it lacks a lot of detail and depth to make this a fully fleshed out and well rounded novella. The plot revolves around Sedgwick attempting to sell Dickens’ unpublished work while James is trying to preemptively buy the book before auction. There is some loose, unimportant reasoning why James’ shady client doesn’t want Sedgwick to know who he is and thus the real tension is predictable and weak. It’s not a surprise that Sedgwick finds out the truth through some mysterious way or why the couple finally makes up. However obvious these elements are, the story is still very enjoyable and entertaining to read with a lot of literature references sure to please readers.
Whatever this novella may lack in story and plot, it more than makes up for in the men and their delightful chemistry. The characters are sizzling hot and the erotica scenes are filled with humor, whimsy, and sexy charm. From glow in the dark, flavored condoms to the tasty body crème and delicious array of food, this story serves up a great holiday treat. The characters aren’t fully developed but no one will care since they are intelligent, witty, and packed with charm. James’ missteps are off set by Sedgwick’s relentless pursuit and even the brief appearance of James’ neighbor helps give the man more perspective.
There are a few hiccups in the story from odd details and the random use of ocelots, which are cats that look like tiny leopards or jaguars, but overall this fun holiday story hits its mark. The sex scenes are filled with memorable humor and quirky charm, establishing some great moments. For those readers who are looking for a light holiday treat sure to sizzle, be sure to pick up this delicious novella.