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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside by Nicole Kimberling

Baby It's Cold Outside by Nicole Kimberling
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (60 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Small town Pacific Northwest reporter Peter Fontaine wants to level up. A job offer in Austin seems to be the answer to his prayers, but there’s one catch: his boyfriend, Nick Olson, artist, recluse, and snow-loving outdoorsman.

When Peter agrees to go to the Freezing Man snow sculpture competition, he thinks he’s going to get a lesson in making love in a hollowed-out snowball in the woods. He thinks he’ll either find a way to convince Nick to come to the Lone Star State or be forced to say goodbye. But one frozen corpse derails Peter’s personal plans entirely...

Two hot men in an igloo for a weekend, what could go wrong? That was the question Peter was asking himself before embarking on a weekend trip with his boyfriend. This sequel to the popular, Primal Red, picks up two years after the other ended as Peter and Nick are now an established couple living together. Unfortunately Peter wants more than being a reporter for a local newspaper but Nick has no intention of moving. Not to mention there is the small problem of a dead body on their romantic getaway.

Although this is a sequel, the story can easily be read as a stand alone. There is enough information given so anyone can pick up the story and be immersed into the characters and setting easily. One of the trademarks of Kimberling’s writing is great, visual details and this story is no different. The crisp, wintery cold comes alive so much that you’ll want a blanket and hot drink while reading. There are numerous bits of humor included from sleeping in an igloo – sorry () – to Peter’s unintended investigation. The story is not actually a comedy as the seriousness of the murder does combine with potential problems between Peter and Nick. Thankfully the author deftly handles the humor and the serious tone so neither one overwhelms.

The characters are well drawn and perhaps even more so since time has passed from their first meeting. I wasn’t such a fan of Primal Red and felt the characters were too flat and one dimensional, but here Peter has developed and matured offering a much better man. Nick is still a mystery since the novella is told from Peter’s point of view and Nick is hardly the chatty type. Their relationship is shown through a number of subtle details such as Nick’s smirk or his physical affection towards Peter. This comes to a head when Peter starts to question the people around them in conjunction with the murder and no one is happy about it. Nick shows why Peter’s loyalty and love for him are deserved even as Nick rarely actually says what he’s feeling.

This story is the perfect size with a decent murder mystery, wrapped up easily so the focus can be on the men themselves. The murder and subsequent mini-investigation help Peter and Nick clarify their priorities and their willingness to compromise. The look back into their relationship was very welcome and in my opinion, an even better story than the first. This can easily be read on its own without having read the prior book so readers won’t feel lost. This chilly, wintery romance is a great treat when you want to bundle up and indulge.

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