Beaten Track Publishing
Reviewed by Nancy
4 out of 5 stars
All Mitch wants for Christmas is a quiet holiday free from grief. Patching up the face of the target of a mugging in the back alley of his bar seems to throw that wish right out into the cold Chicago night. But the tatted, pierced, and skinny-jean wearing Keller Graham is fearless and proves to be more than a pair of icy blue eyes lined in black. Keller may be a thief, but Mitch never expected him to steal his lonely heart.
On Christmas Eve, Mitch Stirling hears some noise and charges out of his bar armed with a shotgun. He stops an assault in progress, then comforts and tends to the wounds of the skittish young man dressed inadequately for the frigid climate.
Keller Graham is a petty thief who lives rough and works odd jobs to survive, saving most of his money for art school. His creative streak is evident in his drawings, the tattoos and piercings adorning his body, and the clever places he hides his money and eyeliner.
Mitch is a former combat medic grieving the loss of his partner and fellow soldier who died in combat. He was discharged for bad conduct after punching his CO who made jokes about the dead soldier and spent some time in prison. Rejected by his parents, he is living a very lonely life with Christmas being the only time of year that he can set aside his pain from the past.
“Everything is right with the world on Christmas. I give myself permission to forget all the bad – the loss, the pain, the grief – when these decorations go up. It gives me hope for a future that is as happy as I am during the holidays.”
Though the two men are like night and day, this Christmas will be a joyful respite from the hardships they both have suffered through.
This sweet story melted my heart, made me laugh, and brought a tear to my eye.