One of the things I love about blogging is connecting with authors I haven't read before... and getting to check out their work! I met A.C. Thomas on Twitter and we exchanged DM's about her upcoming holiday MM Romance book, Love on the Rise and she offered me the opportunity to also read her 2020 Holiday release, Burying the Hatchet, which takes place in the same world... I of course said, no, I never ever read Christmas stories lol... so here's my review so you can read Burying the Hatchet before Love On The Rise comes out later this month...
From the Blurb:Home for the holidays for the first time in five years, Clayton Osborne steps off the plane with a chip on his shoulder and a suitcase full of grief…only to come face to flannel-covered chest with his worst nightmare. It’s Jake Carver, his high school nemesis and guilty crush. Clayton never expected Jake to still be working on his family tree farm. Of course, now that he’s older and wiser, it will be no problem to ignore Jake’s axe-swinging, barb-slinging, larger-than-life presence. Right?
Jake Carver loves his work, running NorthStar Tree Farm like it was his own. He’s let other things in his life fall by the wayside as he poured everything he had into his job. Until Clayton Osborne, star of his teenage dreams and his greatest regret returns home as beautiful and feisty as ever. If Jake just keeps his head down and focuses on his work, he can make it through the holidays without revealing his lingering feelings for Clayton. Right?
The mountains of North Carolina ring with more than Christmas bells when boyhood enemies collide as men. Long-buried feelings blossom and grow while the pair work side by side to save the farm, until Clayton must confront his obligation to return to his job in Chicago. He’s going to have to choose. Does he want his big-city life, or love in the mountains? All of this hinges on whether he and Jake can finally bury the hatchet. Can love overcome the years of conflict in their past?
With the help of a good old-fashioned Christmas miracle, it just might.
Burying the Hatchet has a true Hallmark quality to it - sweet, low angst, righting past hurts and rekindling feelings. While they don't discuss previous bullying in great detail, there are allusions to name calling and discussion of how Clayton was treated before he left town. It's an age old story where the bully is actually gay, but represses because of familial homophobia... and the boy who moved away has no idea...
The novella is well written and well paced with just a hint of steam once the two men finally stop dancing around each other. If you're looking for a sweet romance with just a hint of spice to get you in the holiday mood, I highly recommend checking out Burying the Hatchet.