We Don't Need Another Santa (Bent Oak 5) by Bix Barrow

A recovering actor, a retired hitman, two boys that need help, and some stray dogs come together to make a family in this humorous novella by Bix Barrow. Getting rid of a dead body and a trip to Buc-ee's is just the start of the holiday season for Lucas and Phillip.

From the blurb:

One retired hitman, one actor just out of rehab, and a Santa sack full of complications...Even though I 
don’t need to pose as a third-grade teacher anymore, I stuck around to keep Seth, one of my students, and his brother Robin from being abused by their slimy stepfather. It’s their lucky Christmas Eve when I find out Robin accidentally killed the jerk while protecting Seth, because who better to help them dispose of the body than a retired hitman-slash-operative?

But Santa also delivers the boys’ uncle, famous actor and tabloid headliner Lucas McCord. I’m trying to decide if I can trust him with the boys’ well-being—and possibly my cold, withered heart—when an ill-timed photo has the press announcing I’m Lucas’ boyfriend and the key to fixing his reputation.

The skills I honed in my former life are strangely useful navigating the perils of Hollywood, but when I come face-to-face with an enemy from my past, I’ll use every weapon in my arsenal to keep Lucas and the kids safe.

We Don’t Need Another Santa is a low-angst, humorous holiday romance featuring a retired hitman, an actor trying to turn his life around, two kids in need, stray dogs, an inconvenient body, barbecued brisket, and beaver onesies.

We Don’t Need Another Santa is a novella continuing the hitman’s story from What’s Santa Got to Do with It but can be read as a standalone.

Note: We Don’t Need Another Santa was originally released as part of the MM Book Buzz 12 Days of Christmas promotion in December 2023. The story has not been changed.

SNiK's review:

Fifth in series (Bent Oak, Texas), can be read as a standalone but might be more fun if read after What’s Santa Got to Do with It?. Demisexual representation with instalove. Found family. Slow burn. Dual POV. Heed content warnings. 

Posing as a teacher, former hitman Phillip is drawn into helping one of his students and his brother out of an abusive situation, and getting rid of a body and meeting their famous uncle doesn’t even make him blink. Just out of rehab, Lucas is an actor on a mission to help his nephews, and he can’t help his attraction to the competent Phillip that seems to be taking care of them all. Competency and protectiveness is Phillip’s resting state and I enjoyed every minute of it, along with his ease of communicating and caring for Lucas and the boys. This is a very fast ramp up to a relationship even though Phillip is demisexual, but since it's a novella I happily went along with it as it had sweet characters in a funny and entertaining story.

We Don’t Need Another Santa is currently available in e-book format.