Cold Nights and Cryptids by Duckie Mack

Cold Nights and Cryptids is a delightful novella with two colleagues connecting during a Bigfoot hunting trip.

From the blurb:

Jesse loves working as a receptionist, but often feels overlooked and ignored by coworkers. When an opportunity comes up to spend a week on a Bigfoot hunt as part of a team-building exercise, he jumps at it. He loves camping and the outdoors, so even if it’s with people from work, it seems like the break he’s been needing.

Reed is the golden boy of the company. He’s charming, handsome, and everyone likes him. Almost everyone. Reed is a total city boy with painted nails and perfectly coiffed hair. Camping is the last thing he wants to do.

Jesse gets his hopes up for a quiet trip when he doesn’t see anyone from work, until he spots Reed, the last person he would want to be stuck with. But when he sees how nervous and scared the golden boy is, he reluctantly feels protective of him.

Off the grid and in the shadows of a legendary cryptid, how far will their team-building exercise go?

Cold Nights and Cryptids is a stand-alone novella with coworkers to lovers, cuddling for warmth, and tall tales to take home.

Rogue's review:

- novella
- work colleagues
- close proximity

Jesse and Reed are co-workers, Reed is the work 'golden boy' and doesn't really know that Jesse exists. They end up on a bigfoot hunting trip as part of a work initiative for team building. Jesse not realising Reed would be there.

It also has one of my favourite 'first' impressions too, I absolutely loved this and have zero shame about sharing it 😂

"Just as I thought I would get to appreciate the corny adventure on my own, I froze in place when he came into view. He came out from behind the truck and flipped his head back, whipping his luscious blond hair out of his eyes. I could swear it was in slow motion with a crescendo of music and birds singing in the background like a Disney prince making his grand entrance, releasing his smolder on the world. Zoom in for the money shot and the gleam of perfect teeth. Ting!'"

The whole story is a delight, from the cheeky cameo from one of Duckie's other couples, to the bigfoot hunt itself, and the development of Jesse and Reed's relationship. It's so sweet, low angst and just altogether wonderful. I originally read a shortened version of this in an anthology but this extended version is even more delightful and I highly recommend it.

Cold Nights and Cryptids is currently available as an e-book and paperback