Author: R.J. Scott
Genre: m/m, holidays
Publisher: Love Lane Books (November 24th, 2012) (first published December 1st, 2012)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts
Blurb: Christmas is a time for giving – what do you do when no one gives a damn?
For Zachary Weston Christmas means sleeping on a churchyard bench in the freezing snow with nothing better in his future. Thrown out of his home for being gay, he is left without money or, it seems, anywhere to go.
Until a stranger shows him that some people do give a lot more than a damn.
Ben Hamilton is a rookie cop in his small home town. He finds a young throwaway, fresh from the city, sleeping on a bench in the churchyard on a snowy Christmas Eve. Can he be the one to give Zachary his own Christmas miracle?
Review: I think this is one of the best Christmas stories I’ve read. Everything about this book screams PERFECT and it really made my day even if the start of the story was horribly sad.
R.J. Scott introduces us with a unique way to Zach. A 17-year-old boy who is found sleeping and nearly frozen to death by Ben on a bench on Christmas Eve. Zach’s story is gruesome. He has lived a nightmare of a life at the hands of an abusive, homophobic father and a weak, fading to the background with no voice at all mother. Zach’s entire life has been planned by his father, an ex-special forces sergeant, whose idea of raising a child was beating his wants and beliefs into his son. This got worse when he found out that Zach was gay; taking him out from school and literally forcing him to home imprisonment. However, two-week short of being 18 years old Zach stands up to his father and declares that he is not only not going to enlist in the army, but that he wishes to live his life the way he wants to. That earns him a sound beating (again) and he gets thrown out of the house, in the middle of the winter, with nothing more than the clothes he has on.
I must admit this whole story broke my heart because, even if this one is fiction, there are children out there being thrown out of their family for being who they are. It’s sad, it’s horrible and it’s a fact. I loved the way the author addresses this issue. I loved the way she writes about it without shying away and facing it as it is. I loved the way her characters reacted. She clearly has done her research on behavior patterns and psychological damage. It was all written with perfect clarity and elegance at the same time.
And while all Zach’s life is the horrible part of the story, this being the Christmas book that it is it would be naïve of us not to expect a miracle. How lovely that the miracle came in the form of Ben, the cop that finds Zach nearly frozen. And in an impulse, takes Zach home with him, offering him a meal and a bed for Christmas. And while Ben is feeling very good about his deed, thinking that’s why he became a cop for, he, his mother and his entire family fall for the innocent, obviously abused child and try their outmost to help him.
And again, while usually this kind of intervention is written somehow cheesy and sappy, I did not find any such treats here. It was excellent; I loved how it all played. I loved all the characters involved, and most of all I loved the Zach’s and Ben’s chemistry from the beginning till the end. They were brilliant and the time frame put for their “getting to know each other” was the best touch.
I must say that for me this book had it all a meaning, a purpose, awesome plot, fantastic characters, gripping even and all down to earth lovemaking, a fact that made it even hotter. For me this is a must read book and I’m definitely going to re-read it next Christmas and the next and the next and…. Yeah! Totally worth it.