Title: All I Want for Christmas is No Christmas
Author: Colton Aalto
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Alec Ryder, Hayden Adler
Sub-Genre: Holiday, DSP Advent 2016
Alec Ryder’s arrest in Aspen, early on the morning of December twenty-fifth, is the latest disaster in his series of unhappy Christmases. He’s dreaded the holiday since being subjected to endless church services as a child. Being kicked out on Christmas Day after he came out to his parents, followed by an improbable series of yearly yuletide trips to the emergency room, haven’t made his Christmases any merrier. But getting busted for prostitution is the worst catastrophe; it means Alec’s dream of a college degree is gone, replaced by the specter of jail time.
Just when Alec thinks things can’t get worse, Hayden Adler shows up to interrogate him. Hayden is a glamorous attorney who also happens to be Alec’s college roommate’s cousin. Alec’s had a crush on Hayden for years, but whatever miniscule chance Alec might’ve had is now history—just like the life he’s been trying to build for himself.
But things aren’t quite what they seem. In a long line of miserable Christmases, Alec will never forget this one, although not for the reasons he suspects.
The Christmas season has never given Alec any warm fuzzy feelings. Even as a child, it has never been a holiday that he’s particularly been fond of. Over the years, Alec hasn’t had many good things happen to him on Christmas, so most of the time, Alec does what he can to avoid it.
Alec has had to fight to get any kind of financial security. He’s been alone since the age of 17 and through prostitution, Alec has been able to put himself through college. Now, just months before he graduates, Alec finds himself in a sticky situation and in possible legal trouble on Christmas day. When the one man, Hayden, who has haunted most of Alec’s fantasies since he met him years ago, shows up to interrogate him, Alec knows his bad Christmas luck will continue to plague him…or has his bad luck changed into Alec getting his fondest Christmas wish?
All I want for Christmas is no Christmas is a solid read from start to finish. The novella is told entirely through Alec’s point of view and since he was an interesting hero, it was easy to get wrapped up into the story he has to tell. Alec has been through a lot in his life and has had to survive through doing just about any mean necessary. Because of this, Alec doesn’t believe he is good enough for his college roommate’s cousin, Hayden, who is not only handsome, he is everything Alec has ever wanted in a man and more.
There is a lot of Alec’s backstory told in this book. We come to understand why Alec falls into prostitution and why he hates Christmas. Alec’s past is a difficult, sad one but I liked Alec’s determination to survive and, in the end, make something better for himself.
Because the backstory is quite lengthy for a short story, I thought the romance between Alec and Hayden suffered a little because of it. I missed the quality time these two men could have shared together and wish I could have felt the emotional pull between them better. Also, I thought Alec’s prostitution was accepted without any kind of problem read a little false to me, BUT this is my opinion and some readers won’t think twice about it.
All I Want for Christmas is No Christmas by Colton Aalto is a good read with intriguing heroes and an interesting storyline. I liked it and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Reviewed By: Gabbi
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