- The Power of Peppermint by L.D. Blakeley
The Power of Peppermint by L.D. BlakeleyHot
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AL Amy Leibowitz Updated
December 14, 2016
The wiggle he gave as his cell phone rang, elicited a flurry of giggles from the children who were patiently awaiting their turn. He’d tucked it into the waistband of his tunic because, well, honestly there was nowhere else to stash it.
“Speak of the devil,” he answered, seeing his sister’s face on the phone’s display. “Woah, woah, cool your jets.” Noah held the phone an inch or so from his ear. His sister’s voice was anything but dulcet, especially when she was blasting him with an earful of — wait, what did she say?
“Where are you?” Abi demanded.
“At the mall in all my elfin glory.”
“Well, how come Jamison just told me you bailed?”
Her voice had zero chill and Noah knew better than to mess with her too much. “What are you talking about? I’m looking at him right now. Have been for hours.” As though to punctuate Noah’s sentence, Jamison looked up at that exact moment. Noah couldn’t help himself and flashed what he hoped was a dazzling smile.
Dropping his voice just in case it carried, he continued. “P.S., how come you never mentioned how hot he was? I mean, he’s wound tighter than a two-dollar watch, but he’s damn pretty. You did say he’s gay, right?”
“He is. And leave him alone.”
“Hang on a second, you’re talking to me like I’m a delinquent teenager instead of someone helping you out of a jam. Remind me again how you roped me into this gig?”
“You’re good with kids, know your way around a camera, and could use the distraction. And you love me.”
Noah laughed at her bullet-pointed accuracy. “I don’t love you that much. Try again.”
“Because I’m letting you live under my roof, smartass. And as long as you’re under my roof—”
“I know, I know,” he cut her off with a chuckle. “But I might have to amuse myself by flirting with the J in A & J Photography.” He could almost hear the impending warning, so he didn’t give her a chance. “Sorry, gotta go. Santa’s almost done for the day and requires my assistance. Bye-bye.”
She hated it when he did that. Which made it all that more fun when he did. Just to be on the safe side, however, he turned the ringer off before tucking his phone back into his patent leather belt.
There were only a few kids left in line when Mac gave him the wrap-it-up signal, so he latched the velvet rope behind the last of them to keep out stragglers. As much fun as the munchkins were, Noah was looking forward to getting home, getting showered and putting on real pants.
When the last print of the day had been handed over to a beaming young couple and their chirpy toddler, he locked up the till and started packing things away for the night. Within the first few days on the job, he’d gotten the routine down to a science and was finished in no time.
Jamison was still crouched by a tripod busily loading lenses into his camera bags so he wandered over to help. He didn’t seem the type to let anyone touch his gear but Noah figured he’d at least ask. It was as good an excuse as any to talk to the guy.
“Need a hand?”
“I’m just about finished. Thanks.” Jamison zipped up the bag and stood to his full height.
With absolutely no shame, Noah gave him a head-to-toe once-over. Damn.
“I’m Noah by the way.” He grinned, knowing full well by the slight blush on Jamison’s face that he’d been caught. He hadn’t been going for subtle. “Abi’s brother.”
“Oh. Oh.” Jamison’s eyes widened, no doubt in recognition of the name. “Jamison. Hi.” He cleared his throat and held his out his hand.
“Nice working with you today.” He held onto Jamison’s hand a beat or two longer than necessary and gave him a puckish smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he added with a wink.
For good measure, he added a bit of sway to his hips as he walked away. He’d be willing to bet good money Jamison was watching his ass.
The most wonderful time of the year?
When Jamison Pritchett is roped into replacing the mall photographer at Santa’s Village a week before Christmas, he’s certain he’ll be spending the holidays recovering from a nervous breakdown. A throng of sugar-frenzied kids might be enough to send this uptight photographer back into the darkroom permanently. Inappropriate thoughts about his far-too-attractive—and far-too-young—assistant aren’t helping fight that urge to hide, either.
For Noah Hawkins, adulting is a snap. Too bad relationships aren’t. With his business temporarily closed for repairs, he’s happy to help his sister out of a jam, even if the costume he’s given to wear borders on obscene. Constantly being mistaken for a teenager is no treat either, especially when he discovers his temporary new co-worker is sexy as hell and 15 years his senior.
Can Noah convince Jamison that age is just a number? Or will Jamison resist the gift Santa seems to be handing him on a platter?
Sexy, funny, and festive
This is only the second story I’ve read by L.D. Blakely, but I’m officially hooked. The story is funny, smart, and steamy enough to melt a whole box of candy canes.
I absolutely love May-December romances, especially when they’re as sweet and fun as this one. Predictably, Jamison, the older man, is stuffy and uptight; Noah, the younger man, is charming and bubbly. But underneath the obvious exteriors, both of them defy their age stereotypes. They make a perfect match. Neither of them falls into the trap of playing “teacher” or healing each other with magic sex. They’re just two guys who happen to fall for each other.
For readers who enjoy it, there’s a bit of teasing, a lot of ogling, fluffy instant-love, and meddlesome-but-not-really family. In another context, I might enjoy it less, but it works perfectly for a holiday romance. It all has a tongue-in-cheek feel to it. They have good chemistry, and although they move fast, there are no declarations of forever at the end. They do, of course, have magical sex, but it didn’t feel like too much or too perfect. There’s a nice balance of sweet and steamy. I highly recommend this for people who aren’t looking for anything heavy, just a little Christmas fun.
For a gift-wrapped romance, sexy guys, and a sweet twist on classic tropes, this gets 5 peppermint sticks…er, stars.
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