Former stepbrothers find Christmas romance under the tree.
After years alone, Daniel Diaz is finally ready to shake up his orderly, solitary life. He’s about to leave for a cozy Christmas getaway with his new man when he gets the call from the ER that his former stepbrother has been admitted with a concussion and a broken hand—and Cole put him down as his emergency contact. Why the hell would he do that? Daniel barely knows the guy. After all, their parents’ marriage lasted less than a year and it was a decade ago!
But Cole has no one else to look after him and strict doctor’s orders not to be left alone. So fine, Daniel will bring him along on vacation to make sure he doesn’t starve or fall into a coma. This is supposed to be Daniel’s chance to explore romance again after locking down his feelings for too long—except it turns out his could-be boyfriend is more interested in partying and being an obnoxious jerk. Daniel sends him packing, and now he’s stuck with a virtual stranger in an isolated mountain cabin.
Cole Smith crushed hard on cranky Daniel when they were teenagers. Alone with him in a romantic winter wonderland, those feelings roar back to life. Glimpsing the caring, vulnerable man under Daniel’s frosty shell, he yearns to get closer. Christmas is a time for surprises, and Daniel and Cole discover a scorching connection that just might melt their hearts.
This fluffy gay Christmas romance from Keira Andrews features former stepbrothers reconnecting as adults, sexy hot-tub shenanigans, cuddling by the fire, and of course a happy ending.
When picking up a holiday-themed book, I want fluff and feel goods and steamy scenes. And Keira Andrews always delivers.
In Case of Emergency almost combines my two favorite tropes – friends-to-lovers and second chances. I say almost because while it’s not really either of those things, this book has the same feel as them. Cole and Daniel were stepbrothers ten years ago when their parents were married for a hot minute. 13-year-old Cole had a huge crush on 18-year-old Daniel, who came out with his high school boyfriend before leaving home for college. They weren’t close, however, aside from Cole’s hero-worship, and they didn’t stay in touch after their parents divorced. Now, ten years later, they’re thrust together after Cole is injured and Daniel is the only person he knows in his new town. So, while they weren’t really friends, and they weren’t previously in a relationship, the whole plot echoed a lot of what I love about those two tropes: a relationship changing, coming together again, getting reacquainted, discovering what has changed in each other’s lives after a time apart, etc.
I’m pretty ambivalent towards the “drama” aspect of the book. Before getting the call about Cole’s injury, Daniel is planning to go on Christmas holiday with his maybe-boyfriend, Justin. After arriving at the vacation home with Cole, some drama ensues and Justin becomes a caricature of a villain, some parts of which escalated to the point where I could’ve done without them. He didn’t bring much of anything to the story, and the scenes involving him and the situations he caused changed the tone of the book a little, IMO. Same with some of Daniel’s backstory. It did provide some insight into the character, and we do explore some ace-spectrum sexualities, but just barely, and not in depth, and to very little advantage to the story.
Cole and Daniel, though, I loved. Daniel’s stoic and standoffish and not a very sympathetic character (though, tbh, he’s the one I identified with the most). Cole’s sweet and energetic and fun. They’re the epitome of opposites attract. They work really well together and balance each other in every scene. We get to toe the taboo line without getting too close, which I’m always here for. (Don’t let the stepbrothers thing throw you if you’re not into that. Enough time and distance – emotional and physical – separates the time our story takes place from the time their parents were married that it has very little impact on the story.)
Really, this book has everything I want in a holiday book. It’s sweet and romantic and has lots of good feels. There’s a touch of drama just to mix things up a little. And it all takes place in the quintessential holiday setting – a chalet in the mountains, covered in snow, with pretty decorations and a hot tub. I definitely recommend this for your holiday reading this year!
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said:
“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”
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