An Open Window by Rick R. Reed

An Open Window by Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (21 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Two men. One Christmas Eve that changes the courses of both their lives.

Henry’s homeless and only wants a warm place to sleep on the coldest night of the year. A forgotten open window in a darkened house entices Henry inside with the promise of warmth and comfort. He knows it’s bad, but he promises himself he’ll be out before the owner wakes on Christmas morning. Except he oversleeps and the homeowner, Jim, discovers a bearded stranger sawing logs under his dining room table. When the shock and the drama that ensues dies down, Henry and Jim discover that they might have found, quite unexpectedly, the Christmas miracle they’d both been longing for—love and home.

Henry needed to get out of the freezing cold, snowy night that Christmas Eve. Finding an open window into what he thought was an empty home, he climbed through – not wanting to die from exposure. Jim got an awful scare when Henry climbed in, and from that moment on both their lives changed forever.

Henry and Jim meet under what might be the most unusual circumstances that I’ve ever read before. I have to admit I kept fluctuating between disbelief – why didn’t Jim run screaming from the stranger that broke into his house? – and warmth from the compassion Jim showed Henry. Eventually I decided to stop thinking about the plot and circumstances and just roll with the story and enjoy it. I genuinely think it’s one of those situation that while completely realistic (homelessness and the seriousness of the elements connected to this) it also is virtually impossible to make it both real and romantic. So I ended up acknowledging that it was a different and interesting plot device – Henry and Jim meeting this way and Henry’s problems – but not questioning it too closely.

Taking the story in this different light made it a lot easier for me to enjoy. Henry and Jim both take time to warm up to each other, and reading about their fumbling as they learn about one another was really quite sweet. Readers looking for a very short, somewhat old fashioned Christmas story, one with heart-warming feelings and sharing of gifts and a real “Christmas spirit” type of feel will probably really enjoy this. There is no sex in this story, which I personally didn’t mind, though readers looking for a spicy romance might not be as happy with. I really liked Henry and Jim and was pleased with their happy ending. While I would have loved a little more detail on how they went from that initial meeting to their fully-fledged relationship, the very short word count definitely limited the author in what he was able to achieve so I feel this needed to be taken into consideration.

A heart-warming, old-style Christmas story about embracing what you have, making the best of your situation and always being open to receiving gifts, this is a good short story that I liked.

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