Gifted by Sean Michael

Gifted by Sean Michael
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Holiday, LGBTQ
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Brett Travers is one of the weekend bartenders at the Hammer Club. It’s one of two jobs that he works as he puts himself through College. On a whim, he enters the auction at the Hammer’s annual charity Christmas auction. After all, he’s interested in the lifestyle, even if he has absolutely no experience in it yet.

Tucker Sanders is one of the Hammer Club’s chefs. Working mostly evenings and weekends, he loves feeding people, in fact caring for others is one of the reasons why he’s a Top. He’s never found his very own boy, but the tall, willowy Brett has definitely caught his eye.

When Tucker ducks out of the kitchen on Christmas Auction night and discovers that Brett is the next lot, he can’t help but start the bidding. There’s no way he can compete with most of the club’s members, though, and is soon outbid. Will the magic of Christmas bring these two men together despite that?

Brett is interested in the BDSM lifestyle but hasn’t had any experience with it as yet. He’s been working on the weekends as a bartender at the Hammer club for a while now and – keen to dip a toe into experiencing the lifestyle – he enters himself into the annual Christmas auction to test the waters and see if it’s really for him. Tucker is one of the chef’s at the Hammer club and he’s been interested in Brett, and seeing the willowy young man on the stage he makes a few bids, even knowing his budget won’t stretch as far as most of the other bidders. Can the two men find some Christmas joy together this season?

I found this to be a fun and sensual quick short story. While the setting is definitely Christmas time I was pleased that the story isn’t overwhelmed by this timing, the focus remains solidly on Brett and Tucker and the two men exploring their attraction and beginning a strong foundation for their relationship. I also really enjoyed that while there are quite strong elements of BDSM and the lifestyle in this story again it was very well balanced with the two men also getting to know each other outside the bedroom and showing us other facets of themselves. It helped me as a reader not only connect and become invested in them both, but also showed me how well suited and realistic their relationship as a while was – not just their compatibility in the bedroom.

I feel it’s important to note that Brett is quite new to the lifestyle, so readers wanting some very deep or envelope-pushing BDSM story on the cutting edge might not find this quick read really suits what they’re after. Personally, I enjoyed the slightly lighter hand the author gave here, as well as the happy Christmas feel to the story as a whole. While I enjoyed harder edged BDSM stories it’s so lovely to also balance that with seeing two men dip their toe in and start a new relationship together, exploring their boundaries and learning about each other. In no way did this detract from the BDSM elements and I found this refreshing and really enjoyable to read. I also feel this is a good, quick read that would be suitable to recommend to readers interested in trying something a little more intense in their reading material but not wanting to drop into the deep end with something overwhelming or too far over the edge.

A fun, happy and really enjoyable sizzling read, this was a great short story.

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