Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles

Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles
Publisher: Samhain Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Full Length (165 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

‘Tis the season of goodwill to all men…even the one who dumped you.

Riley MacDermott’s ambitions are simple. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive herring gull.

The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. So does their habitual head butting.

Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley was firmly planted in the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.

As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless one of them can compromise.

Riley’s ghost of ex-boyfriend’s past may just be his future. Riley is determined to climb up the corporate ladder, or the local council ladder. He’s agreed to be the manager of the holiday market, which has a whole set of problems and headaches on its own. Riley is pretty sure he’s perfect for the job but the one thing he didn’t count on was Stan. Stan and Riley were deeply in love five years ago before Stan up and left to live in the woods. A true city dweller at heart, Riley has never gotten over his lost love. Now stuck in the same place for a couple of weeks the two men try to decide if they can make it work or are they too different.

Merry Gentlemen is a feel good holiday story. Stan and Riley are ex-boyfriends that still love each other after all this time. They get a second chance at possible happiness when they’re thrown together but they both worry they’re simply too different to make it work. I like this story because it feels realistic and relatable while also being humorous and a bit ridiculous. Riley is an adorable narrator with lots of charm and funny antics. Sometimes his antics are over the top such as modeling his yearly secret santa thong gift for his co-workers while other times he just tries to fix a crisis, such as singing ABBA to distract a crowd. It lends a light-hearted feel to the story and one that meant I couldn’t invest heavily into the relationship but instead just enjoy it for what it was.

Since Riley is the narrator, Stan’s motivations are somewhat less well known. I could tell they loved each other and had great sex together but they really are very different people at the heart of their needs. It’s nice to see how the two men try to adjust and compromise to make a relationship work, one they both very much want. The plot also has a surprising amount of action, considering it’s basically a holiday story about ex’s reuniting, and I found myself easily turning pages. The tone is very light and breezy, meant for entertainment more than angst.

If you’re looking for a well-written, highly entertaining holiday story with a good dose of silly behavior then Merry Gentlemen is for you! It’s a great introduction to the author’s writing style while giving a very satisfying and feel good ending. There’s enough chemistry between the main men to warm up most any reader on a cold night.

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