O Hell, All Ye Shoppers by Louisa Masters

O Hell, All Ye Shoppers by Louisa Masters
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (26 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ethan Hall plans to fill Saturday, December 23, with junk food and bad TV, a day just for him amid the holiday chaos… until his baby sister calls and begs him to go collect a present for her. At the biggest shopping center in Australia. On the busiest shopping day of the year. Hell no. Right?

Ethan’s soft heart gets the best of him. He battles through the parking lot, and in the main shopping concourse, he’s trampled, elbowed, and bombarded with terrible holiday music. Then he enters hell itself, a specialty store aimed at women… where he meets Ty. They bond in a sea of estrogen and manic shoppers, fighting together to attain freedom, only to find they’re not quite ready go their separate ways.

Ethan had some serious plans for relaxation for just one day before the Christmas madness set in. Only his sister called, pleading for him to go to the biggest and busiest shopping complex around and brave the hoards of crazed pre-Christmas shoppers. After risking life and limb to get through the crowds, Ethan finally tries to get the present off hold, only to bump into a fellow shopper, Ty. After helping Ty select a gift, Ethan eagerly agrees to let Ty buy him a drink – far far away from all the other shoppers.

I found this to be a delightfully fun, somewhat sarcastic Christmassy short story. I have to admit, I selected this because of the title. I loathe doing last minute Christmas shopping – even just getting the perishable groceries a day or two before the Big Day. It’s a nightmare and I can’t understand people who actually enjoy rolling with that mayhem. So this story really was right up my alley.

While the brief length of the story meant there was really very little time for Ty and Ethan to get to know each other before the chemistry exploded between them, I really liked how the author dealt with this. It made the story feel very realistic to me (although slightly too serendipitous) but overall I found it clever and believable. I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t too much description in the sex scene – readers looking for a spicily erotic scene might not find this satisfying. There’s tons of chemistry between Ty and Ethan though and plenty of romantic feelings that grow very quickly between the two men. I feel this would be a wonderful story – perhaps to gift a reader friend with – to help introduce a reader unsure about M/M romances as a gentle, romantic story to show the appeal of M/M stories.

Lighthearted and fun, I feel this is a great short story, something that could easily be read quickly to help you get into the holiday mood or as a short indulgence over the holidays. Sassy, fun and romantic this appealed to me and the Happy For Now ending rounded out the story well, to my mind.

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