Setting For Eight, Dinner For Two by B.G. Thomas

Setting For Eight, Dinner For Two by B.G. Thomas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short story (81 pages)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

To overcome the bad ending of a relationship, Charlie Brooks and a friend plan to decorate his home for the holidays—including elaborate table settings like those made by local ceramicist Tory Phillips. The pieces are exquisite, but Charlie’s on a budget. So Tory convinces him to take his classes and try his hand at making his own dishes for the dinner party Charlie dreams of hosting. As they work together, they grow closer, and the fantasy gathering feels less important than what’s happening between them. When the big day arrives, it might be more magical than Charlie ever imagined.

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I found this to be a really fun and happy, Christmassy story. I enjoyed the chemistry and connection that happened almost instantly between Charlie and Tory and was also pleased they didn’t fall into insta-lust or just simply jump into bed with each other. Charlie is still pretty burned out from his ex and Tory is quite a bit younger than him so it’s not an easy path for them to come together. Charlie, in particular, felt to my mind to get caught up in his own inner thoughts and musings a fair bit and second (and even third) guess himself so when Tory offered to help Charlie make some napkin rings in Tory’s ceramics class it was the perfect opportunity for the two men to spend some time together without awkwardness or strings.

I felt that Charlie’s inner conversations slowed the pace of the story somewhat, and the author had a very chatty style of writing with lots of self-musings and sentences where the characters train of thought would get interrupted. I can’t help but feel this style of writing won’t appeal to all readers as it can feel a little jarring and jump around, and I personally found the pace was just a little slow with the frequent feeling of interruptions between Charlie and Tory getting to know each other. That said, both men were interesting and well drawn characters and I enjoyed watching them circle each other and try to find their way together.

I really enjoyed how the chemistry sizzled between Charlie and Tory. Despite the fact both men were unsure the attraction and connection between them simply couldn’t be denied. I really liked how with more interactions and meeting together at the pottery sales and classes helped both Charlie and Tory not only spend more time together but grow more comfortable with each other. While there’s no explicit sexual intimacy I adored how Charlie and Tory definitely both got their happy ending. It made all the chemistry and slow build up between them totally worthwhile to my mind.

Fun and happy, this is a lovely short Christmas story.

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