Cuckold’s for Christmas by Stephanie Burke

Cuckold’s for Christmas by Stephanie Burke
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (81 pages)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

After having her heart broken by a cheating ex, wealthy and disabled divorcee Emma-Jean Lawson twists her misfortune into an empowering statement… by opening up an all-male strip club named Cuckold’s. Now all she has to do is find her star dancer.

Noel Winters has a big wet problem. The once Principal Dancer for the Paris Ballet has turned to teaching his beloved dance to others after a career ending injury, but now a busted water heater, just in time for Christmas, has him seeking other means of income to keep his business afloat. An ad from Cuckold’s catches his attention. It can’t be that hard being an exotic dancer, can it?
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When Emma and Noel meet, there’s an instant attraction, but is sex alone enough to hold a relationship steady? And where did the guys with guns come from? Suddenly their happily ever after is looking grim, but with two of the most magical allies helping along the way, maybe they will pull it together in time to have a happy holiday after all.

Not every Christmas present comes wrapped in a bow.

As soon as I noticed the witty dialogue in this story, it made me want to keep reading until I’d finished the last sentence. Noel in particular had some great lines in it, and Emma-Jean was filled with intelligent comebacks as well. I sure wasn’t expecting to laugh when I started reading it, so getting to do that was a nice treat.

I would have liked to see the fantasy and paranormal themes play a bigger role in the plot. It took such a long time for them to show up that I wondered if this tale had been mislabeled at first. They were an important part of the story line in the end, though, and there was so much more room for them to be included in what was happening. It would have been nice if they’d been given that additional time to shine.

Ms. Burke did a wonderful job of describing what was happening in each scene. All of her sentences were stuffed so full of detail that it was easy for me to imagine that I was actually watching everything unfold instead of simply reading about it. I especially liked the way she described her character’s bodies, how they moved, and how they were used. Although her talent with words also extended to her descriptions of the settings the characters lived, worked, and played in, too.

Cuckold’s for Christmas should be read by anyone who loves the holiday season.

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