The Key to Happiness by Tina Kay

KEY
The Key to Happiness by Tina Kay
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Length: Short Story (77 pages)
Other: M/M, anal intercourse
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

When gifts mysteriously appear on his doorstep, Ben is intrigued despite his dislike of the holidays. Their trail leads him to John – an odd yet sexy man, who brings more to Ben’s life than he ever dared imagine.

Ben has a best friend, a cranky cat, and a job he enjoys. He is satisfied with life, or so he tells himself. But John disrupts everything Ben thought he knew, taking him on an emotional adventure that stirs up his past and challenges everything he planned for his future.

Ben is a sweet guy but he’s kind of in a rut. Life is good, it’s just not eventful. It’s about to get real eventful, though. And it all began with a mystery gift.

This was such a thoughtful holiday story. The ongoing mystery gifts were intriguing but it really hooked me after I met John. He’s like a sexier version of Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf. My daughter would say he was adorkable. Besides being seriously wild about Christmas he alludes to the fact that he’s known Ben for a long time and that they were meant to be together. I appreciated that author had Ben be a little apprehensive, John sounds a bit stalkerish loony but there was just something about him that Ben couldn’t write off. Me either for that matter. I needed to know who he was and why he was so sweetly persistent.

I’m not sure what I was expecting but when John explains their connection, it definitely didn’t garner the response from Ben that he expected. This little short story has a lot of layers. It starts out kind of whimsical but Ben turns out to be more complex of a character than he first appeared. Lucky for him he has a best friend like Karen. She was a fun character because she was plain spoken, especially with Ben, but she was also insightful. Ben needed her to help him see past…his past.

This isn’t the fluffy light-hearted holiday romp I assumed it would be when I picked up. It has plenty of light and silly moments but there’s a whole lot of story under the fluff. It has two characters who shared childhood experiences without ever meeting one another until they were adults. The resolution to the story is well thought out and satisfying that Ben and John will be together for many, many more Christmas holidays done right.

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