Summary Review: A short story about friends reunited after 10 years and discovering that they had more in common than they realized.
Just before Christmas, Keith returns home to claim an inheritance, but can’t decide whether to stay in his aunt’s old house, or keep his city apartment.
He loves that house, but his hometown holds bad memories. Deciding to stay until New Year’s before making a decision, Keith goes to buy a Christmas tree and runs into the one person he isn’t ready to meet again.
Seeing Dale again is sweet torture, complicated even more because Dale’s out and about with two kids. But Dale seems happy to see Keith again, and extremely interested to discover Keith is a successful author. Not only that, but under the pen-name of Guy Fortune, Keith is one of Dale’s favorite gay authors. Will Dale have a confession to make for Christmas?
Keith was back home in Mereton, after 10 years in L.A. He returned after learning that his aunt Amelia, with whom he lived after his parent’s death, had left him her house after she passed away, making it clear that she hoped he would live in it. He left town years ago when he developed strong feelings for his straight best friend Dale; he didn’t want to reveal that he was gay to the one person whom he cared about and drive him away. Would Dale welcome him back? He had never communicated with him during his long absence as he was afraid their friendship might not survive his revelation about his sexual orientation.
In an effort to brighten up the house Keith went in search of a Christmas tree. The first person he ran into was Dale with two children in tow who looked exactly like him. Any hope that he had been harbouring of a relationship with Dale, even assuming that he was attracted to men, appeared to be a lost cause. Dale seemed really pleased that he had returned and Keith found out a short time later that the kids were actually Dale’s nephew and neice. His old friend was so happy to see him Keith suggests that they get together to catch up on what had happened in their lives over the past decade.
When he told Dale that he was a writer of gay fiction and that his pen name was Guy Fortune Dale was surprised and pleased, and admitted that Fortune was his favourite author. Turns out that Dave had been gay all along and had come out to his family 4 years ago, and he and Keith were the only two people in town who didn’t know of each other’s sexual orientation. Now that that bridge had been crossed they were anxious to make up for lost time. Would reality live up to the fantasy? Neither man had found “the one” in all this time and they were both hoping that he was right there, ready for the taking.
The pace of the story picked up when they returned to Keith’s house. Dale admitted he had been just as attracted to Keith in the past and really missed his good friend. He had even tried to find him in L.A., but didn’t know where to start looking since Keith did not correspond regularly with his aunt and she had no idea he had switched careers and was currently an author. Keith had never returned home, even for vacations, because he didn’t want to know if Dale was married and had a family, which was a distinct possibility since women were all over him when they were in school, although he never boasted of his exploits like the other guys.
This romance between long lost best friends although predictable, was sweet, as Dale and Keith very quickly made up for lost time. Dale had been upset when Keith left and he kept looking for reassurance from him that he would stick around this time so that they could have a chance at a relationship. I learned about Dale’s life over the 10 years which did not exactly follow the straight and narrow path of people in small towns and this added to his character’s depth and made him three dimensional — not just a figment of Keith’s imagination kept in a cocoon until he could come by and release the butterfly. The only issue was whether they could love the men they had become since a lot of living had been done in the time they had been apart. Even though there was no conflict in the story, and everything fell neatly into place, the author did a good job on the characters and showed that their emotions were engaged and that this wasn’t just a convenient hook up. Adding in Dave’s backstory made me give this book 4 stars.
If you like sweet romances you should pick up a copy of Fortune’s Choice as the characters are likable and well drawn and the HEA seems quite plausible, since Dale and Keith had a history. Recommended