The Match Before Christmas


Title and Link: The Match Before Christmas
Author: Eden Winters
Publisher: Torquere
Buy Link: The Match Before Christmas
Genre:  Contemporary M/M, Holiday
Length: Short Story (14K / 57 pdf pages)
Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Cole

Review Summary: A hilarious take on modern dating and one man’s naive determination that no matter how many bad dates he goes through, Mr. Right is just around the corner.


Candlelight, mistletoe, gaily wrapped packages beneath a trimmed tree, and someone to share it with. That’s all Barry Richards wants for Christmas. Desperate for a traditional holiday, he takes drastic measures. Creating a profile on “,” he hopes to find the perfect man in a matter of weeks. One date after another goes sour, while all around him friends are falling in love, and Barry starts to lose faith.

The first snow falls and the world is filled with seasonal cheer, all except for Barry, for whom time is running out. Facing the prospect of a lonely holiday, he tries just once more to make The Match Before Christmas.


After learning that his parents are spending this Christmas on a cruise, Barry is bummed to be missing his favorite holiday and the comfortable traditions they share. Not wanting to intrude on his sister and her husband’s Christmas without their parents there, Barry sets out to make his own Christmas wish — that when the holidays roll around, he will be able to show off his perfect boyfriend. The boyfriend that exists in Barry’s head is so perfect, that when he signs up for an account at, he has no doubt whatsoever that he’ll end up just like the beautiful, muscle hunks on the website offering their testimonials. What follows is Barry’s adventures through date after date of just about all of the worst men he could possibly be alone with: the man on the rebound, the married man, the man looking only for sex, and several other hilarious examples. He learns quite a bit with each date that leaves him unsatisfied, having been quite naive in the romance department. By the time he is about to give up, he starts to realize that maybe if he can’t find the perfect guy, he can find the perfect guy for someone else. Adding a human touch to the impersonal data dump that is the online dating pool, Barry starts to become a matchmaker himself. And maybe, if he pays it forward, someone good will come to him?

I have to tell you that I laughed out loud so many times reading this story. Barry has a really unique voice that is snarky at the same time as being incredibly innocent. Every date he went into with blind eyes I wanted to grab him up before he really got himself into a mess. I especially loved that he could easily have been portrayed as stupid or immature, but he wasn’t. He’s highly intelligent, but because he had been focused on work, he’s almost like a teenager dating for the first time. He is also an average Joe, slightly chubby with a nice face. He is very modest and at times I wondered if he was really a hunk, but because of self-depreciation thought he was ugly. The writing here is excellent as well, very witty. For example, throughout a meal with a much younger man who keeps bemoaning the loss of an ex named Jeff:

At the end of the meal, Barry’s curiosity finally got the better of him. “What happened to Jeff, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“Oh, he was found beaten to death in his apartment a month ago. But don’t worry; I’ve been cleared as a suspect.”

Barry raised his hand, frantically gesturing for the server. “Check, please!”

The only thing I thought could have been improved a bit was the amount of on-screen time Barry gets with Mr. Right once he’s found him.  The ratio of pre-boyfriend and post-boyfriend Barry was off.  It seemed like his search was so long and fruitless and then when he finally meets the right guy, we only get a few scenes of them together.  I wanted to see them revel in their happiness a bit while we got to know them better. Maybe if we had seen the scene with Barry’s family at the end…   Otherwise, I really loved this story.  Barry was a really engaging character who I would love to see again and again. He should have his own chronicle of adventures :)

Highly Recommended. Enjoy.

28 thoughts on “The Match Before Christmas

    1. Cole

      Thanks Lily!

      As you can see, I loved this one. It was my first Eden Winters and I absolutely fell in love with Barry.

  1. Wave

    This sounds delightful. As you may have guessed, I love humour in M/M stories because the guys, no matter how stupid, insecure, etc., don’t come across as total pricks. Barry sounds like just the type of hero I would enjoy and I like Eden’s writing as well so this one is definitely headed to the TBR pile.

    Thank you for this rec. I would never have found this book otherwise. :)

    1. Cole Post author

      You really should read this Wave. It is a perfect little pick me up, you can read it pretty quick and it will make your day :)

  2. Tam

    I loved this one. I gave it an A+. :-) I thought Barry was such a great character. Great review and I hope others check it out.

    1. Cole Post author

      Hey Tam, I had no doubt you’d love it when you mentioned our reviews had been syncing up. Barry is the best isn’t he? I wish I had a Barry…

      Your review was wonderful as well, it showed a lot of Barry’s humanity.

  3. susanne

    I´ve read all her books so far and enjoyed them very much – especially The Wish.
    This new one sounds like a great read, too. But its only 57 pages ;-( Maby there´s a sequel planned?

    1. Cole Post author

      I’ve been planning on reading one of her books soon and The Wish appealed to me the most. So I’m glad that its your favorite. Maybe I’ll pick it up this week.

      I have no idea about a sequel. Eden has been around posting lately, so maybe she’ll come on and let us know?

  4. ElaineG

    Sounds fun Cole….I am adding to my TBB list right now. Great review, I can’t wait to “meet” Barry.

    1. ElaineG

      Hey Cole! I absolutely did fall for Barry…and though I was lucky enough to find the perfect guy to bring home to the family (and after 20 plus years, the family would trade me in for him in a heartbeat lol!)…I sympathized with Barry and cringed when he did, but was so happy he found his own Mr. Right. Thanks for the rec, it’s on my re-read list for sure.

      1. Cole Post author


        I’m so happy you loved this like I did! Congratulations on finding your own Mr. Right. I think if the family will trade them for you, thats the litmus test of success :)

        Now say a prayer for me to find mine, okay? :)

    1. Cole

      “Much funnier when it’s happening to someone else”

      I know, right? Each date kept getting worse and worse and I kept thinking “Please, please don’t let Barry get hurt!”

  5. Eden Winters

    Wow, Cole! You’ve made me extremely happy. I’m so glad you and the posters liked the story. Thanks, ya’ll.

    A sequel? I hadn’t really thought about one until reading the comments here, then Barry grabbed one ear and Adam grabbed the other and started whispering(okay, they were actually screaming)ideas to me.

    Thanks again for the kind words. They ease the pain of the horrifying dates I went on as research for this story.

    1. Cole Post author


      You’ve got to be kidding me. I would have flipped out if I went out with the Chiropractor guy. He freaked me out. I kept thinking he was going to end up stalking him or something.

      If you choose to write more of Barry and Adam’s adventures, you will have some loyal readers here waiting for each installment :)

  6. Tj

    Hey Cole,
    I love funny stories, and Eden’s other books were so good that I’m sure I’ll enjoy this one. Thanks and great review!

    1. Cole Post author

      You will TJ. I read it in about 45 minutes. It was a great little interlude between reading two pretty angsty books :)

  7. John

    Great review, Cole. I recommend Eden’s Angel of Thirteenth Street, The Wish, and The Telling. And anything else she writes!! Go Eden!!

    1. Cole Post author

      Thanks John,

      I was thinking of reading Angel of Thirteenth Street or The Wish first. Probably the latter. Then The Telling, since I already have the free version :)

      I’m really starting to like her writing, its really captivating.

  8. LilG

    Hi Cole, wanted to let you know I picked this up after reading your review. Definitely needed a laugh, and it’s great to read a NICE guy for a change of pace. =D

    1. Cole

      …it’s great to read a NICE guy for a change of pace.

      Isn’t Barry the best? I’m so happy that you found this story and liked it, it still remains one of my favorites :)

      Eden said that she’s written a sequel and I can’t wait to read what is next for Barry.

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