Book Reviews

Escape: A Holiday Bundle by A.D. Ellis

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by The RBR Team on 03-April-2020

Book Blurb

Holiday Island

***No peacocks were harmed in the making of this story.

Rafa’s nautical skills are less than stellar. He’d rather be a full-time artist, but he has a duty to the family business and a fear of standing up to his father and brother.

Carpenter Lucas is determined to rebuild his business after a lover’s betrayal nearly destroyed it. But he runs into a snag when he misses the last boat to the job site.
Rafa offers to take him, but Rafa isn’t much of a sailor.

When they end up on the wrong island, fears for survival gradually give way to an appreciation of the beauty around them—and each other. Rafa insists a holiday miracle will save them, and he teases Lucas for being a Scrooge.

In the end, Rafa’s miracle might come from the last place he expects: inside himself.

The Storm's Gift

Snowed in together in their college dorm, two men share a quick connection that creates enough heat to spar with the blizzard outside.

Rory Blackwell plans to rejuvenate his mind and repair his battered heart after his world is shaken by an unexpected breakup. James Austin’s freshman-year plans of improving his social life crashed and burned, leaving him feeling as alone and outcast as he did back home.

One man is hurting while the other is eager to provide comfort. One is a virgin, the other experienced. Both are looking forward to Winter Break, but can they take full advantage of their situation—or will the passion ignited between them fizzle out with the storm?

Schooling Him

Back then, student and teacher would have never worked. But now? It's winter break, and a chance meeting brings Alec and Jaxon face-to-face. Will things be different this time around?

First edition of 'Holiday Island' published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2018.

First edition of 'The Storm's Gift' published by Dreamspinner Press, December 2017.

Book Review

Holiday Island, reviewed by Lena Grey

Lucas, of Holiday Island by A.D. Ellis, is at his wit’s end. When he misses the last boat to the island he needs to get to for his job, he thinks all is lost, until he runs into Rafa who offers to take him in his boat. Lucas has his doubts, but Rafa's offer seems to be the only chance he will have, so he accepts. Lucas begins to regret his decision when he realizes that Rafa knows about as much has he does about sailing. Finally, they reach an island, but no one else is in sight.

Rafa suggests that the job may be on the other side of the island and they begin to trudge through the dense vegetation. They find an old, run-down tree house, but none of the other men who are supposed to be there. Although Rafa hates to admit it, he has landed them on the wrong island. Lucas isn't very patient with him, in fact, he's a real grouch, pushing away anything Rafa tries to do to cheer him up. They decide that going back to the tree house is their safest option; at least it will provide some shelter.

Rafa starts talking about his brother and father, who bully him constantly and make him feel useless, particularly since Rafa is gay. Lucas bristles when Rafa asks about his own family; Lucas explains that his family doesn't approve of his “gay lifestyle” so he avoids going home for Christmas. In spite of the fiasco, Rafa and Lucas are physically attracted to each other. Since they are stranded on an island, they decide to make the best of it with some “hot and heavy holiday action”. Lucas is pessimistic about anyone ever rescuing them, especially since no one knows where they are, but Rafa tells him not to despair because Christmas is a time of miracles and is convinced that they will receive one.  
I've never thought that the scenario of of being stranded on a deserted island could be a holiday story, but that's exactly where Lucas and Rafa find themselves. What seems like an impossible situation promises to lead to better times for both of them. Thanks, A.D., for giving Rafa and Lucas the happy ending they deserve.

The Storm’s Gift, reviewed by Serena Yates

Blizzards have a lot to answer for in terms of the damage they cause, like traffic delays and frostbite just to name two that come to mind, but in this story, the author demonstrates that the consequences can be positive as well. The effect of being snowed in, resulting in two men’s inability to avoid each other, is as unexpected as it is enjoyable – the only question is whether they will accept what they learned and move forward.

Rory intends to spend the winter break in the empty college dorm and is actually looking forward to two weeks without having to see anyone. He needs some time to recover from an unexpected, nasty breakup, his parents are traveling, and Rory just wants some peace and quiet. He is all set in terms of food, fireplace starter logs, and entertainment. Rory is practically rubbing his hands in glee at the thought of the last few stragglers leaving before the results of a “severe weather warning” make it impossible.

James has no choice but to spend the winter break in the empty college dorm and hates the prospect of being alone. He desperately wants to see his family, since he has not made the new friends or turned around his social life as he had hoped to do once he was a college freshman. When the storm blows in before he can finish the last exam of the semester, followed by him getting stuck in the dorm’s elevator due to a power outage, it means it is too late to leave campus, and James is devastated.

In many ways, Rory and James could not be more different, both as far as life experience and as far as attitude toward being snowed in are concerned. Rory is not happy that he will now have company and James is desperately unhappy about missing time with his family. Dealing with their predicament is not easy, but there are a few funny moments as well. I loved watching these guys open up to each other as they realize they may have a connection neither of them would have discovered without the “forced proximity” they have to endure…

If you like Christmas stories with lots of ice and snow, if the contrast between freezing cold outside and increasing heat of all kinds inside is your thing, and if you’re looking for a sweet read that is all about finding love and acceptance in unexpected places, then you will probably like this short story.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first editions of these stories have been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Collection/ 3 short stories, 110 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-March-2020
Price $0.99 ebook
Buy Link