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The Family We're Born With

(Finding Family #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  1,342 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Jesse Calhoun met Devin Palmer five years ago, in front of a Christmas tree at a friend's party. It was Jesse's first holiday alone, away from home. Devin didn't have much of a home to go back to. They found a way to make the season brighter, together.

Four years ago, Jesse brought Devin to his parents' house and came out to them. It wasn't all roses, but his fa
ebook, 52 pages
Published December 14th 2013 by Smashwords Edition
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,342 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ingie by: Macky
Written December 17, 2013

4 Stars - a tender Christmas (freebie) story - important topics about families, traditions, who fits in and when - and how difficult it can be at times - but time...

For a change it's nice to read about an established couple. Two men who are confident and incredibly in love with each other but, somewhat surprisingly, has some emotionally challenging fights left with their family. This was a wonderfu2013
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
First of all thank you Kaje for making this a free Xmas story. Awesome!

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed this addition to the seasonal stories that are around at the moment. A hot, sexy but still sweet, tender and at times very poignant little family drama that I'm not ashamed to say brought me to tears. Bringing home how lucky we are to have family that accept us and love us for who we are.

It starts with Jesse and Devin's Christmas being shaken by the revelation that not only
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kaje Harper is one of my auto-get authors -- I didn't even know what the blurb was, I just went ahead and grabbed it.

This free 20k story was about family around Christmas time, but instead of making it sweet fluffy Christmas read, Kaje brought complexities in a smooth-sailing way, about what it was TO BE family ... the one you were born with, the one you were placed with, or the one you created.

We got Jesse who was upset with his mother's request, to not bring his lover for his Christmas Eve,
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it


I just...really, really enjoyed this so much.

I love that Kaje Harper writes REAL stories about REAL families with REAL dysfunction and REAL imperfections. And all of that REAL intertwines together to make a true kind of love. It's not this sticky sweetness (that I admittedly eat up and adore), but it's like looking into your own home. And there's something about it that is bittersweet but feels...honest.

I felt myself happy, then aggravated, then outraged, then sad,
Really enjoyed this little tale.

It had all I love in my reads, a great couple a little angst and some drama lol.

I really tried to understand where Gayle was coming from, but I'm afraid I just couldn't see it. My heart hurt for Devin, just imagining how he must of felt. I wanted to shout at the pair of them when Lloyd called Devin “son”. Talk about rub salt in the wound.

Loved the story of Sam and Clint/Rick, but of course now I really want to read Clint/Rick's story lol.<
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Kaje Harper for this lovely holiday treat.

Jesse gets an unpleasant request from his mother the day before Christmas Eve when his mother requests his partner of four years, Devin, not come to the house on Christmas Eve. Not only has Devin always been welcome, but he has already traveled from Pennsylvania to Minnesota with Jesse. While Jesse's mother has her reasons, Jesse is unimpressed. This is just part of the family turmoil in this short novella.

The reactions to this reques
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ann by: Macky
It always amazes me when an author can pack so much story into so few pages. It's hard to find, so I imagine it's hard to do. This Christmas short about family and acceptance was perfect.

It was sweet, hot and truthful, I loved it! My favorite part is right after the title where it says "Finding Family, #1" - that means there will be more. And I want more, lots more.

Thank you Macky for the rec, you are the best my friend!
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it

This was a slice of real life. Pretty short but it packs a punch, and touches a lot of important issues.

Recommended. And free.

Like wine and cookies and snowfalls.
Basically, the essence of Christmas - love and family. And that sounds so cheesy, doesn't it?, but Kaje Harper manages to make it just the right amount of sweet and sexy and a little bit painful, and overall just so incredibly heartwarming.

I think everyone knows what the quality of Harper's stories in matters of writing and devopment is, so I don't need to expound on that.

Seriously though, I literally feel like spreading the love
Trisha Harrington
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Trisha by: Macky
I didn't adore this story, but it was really nice. The couple made me smile and it was a Christmassy book. I'm really glad I read it because it left a smile on my face.
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reread 9/8/19. So good! And I didn’t know there was a second book!
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well, I read it in record time, I liked it, but now I'm at a loss at what to write. Yes, I liked it, but after finishing it I felt as if something important was missing?! And for the life of me I can't put my finger on it.
Jan 10, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a story of acceptance, or possibly of rejection. It is a story of attitudes and opinions and how they can change over time or stay frozen in the ice of ignorance. This story is short and easy to read. But there are many stories in many families that never have a happy ending. Too many people are held captive by the teachings of the families they are born with, the religion they are born with, and the society they are born into.

This story happens to be about homosexuality, but
Family, the ones you are born with you don't get to choose, so you figure out a way to live with them, or not. Stir in conservative religion and add some rocks in the shape of a gay relationship and pow, what a way to celebrate Christmas.
Kaje creates hard to love and easy to love characters and deftly gives us a complex story that pushes buttons of rage and also joy allowing us to marvel at how a situation can turn on a dime and make you cry tears of joy. Joy that we humans can be so overw
Ulysses Dietz
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually give five star reviews.

I am a fan of Kaje Harper's books, so take that as a warning.

I'm also a middle-aged gay man who really doesn't need sex scenes in his romances. Just saying. But I do need love, and all the mess that goes with it. Kaje always gives us the love we need.

This is a particularly well crafted and balanced novella - really sort of an ultra-long story. The central couple is Jesse and Devin, but they're not really all that matters here, which is why I l
Anna D.
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, short-story, free, holiday
3.5 stars

It’s so hard not to like or even love Kaje Harper’s books because they are so full of love and centers around family or the concept of family in whatever shape it comes in. I don’t know how she did it, but in 62 pages I felt like I really knew Jesse’s family. I think getting to read from several POVs really helped let us know the key players better. I’ve added two more items in my Christmas wish list. 1) To have a full book about Clint’s story (this wish will likely be grant

4.5 stars

So, so good. Jesse only wants his family to fully accept his being gay, to accept Devin as his partner into the fold. That’s all he wants for Christmas.

When Jesse finds out that he has a half-brother, Sam, given up for adoption as a baby, he finds out what family really means.

When Sam gets his Christmas wish it brought tears. This is a heartfelt story about family-- imperfections and all-- and how the holidays, difficult as they can be, can also bring us togethe
4.5 Stars. Wonderful holiday story about family - those you're born with and those you create. Although Jesse is a bit of a brat, I understood where he was coming from and thought Devin handled things well. I enjoyed learning about Sam and look forward to book 2.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: seasonal
A good Christmas story that differs from the usual tropes while still being about family bonds.

Here Jesse's mother is welcoming a son that she gave up as a baby, she's stressed and her reasoning is understandable if not what we'd wish. She loves Jesse but stress and not really understanding threatens to mess things up.

Jesse himself acts up, and again his attitude is easily understood and human.

Devin is clearly a saint and Sam quite possibly the highlight of th
Jess Candela
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m, read-in-2013
Really sweet (but not saccharine) story about family and holidays. We're not seeing Jesse at his best, but I thought he handled the circumstances well. I also found the circumstances - his mother's actions - understandable and sympathetic as well, if a bit obnoxious. But who among us has never been obnoxious when stressed?

I adored Devin, and thought he and Jesse made a great couple. I also really loved Sam, and think his brother's story begs for a sequel. I'm hoping Kaje'll write it, and that w
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary

That was bloody fantastic! A really great story about families and all their different ideas and fears and problems. About losing the people you love and finding them again.

There was one drawback though: I thought there was too much going on considering the shortness of the story. Not too much drama-wise or anything like that, but just too many focal points with focus on the relationship of Jesse and Devin, Jesse and Devin and Jesse's mom Gayle, Sam and Gayle, and Sam and his br
W.S. Long
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is my first short story that I read of Kaje Harper's. I liked the characters of Devin and Jesse. These characters are written well and you feel for them. Obviously, Ms. Harper is a good story teller.

My biggest criticism is that the short story device didn't serve the author here, and if the story of Devin and Jesse were written as a novella or a short novel, those characters would have been better served and the scenes would be more "showing" instead of "telling."

I did like the
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kaje Harper keeps writing good books that I have to read. This is no exception.

My favorite part of this story was that it centered on an established couple that were secure in their love for each other. They were hot together also. I felt the hurt when Jesse's mother made a request that insulted Devin and his relationship with her son, Jesse. Sam was interesting. He was the son that a young Gayle gave up for adoption. Now he is a man seeing his biological mother for the first time.

Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Nice short Christmas story of an established couple, Jessie & Devin, and the difficulties they face when Jessie's half brother - who his mother gave up for adoption 30 years before - comes to meet the family for the first time during the festive period. The reactions of the characters are realistic and there is a nice happy ending for everyone - but with a catch in for hopefully another story, in that Jessie's half brother Sam's own brother is found after running away 8 months before the sto ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Cute and so true to life. Great characters, nice little plot.
The story centres around Jesse's anger at his Mother's request not to have Devin, his boyfriend to Christmas Eve dinner, regardless of the fact that Devin has spent the previous four Christmases with Jesse's family.
I can totally empathise with Jesse's anger, especially as the gay couple will be there on Christmas Day anyway.
Short story, well written, slightly angsty. Really enjoyed it.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Engaging novella about family I believe this is a start to a new series.
It was a great introduction to the characters and although it was only a novella (some 70 pages) it had a good plot and solid characters. I especially liked how the relationship between mother and son was explored.
As I am a sucker for blondes I have to confess that I am hoping that Sam Albright turns out not to be so straight after all...
A very enjoyable read and very engaging.
Riina Y.T.
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Aw that was a very very touching and beautiful Christmas story!

Jesse and Devin have that beautiful romance thing going; they are absolutely sweet together! I loved their little customs and how they met... Squeal! Not to mention they're also very sexy together - yum yum!

I'm glad how the family drama could be solved in so many ways! :)

I'm poorly with reviews... But I want to point out that this is a very enjoyable piece of work!
Much thanks!
Cute story With a happily ever after: “To us. And to all kinds of family, the ones you're born with and the ones you create.”

Perfect for anyone who enjoys a happy, Xmas-themed MM story with only one sex scene.
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
This shorty is nice from a general point of view, but damn if I wouldn't rather read the story about Jesse and Devin. When I read this story it felt like a short sequel, so it felt weird. Like everything was missing and we seen only a passing glance of a whole picture.
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The Backlot Gay B...: Kaje Harper, The Family We're Born With 2 30 Mar 04, 2014 04:57AM  

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I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers.

I was born in Montreal but have lived for 30 years in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a ki

Other books in the series

Finding Family (2 books)
  • The Family We Make (Finding Family, #2)