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Better Not Pout (Better Not Pout, #1)
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Better Not Pout (Better Not Pout, #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,649 ratings  ·  407 reviews
One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 288 pages
Published November 12th 2018 by Carina Press
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,649 ratings  ·  407 reviews

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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

My original rating stands. This is such a sexy, heartfelt story. I love Nick and Teddy to pieces!

I rarely reread books, but this story is so worth it. It remains one of my favorite holiday romances of all time.

All the joy. All the love. And some naughty elf antics too.


I never thought I'd read a holiday story in August, but I can't resist Annabeth Albert, even when it's 104° F outside.

And this story is all kinds of warm and cozy, featuring a grumpy Santa who saves the
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars.

Get ready to put this on top of your Christmas reading list

I'm not even remotely ashamed that I've read a Christmas book in the midst of the hottest summer we've had in the UK in,like forever....

I absolutely adored this book,there was nothing I didn't like

What do you get if you take one,reluctant grumpy Santa....who's just a bit hot,by the way,


One bossy,organized Elf with a delicious Twink vibe going on......who's just as hot...

Explosive chemistry,

Just a feel good Christmas setting,

Shile (Hazard's Version) RL sucks on semi hiatus
Loved it!

4.5 cute Christmas stars


This book was love at first chapter.

We have a broody, grumpy Santa Sergeant Major Nicholas - Saint Nick and a cute Elf with a heart of gold named Teddy who is all about positive vibes.


Mix these two polar opposites, Grumpy Santa and bubbly Elf together and we get one big explosive Christmas romance.


Like Teddy, i love Christmas and this book provided the right recipe for a feel good holiday book.

Teddy loves Christmas and is tasked to play an Elf in one of his c
Shin Mon Thway
I’m the kind of person who can read holiday stories all year round. 😁 That being said, I haven’t had such good luck with holiday novels for a couple years already but now, my spirit of Christmas past curse has been certainly lifted! 😉 What a gloriously feel-good and cozy holiday book this is! 😱 I absolutely loved it! 😍 I was worried about the connection between two MCs being too insta or not emotional enough but I couldn’t have been more wrong! Ok! And onto reviewing! 😌

Twenty-something Teddy is
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another spectacular Christmas adventure by Annabeth Albert!

Oh how I love those brooding older hunks who think that happiness and love isn't for them.

Sergeant Major Nick Nowicki is in trouble. At 46 he's an old timer in the service, shortly before his retirement, so he can hardly say no when his commander asks him to step in as Santa Claus in a Christmas pageant in the commander's small town home of Mineral Springs.

Bulging muscles almost ripping his red santa suit, he meets pageant organizer Te
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
I'm basically obsessed with Annabeth Albert, so it is killing me to say anything negative about Better Not Pout. I mean, Annabeth Albert and a Christmas story?! That pretty much sounds like nirvana.

But... it wasn't, at least for me.

I liked the book, don't get me wrong, but my review will mainly focus on the things that didn't work for me because those are the details that stick in my mind.

The two MCs didn't seem all that into each other, to be honest. I liked the small-town vibe and I enjoyed
Nov 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, 2018
3.5 Santa & Elf Stars

I think I’m in the minority here! Not that I think it was bad (because it wasn’t) but something was missing here! For a sweet story, I couldn’t feel their passion, their feelings for each other, their emotions and I felt a bit detached! I didn’t like Nick, yeah he was a grumpy Santa (that I liked) but not the way he thought and for the reasons he rejected Teddy! Actually, I couldn't understand them. But instead, I adored Teddy for his insistence and pushing Nick and for goin
Len Evans Jr
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's almost midnight and here I sit with red-rimmed eyes and sinuses clogged, yet with a huge smile on my face... Annabeth Albert is one of my favorite authors and with this holiday book she more than delivered. She truly produced an incredibly fun and emotional Christmas-themed piece of perfection. I absolutely adored the dynamic between Teddy and Nick... even if Nick didn't think so they complemented each other perfectly, each bringing to the relationship what the other needed. I also loved Te ...more
Re-read December 2020

Overall I liked this, but I still had a really hard time liking Nick.


3.5 stars

46 year old Sergeant Major Nick Nowicki has been asked to play Santa in the little town of Mineral Spirits this year by his commanding officer. Her husband always plays Santa, but can’t do it this year because of health problems.

Nick is not happy he is now stuck in a Santa suit that’s too small, in a little town where it seems to be always snowing. And
~Mindy Lynn~
4 Stars!

This was an enjoyable Christmas romance story.

I liked both characters. They had really great chemistry and some really steamy scenes.

The problem is that although both men have great chemistry and they seem to be falling hard for each other they are both set in their ways and neither refuse to budge on. Teddy is comfortable in his life. He loves his job, his town, and his family who all live in that town. The only thing that is missing is someone to spend his life with. He thinks he fin
Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Annabeth Albert + a Military MC + a festive setting = complete win!

I knew going into this one that I would - more likely than not - end up loving it as it had all the hallmarks of the great formula which has worked so well in Annabeth's Out of Uniform series (and if you've not read that yet, get on it! https://www.goodreads.com/series/1912...

This is magic, a lonely Sergeant Major being pushed into retirement after 28 years service, a younger man who lives in the town he grew up in, surrounded by
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holidays
I said I wouldn't read a Christmas story before December or at least late November. Obviously I didn't stick to that decision because it's October and I can't resist an Annabeth Albert book that promises "opposites attract" and "age gap". And trust me, the story delivered.

Νick must be the grumpiest (and most reluctant) Santa there is. After serving the army for almost 30 years, he's pushed into retirement. He's uptight and set in his ways. He has no roots and after the army is done with him he w
Perfect start to the season of Christmas themed reads. :)
I greatly enjoyed reading/listening to how this grumpy Santa and the spirited Elf found together!
The audio was well done, except the voice for Teddy sometimes drifted off into a range I didn't like for him.

4.5 🎄
2★'s = it was ok.

I seriously think I read a different book than my friends did.

I am a firm believer Christmas should not start until after Thanksgiving, unless you are a craft store of course. But these days it seems it now starts before Halloween. There are even two local radio stations playing nothing but Christmas music here already.

But this year, I won’t lie; I am swept up in it. I can’t wait to decorate, make lists and just be jolly.

So, with that being said, I can’t blame my dislike of th

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert is why I love holiday reads.

Feel good + grumpy Santa + loving Elf + Snowstorm + hot chemistry + Annabeth Albert = WINNER.

What I loved:

-Opposites attract. Nick and Teddy had completely different personalities but complimented each other well.

-Dual POVs

-Relationship development. Their feelings going from casual to serious felt very natural and genuine. They were perfect for one another in and out of the bedroom, and we were shown this throughout the book.
Nov 02, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 rounded down. This was ok but I unfortunately didn't love it. It all felt pretty surface level and superficial. It was mostly telling and not showing, which was a disappointment. For example, we are told they shared lengthy conversations but don't see them as a result the relationship seemed to be based solely on sex and not deeper connection. The sex was great but the balance between sex and the rest was off. the characterization was weird: Nick seems unsure of his bedroom abilities, we are ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 to 4*

It took me awhile to settle into this book and honestly early on it was touch and go for a while. This was mainly due to Nick who does a very good impersonation of the grinch.
But I’m getting ahead of myself let me start at the beginning.

We have Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki who somehow gets roped into playing Santa. Now Nick is counting down. He’s weeks away from retiring from the army after twenty-eight years service. They won’t let him re-up so in a months time he’s heading to Flori
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Warm, romantic, and festive!

Better Not Pout is a sweet, tender, captivating novel that features the kindhearted, fun-loving Teddy, and the grouchy, mature Nick as they discover that the heart wants whom the heart wants, and sometimes opposites really do attract.

The writing is heartfelt and comforting. The characters are winsome, dependable, and genuine. And the lighthearted plot is a charming mix of undeniable attraction, sizzling chemistry, Christmas celebrations, charity, patience, understandi
Ula'ndi Hart
Overall book rating: 4.5
Audio Book: N/A
Book Cover: 3.8

What a bite of deliciousness!!!

Yes this was all things Christmassy Good and I loved every moment of it.

I’m not going to say much more than that as there are great reviews already posted about this little beauty.

But it’s good. It’s warm and fuzzy and it even made me blink rapidly a few times there.

I’m just so happy Nick had to stand in for Santa. And so happy Teddy was his Elf.

I loved both of the MC’s. I loved the story I loved the “small
Tag team review with Ann!

Annabeth Albert’s Christmas reads always deliver on the sweet romance, a good dose of sexiness, and the holiday cheer. ‘Better Not Pout’ is no different.

This book has a few things going for it - an age gap, a grumpy Santa, a sweet elf, a big family, and all of it in a small wintery town.

I’m a sucker for holiday reads set in small towns. It just makes the story a tad more romantic.


The romance revolves around two very different men who find themselves snowed in together. T
Rachel Emily
My first holiday read for the year, and boy was it a good one!

Teddy first meets Nick when they have to spend some time together for a Santa and elf holiday photo shoot. To Nick, Teddy is everything that he is not - young, vibrant, full of pep and life. Nick sees himself as someone getting ready to be put out to pasture. he is retiring from the military and doesn't quite know what to do with himself. He plans on moving from NY to Florida to help a friend out and to enjoy the sun, sand, and beach
2019 audio review

The audio is really good. I do recommend. This story is all around adorable. It's about learning what you really want in life and realizing the dream you have shouldn't be pursued if that means ignoring or pushing aside something equal to or better than that dream.

2018 ebook review
An ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It's Christmas!!!!! Well, almost. But this book certainly put me in the holiday spirit. :D For those who have read An
Unicornian Amigo Review with ADAM!

This was the Christmas story for me this year. I love me all the holiday short stories and I have a tendency to gravitate towards them during the holidays for a couple of reasons; one, it’s all the attention span I generally can manage and two, for the gorging, I’m in for the quantity I can cram because I don’t want to miss any of the flavors on offer. I do manage one or two full length holiday novels and I’m so glad this year I read Better Not Pout, it ticked A
Denise H.
Re-read Nov. 22, 2020
***** A terrific tale of opposites for this Christmassy book. Beginning with a rescue...
Younger Teddy, 28, smaller, toned, blonde curls

and a selfless giver to others, meets older, Sergeant Major Nick Nowicki, 46, military policeman,

short hair and beard, who is tall, built and strong.
Despite the opposites, our men both serve the public, have big hearts and huge love to give. Finally, after years of each man's yearning and loneliness, they find their true love.

Nick will
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Dual POV with a delicious age gap, hot sex, feels, and a very happy ending.

It took me a bit to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

I loved how Nick and Teddy had similar character-forming experiences in their childhood and how it made them able to relate on a deeper level.

Terrific holiday read!

Advanced Review Galley copy of Better Not Pout provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews.
*** 4.5 Stars ***

Annabeth Albert is probably the most consistent author in my roster of favourites and stories like this one are exactly the reason why. Better Not Pout was one of the best holiday stories I have read in a really long time.
Dec 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Better Not Pout - Annabeth Albert - (Washington) 5
One hard-nosed military police officer. One overly enthusiastic elf. One poorly timed snowstorm. Is it a recipe for disaster, or a once in a lifetime opportunity for holiday romance? Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born
Sergeant Major Nicholas "Nick" Nowicki is counting the days to his retirement, he cannot wait to head down south to Florida, where there's heat and chance for fishing, and escape the cold and snow of the north. That is until he is roped into playing as Santa Clause, in a small town of Mineral Spirits, where he meets joyfully spirit younger elf, with sparkling blue eyes and curly blond hair...

Teddy MacNally knows that it's stupid to have a crush with this gruff, stoic, reliable bear of an older m
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've given this a B+ at AAR, so that's 4.5 stars

I’m one of those people who doesn’t start feeling Christmassy until a couple of weeks beforehand.  I hate the fact that the cards and decorations start appearing in the shops at the end of August; I won’t listen to a Christmas song until well into December if I can avoid it, and it’s not time for It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooge or The Muppet Christmas Carol until at least the second week of the month. The same holds true for Christmas-themed books;
Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**

***4 Stars***

My first holiday read of the season, and it's a winner!!

And major kudos to Annabeth Albert for making some great make out sessions the star of this book! I mean, yes sometimes the main event is what I'm after....but damn, some good serious kissing can sometimes be all that's needed.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

I really liked Nick and Teddy. They were opposites in lots of ways...appearance, upbringing, personality...and an 18 year age gap to stack on top of that. But they fit s
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Frequent tweeter, professional grammar nerd, and obsessive reader, Annabeth Albert is also a Pacific Northwest romance writer in a variety of subgenres.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

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