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Rory & Jack #1

A Kiss Before Christmas

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Christmas is looming and Jack De Lacy needs a solution to one hell of a fix.

Dumped by his boyfriend in favour of his best friend, Jack's been busy bragging about a hot new man in his life.

A hot new man who doesn't exist.

With an important function to attend where he'll come face-to-face with his ex, Jack knows he'll be a laughing stock when his boasts are exposed as nothing more than wishful thinking. He's desperate but time, like his options, is running out.

Rory Kincaid is scared he won't last another night sleeping rough on London's frozen, snowbound streets. With all the homeless shelters full, Rory seeks refuge in the first empty doorway he stumbles across.

Finding Rory shivering in the sub-zero temperatures, Jack can no more send him away than kick a puppy out into the cold. A shower, shave and hot drink later, the grubby street kid is transformed into a beautiful young man.

As the attraction between them grows, so does a plan that will get Jack out of the mess he's in and give Rory a warm, safe home for Christmas. Sweet and adorable, Rory will make a great fake boyfriend for the festive season - the problem is, neither Jack nor Rory is sure where make-believe ends and truth begins.

Warning: this 37k novella contains a camp Christmas tree, a drag queen Christmas fairy called Doris, way too many jugs of eggnog, a closet posh boy, and the sweetest Kiss Before Christmas ever.

157 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 15, 2018

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About the author

A.E. Ryecart

22 books112 followers
A born and bred Londoner, she may have moved to someplace more leafy but the city is still very much part of her DNA, which is why her books are set in and around present-day London, providing a thrilling, metropolitan backdrop to the main action.


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5 stars
205 (38%)
4 stars
204 (38%)
3 stars
97 (18%)
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22 (4%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 132 reviews
Profile Image for ☆ Todd.
1,368 reviews1,507 followers
December 29, 2018

Gah! There's just something that I really enjoy about stories where a selfless act of kindness toward someone down and out on their luck that results in true love that gets me right in the gut, and this story was no exception.

At 26, Jack's boyfriend of 3 years had left him for Jack's best friend, leaving him feeling lonely, betrayed, and more than a little jaded.

But shortly after finding homeless, 21 y.o. Rory on his doorstep and giving him a place to stay for the night, Jack's world began to right itself once again.

I loved both of these MC's, but sweet, merciful Jesus Craptacular Christ, talk about two guys who couldn't get out of their own way to save their lives...

Rory's self-worth had been entirely shot when he'd been hit with a trifecta of his boyfriend dumping him, losing his job, then losing his apartment, leaving him alone and freezing on the streets of London.

So when kind and compassionate Jack bestowed him with one act of kindness after another, of course, Rory didn't feel that he could ever be more to Jack than a worthless charity case.

And around and around and around they went.

This would've normally frustrated me to no end, but it somehow worked here. I actually understood the motivations behind why neither MC was openly willing to have the difficult conversations that they should have had early on.

With zero steam, them not getting together until the 11th hour, an over the top asshole ex-boyfriend, and an untrustworthy ex-best friend, this story will *not* be for everyone, but meh.

I've read quite a few supposed Christmas stories this year, but honestly, this one left me feeling more holiday spirit than nearly any of the others, so I'd rate it at around 3.75 stars.


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Profile Image for Susan.
2,222 reviews407 followers
November 29, 2018
This could have been so good, but unfortunately this had the big miscommunication thing that just made me frustrated.

Jack has broken up with his boyfriend 3 months earlier. He still feels hurt that his boyfriend of 3 years and his best friend cheated on him and are now together. But he tries to put up a front for everyone and has even invented a new fake boyfriend for his family.

When Jake is feeling particularly pitiful, he finds a young man sleeping on his doorstep. Seeing such a beautiful young man sleeping out on the streets, in the middle of a blizzard, really puts things in perspective for Jake. And he somehow ends up offering the young man a place to stay for the night.

Rory is trying his best to get by, but life on the street isn’t easy. When Jake offers him a meal and a place to shower and stay a bit, he gladly accepts. He doesn’t want to put Jake out, but he has nowhere else to go.

When the ex-boyfriend suddenly shows up, he assumes Rory is the new boyfriend, and Jake and Rory find themselves going along with it…

I know this is a short novella, but this really lacked some depth. Some authors know how to write an in-depth character in just one page, but that was not the case here. It was all so shallow.

And while I didn’t like the ex-boyfriend, he was just too much of an asshole for me to take him seriously. Same with the former best friend. If they were both so horrible, why did Jake ever like them or start a relationship with one of them?

This also had no steam whatsoever and these guys get together on the last page. But what bothered me the most was that these guys simply don’t talk to each other. Both assume a lot, but neither thinks to check with the other.

Not my kind of Christmas story….
Profile Image for Len Evans Jr.
1,463 reviews205 followers
November 27, 2018
Absolutely loved this charming fake-boyfriend trope story of Jack and Tory meeting and falling for one another. The story is just sweet enough, with just a bit of angst (due to how they met and Jack not wanting Tory to feel like he owed Jack anything). A perfect heartwarming tale for this Christmas season.
January 12, 2019
This story had so much potential:

- British MCs

- Hurt/comfort trope coupled with a snowed-in fairytale theme

- Lots of gooey feels as Rory and Jack settle into pseudo-domestic bliss, visit the Christmas market, and trim the tree with a drag queen topper

- Modern-day prince rescuing a beggar (Jack takes pity on homeless Rory a few days before Christmas)

But unfortunately, what came next was: A. Complete. And. Utter. Lack. Of. Communication.

What was wrong with these guys that they couldn't express their feelings? A simple, Hey, I really like you; let's see where this goes, would have gone a long, LONG way toward avoiding the unnecessary drama, what with Rory leaving but not leaving every two minutes.

I was willing to believe in this story, but as the plot progressed, I realized the surface was all we would get.

There was no real character development and ZERO STEAM. And I mean, none, no UST, nothing but a brief kiss at the end.

Couple that with the cookie-cutter terrible ex-boyfriend (Sam was so ridiculous and petty, I could only roll my eyes), rushed ending, and insta love, and I was less than impressed.

Honestly, by the end, I was downright annoyed. Where the hell did the epilogue go?

The ending was the most tentative of HFNs. Nothing was resolved. Jack still hated his job. Rory still had no direction or prospects. Rory hadn't met Jack's family. And what if they had zero chemistry in bed?

What a disappointment.
Profile Image for Ariana  (mostly offline).
1,388 reviews45 followers
January 12, 2019
*3,5 stars*

I really enjoyed this one, mostly.
It felt very ‘Christmassy’ with all the snow and good will floating around. Throw in a teeny bit of a fake relationship, the problems that come with the scenario, two cute and relatable MCs and you’ve got a very heart-warming Christmas story.
I just would have loved to see how Rory got on with Jack’s parents! And how Rory sorted out his life!

Profile Image for Lelyana's Reviews.
3,287 reviews381 followers
November 6, 2018

OMG this is a perfect slow burn Holiday story that I needed! This is hands down one of (my) favorite heartwarming, adorable that everyone need to read.
Finding Rory on his doorstep was like a God gift from heaven for Jack, after he vowed he hated Christmas after his (ex) boyfriend dumped him for his best friend. What a bless for Jack, he just didn't know it yet while he's still pissed off. He took Rory, and all of a sudden, Rory's well being was his sole purpose. He need to see Rory all comfort for this season, and one thing leads to another (no, not that, you perv! ;)). Rory has become important for Jack. And Jack needed Rory to 'stay'.

A kiss before Christmas is an adorable, sweet, enjoyable read, I'll even let my twelve year old kid to read. Sometimes, we just need Jack's golden heart to make the world a better place :)
Sigh. Read this book!
Profile Image for Jules Lovestoread.
605 reviews51 followers
November 20, 2018
I enjoyed this story quite a lot. Loved the snowy setting. Jack and Rory were both very sweet. When done well the fake boyfriend trope can make for a great story, and it's done pretty well here, though there is technically only one scene in which they actually have to fake the relationship. The guys won me over with their genuine goodness, though, and I found myself falling for them.
Profile Image for Denise H..
2,955 reviews218 followers
December 3, 2018
**** In snowy London, we get a sweet short Christmas story, with a different skew.
Jack was betrayed by his partner and best friend. Then he finds a downtrodden younger man, Rory, 21, asleep on his porch. He extends the guy a welcome and takes him in for clothes, a shower, food and warmth.
Jack invites him to stay awhile.

The guys like each other and talk, hang out and eat. Rory knows Jack is way out of his reach. Jack has bragged himself into problem, and they make a deal. Rory will be his pretend boyfriend for a charity event and the family Christmas.
Several things happen, and I'm not telling you, because you will read it all.
In the end, Jack rescues Rory, and we get a hopeful, wonderful wrap up, with lots of promise.

Thank you dear Lelyana for your review; it made me want this one !
Profile Image for Gustaf.
1,427 reviews133 followers
November 29, 2021
I liked this well enough to get the other two books in the series. Here's for hoping there's some more character development in those.
Profile Image for Ula'ndi Hart.
918 reviews15 followers
September 15, 2020
Overall book rating: 3.8
Audio Book: N/A
Book Cover: 3.5

This was sweet. I liked both characters from early on.
I'm a sucker for the story line, so sue me. We need a little "good" in this world.
Thank heaven we still get some in our reading experiences.

Jack is a good guy, don't know how he ended up with Sam but thats not an issue
anymore. He deserves better and he gets it all wraped up on his doorstep one evening.

Rory has bad luck in spades and people who let him down his his whole life. He's also
a good guy.

The situation is trickey, becasue Jack doesn't want to put Rory in a difficult situation
should he come on to strong. Rory doesn't think he fits and be serious people.. if Jack
just came out and laid everthing he feels out there would this guy fall for it? No.. he
actually has a little grey matter between his ears. He would have thought he's maybe being
used AGAIN.
I liked how everything wrapes up. It made me smile

Profile Image for Cadiva.
3,465 reviews321 followers
October 23, 2018
Oh I absolutely adored this book! It had everything I want from a festive romance in it. Two lovely MCs, a fabulous meet/cute and a tedious ex who needed putting down a peg or two.

Fake boyfriend tropes are one of my favourite things to read and they work so well with a festive/Christmas setting and this one was no different.

It had a wonderful British setting with so many things I remember from my own Christmas experience, especially the Advocaat snowball cocktails! It had wry humour and the occasional misstep. It had family who were interfering busybodies in the nicest possible way. It had a little secret reveal.

Loved Doris the drag fairy doll, loved the overly camp Christmas Tree, loved Rory, loved Jack. I would LOVE to read more about these two please AE :)

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review
Profile Image for Ro.
3,014 reviews17 followers
October 7, 2022
Christmas is looming and Jack De Lacy needs a solution to one hell of a fix.

Dumped by his boyfriend in favour of his best friend, Jack’s been busy bragging about the hot new man in his life.

A hot new man who doesn’t exist.

With an important function to attend where he’ll come face-to-face with his ex, Jack knows he’ll be a laughing stock when his boasts are exposed as nothing more than wishful thinking. He’s desperate but time, like his options, is running out.

Rory Kincaid is scared he won’t last another night sleeping rough on London’s frozen, snowbound streets. With all the homeless shelters full, Rory seeks refuge in the first empty doorway he stumbles across.

Finding Rory shivering in the sub-zero temperatures, Jack can no more send him away than kick a puppy out into the cold. A shower, shave and hot drink later, and the grubby street kid is transformed into a beautiful young man.

As the attraction between them grows, so does a plan that will get Jack out of the mess he’s in and give Rory a warm, safe home for Christmas. Sweet and adorable, Rory will make a great fake boyfriend for the festive season – the problem is, neither Jack nor Rory is sure where the make believe ends and the truth begins.
I started off with this book feeling so disgusted with Jack’s jerk of an ex-boyfriend (Sam) and even more of a jerk ex-best friend, Sam, (you don’t break the friend code!) Jack has been dumped by his boyfriend of three years in favor of Jack’s best friend, coming face to face with them “…chewing each other’s face off and frotting for England in the middle of the dance floor.” I mean, how do you even handle that? Because Jack has been getting the pitying looks and the “…awkward, embarrassed, and downright amused glances of men he once thought of as his friends”. It’s dreadful. Add in that it is all happening at Christmastime, something that Jack has always loved, and it is just the worst.
So what Jack does is start talking all about his hot new boyfriend and how great things are. The fact that there is no new boyfriend isn’t a big deal until Jack has to produce him. Now what?
When he runs across (almost literally) Rory in a doorway, freezing outside because the homeless shelters are full, Jack, who is a decent person, brings him home to let him warm up and get something to eat. Rory has been through so much, it was heartbreaking. Jack comes up with the idea to have Rory pose as the new hot guy, which would give Rory a warm place to stay and let Jack “…stick two fingers up at Sam and Basil.”
They have to attend a Foundation party where both Jack and Sam were on the board and they also spend time with Jack’s family, something Rory has been sorely missing. From the birth parents who didn’t want him, the adoptive parents who didn’t deserve him and the older boyfriend who needed to be slapped, Rory hadn’t had people he could depend on. Jack might be though.
I have to say, I don’t know what Jack saw in Sam (the ex) because he really came across as an idiot. For that matter, Baz, the former bestie, also is no prize. I mean, we know that because of what they both did to Jack but even on their own they were obnoxious. They cause some issues between Jack and Rory and of course the two of them don’t communicate as they should. As things become less fake and more real, I wanted to yell at them both, SAY SOMETHING, but they sort of each dance around it. “Come with me as my friend…Not come with me as my real boyfriend.” They read into the other’s comments but don’t take away the real meaning. Rory especially has no reason to believe someone would truly be there for him and I was pulling for them so much.
I appreciated that there is no sex on page here because I think it would have taken the story in a different direction. Rory needed time to feel safe and Jack needed time to be sure of things. I liked that they had that time. It’s a little bit Christmas miracle and I was perfectly happy with that . This is a sweet holiday story with an uplifting message.
Profile Image for Courtney Bassett.
703 reviews150 followers
November 24, 2018
A feel-good Christmas short

I enjoyed Company for Christmas and decided to read another by the same author. This is also good, but the similarities are strong. An older (though not as old in this case), very well-off man saves a down-on-his-luck younger man, who initially doesn’t believe the other could possibly want someone like him. Both stories tugged at my heartstrings, and both disappointingly ended pretty much at the first kiss, when I would have liked to see the relationship grow just a bit more. I enjoyed them both - they left me wanting a little more, but what was there was great. The fake boyfriend/revenge on the ex elements of this one were particularly fun.
Profile Image for Valerie.
Author 18 books169 followers
November 8, 2018
This is a great feel-good Christmas story. After Jack finds out his boyfriend was cheating on him with his best friend several months before, he finds his Christmas spirit dampened, although it's his favorite time of the year. After coming him from an office Christmas party, dejected, he finds a homeless man who isn't prepared for the cold night and on impulse, invites him in.

Rory is a wonderfully unexpected character who's had his own problems with love and is surprised when Jack invites him in for the night so he won't freeze to death. The one night ends up being several more days in which Jack comes up with a plan to show his ex that he's not lonely and he's moved on.

The connection between Jack and Rory is evident when they first meet, but as they get to know each other, I knew they would be a great couple. Rory doesn't take advantage of Jack's hospitality and Jack realizes that he doesn't care about his exes (best friend or boyfriend) because he wants to be with Rory. The ending is sweet and I loved every moment of this Christmas novella. Highly recommended!!
Profile Image for Boyslove.
245 reviews19 followers
December 4, 2018
Oh, I liked this one! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Fairly short, with a sweet hearted couple who aren’t really a couple till near the end of the book. This one has no sex or anything. Some nice kisses but that’s it, and I was totally fine with there being no sex. It felt just right for the story.

The blurb does a good job of giving you an idea what you will be reading.

BUT I will say this,
Some people might be a little frustrated with a “miscommunication” thingy going on between Jack and Rory (what a cute name!) but it wasn’t as bad as lots of other books I’ve read, and miscommunication is a big pet peeve of mine so..yeah.

I dub thee “tolerable miscommunication”!

My first Christmasy book of the season was a success! Yay!
Profile Image for Kacey.
345 reviews172 followers
December 12, 2018
This was cute. Nothing exceptional and it was a bit cheesy and cliche at times, but it’s hard to expect any different from a Christmas short story. They always tend to feel too rushed, and it’s hard to put enough character/plot development in a short amount of pages.
I did enjoy it though. Nice quick read. I definitely felt like it ended too quickly!
Profile Image for Lillian Francis.
Author 15 books97 followers
November 14, 2018
Oh my, this was just perfect for the season. Sweet without being cloying. A sprinkling of a Pretty Woman vibe. A visit to the Barista Boys coffee shop. Fake boyfriends tropey goodness.

Great writing and perfect (I mean spot on) pacing means there is nothing that jars you out of this story. It' s got all the elements of a perfect Christmas story: a good Samaritan, snow, eggnog, and a glorious kiss.

Just lovely.

Profile Image for Xanthe.
1,946 reviews32 followers
November 13, 2018
What a wonderful Christmas tale, and set in London too! :-)
We have two great main characters in Jack and Rory. There is true Christmas spirit in offering someone shelter who is out on the streets in the cold and it's a great way to start off this short, sweet tale of love. Though it's a quick timeline, everything flows really smoothly and feels natural between the two men.
Jack is in a slump after his boyfriend dumped him for his ex and Rory is on the streets after a run of bad luck - his boyfriend leaves, he loses his home and his job, all in the space of a few weeks. Jack and Rory offer each other companionship at a time of year when no one should be alone and the deal struck between the two allows each man to feel like he's helping the other in some way, at least before those pesky feelings become involved!
The author has written such a picturesque scene for the holidays with snow, lights, a tree and then the busy streets of London just before Christmas.
For those of us that love a holiday story, this one truly brings it to life with the characters, the setting and feelings evoked by some great writing. I highly recommend giving this one a read.
I received an ARC and am happily giving a review.
Profile Image for Sandra .
1,770 reviews316 followers
January 16, 2023
Picked this up as a freebie. Lovely story about a young man down on his luck seeking shelter from a winter storm in the entryway of an apartment of another young man who just went through a bad breakup/huge betrayal.

I loved both MCs, and how their story unfolds. I loved Rory standing up for himself and for Jack, and I loved how the horrible ex-boyfriend got his just rewards.

Profile Image for Sarah.
1,457 reviews30 followers
November 10, 2018
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

Oooh - this sweet Christmas romance filled me with holiday cheer. This story is full of heart and there is just enough grit to keep it from becoming saccharine. When an affluent Londoner invites the homeless guy on his doorstep in out of the cold, he never imagines how much his decision will change both of their lives.

Jack and Rory’s connection is wonderful. I love how they drag each other out of their misery as they enjoy simple festive pleasures together. The fake boyfriend story should have felt tired or overdone but Rory is absolutely perfect in the role. His interactions with Jack’s ex had me giggling and I love the mix of confidence and insecurity that makes him both vulnerable and completely lovable.

It’s the details in this story that make it special. I love Jack’s rainbow Christmas tree and with his drag queen angel at the top and I love the way London comes to life in this story. This is a funny, sweet and utterly charming Christmas read.
Profile Image for Shaztwirl.
2,984 reviews36 followers
November 28, 2018

A cute Christmas short, marrying several tropes. Saving someone less fortunate, fake boyfriend, stranded at Christmas. They all combine to make an enjoyable story.
Profile Image for Karolina Cebula.
384 reviews4 followers
November 13, 2018
Review in English and Polish || Recenzja po angielsku i polsku

Jack De Lacy had loved Christmas for years, as well as everything associated with this season – mood, decorations, food, cultural events. However, this year he would like winter holidays to end before they even started. And all because, although several months have passed since he broke up with his longtime boyfriend, Jack still didn't accept the fact that his lover cheated on him with his best friend. At that time, instead of once, he was stabbed in the back twice.
And so, Jack is not in his best mood when, on a cold night that promises heavy snowfall, he returns home after the company's Christmas party and he finds a young, homeless boy on the threshold. Not being able to control his compassion and willingness to help, Jack invites Rory, as that's the boy's name, home for a cup of hot tea, a sandwich, and ultimately also a warm bath. However, his help offer quickly begins to grow because the young man can't throw the boy out back on the cold and snow-covered street. All the more so because Rory turns out to be not only attractive but also innocent and gentle and Jack can't help it as he is drawn to him more and more.

"A Kiss Before Christmas" is a Christmas-related novel and although I know that I won't discover anything new or surprising on this matter, I would like to focus on it at the beginning of this review. That's because probably the first question that comes to mind is: how Christmassy is this Christmas story? And the answer is: Very. And it's not just about the action taking place during the Christmas season or snow, although there is plenty of it here. "A Kiss Before Christmas" is a novel that is actually overflowing with Christmas spirit, as there are good deeds done out of the goodness of one's heart and large and small miracles. I think it's best seen at the beginning of this story, when Jack takes in a homeless boy who probably would have frozen to death, if the man hadn't let him stay under his roof. And so, Jack does something every person being in his shoes should do, because that's what the good deeds are about during the holiday season, right? Nevertheless, the reality is not so beautiful because, let's face it, hardly anyone would take in a homeless person whom they see for the first time. We can therefore say that Jack is naive and does something foolish and it makes us see clearly that we are dealing with a work of fiction because no one in their right mind would do something like that in real life. But is it really true? As far as I am concerned, what Jack does in this case is very to my liking as I would probably do the same, if I was in a similar situation. Christmas is not only about snow, Christmas tree, gifts, carols. It's also about good deeds and we see in "A Kiss Before Christmas."

It is worth noticing that A E Ryecart's novel is not only Christmassy but also incredibly sweet, which makes it just perfect – perfect as a novel and perfect to read during those long, winter evenings which are coming. The characters are so innocent, full of warmth, love and sweetness, that we immediately want fortune to smile on them and we want them to be happy. Jack and Rory in a natural and unforced way switch on our protectiveness and almost maternal instinct. What's more, the events that take place here are characterized by a similar sweetness, although they are often flavored with a rather large amount of bitterness that pierces our hearts. For this reason, the reader takes the main characters' side every time. All this together makes reading "A Kiss Before Christmas" incredibly pleasurable, although I must admit that the author first reaches out for her whip of bitterness, in order to beat us a little with it, and only then she takes care of our wounds and rubs sweet honey into them.

In the previous paragraph, I mentioned the bitterness and this is the topic I would like to develop a bit. The author focuses largely on the relationships that didn't work out and which meant everything to the protagonists before the breakup. This concept was presented in such a way that it suits the holiday atmosphere of the novel as it introduces the element of the new beginning and Christmas "miracle" into the story. The characters fall down as the weight of breaking up with their longtime partners is too much to handle and when it seems that they won't be able to get up, someone lends a helping hand, helps them to get back up. And suddenly it turns out that if it hadn't been for that fall, they would probably never have been able to see what they had been missing before and maybe they would have never even met each other. And that's the Christmas miracle I've mentioned.

At the end I have to admit that in "A Kiss Before Christmas" I also found an element of the plot that surprised me. I didn't expect to find a fake boyfriend motif in this novel. I won't deny that as the events unfolded, this theme came to mind several times, but when I was about to start reading this story, I didn't expect it at all. Nevertheless, this motif turned out to be an undoubted advantage as it enriches A E Ryecart's story with a few very interesting incidents. What's more, it gave us the opportunity to take a closer look at the characters' thoughts and feelings, especially Rory's. So I think that the author planned it really well, although I regret that she didn't give this motive a chance to really spread its wings.

In summary, "A Kiss Before Christmas" is undoubtedly a pleasant love story that warms readers' hearts. It's like a warm blanket and hot tea with honey, lemon and a bit of ginger. Charming characters, Christmas atmosphere and goodness for which the fate pays in the currency of love. I honestly recommend it!


Jack De Lacy od lat uwielbiał Boże Narodzenie i wszystko, co niosły ze sobą te święta – nastrój, dekoracje, jedzenie, wydarzenia kulturalne. W tym roku wolałby jednak aby skończyły się jeszcze zanim się w ogóle zaczęły. A wszystko dlatego, że mimo upływu kilku miesięcy od rozstania ze swoim długoletnim chłopakiem, Jack nadal nie pogodził się ze zdradą jakiej ten dopuścił się z jego najlepszym przyjacielem. Tamtego dnia, zamiast jednego, wbito mu w plecy dwa noże.
Jack nie jest więc w najlepszym nastroju, kiedy w chłodną, zapowiadającą obfite opady śniegu noc wraca do siebie po świątecznym przyjęciu firmowym, a na progu domu znajduje młodego, bezdomnego chłopaka. Nie potrafiąc zapanować nad współczuciem i chęcią pomocy, Jack zaprasza Rory’ego, bo tak na imię chłopakowi, do siebie na gorącą herbatę, kanapkę, a ostatecznie także ciepłą kąpiel. Jego oferta pomocy szybko jednak zaczyna się rozrastać, ponieważ młody mężczyzna nie potrafi wyrzucić chłopaka ponownie na mróz i śnieg. Tym bardziej, że Rory okazuje się nie tylko atrakcyjny, ale również niewinny i łagodny, co nieubłaganie przyciąga do niego Jacka.

„A Kiss Before Christmas” jest powieścią inspirowaną Świętami Bożego Narodzenia i chociaż wiem, że w tym temacie nie odkryję niczego nowego lub zaskakującego, to jednak chciałabym skupić się na nim na początku tej recenzji. Albowiem pierwsze pytanie jakie może się nasuwać to: jak bardzo bożonarodzeniowa jest ta świąteczna książka? A odpowiedź brzmi: Bardzo. I nie chodzi tylko o wydarzenia rozgrywające się w okresie świątecznym, czy też śnieg, chociaż mamy go tu pod dostatkiem. „A Kiss Before Christmas” to powieść, która wręcz ocieka duchem świąt, jako że pojawiają się tu zarówno dobre uczynki wypływające z dobroci serca, jak i duże i małe cuda. Myślę, że najlepiej widać to właśnie na początku tej historii, kiedy to Jack przygarnia pod swój dach bezdomnego chłopaka, który najpewniej zamarzłby na śmierć, gdyby mężczyzna tego nie zrobił. Jack postąpił więc tak, jak na jego miejscu powinien postąpić każdy, bo przecież o takie gesty chodzi w okresie świątecznym, prawda? Rzeczywistość nie jest jednak tak piękna, ponieważ nie oszukujmy się, mało kto przygarnąłby pod swój dach bezdomnego, którego pierwszy raz widzi na oczy. Możemy więc powiedzieć, że Jack zachował się nawinie, niemądrze i od razu widać, że mamy do czynienia z fikcją, ponieważ nikt przy zdrowych zmysłach nie zrobiłby czegoś podobnego. Ale czy aby na pewno? Jeśli o mnie chodzi, to bardzo spodobało mi się to, jak zachował się Jack, jako że sama w jego sytuacji postąpiłabym podobnie. Święta Bożego Narodzenia to nie tylko śnieg, choinka, prezenty, kolędy. To także dobre uczynki, co widzimy w „A Kiss Before Christmas”.

Powieść A E Ryecart jest jednak nie tylko świąteczna, ale także niesamowicie słodka, co czyni ją po prostu idealną. Idealną samą w sobie, jak i na długie zimowe wieczory, które mamy przed sobą. Bohaterowie są tak niewinni, pełni ciepła, miłości i słodyczy, że od razu pragniemy aby los się do nich uśmiechnął i aby byli szczęśliwi. Jack i Rory w naturalny i niewymuszony sposób włączają naszą opiekuńczość i niemal instynkt macierzyński. Co więcej, wydarzenia jakie mają tu miejsce cechuje podobna słodycz, chociaż nierzadko doprawiona sporą porcją goryczy, która przeszywa nasze serca na wskroś. Z tego też powodu czytelnik staje po stronie bohaterów za każdym razem. Wszystko to razem wzięte sprawia, że „A Kiss Before Christmas” czyta się z prawdziwą rozkoszą, chociaż trzeba przyznać, że autorka najpierw wyciąga swój pejczyk goryczy, aby nas nim wysmagać, a dopiero później naciera nasze rany kojącym miodem.

W poprzednim akapicie wspomniałam o goryczy i właśnie ten temat chciałabym trochę rozwinąć. Autorka w dużej mierze skupia się bowiem na nieudanych związkach, które przed ich rozpadem były dla bohaterów wszystkim. Koncept ten został przedstawiony w sposób bardzo pasujący do świątecznej atmosfery powieści, jako że właśnie dzięki niemu wprowadzony zostaje element nowego początku oraz świątecznego „cudu”. Bohaterowie upadają pod ciężarem rozstania z wieloletnim partnerem i kiedy wydaje się, że nie zdołają podnieść się z klęczek, ktoś wyciąga w ich stronę pomocną dłoń, ktoś pomaga im wstać. I nagle okazuje się, że gdyby nie ten upadek, prawdopodobnie nigdy nie zdołaliby dostrzec tego, co dotąd im umykało, może nawet nigdy nie trafiliby na siebie nawzajem. I właśnie tu kryje się wspomniany przeze mnie bożonarodzeniowy cud.

Na koniec muszę przyznać, że w „A Kiss Before Christmas” znalazł się także element, który mnie zaskoczył. Nie spodziewałam się bowiem trafić tu na motyw chłopaka na niby. Nie zaprzeczę, że w miarę rozwoju wydarzeń kilka razy przyszło mi to do głowy, ale sięgając po tę powieść nawet nie przeszło mi to przez myśl. Niewątpliwie jednak motyw ten wyszedł zaprezentowanej przez A E Ryecart historii na dobre i pozwolił na urozmaicenie jej kilkoma bardzo interesującymi wydarzeniami. Co więcej, dał nam okazję do bliższego przyjrzenia się myślom i uczuciom bohaterów, a w szczególności Rory’ego. Uważam więc, że autorka naprawdę nieźle to sobie zaplanowała, chociaż żałuję, że nie dała temu motywowi naprawdę rozwinąć skrzydeł.

Podsumowując, „A Kiss Before Christmas” to niewątpliwie przyjemna historia miłosna, która rozgrzewa serca czytelników. Jests niczym ciepły kocyk i gorąca herbata z miodem, cytryną i odrobiną imbiru. Uroczy bohaterowie, świąteczna atmosfera i dobro, za które los płaci walutą miłości. Szczerze polecam!
Profile Image for ⚣Michaelle⚣.
3,672 reviews205 followers
December 9, 2018
3.6 Stars

Had very much the same feel as Company for Christmas...and that's a good thing! Low steam, lovely Cinderfella/Fake-Boyfriend story. I think I'd have rated it a touch higher had Ryecart allowed Rory to get back on his feet (or at least a job) first before the HEA.

And as much of an ass as Sam was, I think that attitude is hiding something painful and I wouldn't mind a redemption story for him down the line...
November 30, 2018
A Kiss Before Christmas is my first A.E. Ryecart read. There is lots of passion and emotion in the story but there’s really is just a kiss before Christmas that provides any physical heat. Rory is lost and homeless, Jack is the heartbroken fellow that saves him one cold snowy night. I like that Ryecart made it felt like London and I enjoyed that they spoke like they were Londoners. I will say the ending was a bit abrupt and I really could’ve done with more story in general like...the next twelve months. I guess that’s just me, she sucked me in enough that I wanted to know where we could go with these interesting characters.
Profile Image for ButtonsMom2003.
2,886 reviews17 followers
August 20, 2020
August 20, 2020 Edited to add my comments on the audiobook:

Audiobook Review
Overall – 5
Performance – 5
Story – 5

I loved it!

I loved this book so much when I read it and listening to the fantastic voice of Dan Calley brought back all the feels I got when I read it back in November 2018. Dan does great voices and his performance style is easy to listen to. I can't wait to start listening to the next book in this series!

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author and/or narrator.

Below is a copy of what I wrote when I reviewed the ebook:

A wonderful, sweet, Christmas story and I loved it!

OMG, I loved this book so much! I'm a huge fan of A E Ryecart's books and this one just might take first place for me now (but I still love the Barista Boys). This book hit me in the feels everywhere; it broke my heart in places and then put it back together again. Please read the blurb, it's good.

A Kiss Before Christmas has lots of hurt/comfort to it and a fake boyfriend angle. I practically bawled my eyes out in a couple of places (but that means I really loved it) for the things that Rory faced before Jack found him.

Don't think that it's all angsty, though, as there were some places that I burst out laughing. When Rory encounters Jack's former boyfriend, Sam:
“Hello again. It’s Stan, isn’t it?”

Rory beamed what he hoped was his widest, brightest smile as he put out his hand. Sam looked at it as if he were being offered fresh turd on toast. Rory refused to drop his hand, forcing Sam into responding to the greeting with a limp touch of palms.

“No, it’s not. My name’s Sam.”

I know, dickhead.

And just a bit later:

Rory wrapped the fingers of his free hand around Jack’s, bringing their entwined hands to his lips for a small kiss. From under his lashes, he glanced across at Sam. Oh God, it looks like he’s straining for a shit. Sam was red-faced, his features tight and screwed up in a deep frown. Rory’s stomach started to ache as he struggled to hold his laughter in.

I can't recommend this Christmas novella enough. Ms. Ryecart, your first Christmas story is a winner!
3,007 reviews28 followers
October 27, 2018
I loved this book!

I received an ARC from the author and knew I was in for a treat. So what if it's October, it's not too early for a Christmas romance...and this one was special from the very beginning.

A young homeless man.
A business man who has lost the man he loves.
A London snow storm.
A mom who loves her son.
That's all it takes for hearts to open to new possibilities.

Sometimes you have to take a risk and step outside your comfort zone.
Having a little bit of acting talent helps too!

Being the talented author that she is, A.E. has included some phrases I can't help but include as quotes from her book;

'Sam had faded to nothing more than a dark cloud on the horizon, breaking up and blowing away in the wind as though he'd never been.'

'The snowy, wintery scene could have come straight from a Christmas card, it's beauty a cold and cruel killer for those who had no shelter, for those without a home.'

'It was Christmas, a time not just to give a gift but to accept one, too.'

This is a story you're going to want to read, over and over again.
Profile Image for Donna.
613 reviews7 followers
January 2, 2019

I love this time of year, when we start getting another flood of Christmas stories. And this novella, my first book by A E Ryecart , is going to go on my list of all time holiday favourites. As far as Christmas stories go, this one has everything I love, with some revenge on an asshole ex-boyfriend as the icing on the cake.

Poor Jack has recently been dumped by the man he thought he was in love with, and now he just wants Christmas to be over. He isn’t in the mood to celebrate and make merry, and even worse, he has no idea what to do about the fact he lied about having a new boyfriend. When he finds a young man half frozen on his doorstep one night, he had no plan to do anything other than get him inside and get him warm, but after spending a very brief amount of time with Rory, Jack can’t bring himself to make him leave. He suggests that Rory stay to keep him company through the holidays and they very quickly become friends. So when the bastard ex turns up to taunt Jack with what he no longer has, Rory doesn’t hesitate to play the part of gorgeous young twink with hearts in his eyes.

While this story doesn’t offer any surprises it entertains with its fun yet simple romance. Sweet, cute and fluffy are all words I’d use to describe this novella, which is just what you want for your Christmas tales. There is plenty of time spent of holiday fun, like Christmas markets and putting up the tree. The rainbow tree, decorated in the campest way imaginable and with the drag queen fairy, Doris on top.

This entire story has hallmark Christmas stamped all over it, and I recommend it to everyone who loves the sweet feels to get them into the holiday spirit.

Reviewed for Love Bytes Reviews

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