When I started putting this list together, I figured it would easy. I read loads of queer books, but it turns out not many of them are holiday related. As an atheist, I’m not a great fan of Christmas and that seems to be reflected in my reading! I’ve even written a couple of books set at a found family Christmas party and even then, the party is only a small part of the book. His Christmas Pearl begins at the found family party, while His Christmas Pride begins with the main character avoiding the party!
Here are my top five queer holiday-ish romances. I hope you enjoy some of these books as much as I did.
Handmade Holidays by Nathan Burgoine
At nineteen, Nick is alone for the holidays and facing reality: this is how it will be from now on. Refusing to give up completely, Nick buys a Christmas tree, and then realizes he has no ornaments. A bare tree and an empty apartment aren’t a great start, but a visit from his friend Haruto is just the ticket to get him through this first, worst, Christmas. A box of candy canes and a hastily folded paper crane might not be the best ornaments, but it’s a place to start.
A year later, Nick has realized he’s not the only one with nowhere to go, and he hosts his first “Christmas for the Misfit Toys.” Haruto brings Nick an ornament for Nick’s tree, and a tradition—and a new family—is born.
As years go by, Nick, Haruto, and their friends face love, betrayal, life, and death. Every ornament on Nick’s tree is another year, another story, and another chance at the one thing Nick has wanted since the start: someone who’d share more than the holidays with him.
Of course, Nick might have already missed his shot at the one, and it might be too late.
Still, after fifteen Christmases, Nick is ready to risk it all for the best present yet.
This book has a fascinating structure with each chapter representing one Christmas Day over the course of many years. It starts when Nick is 19 and newly kicked out of home, and goes through 15 Christmas Days (not all of them have a chapter) to find Nick’s HEA. It’s fun and quirky and cute.
Mangos and Mistletoe, by Adriana Herrera
Kiskeya Burgos left the tropical beaches of the Dominican Republic with a lot to prove. As a pastry chef on the come up, when she arrives in Scotland, she has one goal in mind: win the Holiday Baking Challenge. Winning is her opportunity to prove to her family, her former boss, and most importantly herself, she can make it in the culinary world. Kiskeya will stop at nothing to win , that is, if she can keep her eyes on the prize and off her infuriating teammate’s perfect lips.
Sully Morales, home cooking hustler, and self-proclaimed baking brujita lands in Scotland on a quest to find her purpose after spending years as her family’s caregiver. But now, with her home life back on track, it’s time for Sully to get reacquainted with her greatest love, baking. Winning the Holiday Baking Challenge is a no brainer if she can convince her grumpy AF baking partner that they make a great team both in and out of the kitchen before an unexpected betrayal ends their chance to attain culinary competition glory.
Two chefs team up to win a baking challenge. This book will make you hungry – for sweets and for sex.
Love all year Anthology
Because holiday romance happens all year long . . . Love All Year is an anthology of holiday romances from religions, ethnicities, and cultures around the world. It includes romances set during Sukkot, Yule, Purim, Juneteenth, Eid-al-Adha, Qixi, and Rosh Hashanah.
A wonderful anthology with a range of stories all set at non-Christmas holidays. My personal standout was Ekaterine Xia’s story, which was so beautiful and lyrical and really swept me away.
Out on the Ice by Kelly Farmer
Caro Cassidy used to be a legend.
During her career, Caro was one of the best defense players in women’s hockey. These days, she keeps to herself. Her all-girls hockey camp is her life, and she hopes it’ll be her legacy. Sure, her new summer hire is charming and magnetic, but Caro keeps her work and personal life strictly separate.
Amy Schwarzbach lives life out loud.
Amy’s as bright and cheerful as her lavender hair, and she uses her high-profile position in women’s hockey to advocate for the things she believes in. Ten weeks in Chicago coaching a girls’ training camp is the perfect opportunity to mentor the next generation before she goes back to Boston.
Letting love in means putting yourself out there.
When the reticent head coach offers to help Amy get in shape for next season, her starstruck crush on Caro quickly blossoms into real chemistry. As summer comes to an end, neither of them can quite let go of this fling—but Amy can’t afford a distraction, and Caro can’t risk her relationship becoming public and jeopardizing the one thing that’s really hers.
This one isn’t a holiday book, however, it has wonderful found family themes and that’s really what matters during the holidays. It’s ff between two hockey players and has the grumpy one/sunshine one trope.
Return to Me by Fiona Zedde
Rémi and Claudia have been together for over two years. During that time, their families have grown to accept what the twenty-nine year old reformed player and her fifty year old lover mean to each other. Theirs is not just another kinky May-December affair. But a ghost from Rémi’s past rises up to threaten what the two women have found together.
Can they put these demons to rest or will their love, as erotic as it is powerful, scatter like ashes to the four winds?
Warning: This story contains explicit, kinky sexual acts between two consenting adults with a motorcycle acting as occasional voyeur.
Number 3 in the How Sweet It Is series by the Lambda Literary Award finalist author of Bliss and Every Dark Desire.
Start from the beginning with A Taste of Sin, Hungry for It, then Return to Me (a short sequel to Hungry for It), then Insatiable Appetites. All (except for Return to Me) are standalone, full-length novels featuring different couples in the group of Miami-based friends.
Again, this isn’t a Christmas story, however it’s a gorgeous erotic novella that includes a gift or two.
Renée Dahlia is an unabashed romance reader who loves feisty women and strong, clever men. Her books reflect this, with a side note of awkward humour. Renée has a science degree in physics. When not distracted by the characters fighting for attention in her brain, she works in the horse-racing industry doing data analysis and writing magazine articles. When she isn’t reading or writing, Renée spends her time with her partner and four children, volunteers on the local cricket club committee, and is the Secretary of Romance Writers Australia.
Comment on the post for a chance to win an ARC of Craving His Spotlight (releases 18 Jan 2021) Courtesy of Renee Dahlia
Can a second chance at fame avoid repeating old mistakes?
RILEY MICAH is at a cross-roads in his life. As a teen he found fame as lead singer for So You Think, but he lost it all in a haze of alcoholism. He’s been clean for eight years, absolutely bloody sober. To sort out his life, he hid in the outback, working for a local council as part of a road crew. Unlike the stereotype of a road worker, it was hard physical work and it made him lean and tough. Recently, a tune he uploaded to Triple J Unearthed under a new name gets airplay on the radio, and he has a decision to make. Can he go back to life as a famous musician? If he tells people that Riley Le Breton is Riley Micah, the old lead singer for So You Think, the song—and perhaps his music career—will take off. But at what cost to his sober self? He needs a marketing plan to help him control it all; the money, the message, the impact on his sobriety.
VINCE CATTANEO has spent over a decade getting rich. His grandfather was rich, but his father lost it all on gambling and drugs, and it was Vince’s mission to put that failure behind him and regain the family wealth. Now Vince is the owner of Kapow Marketing and no one will ever suspect that he spent the last years of his teens driving a beat up old car with a radio that wouldn’t work and a CD stuck in the player. So You Think; on repeat for two years. If he never hears those songs again, it’ll be too soon. When one of the band members walks into Kapow needing a marketing plan to deal with sudden new success, Vince is surprised at the way his voice resonates with him. He knows one thing is true; he doesn’t want to get stuck on repeat, like the CD, chasing the untrustworthy love of an addict.
Pre-order link: https://books2read.com/u/3GA5pQ
In addition to this wonderful prize from Renee, and in celebration of the Festive season, I, Nix, will be giving away a £25/$30 voucher for a book retailor of choice across the event. Each comment, on ANY post, will be classed an entrance; just fill in the Rafflecopter. You can enter once a day.a Rafflecopter giveaway