Blacksmith Butch has secretly loved his best friend, science nerd Jimmy, since grade school. Now their shops in Old Town Seven Winds, California, are only doors from each other.
They’re about to turn thirty, and Butch refuses to wait another day to make a decision: propose to Jimmy and start the family he’s always wanted or forget his dream to avoid risking their friendship. Why can’t the choice be as easy as creating decorative ironwork in his forge?
“OKAY, WHAT’S up?” I sat on the bench with my back against the bricks at Joe’s Pub. “You’ve been pissed since last week.”
My best friend and secret love of my life, Jimmy, glared but didn’t answer. We’d known each other for so long that I waited him out like usual. I crossed my pumped arms and sat back, smelling my sweat-soaked T-shirt in the AC blowing around us.
The past summer in Seven Winds, once a gold rush town in California’s northern Sierra Nevada mountains and now a tourist trap, had been brutal. A record number of days over one hundred degrees had turned a lot of the shop owners into snarling dogs.
As the resident blacksmith, I took the heat as business as usual. So I was hot and sweaty? I was always hot and sweaty. The day I ain’t I’m either sick or dead.
I figured Jimmy’s problem was more than the heat, though. He’d been acting funny lately. Like he had something caught in his craw but he couldn’t spit it out.
Jessie on Jessie G Books wrote:
Butch has known he’s loved his best friend, Jimmy, since he was twelve years old. As the years have passed and now with them both on the cusp of thirty, Butch may still be in love, but he also knows he will never be good enough for his pal. First off, Jimmy is brilliant—college educated whereas Butch never even graduated high school. Secondly, Jimmy is gorgeous and deserves someone just as beautiful as he is and Butch thinks he’s not much to look at since he’s often covered in dirt and sweat as a byproduct of the forge he runs in his shop. Still, Butch dreams of telling Jimmy that he loves him, but is so afraid that the news may end their friendship, particularly since Butch can’t be sure Jimmy feels the same. So with Christmas approaching Butch must decide—stay silent and try to find someone who is more like him to make a life with or tell Jimmy everything and pray it doesn’t ruin the one good thing in his life.
Pat Henshaw delivers up a sweet love from afar holiday story in Making the Holidays Happy Again. With some definite lack of communication preventing our two main characters from realizing they both feel exactly the same, the story focuses on more of the business aspect of their relationship. Butch is so torn about whether to confess to Jimmy he loves him. And since Butch is just about the sweetest guy one could ever meet, that meant my heart really went out to him as he grapples with the idea of never having Jimmy for his own or, even worse, watching him fall in love with someone else. From the tender way Butch treats a young shy boy who comes into his shop, to the declaration that he will always be there to protect Jimmy no matter what, it is so easy to fall in love with this guy.
Making the Holidays Happy Again is a simple story and one that made me smile. The end is surprising, but lovely, and I definitely could stand to read more about these two and the people they interact with in their small town. It’s a great little holiday story sure to make the romantic in us all give a happy sigh.
Dan on Love Bytes wrote:
As Butch and Jimmy stare down the dreaded 3-0 they are both thinking the same thing: time to settle down, pitch that picket fence, and build a family. Both are successful businessmen, have a good group of friends, and only want each other to be happy. Between Butch’s belief that he’s not good enough for the more cerebral Jimmy and a possible romance between Jimmy and Butch’s new employee, it just doesn’t seem that they’ll find it together.
I do love a good friends-to-lovers romance, especially long-time friends who are oblivious to each other’s unrequited feelings. As a novella, I needed a little more focus on Butch and Jimmy together and less on the hectic holiday sales season which had taken over both their lives and this book. Also, the set up of the little boy who visits the forge had me thinking in one direction and while his outcome was adorable, I was kind of disappointed that he wasn’t rounding out that family picture.
Overall, another cute story from an author who never fails to bring the sweet feels.
I’m a huge fan of anything ‘Henshaw’, and this short story continued that fandom.
My only complaint, as with all the stories I read every December in these Advent Calendars, is the length. I wanted more! Fitting the story into this short of a format seemed to rush the events just a little. I would have loved more filler in the middle!
The story had some interesting side characters going on that I would love to see in a future story. There is a young gay boy and his first boyfriend, there is the boy’s gay uncle and mean old homophobic grandmother for example. And don’t forget the new hot blacksmith that Butch hired. Story lines pop into my head with all of them. Let’s hope Ms. Henshaw gives them to us!
I recommend the story. If you’re a fan of Ms. Henshaw, or even if you don’t know her writing, give it a shot. Then immediately head on over to her Foothills Pride books. I’ll be waiting for more stories Henshaw.