Shea Balik, $1.99
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Benji is a gay graphic designer who cries at the drop of a hat, and I don’t think I could have asked for a bigger stereotype this Christmas. He is back in Killeen, Texas – the heart of homphobia, apparently – to take care of his now motherless nieces, one of whom is a manipulative sack of tears and the other is the predictable sarcastic, bitter girl who just wants a parent to love her more often. He also argues with his mother, who believes that the brats need a firm hand.
Her dark eyes narrowed ever further as her frown deepened. “Don’t you dare tell me what I should be doing at Stacy’s funeral. Anyway, you always were more of a crier than I was, so I figured you had that part covered.” Her chin was raised to appear as if she were looking down upon him, except it just made her look like a snooty bitch with her nose stuck up in the air.
“That’s because I have the human spectrum of emotion, where you only have disappointment and anger,” he said as calmly as possible, hoping no one would notice their bitter words.
I’m not going to lie, I cringe hard at Benji’s response. Who speaks like that, really?
Fortunately, the heart of homophobia also has a hot black guy, Darius, who immediately makes Benji drool.
Ben was intrigued. Anyone who had the balls to take on his mother impressed him. If Darius hadn’t already had Ben’s attention with his devastating good looks, broad shoulders, and slim waist, he would have noticed him now.
Good Darius, protector of crybaby gay men from scary old broads everywhere. He is also the minister of the neighborhood church. I have no idea how a supposedly homophobic town can have such a minister, so don’t ask me. Go email the author instead as my spectrum of human emotions isn’t broad enough to comprehend such an apparent contradiction.
Thankfully Darius just stuck his hand out. “Nice to meet you. I’m sorry for your loss. Your sister was an amazing woman.”
Once more he felt the sting of tears as they threatened to spill at the reminder of his sister. Taking a deep breath, he barely managed to hold them back.
This is going to be a long day, isn’t it?
He had no doubt the reason for Darius’ sermon today, about helping others, was Darius’ way of reminding Ben it was proof of God’s existence. But if God really wanted to help, why did he allow war, or disease, or any of the other horrible things that happened in life?
The question was, who was to blame for the cruelty of others? God or the person committing the act?
Is it homophobia to want to shake Benji and tell him to great a freaking grip and stop acting like he’s about to either burst into tears of sadness or tears of joy in every freaking scene? Christmas Miracle is so full of cloying, corny, hideous sentimental muzak that I fear I would break out in hives because I swear I’m allergic to this kind of over-the-top histrionic drama from a protagonist. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch some disgusting B-grade horror flicks to forget this persistent pressing against my throat that I felt while reading every page of this excruciatingly ersatz sentimental pap.