Short Stay, by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Love Lessons (Book 3.5)
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
contains cameos from the Special Delivery series
Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.
Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays?
When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his—and Elijah’s—life.
With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas—it will follow them all the way down the aisle.
What can I say? I am completely in love with this sweet and wonderful story. It cements my need for a Baz & Elijah 4 Ever bumper sicker, for that car I don’t even own. The story reads almost like a long epilogue to Baz and Elijah’s book, Lonely Hearts. Their story, something that should absolutely be read prior to reading this little gem, is beautiful and tragic, touching and it really makes me feel so good.
Both men are excited to be married, it’s just the planning to be married part that is a struggle. Planning for a huge wedding is stressful enough, but add that to the New Year’s extravaganza Baz’s mother has planned, and Elijah is barely hanging on. Baz sees this and comes up with a plan. A quick road trip with Walter and Kelly to Vegas should help.
This trip does not exactly perfect for the duo. It starts off okay, but that long in a car for anyone is hard. For Baz, even harder. When they meet up with the men from the Special Delivery Series, things change for them. Accommodations are made, nerves are settled, somewhat, and their little get away finally starts to become not something that Baz had planned exactly, but still something really good in large part to Randy, Mitch, Sam, Ethan, Steve, and Chenco. Now, if you have not read that series, you don’t necessarily have to, but I think it helps a lot. I could see how a reader not familiar with the men from those books could be a little lost, or have a hard time figuring out who was who, why their relationships are the way they are, but it should not take away from the experience that is Baz and Elijah.
What I love about this little story is seeing characters I’ve missed, witnessing more walls come down between Baz and Elijah, experiencing the love they have for each other and the respect. This book gave me all the feels, making my heart jump with excitement, my eyes leak these weird salty wet things down my cheeks, and those cheeks hurting the next morning from smiling so big and so much. And just when I thought that I was missing the friends from White House a little too much, wishing that they’d make an appearance, there they were. And what an appearance they made!
I have to say that I think some of my favorite parts in this book were all the pages with Randy from Double Blind. I’d forgotten just how much I love him. His presence is huge, but he never steals a scene, only enhances them. Catching up with characters that really feel like old friends, gave this novella even more points. Also, that ending… It’s magical. Thinking about it now gives me all those feels back. With that, please excuse me while I go and read the last couple chapters again. My cheeks are really going to hurt later.
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.