Title: Nice: The Dragon and the Mistletoe
Author: M. Raia
Length: 8,000 words (28 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m paranormal (shifters)
Dragon-shifter Varian Kendall would rather face a sword than have to pick out a Christmas present for his flamboyant lover, Josh. But this is their first real Christmas together, and he knows he must find something special to go into the red, lacy, fishnet stocking Josh has hung by their tree. But what Varian comes up with is only one of the surprises waiting for them on Christmas Eve.
Varian and Josh first appeared in Notice.
As noted in the blurb, this is the follow-up to the novel Notice which I reviewed on my personal blog and the review can be found at Goodreads. I was eager to see how Josh and Varian were doing following the end of the novel which saw Varian finally finally realize how important Josh was, and that he was willing to accept several things about himself and his relationship.
It’s now several months later and things are going great for them. Varian’s people seem to be accepting Josh as his mate, work is good and he’s got a relationship with his brother. However he is fretting over Christmas. Dragons don’t celebrate Christmas so he’s unsure about the gift he got for Josh and if it will go over well. However he comes home to find a visitor, Josh’s extremely homophobic brother who is rude beyond belief. I really did want Varian to toss him out the window. However they put it behind them and go out for dinner.
It was nice to see the changes Josh had wrought in Varian. He was dressing differently, although Josh was as flamboyant as ever, he was more comfortable – to a degree – with being out and just all around had relaxed and let himself be who he was. When they exchange gifts, Josh asks him to marry him and Varian reveals his gift as well.
There were some strong messages about accepting who you are and the person you love in this. Josh wears very feminine clothes, nail polish, barettes in his hair, that kind of thing – although he’s a black belt in karate and can kick your ass – and he talks about possibly dressing as a woman and Varian is completely behind him, although a little nervous if Josh meant getting rid of his boy parts, but he wants Josh to be completely who his is, no judgements. His acceptance was very sweet and I could see why Josh was crying, i think everyone wants that kind of love.
You get to see Varian as a dragon, even a baby dragon – which was a cutely humourous scene, and Josh reveals much more about his past with his family than he ever had before. So while some follow-ups are just “oh look, here’s the couple exchanging sweet gifts”, I think because the first story ended rather at the beginning of Josh and Varian’s new and improved relationship, there was still room for us to see them growing and changing, so it was a lovely follow-up to the original.
Those who like dragons or alternative shifters will enjoy it. You don’t HAVE to have read the first book to enjoy this, it will help of course because it will explain the dragon culture and how Varian came to meet his brother and some other factors, but you could read it without and just enjoy the very romantic relationship between two very different men who adore each other.