Short Stay

Short Stay - Heidi Cullinan Release day review originally posted at Sinfully.

Worlds collide as Baz and Elijah (the [b:Love Lessons|17853573|Love Lessons (Love Lessons, #1)|Heidi Cullinan||24990932] series) meet Randy and Ethan (the [b:Special Delivery|18043684|Special Delivery (Special Delivery, #1)|Heidi Cullinan||10382646] series) when they head to Vegas for a stay at Herod’s Casino. If you’re interested in this story I’m assuming you’ve read at least one of those two series of books, if not both. If seeing Randy Jansen’s name has you expecting a wild, kinky sort of story, remember you’re in the Love Lessons world, so even though Baz and Elijah have been known to enjoy a bit of kink themselves, this is a sweet story that ties a bow on Baz and Elijah’s happy ending in Lonely Hearts, with Randy and Ethan making dreams come true as they take a special interest in the two young men.

The story picks up shortly after [b:Lonely Hearts|24118011|Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons, #3)|Heidi Cullinan||43710323]. Baz sees Elijah beginning to panic and withdraw as Baz’s mother hijacks plans for their wedding. Her version of tame is still a three ring circus and Baz can’t see how to rein her in. Being with Baz’s family and being overwhelmed at thoughts of their upcoming New Year’s gala, wedding planning and life with the brash and powerful Acker family in general, is enough to make Elijah lose it. As if that’s not enough, an unexpected attempt at contact from someone in his family also has Elijah on edge. Fearing Elijah will run, Baz talks him into a road trip to Vegas with friends Walter and Kelly, to escape the madness and celebrate New Year’s together. Finding a gay friendly hotel/casino, the men arrive at Herod’s where they almost immediately meet Randy who insists that they get the VIP treatment, with him as their guide. Shopping, dancing, making sure Baz is comfortable in their suite, and a trip to the Stratosphere observation deck are just the start of what turns out to be an almost magical and eye-opening trip that will change both Baz and Elijah forever.

If you haven’t read the Special Delivery books and haven’t met Randy, you’ll probably be as shell shocked as Baz and Elijah seem to be as he does everything he can to make their hotel stay beyond perfect. Why he takes such an interest is eventually revealed and it will make you love Randy even more than you probably already do.

All the Love Lessons characters back making cameos, as are all six men from Special Delivery, but this is all about Baz and Elijah. They both still struggle with feelings that they are not worthy of the other and they aren’t the greatest when it comes to communicating their concerns. Elijah connects with Randy and gets some good advice from Chenco, while Baz connects with Ethan. Both Ethan and Randy act as mentors and, in Randy’s case, a fairy godfather figure who seems to have all of Vegas at his command.

To me the best parts of Elijah and Baz’s relationship is when they are alone together and find the courage to let their guard down, Baz taking off his sunglasses and Elijah finding the strength to open up and talk about his fears. When they do that and are vulnerable to each other, you really get a feel for how perfect they are together, despite how different they are. Of course when they’re getting down and dirty is great too, but this story was more about the tender loving and their emotional sides.

As with many Heidi Cullinan stories, this one ends with a sugary sweet happily ever after that may bring a tear of joy to your eye. It also opens up some possibilities for future stories and maybe another crossing of series borders. I wouldn’t recommend picking this up if you haven’t yet read Lonely Hearts, but it’s a must read for Love Lessons fans and those of you jonesing for another shot of Randy and a peek at where the men stand since the end of [b:Tough Love|18170925|Tough Love (Special Delivery, #3)|Heidi Cullinan||25540080].