Book Review: The Holiday Experiment by Rhys Everly

The Holiday Experiment

Author: Rhys Everly
Publisher: Rhys Writes Romance (November 1, 2022)
Kindle edition, 300 pages
Romance, Adult contemporary M/M/ romance, Holiday romance (Christmas)
Goodreads

Summary

Wanted: Single, hot, young man to sweep…my best friend’s brother off his feet.

Enzo
After failing big in Boston, I’m back home with my tail between my legs.

And then somehow I rope myself into getting Carson’s dating life in order.

We make a bet. Get him a boyfriend before Christmas or I lose and I have to do what he says.

Only considering the feelings I still harbor for him, losing may not be such a bad idea.

Carson
Everyone tells me I’m a workaholic.

What I really am is a man with a broken heart.

Until I get the wind knocked off my feet by my brother’s best friend. Under the mistletoe. Because apparently my life is anything but subtle.

He’s hell bent on getting me a boyfriend that is not him, but he’s all I can think about.

This little holiday experiment between us is going to end up in disaster. I know it.

I just hope it doesn’t leave me with more pieces to pick up.

The Holiday Experiment is a Christmas standalone and contains a young musician trying to find his place in the world, an almost forty-year-old workaholic that can’t catch a break, an adorable goddaughter that seems to repeat all the bad words and a witchy mom that loves to bake magical cakes and solve problems.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

GUHHHHH this book! *dreamy sigh*

The chemistry between Enzo and Carson is SO GOOOOOOD. I’m not normally much a fan of the age-gap trope, but I LOVE best friend’s brother/brother’s best friend romances so I jumped into this one with both feet. And it turns out, I really like how the age gap plays out! Enzo has had a crush on his BFF Cole’s older brother Carson since he started knowing what sexual attraction was. Carson, at 16 years older than Cole and Enzo and approaching the big four-oh, was basically a babysitter/second parent to Enzo and his lil’ bro when they were kids, and is surprised when little Enzo comes back to town after being gone for a number of years and has turned into a MAN – and a hunky on at that!

I didn’t fully buy into Enzo’s reasons for being so anti-relationship/anti-love, but I guess at 23 I was stupid about lots of things too. I did totally feel for Carson, feeling like he’s over the hill and a workaholic and why on earth would anyone want a relationship with him, let alone someone as young and beautiful and talented as Enzo. It’s easy to get in your own head and convince yourself you don’t deserve good things, or love.

There were so many hilarious moments in this book, mostly stemming from Enzo trying to set Carson up on dates to settle their bet. Some of those dates sounded really fun!! The mutual pining also set my soul on fire, and my heart physically ached for them both several times when they’re both wanting so badly but so scared to reach out. ACK, I can’t stand it, give me more!!

The Holiday Experiment is a standalone, but it seems to be set in Rhys Everly’s Mayberry Protectors universe. I believe there are spoilers for Mayberry Protectors book 1, Mother Parker, in this book, and I think some of the characters/set-up would have been a bit less confusing if you read that first. There’s also a couple that shows up partway through the book that’s part of another book called Street Love. So there are some treats for regular readers of Rhys Everly, which is always fun! I feel like I need to go read the Mayberry Protectors series now, though!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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