Short Stories 366:348 — “Wrapped,” by Rebekah Weatherspoon

If you’ve not read the Fit trilogy from Rebekah Weatherspoon, seeing that there’s a holiday novella snuck into the series as a “point-five” might seem like a barrier, but allow me to dismiss your concerns twicely: first, because this totally stands alone; second, you should just go binge the whole series anyway. Trust. Okay, let’s talk “Wrapped.” My favourite thing about holiday novellas (as I’m sure I’ve said way, way too many times by now) is how the black-moment can’t be too overwhelming, and there’s really only time for the one bump on the way to happiness, so I know I can strap in for a (mostly) angst-free ride. When I decided to re-read this one, all I really remembered was it had the usual Weatherspoon scorch, and that I freaking loved the heroine, who is this perfect mix of awkward and confident (another thing Weatherspoon does brilliantly).

Shae is on the dating scene, and her previous relationship history comes down to one failed marriage and… well, that’s about it. So she’s suitably nervous. Shae’s got a crap-tonne of positives on her side, though: she’s a Black woman who started her own bakery and is doing pretty comfortably in that regard, she’s got a fabulous friend group, she’s putting herself out there via the Matched app, and she’s got a smart freaking head on her shoulders, so she does know she’s also got baggage from the divorce. Then she matches with a hunk she used to worth with at a previous job, and they go on a date and… it’s good. Like, really good. Like, even though she keeps saying the wildest shit (Did she seriously ask him for dick picks on their first date? She did. She totally did.) they are truly getting along and that’s… amazing? Scary? Both?

Also, the fella in this particular pair is just this brilliant mix of hot, compassionate, sensitive, caring, and listening and it’s all mixed together into this swoon-worthy package. Also? There’s his package. Which, uh, well. What’s wrong with a big wrapped package to bring some holiday cheer, right? Aiden is described deliciously (as is Shae) and while he’s a big buff hunk of said deliciousness, we also see that he has to work at it (it’s such a small thing, but I adore it when big buff hunks actually go to the gym in romance stories, rather than just somehow magically maintaining their physique while doing anything but). Anyway, the end result of “Wrapped” is a healthy dose of holiday joy (and sexting) and honestly I was so happy to dive in again.

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