Review + Giveaway: Santa Baby (Minnesota Christmas #4) by Heidi Cullinan

Trimming the tree is more fun with three.

Twin Cities developer Dale Davidson has come to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into Christmas Town, not to give in to Arthur Anderson’s offer to join him and his fiancĂ©, Gabriel Higgins, for a Christmas Eve threesome. Dale is polyamorous, but it’s clear Arthur is offering a night of fun and nothing more. Maybe one night with the couple he admires so much won’t hurt…

Together the three of them light a fire hot enough to boil Lake Superior in January, and one night of fun becomes an extended engagement as Dale puts down some tentative roots in his new hometown. Everyone loves Dale, Logan’s own Santa Claus, and somehow no one knows what wild times are happening right underneath their noses. No one knows, either, the complicated ways they’re falling in love with one another.

But a shadow from Dale’s past emerges, an abuser threatening him with violence and shame. Ronny doesn’t want a happy ever after for Dale, only to draw him back into a consuming darkness. It will take the love of not only Gabriel and Arthur but all of Logan to convince their Santa he has nothing to be ashamed of—and that he will always have a home in their hearts.

Dale Davidson came to Logan, Minnesota, to turn it into a tourist destination. He succeeded, and ended up falling for the town librarian as well. But the librarian already has a fiance. Gabriel Higgins is incredibly happy with Arthur Anderson, but he can’t deny that he feels a pull towards Dale. Gabriel is confused by the riot of emotions.

When Arthur connects the dots, he isn’t sure what to do. He’s attracted to Dale and wouldn’t mind playing with him, but doesn’t think he can fall in love with a second man. But Arthur’s determined to find a happy ever after that works for all three men.

Adding a third to Arthur and Gabriel’s relationship, which I really enjoyed in book 2, was a risky move. But the signs were there in previous books that this could be a possibility. Even so, I can understand why some readers may be upset or wary of polyamory if it’s with an established couple they’ve already read about and have an emotional connection to.

Overall, I think the author handled it with sensitivity, easing Dale into the relationship after open and honest discussions. In particular, Gabriel and Arthur realize that goals change over time, and relationships don’t have to be static.


Gabriel and Dale’s jump to love was quick, but didn’t at all feel contrived. I could understand the emotional and physical connection the two had. I did enjoy Gabriel and Arthur’s relationship more, but Dale and Gabriel still made for a sweet couple.

Dale and Arthur’s relationship is more complicated. They might not be in love the same way that Dale and Gabriel (and Gabriel and Arthur) are, but the two come to love and care for one another. Dale becomes Arthur’s sub, something that Gabriel isn’t, so they connect in a special way separately from Gabriel.

Beyond making the three-part relationship work emotionally, they also work on the physical aspect. And it was hot - whether it was Gabriel and Arthur, Gabriel and Dale, Dale and Arthur, or the three of them together. I’ll admit, the latter combination was my favourite.


Arthur, Dale, and Gabriel put in the time and emotional effort to make things work. Their relationship isn’t conventional at all, but they find their happy place in the end, and I’m not one to judge that.

I really liked getting back to Logan, the Christmas wonderland, and catching up with the other two couples. And it was great to see that Arthur’s mother is still as awesome, and hilarious, as ever!

However I didn’t really get the point of Ronny, Dale’s ex. He was a cartoonish villain, and served little purpose other than adding extra drama. The story could have worked just as well without him.

Also, and this is just a personal niggle, it occurred to me while reading ‘Santa Baby’ that most of Cullinan’s recent romances have ended in marriage. It’s odd, given that Cullinan makes a point of eschewing heteronormativity in her books. Yes, it makes for a romantic ending, but gay relationships can work just as well without rings and a piece of paper.

Overall, I liked ‘Santa Baby’. Adding Dale to Arthur and Gabriel’s relationship was risky and had its ups and downs, but I think it was pulled off well in the end. I would recommend this book only if you are sure that you’ll be okay with the direction that Arthur and Gabriel’s relationship takes. If not, book 2 is still a perfect HEA for the two.

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  1. I actually just discovered Mary Calmes' works through a short story on one of the blogs, so I am working my way through her free stories and the one title that was available at my library! Happy Holidays to everyone.

  2. Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles is really funny... and sexy as well!