Review: Wrapped Together (Portland Heat #5) by Annabeth Albert

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

Hollis Alcott isn’t usually a ray of sunshine, but turns into an outright grinch during the holiday season. He’s annoyed by all of the festivity, and his dislike is compounded by his grief for his deceased parents. When Sawyer Murphy, the brother of Hollis’ childhood best friend and an extended family member, decides to bring some holiday cheer into Hollis’ life, Hollis isn’t amused.

But as the two take into what the city has to offer, they find it difficult to ignore the heat building between them. Hollis is as skeptical about the connection between them as he is about the holidays. Sawyer makes it his mission to not only cheer Hollis up, but to convince Hollis that they can build something special together.

I’m a fan of opposites-attract romances in any case, but even better is a romance between a holiday grinch and someone who can’t get enough of the Santa jizz. It’s bound to be a funny and heart-warming ride!


I immediately liked Hollis. Sure, he’s a bit short with most people and his self-isolation wasn’t doing him any favours. But reading the book from his POV, it was clear that underneath that hard exterior was a big old softie. And I could understand where he was coming from.

I particularly found it funny how Hollis tried to convince himself that he didn’t have any feelings for the annoying/meddling/sexy/charming Sawyer.

Sawyer’s a hoot and a half. He knows just how to convince Hollis to agree to spend time together, appealing to Hollis’ competitive side. But he’s also very aware and sensitive to what Hollis needs, and gives him the support and space to heal.

The romance builds gradually, and was entirely sweet and realistic. There’s some angst, but it’s not overwhelming. I’d say it’s more so a slow healing than an out-right angst-fest.

Their not-dates around the city were very charming. I really liked the setting of Portland, Oregon during the holiday season.

Not only do Sawyer and Hollis have a strong emotional connection, but their physical connection is also undeniable. From the moment they gave in, they were burning up the bedsheets. The kink was a very welcome surprise!

If you’re looking for a very sweet and sexy holiday read in which a grinch opens his heart to love, give this stand-alone novella a try!

Find on Goodreads!

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