Better Not Pout
by Annabeth Albert
One hard-nosed military police officer.
One overly enthusiastic elf.
One poorly timed snowstorm.
Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?
Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.
Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.
The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.Blurb taken from Goodreads
Better Not Pout has been on my reading list for a while now, I remember making grand plans to read it all the way back in December 2017… it only took me two years to read it. I am very glad that I did eventually read this book as I found it to be quite a sweet and tender hearted novel.
While I’m not the biggest fan of big age differences in romance (in no way a judgement about real relationships) Better Not Pout barely treated the age gap as a problem at all. The real conflict and crux of the relationship came in Nick not feeling like he deserved love, a relationship, or sense of community. And boy, did this hit me in the feels. I was driving down the highway with tears streaming down my face.
I loved the dynamics between the two characters and soon found myself falling for both Nick and Teddy. What came as a surprise for me was the personal revelations of both characters. While Nicks emotional issues take up most of the novel, Teddy comes to understand how stubborn he can be and how unwilling he is to compromise.
There is a real sense of enjoyment in how both of these characters worked introspectively on themselves towards their relationship. There wasn’t an easy happy ending, it was one that both characters strove and fought personal battles against. And boy, did it really make for a heart warming happy ending.
I don’t tend to seek out May/December romance novels, however when done right, I do enjoy the dynamics these relationships can create. I can enjoy any story woven around mutual respect, especially when characters are given an equal amount of power in a relationship.
Better Not Pout was a great example of this trope as while the age gap did cause some tension between the pair, it was ultimately addressed and deemed unimportant in the face of their love for each other.