Review: Make the Yuletide Gay by Ivy L. James

Cancel Christmas and take a road trip with my boss who I lust after? Sure…why not?!

Cover Design: Natasha Snow


Junior editor Grace Taylor is doubling as the temporary assistant to senior editor Nicola Valentine…and harboring a secret crush on her. Grace is devastated when a work conference forces her to miss her big family Christmas. However, she gets a gift she doesn’t expect when a snowstorm strands her and Nicola at a small B&B.

Nicola has no idea how to handle sharing a room with her gorgeous, vibrant assistant. As she learns to share her heart as well, her fear threatens the blossoming relationship. Can she let Grace in, or will Nicola’s past sabotage her chance at happiness?7


Grace Taylor, junior editor at Pembroke Press, had doubled as the temporary assistant to senior editor Nicola Valentine for two weeks now, and she had mixed feelings about the whole thing.

Pros of working so closely with Nicola:

It might provide an advantage when promotion time came around.

Grace saw Nicola’s beautiful, beautiful face all day.

When not seeing her beautiful, beautiful face, she saw her beautiful, beautiful ass.

God, she was beautiful.

Cons of working so closely with Nicola:

Grace had to see her beautiful, beautiful face all day.

When not seeing her beautiful, beautiful face, she had to see her beautiful, beautiful ass.

God, she was beautiful.

For obvious reasons, Grace kept these thoughts to herself.

At least she had the week of Christmas off. Some time away from the office—far away—might help reset her brain. There was nothing like her moms’ obsession with tinsel and oversized yard décor to get a girl’s mind off real life.

Photo by Godisable Jacob on

But right now, real life offered her a direct view of Nicola leaning against her oak desk during a conference call, and visions of sugar plums dissipated from Grace’s head.

The lamplight gleamed on the silk of Nicola’s deep-blue blouse, highlighting her curves, business tinted with pleasure. The neckline dipped low to bare smooth brown skin and a tempting shadow of cleavage. Her charcoal-gray pencil skirt fit tight over full hips and ass, and with her ever-present high heels… God.

Phone tucked between her shoulder and ear, Nicola traced the edge of the desk, her slim fingers tipped in short, gray-polished nails.

Grace sucked in a breath.

Those nails scraping on her skin, with the heels and prim clothes scattered across her apartment floor…

Not that that’s ever happening. Grace had no illusions about office relationships, casual or otherwise. It never ended well for anyone involved. Still…when she went home, no one had to know she fantasized about going to Nicola’s desk, with that silky shirt unbuttoned and dark hair loose, and pulling her into a deep, lazy kiss.

Late at night, the fantasy darkened. Panting breaths, exploring hands, parting legs…

You can’t think about this at work. She huffed and stalked over to the employee break room to busy her hands with preparing the morning coffees—one with plenty of creamer, one black. The beige office walls and bland cubicles around her did nothing to reflect the holiday season.

When Nicola ended the call, Grace opened the office door and offered her the second steaming mug. “How’s your morning so far?”

Nicola swigged from the cup, unfazed by the heat and bitterness. “I just learned I have to cancel my holiday plans to attend a work conference that Craig was supposed to cover. So I’ve had better.”

Craig Harkness, the other senior editor. Grace winced. “That sucks. Is it at least nearby?”

Nicola’s lips twisted into a humorless smile. “Of course not. It’s in Maine.”

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on

Over a ten-hour drive away from their work in Washington, D.C. “Oh, no, will you—?”

“And, of course, I’ll need you with me.”

Grace froze.

“Between the holiday and the late notice, there aren’t any flights left, so we’ll take my car. We leave tomorrow, return next Saturday.”

Maine? For the entire week? Her brain threw up a blue screen of death, and she laughed. “Sorry, what?” You can’t possibly have said… No. No way.

Nicola scrolled through something on her phone screen. “I know it’s last minute. The company will reimburse you for any cancellations you have to make, plus our meals and accommodations, and you’ll get overtime. But you’ll need to go. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.” When she glanced up, she really did look apologetic. “I know it’s not ideal.”

Not ideal? Grace’s family. Her traditional Christmas. Her chance to get Nicola Valentine out of her head. So close, and yet so far away. “I’m not sure I understand.”

With a tsk, Nicola set aside her coffee mug. “It’s the publishing conference of the year. If Pembroke Press isn’t there, we’re screwed. And Craig had some sort of personal emergency—” Her jaw ticked despite her even tone. “—so it falls to me. And I need my assistant with me to help keep everything on track.”

But I have to go? Grace had only been an in-office assistant so far. Scheduling meetings, answering emails, entering data in spreadsheets. Small things, relatively speaking. Conference of the year? What if I screw it up for her?

But she’d volunteered to assist, and she didn’t have the sway to say no. Not to mention the ever-looming mountain of college debt. I need this job.

Nicola stared at her with an are-you-stupid look. “Well?”

It wasn’t a question.©

Warning: adult language and for the description of childhood emotional abuse and neglect of an MC

I love residing in Grace’s head, especially when she is talking about Nic (smile). I love watching women coming and going…and like Grace especially when they are going. (laugh)

Ivy L. James brings us a snowed-in rom-com in Make the Yuletide Gay. James gives the characters very similar backgrounds, but only one of them had a chance for happiness when she was a kid. It gives a strong foundation for Grace and Nic where Nic would not have seen one. Never mind they both work in the same field, so yet another common interest. James may have snowed them in, but they give the characters a real base to work on in their road trip to love.

I think I like this story more for the commonalities in the characters and for James making their relationship work in this manner. It seems more real to me. Their stories are not ones that they share with other people, so it is something that connects Grace and Nic on a very personal level.

I keep harping on the serious stuff, when James does bring some heat to Yuletide. There are steamy moments and funny ones. Oh and the romantic night that Grace puts on…yummy. I so want a girlfriend who does that. I will take one Grace please!

Make The Yuletide Gay is another book I will be adding to the must read every year pile. 

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Further Details:
Publisher: NineStar Press, 2020, 978-1-64890-165-2, 14 December 2020
Editor: Elizabetta McKay
Series: N/A; Settings: Washington D.C., Maine, U.S.
Pages: 95; Sex: Rated R
© Make the Yuletide Gay by Ivy L. James © 2020 All Rights Reserved

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