|Genre||Gay / Contemporary / BDSM / Romance|
|Reviewed by||Lena Grey on 06-March-2016|
Phiz can’t always control his hyperactivity and propensity for chaos. But he no longer has to feel marginalised because of it, not now he has Bryan for a friend and lover. Bryan’s calm, ordered attitude is the perfect foil for Phiz: and Bryan’s private desire for kink is just what Phiz needs to keep him grounded. This Valentine’s Day, Phiz wants to give Bryan a special gift, but Bryan can’t be tempted away from his work. At least, not until he opens Phiz’s gift and realises love means… taking time away to play.
Authors Note: Bryan and Phiz first met in the book “Slap and Tickle”, one of a series of romance novellas based around the alcoholic ice cream shop in Soho called With A Kick. A joint-authored project with Sue Brown, each story has a self-contained romance, and follows the history of the shop throughout.
Phiz, of 'Smack Happy' by Clare London, is acting a lot like the energizer bunny on speed while he impatiently waits for Bryan to finish his work. Bryan isn't much on presents, but Phiz, so happy to have a Valentine, can hardly wait to show him this very special gift.
Bryan, usually so organized, tries to accommodate Phiz's enthusiasm when he can, but presently, he wants to finish the letter he is working on so he can put aside his work for the evening. After that he will be able to give Phiz his full attention. Bryan tries to ignore Phiz wearing out his floorboards as he paces back and forth. This only serves to slow Bryan down even more because Phiz is a force of nature when he wants something. Phiz rambles on reminding Bryan of how their lives were before they got together and how much they have helped each other; Phiz helping Bryan find his “wilder side” and Bryan helping Phiz reach a modicum of calmness when he needs to slow down and pay attention. Together they have created a “cocoon” of sorts wherein they can love each other in ways that are significant and fulfilling. Finally, Bryan hears Phiz's real reason for seemingly being so annoying - his desire to give back some of the love Bryan has given him, but it's not totally Bryan's pleasure he's got in mind. When Bryan opens the gift, it becomes quite clear that they are going to have a “smack happy” Valentine's evening.
This is a short but touching and amusing Valentine's story for Phiz and Bryan that all fans of the series will enjoy. It could be read alone, but the real significance of the gift and the lovers is lost unless you have read all of the stories and see the connection between Phiz and Bryan before and after their relationship. If you want a clever, entertaining Valentine's tale with two eccentric but wonderful men, you might like this story. Thanks, Clare, for another witty, charming addition to the series.