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Matthew’s Present

A Short Holiday Romance Story

by Sarah Hadley Brook

Matthew' s Present audio - Sarah Hadley Brook
Editions:ePub - First Edition: $ 1.99
ISBN: ISBN-13 978-1-63533-168-4
Pages: 23

Matthew Blick is almost thirty years old, and he hates the thought of another holiday alone. He has become a bit of a wet blanket when Christmas rolls around every year. So much so that even his five-year-old niece, Hannah, knows something needs to change. She asks the department store Santa to bring her uncle a man to love, and when Santa sees her uncle, he formulates a plan to set that possibility in motion.

Santa shows up at Matthew’s house and at first Matthew can’t place him, but then the memories of his first kiss flood his mind and he is shocked to find that Santa is the man he has carried a torch for since high school. Will this twist of fate help Matthew change his view on the holidays? Only a kiss can tell.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."


“THERE HE is, Uncle Matthew,” his niece announced quietly, her excitement tempered with the respect all children have for Santa. Eagerly, she nudged him and pointed ahead, barely able to contain her enthusiasm. She was practically bouncing up and down in her pink-and-white snow boots as a grin spread across her delicate face.

Finally, he thought, fighting another yawn. They had been standing in line for at least an hour. He shifted her pink coat onto his other arm and glanced over at Santa’s Workshop, immensely pleased that someone in a Santa suit was making his way over to the green velvet throne. The oversized plush chair was adorned with hideous gold accents and something that he could only assume from this far back was supposed to be holly berries. Larger-than-life presents and toys—was that supposed to be a spinning top?—surrounded the throne, and the ground was covered in lots of fluffy white faux snow.


Several more people dressed in matching elf costumes scurried around as they prepared to open the gate to the dozens of people waiting their turn. He looked down the line of frustrated parents as he tried to gauge how much longer he would be stuck in this nightmare, taking some personal satisfaction at the defeated expressions many of the adults wore. If he had to be stuck here, he was glad there were others suffering along with him. What kind of monster had created this special kind of hell that pulled children in through the lure of sitting on Santa’s lap, only to spit them back out tired, angry, and hungry?

While standing in place for the past hour, he had witnessed the process several times over as more than one ran from the line, a shrieking mother or father usually close on their heels. Most of those parents didn’t show back up, choosing to forgo the line and head home instead. Lucky bastards, he thought.

He scanned the department store again. Large, bulky wreaths decorated with red and gold bows hung everywhere, while thick garlands made of artificial greenery draped across signs, countertops, doors, and railings. Massive ornaments in every shape and color hung from the ceiling throughout the entire store. There was just no way to escape the holiday.

Reviews:The Blogger Girls on The Blogger Girls wrote:

When Matthew’s roped into taking his niece to see Santa, he doesn’t expect the torture of waiting in line. He also doesn’t expect the department store Santa to follow him home only to learn that his niece wished Santa to bring a man for Matthew to love. When Santa shows up, Matthew’s more than stunned especially when he finds out just who Santa is under the suit.

This was such a cute story! I loved the premise of it and how the story played out. The fact that Santa, who’s really Tyler, thought it would be a great idea to ‘gift’ himself as Matthew’s present took a lot of balls and the fact that he didn’t even know how it would play out or have a plan made the story that much more fun. I loved that Matthew and Tyler had a bit of history and it was sweet seeing Matthew realize just who Tyler was.

I really enjoyed this story but I must say, it felt more like the start of a novel than an actual short story. It ended so suddenly, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of what happened next. Specifically, a little snippet of where these two are in three or even six months.

All in all, I enjoyed this little story. I liked that Tyler took such a big risk and then felt embarrassed by it. I also liked that these two had a little bit of history. I definitely hope this author writes a sequel because I’d love to know if Tyler and Matthew make it after the holidays. Definitely give this one a go if you’re looking for a short, sweet little story!

Overall Impression: I really liked it!

Jordan on Alpha Book Club wrote:

Review: 5 Stars for Matthew’s present (and the book).

This little Christmas short gave me a lot of feels. Matthew was that cute, hard-working guy who loved his family, was far too much of a push over for his own good, an just couldn’t seem to get his holiday spirit back after one terrible Christmas six years ago.

Tyler was the cute boy who happened to be in the right place at the right time once in his life and just could not let it go. He had eyes that could imprison you and he knew just how to make Matthew smile.

These two had chemistry for days and they fit together just right. Their history together made their formal introduction much more intense and can we give Matthew’s niece a round of applause for setting this up?

Highly recommended. Great book. This was my first time reading a book by Sarah Hadley Brook and I was not disappointed. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for her future releases.

Lucy on Hearts on Fire Reviews wrote:

Review: This is the of Uncle Matthew, a scrooge at Christmas to the point where his beloved five-year-old niece, Hannah, notices. Matthew hasn’t always hated Christmas but there came a time when a cheating boyfriend ruined the holiday for him. He knows it shouldn’t define Christmas but it does. “It was almost like his reality had crashed down around him, and he felt the need to protect himself every Christmas.”
When Santa shows up on his doorstep he thinks he’s being punked, but no. It turns out to be Tyler, the boy he shared a kiss with in high school. Tyler is crushed that Matthew doesn’t remember him but he does.
This is a short story, 69 pages on my iPad, and it’s very holiday and sweet. Hannah has made her request to Santa, “She asked Santa for a man to love her Uncle Matthew so he wouldn’t be lonely and would like Christmas again.” That’s exactly what Santa has set out to do and I enjoyed reading it.

About the Author

Sarah Hadley Brook reserves her evenings for her hobby-turned-passion of writing, letting the characters she conjures up in her mind take the lead and show her where the story will go. She dreams of traveling to Scotland some day and visiting the places her ancestors lived. Sarah believes in “Happily Ever After” and strives to ensure her characters find their own happiness in love and life.