The Mystery of the Curiosities (Snow & Winter #2)

The Mystery of the Curiosities (Snow & Winter #2) 
Author: CS Poe 
Publisher: Emporium Press
Release Date: February 14, 2020 (reissue)
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance, Criminal Investigation
Page Count: 198
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 

The Mystery of the Curiosities is the second book in the Snow and Winter series. Yeah, I suppose it could be read as a standalone, but you'll definitely want to read The Mystery of Nevermore to learn how Seb and Calvin met.
“When writing my obituary, just be sure it says, ‘Sebastian was the death of him.’”
He [Calvin] turned and walked to the exit.
“Ha, ha,” I said loudly, following. “Heart disease is more believable.”
Calvin turned as he held the door open for Quinn and I. “Not once people meet you, Seb.”
It's only been a matter of weeks since Seb and Calvin officially started dating and now they are immersed in another mystery, this one involving P.T. Barnum's famous museum of curiosities that burned to the ground in 1865. Someone is tempting Seb with clues ("I know you like mysteries" and "He lost the whales but not the mermaid") and murders to solve. Of course, Calvin demands that Seb let the police do their job, but knowing Seb, yeah, that's not gonna happpen.
When I stood up, he put a firm hand on my shoulder and pushed me back into the seat. “Not you. Stay.” “I’m not a dog.” “Dogs take better direction.”
I absolutely love the dynamic between Calvin and Sebastian. Sure the sexual chemistry between the two is sizzling (with a side of dominance), but the bottom line is Sebastian makes Calvin happy. And Sebastian? He worries about Calvin and his PTSD and his stress:
"But I want to help him. I want to help him sleep through the night without dreaming about the dead children in Afghanistan he’s convinced died because he wasn’t a good enough soldier. I want him to stop crying, to stop being afraid. He’s the bravest and strongest man I know, and he thinks the exact opposite of himself.”
I am in awe of C.S. Poe's writing skills and admire the deftness with which she crafts a mystery while building this weird, touching, supportive, deeply sensual, quirky relationship between Sebastian and Calvin that somehow just plains works for them. My only niggle about the book is the pacing of the story. After a brilliant misdirect about the killer (is it someone very familiar to Seb?), the answers finally start coming around 90% into the story and the resolution felt somewhat rushed. I highly recommend this book and anxiously await the next book in the series! 4.5 stars. 

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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