Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf (Heartwarming) by B.G. Thomas

Grumble MonkeyRating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary Setting, Christmas, HFN, Short Story

Length: 95 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Dreamspinner Press,


Blurb:  Kit Jefferies, a part-time department store Christmas elf, is an artist who loves life and his family. Unfortunately, his car dies at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere as he is heading home for Christmas. Enter Nick St. George. 

Nick is a very unhappy man—he’s achieved his professional goals only to find the rest of his life bleak and empty. Deciding there was only one way to make everything right, he is on his way to San Francisco on a dark mission, and even the horrible sleet storm that blocked his path won’t deter him. That’s when he found Kit. 

At first, Nick is pretty sure rescuing Kit was a big mistake. Kit’s personality is just too, well, effervescent. But as the miles go by, Kit begins to bring light to his dark heart. It might even be bright enough to illuminate a Christmas miracle.


With Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf I did something I have only done a handful of times in all the years I’ve been reading. I read the story without reading the blurb first. In fact, I only just read the blurb when I put it in this review. I decided to read this story strictly because of the title.  Who wouldn’t want to read a story called Grumble Monkey and the Department Store Elf? Doing this could be hit or miss for me but it turned out to be a definite hit.

Nick St. George  just wants to make it to San Francisco.  He has plans and there will be no stopping what he feels he needs to do. Nick is not a happy man and driving in the middle of nowhere in a dangerous ice storm only adds to that unhappiness. When the ice builds on his windshield wipers he has to pull into a rest area to fix them or he’ll never be able to continue on with the long drive ahead of him. Pulling off the exit, he almost hits a broken down vehicle and then ends up offering the driver of that vehicle a ride home – a drive that in good weather would only take a couple of hours but ends up taking much longer.

Kit is an art student who just wants to make it home to be with his large family for Christmas. First, his car dies. Second, he calls his family and there is no answer. There is no one around for miles and he’s in a very desperate state. Until Nick shows up.

Kit is openly gay and has no problem with everyone knowing it. He has the rainbow sticker on his car and refuses to hide who he is for anyone. He comes from a large, happy family. He refuses to curse – using words like “poop” and “golly”.  He’s absolutely adorable.

Nick is gay but hates people like Kit. He doesn’t care for the flamboyance and he has never been one for public displays of affection. Strike that. He refuses to allow any public displays of affection. He wants to look straight, act straight and he stays away from any gay man who is not just like him.  He hates people like Kit, who aren’t ashamed of who they are.

This guy could not have passed for heterosexual if he went down on a woman. He probably had a gay pride sticker on his car, maybe even one shaped like a dog or Mickey Mouse. As if being gay was something to toot your horn about.

This is exactly the kind of gay who feeds the hatred against us, Nick thought.

Straight people didn’t have “pride” events. Why did so many gay people feel a need to make a spectacle of themselves? One’s sexuality was no one’s business but one’s own. 

… oh God! Were those rhinestones along the front pockets? Could the elf be any gayer? Hell!

Nick is extremely wealthy and feels that money and power are all that matter in life, everything else be damned. As the story plays out, the reasons for Nick’s bitterness are revealed and the reader is able to see that money and power are nothing when they leave you feeling lost, empty. This is Nick.

During the long drive Kit forces Nick to reevaluate himself and he doesn’t like what he sees. He knows he’s harsh and mean and cranky but he believes that’s the way he’s supposed to be. “Be a man! Don’t show weakness!” But on the dark and icy roads Nick realizes that maybe he’s a better person than he thought he was. He learns this thanks to a young college student who works as a Christmas elf at a department store.

More happens but I won’t give the entire story. I found myself laughing a lot in the beginning because Kit won’t tolerate Nick being a “Grumble Monkey” even if they are in Nick’s car. Nick is seriously not a nice guy in any way but Kit calls him on it often.Toward the end I went from laughing to almost being teary. You can’t help but feel for Nick and what he has been forced to live with even if he is trying his damndest to come across as the biggest ass in the world. He didn’t have the happy family life that Kit grew up with and it has seriously hardened him. All of that is what has led to his reasons for going to San Francisco (I won’t be giving that away).

Overall, an excellent short. My only complaint isn’t even a complaint as I knew the length going in – I wish it would have been a few pages longer.

The title is perfect and not just because it’s cute. It’s perfect for the story.


This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Kazza K

I loved that title from the moment you marked it to read. I’m so glad you liked it like you did. I need a Grumble Monkey book right now 🙂

Well, “poop,” cute review!