NOTE: I tried to contact Tara Tory/DVS because I can’t find this story online anywhere. No luck. I’d be happy to scan it in from my hard copy with permission, but I won’t do it without. If anyone has access to an online version, or contact info for Tara Tory, I’d appreciate it if you’d let me know and I can update this rec with an actual link.
The Evergreen Affair is available (so far as I know) only in zine form from Kathleen Resch. That said, here’s why I want to rec this story at this time of year, in spite of not being able to give y’all a link:
It’s a Christmas fic. I love Christmas fic. The Christmas element is not in the forefront - it's a subplot - but it is warm and charming.
I love the pacing of this story. There is absolutely no hurry, either for us or for the agents. Although they are on a case, it’s a cold case, so they’re taking their time. This allows for lovely scene and mood building, which I love. DVS gives us wonderful scene-setting, interesting peripheral characters, dialogue that gradually draws the characters into a sexual/romantic situation, and overall ambience that is perfect for the holidays. The pacing is relaxed but not (for me) draggy, with great local color. The setting is the Southeastern U.S. and DVS provides enough flavor for me to feel I'm getting a sense of the area and the towns and the people in them.
In spite of the relaxed pacing, the story is not lazily written. There is a serious case here – it’s not just a fluffy romance fic – and the build-up and actual denouement of the case are fresh and interesting. The story is carefully constructed to hide a serious of well-spaced clues in plain sight (even as it sneaks up on the idea of a sexual/romantic relationship between Napoleon and Illya), and the climax of the case is startling and exciting.
The romantic element between our heroes is gentle and careful and persuasive, in keeping with the pacing of the whole story. Romantic, but not sappy, with a Christmas flavor that I love.
The Evergreen Affair is a favorite re-read of mine. I hope anyone interested can find a copy, and I really hope it can be found online now or soon.