Amazon Link: The Missing Butterfly
Author: Megan Derr
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cassidy Monarch had dreams of becoming a rock star with his band the Four Butterflies. At 18 years old, the world seemed stretched before him, until his life took a sudden turn when a drunk driver killed both his parents. With two younger siblings who would face foster care without him, Cassidy gave up his dreams and dedicated his life to raising his brother and sister.
Now, almost nine years later, his siblings are mostly grown and Cassidy has finally found himself an office job that will also pay for him to go to college. After slaving away in a diner for years for an evil boss who took advantage of him, Cassidy is relieved to find a better job situation, but constantly fearful of losing this great opportunity. When he finds himself attracted to his sexy boss Malcolm Osborne, Cassidy knows getting involved would be a terrible idea. He can’t risk losing his job so he tries to stay far away from Malcolm and to present himself as a solid, regular office guy, even though his inner rocker doesn’t lurk too far below the surface. Although he has given up his dream of becoming a rock star, Cassidy occasionally gives in to the temptation to sing karaoke at bars in another town, needing an outlet for his music.
Malcolm is incredibly attracted to Cassidy as well, but worries that the man is so skittish around him. Malcolm too hides a bit of a wilder side. He was raised as a foster child along with two other boys and as an adult he is still incredibly close with Carlos and Antoine. But in his late teens, a long lost uncle materialized, leaving him with millions. Although he doesn’t have to work, Malcolm has no interest in being a lonely jet setter and likes the stability and interaction that come from holding a steady job. Now all he wants is someone to share his life with, and his heart is set on Cassidy.
Yet Cassidy still worries that getting involved with his boss is a mistake, especially one who is so wealthy and powerful. On top of that, Malcolm’s brother Antoine and his best friend Wally (who is is music executive) are trying to convince him to try again in the music industry. But as much as Cassidy misses those dreams, he still feels like he must be there for his brother and sister. With all these opportunities coming his way, Cassidy has to decide if he is ready to take them.
I really enjoyed the set up of this story and the idea that both these men had so much hiding beneath the surface. In their office jobs they are both straight-laced, regular guys, but each has a side of himself that he keeps secret. Cassidy has his inner rocker, with armfuls of tattoos he keeps carefully hidden and a beautiful voice he only shares with strangers. And Malcolm is a secret millionaire who has a bit of a thing for the bad boys. When they meet, they are each attracted to the other’s public persona, but when they find out the real person underneath, it turns out to be an even more perfect match.
Both Cassidy and Malcolm are such good selfless people. Cassidy has given up all his dreams to keep his family together and protect his siblings. Even now with them almost grown, he still is dedicated to making sure they are supported and always puts them first. And Malcolm could easily be a spoiled millionaire, but instead is generous with his money and loving with his family. I especially loved the relationship between Malcolm and his two brothers and the way they are totally bonded even though they are all so different.
I had a few issues with the book. I really liked Malcolm, but I did find him quite heavy handed in places in the story. Cassidy is incredibly independent and committed to caring for his siblings. He is also very clear that he is not dating Malcolm for his money. Yet there are two points where Malcolm manipulates things on Cassidy’s behalf by throwing money around. One concerns a business venture that indirectly impacts Cassidy, but the other is a direct meddling in Cassidy’s life in a very significant way. I did find myself a bit frustrated that he would step in like that and I wish we learned more about what happens when (or if) he ever tells Cassidy about it.
A few other small things. I had a bit of hard time really believing Malcolm’s flexibility on his job. He is working as the head of accounting in the same firm where Antoine is the Chief Creative Officer. Malcolm seems to come and go as he pleases, often going and hanging out all day in Antoine’s office, or leaving in the middle of the day for a few hours. I know he doesn’t need the money, but he is holding down this management job and he seems to have an unusual amount of freedom and flexibility that would be unlikely for a man at his level.
I also thought it was sort of strange that people often called each other a title followed by their first name (“Mr. Malcolm” or “Mr. Antoine”). This just seemed strange to me, because although I have heard young kids refer to adults this way, I have never heard of other adults using these sorts of titles for each other. For some reason it just threw me off every time I heard it. The book also had several typographical errors (missing words, etc) that I think should have been caught in editing.
Despite this issues, I really enjoyed the book and both men. I was worried when I read the blurb that it would be sad with Cassidy mourning his old life and what he had lost. But even though he misses his rocker days, Cassidy is so good natured and happy with his choices that it never brings the story down. I really liked how both men are so multi-layered and that they match up together just perfectly. Very enjoyable story.
P.S. Oh, and I loved the band name and how it interplays with Cassidy’s last name and the book title. Very clever.
Tabloid Trouble is a short story that is part of Less Than Three’s Kiss Me Quick series. It focuses on a quick scene in Malcolm and Cassidy’s lives after Cassidy has made it big as a rock star. He and Malcolm have been separated for a while due to their job commitments, and now are seeing each other again after two months apart. But Cassidy is worried because another musician kissed him in front of the media in an attempt to bait the tabloids and get some publicity. Now he fears that Malcolm will think that Cassidy is cheating on him. This is a short little story and not a whole lot happens, but it is a nice way to see where the guys go in the future.
If you want even more of this series, check out our review of By the Way, a short story focusing on Antoine and Wally.