Rating: 3.75 stars
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Lil Lampert and Grier Dilorio have been together about six months now. Lil has moved from his bachelor life in San Francisco into a small apartment in Chicago with Grier and his son Luca. The guys are still adjusting to their new lives together and things aren’t completely smooth sailing. Lil is used to having money and spending it on what he wants, but Grier is not comfortable having Lil pay more than half of the expenses. As a result, the guys struggle when Lil wants to move into a larger place (and pay the bulk of the costs), as well as spend money on Grier and Luca. And the men still have a lot of tension with Luca’s mother, Jillian, and both her need for total control over Luca, as well as her lack of acceptance of Lil and Grier’s relationship. Luca has adjustment issues as well as he deals with bullying and other difficulties at school from having two dads. But Lil and Grier are deeply in love and committed to making things work despite the challenges.
Daddio is the third book in Ashling’s Horizons series and this story follows closely on the previous story Taste, which introduces Lil and Grier. I read and enjoyed Taste, although (shockingly for me), I did not read the first book in the series, Horizons, that focuses on different main characters. I liked watching Lil and Grier get to know each other in their first story and how they dealt with the issues of a 12-year age gap, Grier having a son, and Grier’s complicated relationship with Jillian. I am also a fan of a good underwear kink and Grier’s taste for lace is a exciting theme in the first story. So when I saw that there was a sequel for these guys (and the underwear kink was proudly displayed on the cover) I picked it up.
I enjoyed reconnecting with Grier and Luca and they continue to be a hot couple. I really liked seeing how much of a family unit they have become and how quickly Lil has become a father to Luca. I also enjoyed the scenes with Clark and Jody, MCs from Horizons, who play a bigger role in this story than they do in the second. I think fans of their book will be pleased with the amount of page time they get and a peek into how their relationship has developed (as well as how hot they are together).
But there were some things that just didn’t work for me as well here. First off, I am not sure there was enough happening here to pull off its own story. The book felt more like a chance to check back in with the characters than a stand alone story and I needed a bit more from the plot. I was also a little frustrated that things felt so negative between the guys and that in many cases I thought they behaved badly towards each other. As the story opens, Lil is frustrated by the small apartment and the frequent arguments about money. We jump right into this almost immediately, which was a bit surprising, without much set up about the positive end of their new relationship. It is clear that this is a recurring fight the guys are having and Lil is grumbly about giving up his space and Grier’s refusal to take his money. But then it is resolved when Lil just decides to hire a realtor and to rent a new house before Grier even agrees. In fact, Grier has specifically said no, but Lil just steamrolls ahead and decides he will convince Lil later. This kind of disregard for other people’s wishes seems to happen often throughout the book. When Jillian disagrees with Grier’s interest in signing Luca up for football, he just goes ahead and does it, including getting Luca all excited about it, without her permission. Again, he knows her objections and he just says he’ll convince her. This was just such a strange recurring issue that happens among so many of the characters. It just felt so oddly disrespectful and no one ever seems to accept that it is wrong (nor does the book suggest that there is anything wrong with their behavior).
The relationship between Grier, Jillian, and Lil continues to be a struggle in this story. I was surprised that we don’t get much recap of the conflict from the first book since it is hard to understand just why things are so contentious between them all. For most of this book, the guys alternate between trying to pacify her (in Lil’s case through money) and being totally fed up with her and calling her nasty names. I think more backstory here would have helped make Jillian less one dimensional, as we know from Taste that despite her frequent nastiness, she does care deeply for Luca. I would have liked to see that come out a bit earlier in the story and not make her such a flat nasty bitch for most of the book. Or at least to provide a better understanding to new readers why she behaves the way she does.
There were other small things that felt a little rocky. I noticed some inconsistencies in the guys words versus their behavior. Grier is very concerned about money and doesn’t want Lil spending on him, yet he dresses in La Perla underwear that Lil buys and barely flinches as it gets ripped off. Do you know how expensive La Perla is? The cheapest underwear on their web site is $42 and it goes up to over $150 a pair. We are told Grier’s fears about money are causing major problems between them but then this is a non issue. Or early in the book Grier comments how important it is to keep their sex life away from Luca for fear family court will restrict their rights. Then he is giving Lil a blow job behind an unlocked door 30 seconds after Luca has just barged in on them. I also thought it odd how much time the book spends extolling the virtues of Pop Warner football. I get it is to support Grier’s desire to see Luca play football versus soccer, but at times it felt like an advertisement for the organization with multiple long passage devoted to why Pop Warner is so wonderful. I think a lot of these issues would have made less of an impact on me if the story was stronger plot-wise, but because there wasn’t a ton happening here, I think it made these problem areas more apparent.
Overall I was mixed on this book. I think if you are fans of the first two books in this series you will enjoy seeing all these guys again and catching up with their relationships. The book gives you a nice sense of how things have developed with Jody and Clark and where they are going for Lil and Grier. I liked that they show both the development of Lil and Grier’s relationship with each other, as well as their closeness as a family to Luca. But despite the positives, not everything totally came together for me on this one.
Cover Review: Love this! Not only is it super hot, but I appreciated that they weren’t afraid to go a little bold and put the underwear kink right out there. Gorgeous!