Rating: 4.5 stars
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Since Hank Calder’s sister dumped her four-year-old daughter Josie with him and took off, he has just been trying to hold things together. Keeping a routine, taking care of Josie, and trying to make a good home for her have been his only priorities. To keep himself sane, Hank tries to get in regular work outs at his gym, putting Josie in babysitting there. But Justin, the college student who works the child care, makes him crazy. Hank thinks Justin is swishy and flaming and full of all kinds of drama that Hank doesn’t need in his life right now. Hanks sister Amanda has always been full of drama and Hank spent years taking care of her. Including now bailing her out when she disappears on her own daughter. So all Hank wants to do is stay away from Justin and hold on to his safe and quiet life.
But Josie loves Justin, and when Justin offers to help Hank out of a bind, the men start to get to know one another. And as they do, Hank comes to realize how solid and dependable Justin really is. He is nothing like Amanda, and in fact, is someone Hank can really rely on. And Justin is so full of life and energy and happiness, he helps Hank realize that he can have comfort and control, but also some fun and sunshine in his life as well. The men begin to form a little family of three, but when Amanda comes back, it could threaten their newfound happiness.
Oh this one was sweet and amusing and a lot of fun (and for you Amy Lane regulars, not at all intense or angsty). I could feel for Hank as he is still reeling from adapting to life with a sudden four year old. He likes routine and structure and everything his sister does not, then suddenly his life is in total upheaval. Yet he never wavers in his commitment to Josie or his determination to keep her has a part of his life. And Justin is so fun and lively and adorable and just works his way right into Hank’s life before Hank really knows what hit him. Even though Justin is younger and appears sort of frivolous, he is actually a grounded, loving man and is totally there to support Hank.
My only real quibble here is I am not sure I totally get why being flamboyant and sort of twinkly equals drama in Hank’s eyes. Yes, Justin is sort of hand flappy, sing-song voiced, and other stereotypical traits. But these are all outer appearances. Nothing about Justin’s personality, even before they get to know each other, indicates drama to me, and certainly nothing close to the self-centered unreliability of Hank’s sister. So this instant dislike was a bit of a stretch for me.
Overall I found this is a sweet, amusing holiday with a really likable couple. I enjoyed it a lot.