Story Rating: 4.75 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: J.P. Handler
Length: 8 hours, 38 minutes
A Halloween prank leads Logan Wilde, known by the neighbourhood kids as “crazy soldier guy,” to the doorstep of Richard Hunter and his grandson Nick, where Logan proceeds to interrogate Nick and his friends about the damaging prank. Satisfied that the boys were not to blame, Logan apologizes and thanks them for their cooperation. Richard is unimpressed with Logan’s rash behavior, and Logan can’t help but notice his attractive neighbor with the rainbow license cover.
An interested Logan begins a reconnaissance campaign to discover more about this quiet man with a child. Deciding that Richard’s morning run is the ideal opportunity to make contact, Logan is surprised when Richard mentions that he has seen Logan around often lately, and then shocked and appalled when Richard lays down the law: Nick is never left unsupervised and Logan should not get any ideas about the boy. Distracted by Logan’s angry reply, Richard runs into a light post, knocking himself out.
Logan makes his intentions clear and Richard is intrigued by the muscular ex-Marine who tries his best to help Richard realize that a single parent can date. It does not take long for Richard to give into his attraction to Logan.
When Richard’s daughter-in-law starts showing up without an appointment (as per the custody agreement) with her tweaked out boyfriend in tow, followed by Nick being beat up at school, and with Richard’s aversion to violence, tension begins to run high. Can two opposites, a liberal pacifist and a former Marine, find enough in common to make it work, regardless of the outside forces trying to keep them apart?
What attracted me to Family Unit was two-fold. First, to have MCs in their 40s is a refreshing change, and I have a liking for stories that feature children (which is funny since I am not a fan of children in real life).
Maxfield kept the story simple and realistic, adding just the right amount of conflict, and some suitable trials and tribulations as Richard and Logan to navigate the early days of their relationship. I was actually impressed with the world building in Family Unit because many times in a contemporary story, this element goes by the wayside and yet I could visualize so much of the world inhabited by Logan, Richard, Nick, and their friends and foes.
Nick’s situation, what brought him to be in the care of his grandfather Richard, was well thought out and was an integral part of the story, supporting the romantic thread and demonstrating so much of Richard’s personality, strength, and determination. Logan had some two-dimensional elements to his character at the beginning, primarily due to being a Marine, as he saw events as black and white. It took some time for him to grow as a character, but when he did, it was nice to see the softie under that tough military exterior.
The narrator sounded like the right age to portray Richard and Logan, but I felt that Richard’s voice cracked like a boy in the middle of puberty, making him seem like someone decades younger than his 43 years. Nick, on the other hand, sounded very similar, a bit smoother, and overall, not a bad portrayal of a 9 year-old. Logan’s characterization was a nice, smooth, deep voice and was maintained throughout the story. Pace and pauses were an issue, at times too fast with sentences running together. I am a big fan of clear diction and enunciation, but not at the expense of a natural sounding narration, and this was an issue at times as well.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.