Tino is a college student, and he’s studying for his finals when his sister asks him to help her out. She makes pre-made Italian dinners and delivers them to people. She’s also working on her finals, but she’s actually still in high school. Tino agrees to make deliveries for her, but he’s not exactly happy about it.
Channing is a businessman, but he’s found himself caring for his nephew, Sammy, after his sister’s sudden death. He knows he’s definitely out of his league, and he could use some help.
Channing’s house is the last delivery Tino has to make, and he finds a home in turmoil. Sammy is having a meltdown, the housekeeper is insulting Channing in French, and Channing is clueless as to what to do next.
Tino shows Channing what to do with the meal and invites himself to dinner. While it’s cooking, Manny makes sure the nasty housekeeper is aware he speaks French as well, calms Sammy down, and helps Channing feel a little less panicky. This leads to Channing offering Tino a job being…well…a manny. He can take care of Sammy, help around the house, and in exchange, Channing will pay Tino’s education and student loans. It’s a deal that seems too good to be true, but also too good to pass up, so Tino agrees.
And so begins one of the sweetest, sexiest, and most fun books I’ve read. Amy Lane is an automatic one click for me. I love her books, and I make no secret of that. So, when the opportunity to read Virgin Manny became available, I jumped on it. I was not disappointed.
Lane’s characters are always pitch perfect, and Tino and Channing are no different. They’re struggling with something…school and student loans for Tino, and work and having to learn how to “parent” Sammy for Channing. However, they’re also strong. Tino isn’t drowning, and Channing isn’t a bumbling incompetent. They both just need a little help. Their relationship started out slowly, with them becoming friends before they became lovers. They also had to present a united front when it came to Sammy. The poor boy is grieving his mother and acts out occasionally. Tino and Channing want to help him without turning him into a spoiled brat. Speaking of Sammy, sometimes having children in a romance story can be iffy. They can come off as unrealistic, either by being perfect or by being little terrors. Sammy was the right balance of each.
The background characters in The Virgin Manny are all excellently written and they all fill their roles. Everyone from Tino’s young sister, to Tino’s best friend (nice little subplot there, but I’m not going to give it away), to the sweet Arthur who Tino wants to protect from being mistreated. The story isn’t incredibly long, and even though there are quite a few of these characters, they’re never overwhelming. I never felt like I was losing Tino and Channing because everyone fit together so well.
Speaking of fitting together…the title is The Virgin Manny, and that means Tino is, indeed, a virgin. I loved how Lane made their relationship proceed with care, rather than Channing deflowering Tino on page ten. By doing that, we’re invested in their love for each other, and THE scene was all the more special. Don’t get me wrong, there are smexytime scenes throughout the book, but Tino and Channing never seemed to be in a real rush. In the end, everyone was satisfied…Tino, Channing, and me 🙂
The Virgin Manny is a lovely story, and the perfect way to spend an evening. Well, longer than an evening. I did stay up until well after 3:00 am because I didn’t want to put it down. There was about a minute’s worth of angst, and that is pretty important to me. The end was completely satisfying, and it made me sigh deeply and smile.
I have no qualms about recommending this one. In fact, I might just insist you all go get it.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.