Jeff is a successful chef at a renowned Ottawa restaurant with a big house and a lover of nearly seven years when his best friend, Beth, dies in a house fire. That’s not the worst though. Beth left behind her two children, 3-year-old Robin and newborn Kimberley, fathered by Jeff’s donated sperm. Jeff, despite having no paternal desires, honors Beth’s will and dying wishes to care for “their” babies. His lover walks out, and his sister isn’t able to assist, either. Jeff needs a nanny.
Donny arrives on Jeff’s doorstep as all heck is breaking loose inside. He’s been turned down for nanny jobs multiple times after potential employers object to him being male and gay. As it stands, Jeff’s in no position to refuse Donny’s capable help, and after a few calls to check his references, Donny’s moving his meager belongings into Jeff’s pristine, not-safe-for-kids home.
As the time passes, Jeff’s able to regain his balance and get comfortable with his new fatherhood. Donny is indispensable in this transition and Jeff knows it. Also, Donny’s so sweet and attractive. It’s not been long since his boyfriend left, but Jeff feels mighty unattractive. And, well, Donny is enchanted by all the sweetness he sees with Jeff and the kiddos. They seem to really gel as a family, and that’s when Jeff’s D-bag ex turns up to demand money. And make trouble.
That said, the mutual attraction doesn’t simmer long between Donny and Jeff—because they decide to quench their thirst. And, it’s cool. Robin adores Donny and thinks nothing of finding Jeff and Donny sharing a bed. There’s a lot of sweetness happening, even as more tragedy strikes. I liked how this developed and resolved. The reader had a good look at Jeff’s pre-kids life and his now life, and it was such a sweet dichotomy. The growing bond between Donny and Jeff gets a little strained, but Donny, for all his youth, isn’t one to let trouble brew. Donny takes initiative to restore their family dynamic even as Jeff struggles to make sense of his losses. I loved the tenderness and the way they weather the unpleasant storm. It seems as if Jeff’s ex is the root of their troubles, but little is made of it. I guess I’m the type that wants every plot thread tied tight, and that aspect seemed a bit loose.
It’s a sweet read, and especially nice if you enjoy loving daddies and manny stories. Jeff and Donny dote on the kiddos and give solid affection to one another. I enjoyed it.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.