Morris Proctor may be a proud geek and a self-employed comic book artist, but he’s a little lonely, and more than a little tired of his overbearing family. Meeting his new neighbors by chance, Morris is surprised how boy-next-door Theo is—and how affable, too. Theo has moved himself and his younger brother, Lincoln, into the apartment to give their sister and her husband an empty home to start their family. See, Theo’s parents both died within a week of one another about nine months ago and he’s now the head of the family, running their father’s restaurant and trying to rebuild their lives.
Theo isn’t in a good place for a relationship, but Morris and Lincoln have a connection through a mutual love of comics and geek culture. Their close proximity gives Morris and Lincoln the opportunity for a fling, but their conflicting schedules—as well as Theo’s guardianship of Lincoln who is 15 and sulky at times—puts a damper on their sexytimes. That said, they connect whenever possible, and it really isn’t long before they are building a friendship and confidences that are more serious than a fling would indicate.
While this is Morris and Theo’s love story, there are a few chapters here and there that are told by other characters—and I expect them to have books in this series coming soon. It’s a quiet story, with well-drawn leads who are seeming opposites: Morris is a long, tall black man who eschews sports and favors kilts. Theo’s shorter, but scrappy, with a passion for cooking and basketball. Morris is the baby of his family and craves isolation, while Theo’s the eldest and committed to holding his crumbling family together. At their hearts, Morris and Theo are simple guys who favor simple pleasures—and doing small deeds to help one another out. The grief Theo suffers really came across, and his guilt over the state of his family was palpable and understandable. Morris is a good man, with some insecurities stemming from his near-constant scrutiny by family and ex-lovers. Realizing that Theo doesn’t judge him is a turning point for Morris. Once these two start to make time for one another, it becomes clear that a fling will not be the way they connect. I liked how non-drama they are, and also I liked how willing they were to accommodate each other. There are con scenes and game nights and tenderly prepared meals and family squabbles. It’s a sweet love story with some flashes of sexytimes.
I think readers who connect with odd-couple stories, or have a geek flag they wave, would like this one.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.