Sammy Lowell has a lot going on. He’s in college studying music, trying to keep his severe anemia under control, taking on two jobs (including a secret one), and helping to care for his young brother and sister. It’s all become overwhelming, and he is in need of some help.
Cooper Hoskins is working construction to make money for himself and his foster sister, Felicity (it’s complicated). One day, Cooper tries to take on more than he can handle and winds up falling and becoming injured. While he’s in the hospital, he panics because he doesn’t want Felicity to be taken away. Cooper’s boss springs into action, arranging for Felicity to be taken to Sammy’s uncles’ house.
When Cooper leaves the hospital, he’s also taken there and asked if he’d like to be the family’s new “manny.” Because there’s no way he can return to construction right away and he needs money to take care of Felicity, Cooper decides to take the job. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s instantly attracted to Sammy. As time passes, they become closer. However, Sammy’s health issues and the fact he’ll be leaving for two months to go on a tour with some other musicians may threaten the happiness that’s so close they can touch it. Can they overcome it? Or will Cooper forever remain, simply, the manny.
I’ll begin by telling you Amy Lane is an auto buy for me. I love her stories, world building, and especially her characters. This is the third book in The Mannies series and it’s one of my favorite series I’ve read. It’s lighthearted, low angst, family driven, and the large cast of characters are multi layered, engaging, and charming as hell. Stand By Your Manny is no different, and I enjoyed it very much.
Sammy and Cooper are adorable. There aren’t really any other words that describe them as perfectly. They love their families fiercely. Even though he and Felicity aren’t related by blood, Cooper wants to take care of her so she doesn’t have to go back into foster care (technically, she’s never left it. She just ran away and followed Cooper when he aged out. He just…kept her.). Sammy loves his family just as much. His uncles raised him, and his brother and sister mean the world to him. He has room in his heart for everyone and more. He takes to Felicity right away, and when he sets eyes on Cooper, his world gets bigger and he loves it.
The relationship between Sammy and Cooper develops somewhat quickly. Sammy helps Cooper with his recovery, and Cooper helps Sammy when his anemia begins to fall out of control. This made them grow close in a short period of time. That’s fine, though. It doesn’t feel overly rushed. They’re young (21) and they’ve never had feelings like this for anyone before. It just seemed natural to me. I loved when Cooper thought of Sammy as his angel. It gave me butterflies, and I can imagine that it gave Cooper the butterflies as well. All of this was sweet and charming. When the stolen kisses begin, and the tentative touching, and even innocently sleeping in the same bed, I smiled so much and hung on every word.
Their sexual relationship also felt innocent to me. They’re both virgins, so they explored each other…learned each other’s likes and dislikes. They didn’t jump into anything, well…penetrative, right away, and that was perfect. It wouldn’t have been so romantic if they had. As far as scenes go, I believe there were only three. It didn’t need to be graphic. The kisses were enough. They left me with a feeling of anticipation and therefore, the payoff was very satisfying.
Stand By Your Manny had a sizable cast of characters: Sammy’s uncles, Tino and Channing, the first couple featured in a Mannies story; Brandon and Taylor, the focus of the second; Keenan and Letty, Sammy’s siblings; and last but not least, Felicity. I liked her best. She wasn’t a trusting child. Foster care made her that way, but she loved Cooper so much and she very nearly instantly fell in love with Tino, Channing, Sammy, Keenan, and Letty. She was thrilled to have a family and she was written nicely. It’s not easy with a child. Sometimes, they’re either super bratty, or overly precocious and cute. Letty just felt like an eleven year old.
The story is relatively angst free. Sammy’s anemia was frightening, and when Cooper found out Sammy would be leaving for a couple months, it was a bit sad, but all the issues were resolved relatively quickly. Sure, Sammy’s anemia was always going to be present in their future, but they’re prepared for that.
I found Stand By Your Manny to be a sweet and engaging story. I read it straight through in one sitting. It wasn’t a long book. It was a nice way to spend an evening. Although, I think this could be read as a stand alone, I can’t necessarily recommend that. Because characters do cross over I think you should start with The Virgin Manny and Manny Get Your Guy so you can know who’s who. Also, they’re lovely in their own right. I definitely recommend this book. You’ll fall in love with Sammy and Cooper…just like I did.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.