Nic Price is the CEO of his family’s company. He’s under a lot of pressure from his parents, the company’s board, and, well, himself. He’s got two children at home: Ben, 12, and Lucy, 16. They’re not his biological children. Nic’s sister and her husband were killed and he has custody. Nic’s able to admit he doesn’t spend enough time with the kids, but he believes they’re independent, and besides, he’s got things to do. Nic relies on nannies and tutors and even his best friend/assistant, Percy, to take care of them. This leads to the children acting out. Yet another nanny has quit and Nic’s in a bind as he’s going to be leaving for Italy soon.
Sasha Lindsey is a recently out of work teacher. He’s just had a breakup with is boyfriend (who cheated) and that boyfriend works in the same department at the school. Sasha will be losing his apartment and his car, and he needs a job quickly. Getting a hit on one of the resumes he sent out, Sasha’s hired as the “manny” for Nic’s niece and nephew. There is a bit of a mix up, however. Because of his name, the company who hires Nic’s nannies assumed Sasha was a woman. Still, Sasha is qualified for the job and he is hired.
The children love Sasha, but when Nic returns from Italy and sees the “mess” they’ve created in the living room (they were decorating a Christmas tree), he gets angry and considers firing Sasha. Nic’s still in a bind, though, and needs someone to take care of Ben and Lucy, so he decides to keep him on. Also, even though he treated Sasha badly, Nic can’t help be attracted to him on a visceral level. Sasha is attracted as well, but he’s afraid to get involved with an employer. Still, the men find themselves falling deeper and deeper in love, and when things hit the fan at Nic’s job, he and Sasha have to decide if they want to fight for their relationship, or if they should just let it go so Nic can continue to be a cog in his family’s money making machine.
I love, love, love manny stories. Most of the time, they’re sweet and I eat that up. Combine that with a Christmas theme, and The CEO’s Christmas Manny was a good story with well-written characters and a compelling plot. I was happy to have picked this one up.
I liked Nic and Sasha as characters and as a couple. I have to admit, I did not like Nic right away. Truthfully, he was an ass. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because he was raised to become CEO of his parent’s company from a very young age, and his father holds that over his head. Make more money or we’ll remove you from your position is a common threat. Also, he really didn’t know anything about children and sort of considered them to be adults in smaller bodies. Through all of this, Nic did love them. He just didn’t know how to show it. When Nic finally realizes he’s been a jerk, his change is lovely to read. Sasha, I liked right away. Children loved him. He was a math teacher, so he was able to make learning fun, and he carried that over to Ben and Lucy.
Oftentimes, their conflicts were difficult to read, but when Nic gets his epiphany, things smoothed out. He became lovingly demonstrative with Ben and Lucy, and his stolen moments with Sasha were sexy, but sweet. Toward the end, Nic does something that almost made me regret becoming attached to him, but it didn’t last very long. It did interrupt the flow of the story, and certainly changed the rhythm of the plot, but it does recover.
There were only three important background characters in the story. Ben and Lucy love their uncle. What they don’t love is being regimented without any sort of fun. Percy is Nic’s best friend and he tries to make Nic understand he needs to actually spend time with Ben and Lucy…and realize that working for his parents may not be what he really wants. There is a tiny bit of interaction between Nic and his parents. Those interactions were an important plot point, but they were more the antagonists than serious characters.
The ending tied up neatly and there were no surprises. That’s absolutely fine. Happily Ever After’s are a must, and I got one. It was hard fought, though, and that made it even better. I enjoyed The CEO’s Christmas Manny and I do not hesitate to recommend it. It’s a comfort read…sexy and adorable, and I think it will be loved by everyone.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.