Quinn is a bad boy. Rich and spoiled, he’s an entitled brat and he knows it. He likes the best horses, fast cars, good drugs, bespoke suits, and a new man in his bed every night. Not that any of them stay the night. Most of them only want to stay long enough for a quick fuck, leaving Quinn alone and lonely and once more washing the feel of another stranger off his skin.
Ellis has recently returned to Savannah. While riding to a hunt, Quinn catches his eye. Quinn is a beautiful boy with enormous blue eyes and filled with so much pain that Ellis just wants to reach over and wrap him up in his arms, to protect him from the world. Quinn, as he is, isn’t quite what Ellis wants. He doesn’t want a young man made of sharp, splintered glass pieces. He wants to take the broken bird and make it whole, give it wings to let it fly, and if he’s very lucky this time, the pretty bird might just fly back to him.
I Wish I Were Special is not just a May/December romance; it’s also about two men with a very similar kink — that of Daddy and boy. This isn’t a relationship built on age play; instead, it’s about care and comfort. Quinn wants someone to take care of him and love him, and Ellis wants to nurture someone. The relationship is loving and consensual and, while Quinn in his bratty moments can come across as younger, he’s 19 going on 20 in this book.
Quinn is an ‘oops baby,’ the unexpected fifth and final child of his parents — and he’s never been allowed to forget that he wasn’t really wanted; they didn’t even have him baptized like the other children. He was raised by uncaring nannies and his parents have only been distant and indifferent figures. The drugs, the drinking, the unhappy, unsatisfying and lonely one night stands … they all mean nothing to his parents. Quinn’s friends have been moving on lately, finding boyfriends and lovers while Quinn finds an empty bed and an indifferent world.
Savannah’s society has become Quinn’s mirror, showing the twisted, depraved reflection of himself he’s carefully cultivated. Everyone in town knows everyone else and every last bit of gossip about them. Quinn has only to give it a glance to see his many failures and how he can’t possibly live up to anyone’s expectations because … no one has any expectations of him at all. It’s only when he meets Ellis that he finds someone who thinks he can be something more. Ellis gives him a new mirror, one that shows him nothing but love and support.
Ellis has had other young lovers in the past and he’s done what he can to try to help them. To get this one clean, or that one into a better place, and again and again they leave him. He’s never able to be what they want him to be, and they don’t allow him to be what he wants to be. He knows he has a fondness for younger men and it’s something he’s tried to put away. But when Quinn looks up at him and calls him Daddy, it does things to him, both to that part of him, and to his heart. Ellis wants to care fo a lover, to keep them safe, to tuck them in, to feed them, to … well, to nurture them. It borders on control, and he loves that Quinn is as submissive as Ellis is dominant. Both of them share the same kinks and are very much physically compatible. However, everyone else only sees a nearly 40-year-old man with a 19-year old, and everyone thinks it’s just Ellis taking advantage of the younger man, and Quinn taking advantage of a sugar daddy.
All Ellis wants is someone to need him, someone to let him take care of them, someone he can pour his heart and soul into and watch them grow and flourish and become the person he knows they can be. He looks at Quinn and sees all the pain, the self-loathing, the fear, and the loneliness and he wants to reach and and heal those hurts and help Quinn see just how amazing he is, how wonderful he is. For Quinn, he’s never been the one whose wanted, he’s never been the focus of anyone’s love. Quinn has never had anyone empathize with his pain, let alone acknowledge how much he was hurting. And he’s so scared to open himself to Ellis because if he does, if he lets himself trust that this person loves him, cares for him, wants him, it will hurt so much more having known that feeling when it’s inevitably taken away.
For Ellis, Quinn is everything, in bed and out. He cooks for him, cuddles him, holds him through his tears and tantrums. When, during one of their many, many sexual games, Quinn says he’s not enjoying a position, Ellis stops and asks him what would make him happier. They rearrange themselves until Quinn’s more comfortable, and Ellis assures him that it’s only perfect if Quinn is happy. He never tries to urge him to keep going, doesn’t ever try to pressure Quinn into anything with the promise that he’ll enjoy it if he gives it a try. He listens to Quinn and it’s endearing.
It’s nice to see a partnership where the traumas and hurts of the other partner are dealt with honestly and fairly. Ellis doesn’t think a back rub and a bowl of soup will heal all of Quinn’s problems. Instead, he wants him to stop the drugs, stop the clubbing, and see a therapist or a psychologist. He wants him to see his friends, to take his medications, to be healthy as well as happy. Ellis doesn’t want Quinn just for the kinks they share; he wants him for the long haul. And Quinn, once he realizes Ellis isn’t going to abandon him, once he realizes he can trust Ellis, suddenly starts seeing that maybe … maybe he can start trusting himself.
To be quite honest, I didn’t really click with Ellis as a character. I felt like he was a bit uneven and came across a little too needy and emotional at times, and heavy-handed and pompous at others. Quinn was a more fully realized character, for me (but I do enjoy the broken characters a bit more). Even so, he had some inconsistent moments where he’d swing from one emotion to the other with the thinnest of rationales. The writing had a few places where phrases and descriptions stuttered or became a little self-aware, but overall I did enjoy the story. It’s a quick read, with quite a few sex scenes, as well as some raw emotional scenes. If you’re a fan of Daddy kink or May/December romances, you should consider giving this one a try.