Peter is a divorced father of an eight-year-old boy, Morgan. He only has Morgan part time, so Peter wants to spend as much time with Morgan as he can. Unfortunately, all Morgan wants to do is play computer games in his room. So, imagine the challenge Peter has trying to get Morgan to go to the park to get some sunshine. Once they’re there, Morgan continues to pout, but Peter’s able to convince him to swing. While doing that, Morgan accidentally kicks another child. It isn’t pretty.
Aaron is a stressed out dad. He owns a consulting company working with construction projects, and his young son, Sam, has terrible breathing problems, spending lots of times in the ER. Today, Sam is doing very well, so Aaron has brought Sam to the park for the first time in a long while. Even though Aaron is nervous, Sam is having a great time…until he gets kicked by a child on a swing.
Chaos ensues. Morgan yells at Sam that he should watch where he was going. Aaron is up in arms because Sam has been kicked. Peter is trying to calm everyone down. Interestingly enough, after being made to apologize for his behavior, Morgan invites Sam to go on the merry-go-round and Aaron reluctantly agrees. He and Peter begin to chat while the boys play. Aaron’s not sure if he likes the direction all of this is going, but the boys really take to each other.
Now, there are play dates, and conversations, and eventual friendship, and soon there is more. Peter and Aaron begin a no strings attached sexual relationship, but what’s going to happen when one of the men begin to have deeper feelings?
I love single dad stories. Most of them are very sweet romances where the men fall for each other and each other’s children. This is why I grabbed He Said, He Said quickly, and while I liked the book, I didn’t love it the way I wanted to.
I connected with Peter right away. As a divorced father, he wanted to spend as much quality time with Morgan as possible while he had him at his place. To put it bluntly, at the beginning of the story, Morgan is a brat. The first scene with them was almost painful to read. Peter takes it all in stride, even if it means he has to resort to bribing Morgan just to get him to go outside. I liked that Peter did have a deep love for Morgan, no matter what, and he wants to be the best dad he can be. The divorce was anything but amicable, and Peter wants to make it up to his son. Those qualities quickly endeared him to me.
Aaron, though? Not so much. Yes, he has a powerful love for his son, Sam. He wants to take care of him so much, it’s nearly obsessive. He’s also got his consulting company to run. I think this is why I wasn’t taken with him at the beginning. Take this for example:
My temper was short because of the idiots I worked with who thought a half assed job was good enough, so I really wasn’t in the mood for company, but ignoring Peter or walking in a different direction would make me look like a jerk. If our kids were going to be friends, I had to make an effort.
“Sorry about that,” he said. “I just wanted to let them know I’d be unavailable the rest of the day, and I got sucked into more stupidity.”
The way he talked to, and about, his employees really rubbed me the wrong way. It seemed that Aaron may well be the jerk he said he didn’t want to be.
Now, I’m not saying Aaron was all bad. He was busy and overwhelmed by work and Sam’s breathing issues. He just felt…corrosive. I actually think this speaks well for the author’s writing skill. Making him almost unpleasant at the beginning helped him to become almost redeemed, and nearly awesome at the end.
A true highlight of He Said, He Said is the relationship between Morgan and Sam. After their disastrous first meeting, as children often do, the boys became fast friends. Morgan felt protective of Sam, and I really liked that. He also brought Sam out of the shell he’d been stuck in thanks to his breathing issues. Also, this allowed Morgan to settle down and become less of a brat. Again, this is nicely written, and it’s obvious the author has spent some time around children.
As for the relationship between Peter and Aaron…I hate to say it, but I didn’t really feel it, at least the way I wanted to. Sure, there was a chemistry between them, and the sex was hot, but I felt the rest of the time they spent together was almost forced. I didn’t feel their connection as powerfully as I should. I didn’t dislike them as a couple, I just…it’s difficult to explain…I didn’t find myself actually rooting for them to be together.
The ending was as it should be. I expected it, and that isn’t a bad thing. There had been conflict, and it was quickly resolved. It did create some interesting tension. In fact, I think I’d have liked to have seen more of it. There was potential there to kick this story up a notch.
All in all, this turned out to be a good book. I would call it a “comfort read” and I will recommend it to fans of single dad stories. I’m also going to look up more of the author’s books and give them a try.