Brady isn’t a workaholic, exactly, more like a CEO with only one employee trying to make sure his fledgling IT support company continues to grow and thrive. Yes, he is essentially at his clients’ beck and call 24/7, but generally they are nice folks in desperate need of his expertise—most of them anyway. But when calls come in from the brash and decidedly short-tempered Nash O’Hara, Brady both loathes and loves it. He loathes it because Nash is insufferable and expects everyone else Brady serves to wait until he is taken care of. Brady loves it because he secretly has a crush on Nash—someone he isn’t even sure is gay and is certainly much older than he is, but that’s part of what makes Nash so sexy.
When the two men are together during a particularly stressful moment for Nash, the work barriers seem to blur and lust takes over. Brady suddenly finds himself in a casual sex buddy arrangement with Nash. However, Nash still smarts from his divorce a year before and guiltily tries to spend as much time with their adopted twin sons as he can. He has no time for romance, but Brady is certainly nice to have in his bed when the itch needs scratching. Brady agrees; after all, Nash understands that work comes first and they are just having a bit of fun…so why is it getting harder and harder to keep his heart from getting involved?
Work-Love Balance by Allison Temple takes a hard look at getting the priorities in life straight and making sure that love, not guilt, guides your motives. Poor Nash really messed up his first marriage. He worked way too hard on a project he felt very strongly about and while he tried his best to be there for his husband and their twins, he definitely failed spectacularly. Now, divorced and still not really over the entire thing, he is not looking for another relationship, so when Brady agrees to warm his bed with no strings attached, it seems like the perfect solution. But things get complicated. Nash is wracked with guilt predominantly because his ex never lets him forget how he left their marriage and how he feels their kids take a back seat to Nash’s job.
Brady comes along at just the perfect time. Honestly, he is like a younger version of Nash in regards to his work ethic. As Nash begins to understand more and more how he failed to prioritize his life over work, he sees Brady falling into the same trap. The author cleverly allows Nash to use how Brady is anchored to his work as a window into realizing just how Nash did the same thing and how it nearly ruined his life. There is real growth for Nash in this novel; he moves from making decisions based on his guilt over his failed marriage to realizing that he must make a real change in his life if he wants to remain a father to his twin boys. Meanwhile, poor Brady digs himself deeper and deeper into the work pit and somehow he and Nash start to lose one another just as they both begin to move toward becoming something more than sex buddies.
I think this novel makes a really good case for deciding what is most important in our lives and making sure we pursue that rather than anything else. I do feel that Nash’s ex was a bit much when it came to how judgmental he is about Nash and Brady, specifically their age difference and Nash’s finally moving on with his life. It was obvious he was jealous and upset that Nash was now making time for a man in his life. In essence, the ex gets away with saying some really terrible things about Brady without knowing him, he barely acknowledges his mistake, and then suddenly he ends up as Brady’s friend at the end of the novel. It was a bit disconnected and unresolved to me.
However, there is no denying that Nash and Brady make a wonderful pair and the twins are wonderfully cute as well. I enjoyed Work-Love Balance very much and look forward to reading more work by this author.