Leo is a heavy machinery mechanic who’s big, burly, gay, and single. He lives in Toronto on the 11th floor of an apartment building; it’s a little dodgy, but city rent is expensive and Leo’s a saver. He’s in his early 30s and a bit worn down by the traffic and stress of city living, and he’s so over the constant requests for overtime at his job. Leo’s lucky if he even takes one day off a week. His two best friends lament his “fixer” nature and drive to take on other people’s problems.
Leo’s dog-tired when he’s disturbed by ungodly noise in the apartment above him. He bangs on the offender’s door, demanding an explanation, and that’s when he meets Gordy, who is so sweet and sexy it blows Leo’s mind. He’s also wrong-footed when Gordy seems as if he’s been tracking Leo—as the second most attractive man in their building. Leo’s concerned that Gordy may have an abusive partner, as shifty as he is acting regarding the source of the noise, and some odd and frightening shrieks, but Gordy puts him off, saying it’s a temporary situation and should be resolved in a day or so.
Leo isn’t convinced, and he’s even more angry when the noise issue causes him to cancel a visit with his parents a week later. He’s not letting Gordy talk him out of the necessary answers this time. And, Gordy’s problem is inexplicably…a goat kid. Gordy’s elderly parents had owned a small farm, and his newly widowed mother raised “Belinda” in their farmhouse. A couple weeks ago, Gordy’s mother made him promise to look after Belinda while she went in for some medical tests. And, she died in the hospital. Newly orphaned, Gordy’s honor-bound to manage Belinda’s welfare, but he’s also mired in his grief. As a college student on a fixed budget, Gordy’s unable to figure out what to do with a spirited goat kid in his tiny apartment.
Leo’s astounded by all that Gordy has to deal with, and he goes into full “Fix It” mode, creating noise-proofed areas within Gordy’s unit, and helping him figure out a long-term plan. He’s pretty much the world’s nicest neighbor, and his friends advise him not to get involved. Leo has a history with helping people who abuse his generosity. Is Gordy a potential lover, or a user? And, does it really matter if Leo can do something to help another man who’s clearly in deep need?
This is a fun and sweet story with a slow burn romance between virtual strangers. Leo thinks he and Gordy share an attraction, but he’s not sure until rather late—when he finally works up the courage to ask. There’s a bit of angst in there, but it really isn’t that long-lived because Leo doesn’t stew too long. There are some fun side bits, too, like the neighbor kid with the sharpest eye in the building who wheedles his way into figuring out Gordy’s secret. The building super plays a nice role in drumming up tension. I really wanted to have more interaction with Leo and his hippy parents, because they seemed way more likely to be helpful than Leo’s cantankerous friends.
The resolution brings a lot of change for both Leo and Gordy, and a return to balance for both men. The final decisions seemed a touch rash, especially considering legal issues surrounding their leases. That said, Leo’s work and social issues really have had him near a breaking point for a long time. I could see him opting for a whole new path, with a man who really cherishes his ability to problem-solve. Gordy’s insight was really poignant, and probably highlighted why Leo didn’t have a lot of long-term relationships. He instinctively came at things from a “fixing” viewpoint, and Gordy, as he is quick to tell Leo, doesn’t need fixing because he’s “not broken.” That really caused Leo to look inward at his own issues, and enabled him to make decisions in his own interest, for a change. The book ends JUST where we can extrapolate and HEA for Leo, Gordy, and even ornery Belinda.