Successful doesn’t begin to describe Jensen Carmichael’s businesses. But despite his enviable bank account, there is something missing from Jensen’s life. After a disastrous breakup with his last boyfriend for being “too controlling,” Jensen is no longer on the lookout for a new relationship. Then, on an inspection of a new property he is interested in purchasing, Jensen finds Dashael. He is a waif of a young man, afraid, alone, hiding in an upper floor closet clutching a teddy bear, and in desperate need of help. First, Jensen gets Dash medical attention then, after figuring out he is the nephew of the deceased woman who owned the shop for sale and has nowhere to live, Jensen takes Dash to his home.
As the two men get to know each other, surprising needs begin to develop for both of them, but uncertainty still reigns. Does Dash only wish to stay with Jensen because he is penniless and homeless, or does he really like being with Jensen? Can Jensen’s controlling tendencies become something more—something like a “daddy” might feel if he has a “little” to watch over and protect? Dash and Jensen need to figure out just what the other wants and if they have a unique relationship brewing after all.
Victoria Sue showcases the Daddy/little world in her latest novel, One Cup of Daddy and a Dash of Love. Because this lifestyle is fairly new reading for me, I cannot vouch for the validity of everything outlined in this story, but I can tell you the description and examples of the relationships are extremely enlightening and compassionately told. Dash is a perfect little in that he is desperate for the safety net a partner who is willing to be his Daddy provides. Jensen is just that net; he takes care of his boy with the utmost care, reading him fairly accurately and making sure he is never pushing Dash beyond his comfort level. I would describe theirs as an almost 24/7 lifestyle, but since it is new for both of them, I also liked how the author let space for that dynamic to change in the future. Plus, the story also presents characters who fall into their respective roles only on their days off or weekends.
Beyond the Daddy/little lifestyle, this story also focuses on the healing Dash needs from a horrific childhood. Ripped away from his grandmother’s side by a bigoted and verbally abusive father, Dash ends up running back to the safety of his grandmother’s home when he turns sixteen. Now, two years later he is grieving her death and watching everything she built crumble. Then, Jensen rescues him and things begin to change. It is really quite lovely to watch Dash and Jensen fall into their roles and realize the joy that brings to both of them. Yes, this is definitely an insta-love trope since it is mere days before both begin to think they may be in love and just weeks until they admit it aloud, but in between they grow and thrive with each other.
One Cup of Daddy and a Dash of Love illustrates that love comes in all forms and acceptance of that love is key to living happily inside one’s own skin. It also reminds us that what may seem different or unusual to some is the way of life for others and, as long as it is a consensual relationship, all kinds and forms of love can be life giving.