Sanders would love a Daddy, but as one of the few gay men in his small town, chances seem slim, especially since Sanders is shy and lacking much confidence in his own appeal. But he does allow his best friend, Leo, to fill out a profile on a kink dating app in their Dear Santa feature. Sanders is surprised when what seems like the perfect Daddy for him responds to his letter. He is also nervous, as his dyslexia makes him anxious about chatting via text, but with Leo’s help, Sanders begins a conversation with his mystery Daddy and the two begin to form a real connection online.
Briggs has just moved to town after an early retirement from a lucrative job. The sweet boy who wrote into the app caught his attention and Briggs finds himself utterly charmed. He has confidence that the boy is perfect for him, but willing to take things slow as they get to know each other, working to build the boy’s confidence.
When Briggs and Sanders finally meet, they are delighted not only to see each other in person, but to realize that they know each other already as Sanders owns the local coffee shop and Briggs just bought the bookstore next door. The connection forged via chat becomes even stronger in person. Briggs wants nothing more than to care for Sanders and help him work through the burdens he feels of work, school, and taking care of his sick mom. And Sanders is delighted that Briggs seems like everything he ever dreamed about. But Sanders is still struggling with the confidence that he is the right man for Briggs. Now Briggs needs to show Sanders that they are the perfect fit and meant to be together for good.
Dear Daddy, Please Praise Me is a super sweet Daddy/boy story with a light holiday feel. It is part of the Naughty or Nice multi-author series of standalone stories featuring a connected theme of letters to Santa through a dating app. This story takes on the common theme of men who chat online without realizing that they know each other in real life. The authors do a nice job of keeping this set up going just long enough to lay the groundwork, without dragging the misunderstanding on forever. We get a chance to see Sanders and Briggs get to know one another casually in person, just enough to develop an attraction, but not enough to act on it as they are falling for their mystery man online. Then, through the app they are building a real connection that gets unveiled early enough that we spend most of the story seeing them as a couple offline as well.
This is a charming story as Sanders is sweet and adorable and looking for a Daddy to both care for him, as well as to love and praise him. And Sanders is just that man. He loves the idea of taking care of a boy and smothering him with affection. So the men are a perfect fit and this story definitely falls on the sugar sweet side of the Daddy/boy dynamic. I appreciated how Briggs’ support helps Sanders sort some things out in his life, as he deals with a mother with Alzheimer’s and an estranged brother.
I also really liked the friendship between Sanders and his best friend, Leo. The two of them are sweet and fun together, and I like how Leo supports Sanders by helping him type the messages to Briggs when Sanders gets nervous about his dyslexia. The two friends can be a bit of a hot mess together when they get drunk (and Sanders is kind of strangely amused instead of annoyed when the guys cause some real mayhem), but I found them sort of adorable as well.
I have used the words sweet and adorable a million times here, but that is really the best way to describe this story. It is just a nice, easy Daddy/boy story with a light dose of holiday magic.