Steel Crawford is a 40-year-old gay man and a Daddy. He is a wealthy lawyer and a good catch, if the right boy came along. Steel likes sassy younger men, and he isn’t fixated on the slender nubile set of boys he generally encounters. He met big boy Nick Macklin at his own 40th birthday bash, where Nick was part of a team of nude waiters serving canapés and drinks and posing as footstools or end tables for the titillation of his guests. Nick happens to be the best friend of Mikey, the new boy for Steel’s own pal, Stirling. Steel gave Nick his number and is a little put off that Nick not only didn’t call, he actively avoids Steel at all the mutual encounters where Mikey and Stirling invite them both.
Nick is a hustler—not a gigolo, but the kind of guy who is always working to make ends meet. Though only 24, he’s got four different gig jobs: working at his grandparents’ bakery, nude waitering, go go dancing at a club, and erotic cake sitting for private parties. Nick is a husky man, and knows he is a bit much for any man to handle, so he doesn’t tie himself down to any one person. And, especially not an entitled, trust-fund jerk like Steel. Nick is desperate to earn enough money to save his grandparents’ bakery from the investors that want to buy them out and tear the building down for a redevelopment project. So, he has no time for a Daddy, even if he could find one he believed would love all of him—loud, proud, and in all his belly-and-booty glory.
What Nick misunderstands is that his short attention span has done him a disservice. He thinks a LOT of things about Steel that are patently untrue, but Steel needs to get creative about pinning Nick down—not in a creepy way!—so he can listen and understand. This is where Mikey and Stirling come in handy. Mikey knows where Nick will be working, and he’s willing to give Steel some tips for connecting with Nick on a deeper level.
Nick is a bit immature, and it takes some real talk to get him to open up and accept the gracious and attentive treatment he does receive from Steel, especially when a sexytimes maneuver results in an injury that temporarily incapacitates Nick’s earning power. In that span, Steel aims to fully win over Nick, even as he learns about his inadvertent part in Nick’s money struggles. He could maybe wave his magic checkbook to solve the problem, but he’s learned enough about his big boy to recognize that will send Nick on the run. And while there are some further misunderstandings that send Nick on his way, he also has the presence of mind to reconsider, and make spectacular, perhaps Oscar-worthy, amends that restore his full esteem with Steel.
Big is the second book in the 99 Daddies series, but is fully enjoyable as a standalone. The story is sweet and sassy and sexy and a bit breezy. I really liked the body positivity that Nick outwardly displays, even as he sometimes wonders if he’s asking too much to be loved for all of himself. That Steel cherishes him is a huge morale boost, and his sexy thrall at go go dancing and erotic cake sitting—yes, it is what it sounds like—is another body positive experience. These two are truly content with one another and Steel’s help, in ways Nick could not have fathomed, show that he understands the needs of his big boy and will go to any length to provide for him. The stories in this series are all a little larger than life, with characters and situations that are kind of silly and escapist and all the more lovely for people who enjoy low-angst romances.
There are the side characters of Mikey and Stirling, and it’s nice watching their love story continue to grow and develop from First, but we also get previews of the next Daddy to find a boy in coming stories, either Hunter or Porter—good friends of Steel and Stirling. It’s an HEA for Nick and Steel, who both gain big from their new and tender connection.