Hobie was kicked out of the house by his step-father at age 16 and has been living on the streets for years. He struggles to get by and has gotten desperate enough to resort to stealing. Hobie’s plan is to go to the local kink club and see if he can pick up a Daddy for the night. The last time he tried it, the Daddy was eager to take Hobie home and, when he fell asleep, Hobie was able to take enough cash to get by for a while with food and necessities. However, tonight at the club no one seems interested and Hobie fears he is going to end the night worse than when he started.
Ambrose owns the Red Door club and sees the boy sitting alone and can’t help but want take care of him. He offers Hobie some snacks, as he is clearly exhausted and starving, and wants to talk to him further about his interest in being a boy. When Hobie tries to steal from him and then flees, Ambrose knows he should be angry, but instead he just wants to help Hobie. Unfortunately, Ambrose has no idea when or if he will ever see the boy again. Yet when a chance meeting has them crossing paths, Ambrose invites Hobie back home with him for some food and rest.
Hobie can’t believe Ambrose still wants anything to do with him, but he is just glad to have something to eat and a chance at a shower. Hobie has never really thought of himself in a Daddy/boy relationship — it was all meant to be pretend to get access to some money. But talking to Ambrose more about it has Hobie realizing how nice it sounds to have someone care for him and look after him and be there to support him after so many years struggling on his own. Hobie isn’t sure how he feels about taking all that Ambrose wants to give — food, clothes, shelter, a phone. He worries he will never be able to repay Ambrose, but Ambrose wants nothing from Hobie other than a chance to explore things together. As the men spend time together, they start falling hard. Hobie is still trying to figure out exactly what he wants, but being with Ambrose is making him happier than he has ever been. Now, Hobie just has to take a chance and he could have everything he ever wanted with Ambrose.
One More Song is the first in the new Red Door Daddies series by B. Ripley. This is a new-to-me author and I was intrigued enough by the blurb to give it a try and I am so glad I did. This one is sweet and sexy, with two interesting characters and an enjoyable style. I love the way this one starts with Hobie all set to scam a Daddy into taking him home. He figures Daddies are softies who will be easily manipulated (it worked once before, after all). He skips his chance at a hot breakfast so he can clean up enough to maybe score at the club, but as the night wears on and no one comes by, Hobie worries he traded his chance at food for nothing and is getting more and more despondent. Ambrose immediately sees that Hobie is in need of some care and reaches out to help. Of course, they have some hurdles, as Hobie tries to steal from him and then flees, but Ambrose is patient and willing to be there for Hobie despite that.
Most of the story focuses on the building of their relationship, combined with Hobie learning more about a Daddy/boy dynamic. He has relied on only himself for so long, even keeping his friends at a distance, so it is hard for him at first to accept this might be what he wants and needs. But when he lets himself really think about it, Hobie realizes that this might just be right for him. Ambrose and Hobie have a lot of sexy exploration of kink, the Daddy/boy dynamic, and even just non-transactional sex in general, something Hobie hasn’t really ever had. While Ambrose is a Daddy Dom, the two don’t explore a lot of rules and structure. Their relationship is more about caretaking and guiding and helping Hobie get on his feet and in a place where he can move forward with his future. Ambrose also supports Hobie’s love of music and Hobie sings for him as “payment” for the things Ambrose buys him (Hobie doesn’t want Ambrose spending money on him so this is the agreement they come to).
I liked these men together and there is a sweetness between them that is often the hallmark of a Daddy/boy story. However, I do wish there had been more direct discussion about the power dynamic between them, in that Hobie is homeless, broke, and literally at risk of being on the street again if things don’t work out between them. While Ambrose does want to help take care of Hobie (and does so even before they are involved romantically/sexually), he is bringing Hobie to live with him and supporting him financially because they are exploring a relationship together. I never got the sense that Hobie felt coerced, or as if he must try kink or anything else because he had to please Ambrose. But given the vast power disparity between them, I would have liked to see this addressed head on in terms of what would happen if they broke up, if Hobie didn’t want to be a boy after all, etc.
We get a chance to meet some of the other folks at the club, as well as Hobie’s friend who used to be in a Daddy/boy relationship. There seem to be some interesting side characters here, and the epilogue sets up more for what I assume will be the next book. I enjoyed my first book by Ripley and I am looking forward to following along with the series.