Rating: 3.5 stars
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Noah Burgess isn’t happy at college and he’s only there because his father is making him. Noah knows he is a brat and pushes the limits, and this time he has landed himself in enough trouble it could get him kicked out of school. Noah propositioned his professor for a better grade and the guy took him up on it. But when Noah eventually ended their sexual relationship, his teacher got upset and word got out and now Noah is before a school disciplinary committee. With Noah’s father away on his honeymoon (after getting married while Noah was off at school), Noah figures he will be tackling this alone. That is until Sawyer Payne shows up, commanding the room and taking Noah’s breath away. Noah has always had a thing for his father’s business partner and watching the lawyer in action is impressive. Still, with Noah flat out admitting his guilt, there isn’t much Sawyer can do to get him off and Noah is expelled.
Sawyer has no desire to be stuck in this situation with his partner’s son, but when Patrick called for help, he couldn’t say no. Now, Patrick wants Sawyer to keep Noah with him for a couple of weeks until he gets back from his honeymoon. Sawyer can’t deny he finds Noah attractive, and having him in his house isn’t going to be easy. Especially since Noah is exactly the type of sexy, bratty boy that Sawyer loves — and Noah is making his interest in Sawyer abundantly clear.
Before long, Sawyer can’t help but give in to his desire not just to be with the sexy young man, but also to make him his boy. And with Sawyer’s guidance, Noah starts getting his life on track, working in Sawyer’s office and feeling settled in a way he never has before. But Noah has many demons from his past that are threatening his happiness, and they may put him at risk before he is able to move forward with the man he loves.
Dirty Deed is the first book in Gianni Holmes’ Daddies’ Broken Boys series. The story was originally published in the Dirty Daddies Pride Anthology 2021 and has been expanded by about 20k words. I liked way the story jumps right into the initial crisis and gives us a good sense of both men. Noah has basically sabotaged himself, seeing this as a chance to finally get out of going to college. He likes sex, he wanted a better grades, and he has seemingly no remorse about sleeping with his professor for a grade change. He is also snarky, sassy, and shameless about what he says and does, even as he faces this review board that is considering expulsion. Then we meet Sawyer, all power and intensity, a man who knows how to solve problems and use his skills and reputation to get what he wants. Sawyer is firm and commanding and his public face mirrors a lot of his private Daddy side. So their introduction really captures these men well. I enjoyed them both and liked seeing Noah’s growth over the story from a bratty young man who doesn’t seem to care about much to a responsible adult who is getting his life in order.
This one is sort of Daddy/boy light in my mind, but we do see Sawyer providing the structure that Noah needs to get on track. I did feel like it all happens fast, however. Noah is staying with Sawyer for about two weeks, and in that time he does this 180 degree turn around, which just felt too quick for that kind of total personality change. Noah is supposed to be about 22, yet his father treats him like a child (and he acts like one). I am not clear why Patrick needs his friend and business partner to essentially babysit Noah while he is gone. It just felt like a weird juxtaposition to me that Noah is supposed to be mature enough to attract and have a relationship with Sawyer, but at the same time, act like and be treated like a kid with his father.
There were some other details that didn’t totally come together for me. The timeline feels a little off, with the passage of days not really matching up to what is happening in the story. You also have to go with the fact that Sawyer and Patrick are supposedly nationally recognized defense attorneys with huge cases, yet Sawyer just has Noah serve as his (untrained and unqualified) personal assistant for two weeks. I mean, no one else in the office would be more qualified for what must be an incredibly challenging job than Noah, who has zero experience? Or wonder why suddenly their boss’ son (and other boss’ boyfriend) is now working for the office for no pay? It just seemed a convenient way to have these guys spend more time together (and have a lot of office sex), rather than making much plot sense. Also, Noah seems to be a magnet for unhinged men. There are three different people threatening him over the course of the story and it felt maybe too much to fit into this one book. I want to note that this story does address both past sexual assault, as well as multiple threats to Noah. He does deal with that past trauma and it helps him to move forward. The description of events is not very explicit, but be aware if this could be a trigger for you.
I did like how the story notes Sawyer’s efforts to work on behalf of clients who can’t afford defense attorneys. It gives us a nice other side to Sawyer and develops well with some other side plots. It also connects the story well with Sawyer’s family and gives him a chance to bring Noah into his world a little more, so I think that was a nice side element. And there is a nice sweetness to the way Sawyer’s family welcomes Noah into their lives. I also appreciated that while at first Noah is upset about his father marrying without him, his younger stepmother is not painted as a villain and ends up becoming a friend to Noah.
As I said, this book was expanded from the original story and I think it shows in some of the issues with timeline and plot flow. Things seem to resolve and then spin back up again, which I am guessing is connected to how the story was expanded. The author notes that Dirty Deed now sets up the next two books in the series and I can see how some of these late conflicts will connect to future books. Some of that worked for me and other developments felt like too much of a wrench thrown in just to set up other characters. So I think the story needed just a little more flow to connect the original and the expanded version.
Overall, this one is a nice Daddy/boy story with a bratty boy finding his way with the help of his new man. I didn’t find it as smooth as I would have liked, but the characters are enjoyable together and there is some nice growth for Noah. If you enjoy Daddy/boy stories, this one may appeal, particularly if you enjoy a series with connected characters across the books.