Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Length: 4 hours, 55 minutes
Austin Villiers is 21 and has survived cancer. He’s a bit devastated when he learns his boyfriend through the years of medical battling really only stuck around because he felt like he’d be called out for breaking up with a sick partner. Despite the long time they were together, Austin and his ex hardly had a physical relationship. Austin was often too ill, and his ex sought other partners as a result. Austin’s got other people in his corner, though, like his mom, his treatment sponsor, and his primary oncologist, Dr. Malcolm Greer. In fact, if Austin could have any man he desired, it would be Dr. Greer.
It turns out that Malcolm is gay, and he’s dabbled in Daddy kink a bit, with mixed results. The worshipful way Austin approaches him, especially after his tearful confession over his breakup, shakes a protective desire loose in the normally staid physician. He’s managed Austin through some truly terrible illness, and he only wants the best for him. Could Malcolm be the best partner to the bright, shiny, baby gay?
I”ll honestly say I struggled with the plot of this story. Doctor/patient romances are really tricky to do well, and I didn’t really see how Malcolm and Austin fit for a long time. I think the age gap was the bigger issue for me, and I read age-gap stories all the time. It seemed like the men just had such a huge disconnect as partners, with Austin being barely an adult, having so little education, and being very naive about the world in comparison to Malcolm. Also, Malcolm was actively treating Austin at the beginning of the story, and while he’s in remission, getting physical is a big conflict of interest that Malcolm has to navigate. I’ll give bonus points for the author clearly noting the professional issues at stake, though Malcolm doesn’t actually face much blowback from this clear boundary violation. I thought that would bring more tension to the story, but it was downplayed quickly. I liked the characters and thought they were described well, but I didn’t really catch sparks from them. Part of this was probably Malcolm’s continued wish to keep treating Austin, even when they are partners. But, more importantly, Austin loves calling Malcolm “Dr. Greer” and that sort of interfered with the Daddy vibe I’d anticipated. The rapid fall into deep feelings was a little harder to digest, as well.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Iggy Toma, and I thought the character voices and pacing were good. I’ve listened a couple of times and liked the sound of the book, which kept me engaged. I think if it had been me reading the book, I might not have read it all in a sitting–or even completed it without being distracted by another title. As an audio, however, the emotion seemed more concrete, and I could better envision “Dr. Greer’s” Daddy behavior toward Austin.
This story is rather low angst, and could appeal to readers who really like Daddy/boy, age-gap romances.