Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars

Narrator: Shawn K. Jain
Length: 4 hours, 5 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Dylan and Brett were childhood friends until Dylan’s poor mother married an abusive, but employed, man when Dylan was in middle school. Dylan was afraid that Brett’s family would discover he was being abused and have his stepfather arrested–which would put his mom, baby half-sibling, and himself into jeopardy, so he decided to sever contact and ignore Brett when they enrolled at the same high school. Brett never got over Dylan’s abandonment, and now that they are both adults, he wants to know why Dylan shut him out.

Dylan’s been dealing with his trauma for more than a decade. Knowing that his mom decided not to halt the abuse to preserve her new, financially sound lifestyle was the straw that broke his back. He escaped the home as soon as he was able, and has been working as a server at The Tap, an LGBTQ tavern, for several years while working toward getting a nursing degree. He has a whole posse of sweet “boy” server friends, two of whom found Daddies by advertising on the The Tap’s message board. It’s now his turn.

Dylan’s looking for an understanding Daddy, one who gets that he’s been abused and will love him despite his meager means. Reconnecting with Brett isn’t something that Dylan wants to do, because he’s ashamed at how he ghosted his best friend, the first boy he was ever attracted to back in his youth. He doesn’t know that Brett reciprocated his feelings, but he’s willing to chat with Brett when Brett proves himself to be a stand-up guy.

Brett’s friends think he’s probably Daddy material, but he’s only in his mid-20s, so how is he supposed to find a boy to care for? Brett’s always been a caretaker, though, and eager to please and coddle his previous undeserving, thankless lovers. While he’d like to find a steady partner, Brett is focusing on training his rescue pooch, because she totally loves him unconditionally. Besides, reconnecting with Dylan requires a solid effort, especially when he learns that Dylan’s fully responsible for himself, lacking the benefit of any familial safety net.

This is the third book in the Love on Tap: Fragile Hearts series and enjoyable as a standalone. The audiobook is narrated by Shawn K. Jain, the same actor as the previous two books, and I finally enjoyed it as an audiobook. The first two books had lots of weird hitches and pauses in the acting that threw off my concentration, but the narrator has seemed to catch his stride in this book. Dylan and Brett are the same age, so we don’t have a lot of pitch or voice differentiation, but I still felt like I could follow which character was telling the story without difficulty.

It’s a sweet romance that has a good amount of hurt/comfort for Dylan from his friends and his eventual Daddy, Brett. They fall into sync rather quickly, spending quiet afternoons hanging out with Brett’s dog and finding tender ways to show appreciation–which Dylan’s thoroughly impressed by since he’s been lacking these gestures in his life. The Boys are a fun group, and Dylan’s story is clearly the most traumatic, so his journey toward happiness is one of healing. I really enjoyed his story, and would continue to read on in the series.