I like romance and boys loving boys in my books.
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This book had me in its grips from the start! Lonesome, gay, single dad, who's been hiding his sexuality for most of his life, meets lonesome, gay, widowed single dad, and sparks fly from the get-go.
Called into the principal's office because their kids have been fighting with each other, Audie, the closeted single dad, meets Dixon, who because of a horrible car accident not only lost his beloved husband, but also his sight.
Audie is a great character. Loving and caring, he realizes quickly that Randi (Dixon's daughter) is only lashing out because of her pain, and does what he can to help. He doesn't expect to fall in love, doesn't quite know how to get out from under his mother's thumb. He's in the closet, more or less, and has little hope to make a better life for himself and his son, Grainger. He is humble, straight-forward, but also resigned to his lot in life.
Dixon is a bit more complicated, but what really stood out for me is the fact that he's basically given up. He's lost his husband, and he can't seem to find the will to make things easier for him. He's living with his parents and his youngest brother, and initially struck me as mad at the world and hindering himself from moving forward. He seemed stuck.
The kids were a breath of fresh air. So often authors make them precocious and wiser than their years, but here all we get are two realistic children, who act their age. They were the catalyst to Audie meeting Dixon, but also the glue that kept them together, to explore the relationship we see unfolding before our eyes.
Of course, nothing is easy for either of them, but they learn quickly that working together makes things easier on both of them.
I really liked how the author made it very clear that Dixon is torn between the love he still feels for his deceased spouse and the new feelings Audie is waking in him. I liked that they didn't immediately fall into bed, that they made their kids a priority, that they had honest conversations, and nothing smacked of insta-love.
I also liked that for every step forward Dixon took, someone was trying to discourage him - as if they wanted him to stay stuck. I saw too much pity and not enough support from his family, but the two men face the challenges head-on, and eventually get to where they want to be.
The outside influences notwithstanding, their honesty and willingness to fight for each other is what made this such an enjoyable read. It was steady progress, and the setbacks along the way enhanced their final success. I loved the flirting, their banter, and there was plenty of heat between them too.
This is the kind of story I love to read!
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **