Rating: 2 Stars

Publisher: Rachel Ember

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap, Opposites Attract, Romance

Length: 210 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon

This review has spoilers.

Blurb –

Ty’s parents seem to have their act together, and his little sisters are old enough that he doesn’t have to constantly worry about them anymore. He could even enroll in some college classes if he could find an overnight job that won’t kill him. One where he might be able to study occasionally, or catch a nap. When he sees the advertisement for a night nanny, it sounds perfect. After all, he’s got a soft spot for babies, and raised his sisters himself.

If Ty is having some seriously sinful thoughts about Isabel’s handsome, melancholy father-well. His thing for older men is nothing new, and he can keep himself under control for the half-hour their paths cross in the morning and evening.

Jonathan is overwhelmed by his wife leaving abruptly–though, to be honest, he’d known it was over for years–by the new responsibilities he’s just been handed at his law firm, and by the baby daughter he adopted three months ago, Isabel. The baby his now-vanished wife had been begging for. He was lucky to get a place for Isabel in the best infant care program in the city, but it closes at 5 p.m. Before Isabel, Jonathan had never held a baby or changed a diaper. He needs help day and night.

When Ty answers his advertisement, Jonathan looks past the tattoos and piercings at the way Ty expertly soothes the baby and hires him on the spot. The only problem in the weeks that follow is how much Jonathan begins to look forward to Ty’s arrival every night, and not just because he’s ready to hand Isabel over and get some sleep. There’s something that fascinates him about the kid who steps out of the darkness late each night with a crooked smile.

When Isabel’s daycare temporarily closes unexpectedly, a desperate Jonathan asks Ty if he can work more hours. Ty says he can–if he can crash in the guest room, too.

Review –

This is my second 2 star review in 2 days and I hate that. I had originally planned to just type a quickie review of this one on Goodreads and leave it at that. I decided not to.

Jonathan needs a nanny bad. His wife Natalie took off right after they adopted a baby, Isabel. No calls. No messages. No anything. She just disappeared, leaving Jonathan to take care of the infant that Natalie had insisted on adopting. Jonathan adores Isabel, with or without Natalie. He’s just overwhelmed because Isabel doesn’t sleep at night. An attorney, Jonathan needs to be on when he’s at work, not half-asleep at his desk. Isabel stays at a daycare center during the day while he’s at work, but he needs somebody to cover the overnight hours.

This is where Ty comes in.

After interviewing several female nannies, he meets Ty. Ty and Isabel click right off so he’s hired.

All that was good. Jonathan and Ty are as different as night and day. Jonathan’s this big, high-powered attorney who wears suits. Ty wears faded jeans, tees, and has tats. Even so, they start falling for each other pretty quick. Jonathan’s bi, so this isn’t a GFY scenario, thank goodness. Ty has a way with Isabel, so Jonathan’s able to finally sleep through the night, something he’d not done since she was adopted.

Then Isabel’s carer, teacher, I guess? takes a leave of absence from the daycare and Jonathan’s stuck without a babysitter during the day too. Thankfully, Ty jumps in and offers to stay with them and carry his duties over to the daytime hours as well.

There are Ty’s sisters – Sam, Emily, and Danielle. Ty’s always been the one to take care of them because their parents are pretty useless. Which leads me to something in the first line of the blurb, highlighted below. At no point in the book are Ty’s parents described as having ‘their act together’. It’s the opposite, in fact, and this is said many times in the book. Also, second highlighted part, Ty going to college wasn’t even mentioned until the very end, and it was an afterthought and basically just thrown in to show him doing something after he and Jonathan become an official couple.

Ty’s parents seem to have their act together, and his little sisters are old enough that he doesn’t have to constantly worry about them anymore. He could even enroll in some college classes if he could find an overnight job that won’t kill him. One where he might be able to study occasionally, or catch a nap. When he sees the advertisement for a night nanny, it sounds perfect. After all, he’s got a soft spot for babies, and raised his sisters himself.

Then there’s the final paragraph of the blurb. The daycare never closes. Isabel’s carer takes a leave of absence. Jonathan also doesn’t have a chance to ask Ty to work extra hours. Ty offers, with Jonathan offering the use of the guestroom, not Ty saying he can use it if it’s available.

When Isabel’s daycare temporarily closes unexpectedly, a desperate Jonathan asks Ty if he can work more hours. Ty says he can–if he can crash in the guest room, too.

Even with all that, it was okay, but then it took a nosedive.

I mentioned Ty’s parents being useless, one of them even being in jail and/or on probation. The mother is on-page a couple of times, but there’s not much said about her or her husband. I know they don’t care about their kids, even when something major happens later in the book. I’m not really sure why they were even mentioned if there’s not any type of backstory for them. All the reader is told is that they’re bad.

There was also a scene where Ty got a loan from somebody in the neighborhood to pay his mother for rent he didn’t owe. That was also a waste of a page or two. Why even mention it? It didn’t add to the story in any way.

Now back to Natalie, Jonathan’s not-even-ex-wife. I honestly don’t know why the author handled the Natalie situation the way she did. Natalie had bolted, leaving her husband and new baby. Like I said above, there were no calls, no messages, no anything. She just left. Then one day she suddenly appears back in Jonathan’s life and all is just dandy. Uh, no. But, wait! Correction. She didn’t just suddenly reappear. She’d been staying right under their noses the entire time, had even somewhat become friends with Ty as he walked Isabel around the neighborhood. Of course, she didn’t give Ty her real name, so there was no way he could’ve known that the person he called Shay was actually the deadbeat mother of Isabel.

It doesn’t take much for the reader to figure it out, especially after a scene where ‘Shay’ showed Ty a painting she’d done of Isabel. It’s said early in the book that Natalie was an artist, had even done quite a few art shows, so it took nothing to figure out that Shay was, in fact, Natalie.

Any good thoughts or respect I had for Jonathan flew out the window when Natalie came back into their lives. I swear I said, “What the hell?” out loud a few lines in after Jonathan talked to her. Not only the way he talked to her – like everything’s just fine. I mean, who cares that the woman didn’t even have the decency to tell you she wanted out of the marriage? She’s back and is determined to be part of the baby’s life, and what do you know? Because she throws out a few things about her mental health – that weren’t really explained – all is right in the world? And worse, if she has these problems – and I am in NO WAY saying anything bad about mental health issues – how does he know she’d be okay to take care of Isabel on her own?

The worst part of all that… Ty comes back to Jonathan’s place after being out all night long looking for his sister (Sam) after a fire destroyed the house she lived in with her horrible parents. He immediately sees ‘Shay’ just outside Isabel’s nursery and knows right off that the person he’d kind of become friends with had used him to see the baby she abandoned. Ty throws out some truths to Jonathan. Not one word he said about Natalie was false. Does Jonathan defend him? Agree with him? Of course not. He throws out that he knows Natalie better than Ty ever would ‘because we’ve been married for ten years’ or something like that. I’m not going back into the book to find the exact quote, but it’s what I typed or very close. Yeah, he knew her so well he was totally prepared for her to bolt on him and their child. That was sarcasm, obviously. He forgave her like it was nothing. He didn’t take her back – I need to stress that – but he still forgave her for abandoning him and Isabel, even though she left him without warning and not giving a damn how he handled the baby.

The word celibate is used a couple of times with regard to Jonathan, even while he was married to Natalie. Why? Why was he celibate for what I gathered were a couple of years when he was still married to Natalie and they lived in the same home? Did they even share a bed? A bedroom? That’s another one of those ‘why even mention it?’ scenarios.

Unbelievable. Seriously.

The woman abandoned him and the baby, then suddenly she’s this adoring mother who will share custody with Jonathan? Granted, she lived a couple of doors down and Jonathan had no clue until he accidentally saw her one morning. I could wonder how long she would’ve played the little ‘let’s use Ty and pretend to be his friend so I can see the baby I abandoned’ game had Jonathan not seen her that day.

You know, I get that there are a lot of books that have the token ‘bitchy female’ that readers hate. But you know what? The author would’ve been better off keeping Natalie the bitchy female than to have her waltz back in and pretend to be mother of the year.

Back to Jonathan and Ty.

I felt zero chemistry between these two. Jonathan is this stiff attorney who has a hard time making small talk or articulating what he’s feeling. I guess he did okay in the office, but not with people outside of it. Ty is the complete opposite who cares more about his sisters than himself. This came through clearly. He doesn’t have much money but that’s okay. As long as his sisters are okay, he’s okay, especially the youngest, Sam.

To be blunt, Jonathan’s a big snob. So much so that the reader can actually read what he’s thinking about certain things – Ty’s cooking him dinner and gasp! the sauce came from a jar, something Mr. Snooty Jonathan finds scandalous. Who cares that Ty took time out of his day, and spent his own money on the ingredients, to make something for dinner so you don’t have to? Just judge the guy because he’s not a gourmet cook. Oh! And then there are his ‘thoughts’ about a suit that Ty buys to wear to court at the end – re: adoption, divorce, etc. He was seriously a snob, though he went on about how he preferred Ty ‘be himself’. Okay, then!

And to be an attorney, he was pretty scatter-brained. It was his turn to host a partners party for the law firm. This is something very important. Each time it was mentioned, he played dumb and whoopsie! he forgot again. This forgetting included right up to the day of the party. You know, that would be hosted at his house. And we can’t forget the entertainment for the party that he kept forgetting that would be hosted at his house. The day of he had no idea who the entertainment would be. After all that, I’d be questioning his ability as an attorney, but that’s just me.

There are only a couple of sex scenes in the book and they felt forced and rushed.

There’s a bit of talk about Ty’s sisters. I could understand Sam to an extent but not the others.

Since I finished the book I’ve seen reviews saying this story was originally a serial in the author’s newsletter. I get that. What I don’t get is how when she decided to turn it into a book that she didn’t bring everything together neater, better. It felt unfinished, and like all the characters had their stories told somewhere else and they were just picked up again here.

Overall, this just didn’t work for me, especially the Natalie part of it. Jonathan should have stood firm and not allowed her back into the baby’s life until he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the baby would be safe with her. His defending her to Ty within minutes of seeing her for the first time in months just seriously bugged me. It bugged me so much that I almost DNF’d right then, and it was like at 80-something percent of the book. I couldn’t see Jonathan and Ty together as a couple. Maybe had the author given them more actual time together, and not just taking care of Isabel, I might have felt different. I just know I ended this thinking that no way in hell would these two work long term in the real world.

I do love the cover.