To Have It All, Jill Wexler
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: Jill Wexler
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Family/Children, Friends to Lovers, Romance
Purchase At: Amazon.com
Sometimes life deals you a very hard hand.
When Brett Thompson is forced to deal with a family tragedy, his nicely ordered life changes overnight. Not only does he have zero parenting experience, he is not a fan of sticky, messy, or chaotic—the very definition of “kids.” He loves his niece and nephews, but can he handle four of them on his own?
Jordan Butler would do anything for his best friend of twenty years, including stepping in to help out with Brett’s four new rugrats. He handles disorganization much better than Brett does. That’s what friends do, right? Friends take care of friends.
But sometimes a friend needs more than a hug.
Sometimes messy chaos turns into treasured moments.
And sometimes stolen moments and children’s smiles make you realize that for the first time ever, you have the opportunity to have it all.
Jordan and Brett have been best friends for two decades. The book starts with a prologue of exactly when that friendship began. Jordan will do anything for Brett and vice versa. Brett’s a pharmacist who’s all about order and organization. Jordan owns a cupcake shop with his mother and doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty on occasion. They’ve never hooked up. They kissed a couple of times when they were younger but their giggling ended things before they went any further. Now in their late thirties, they’re content spending time with their longtime friends. Jordan has a much younger friends with benefits relationship with twenty-four-year-old Todd. Brett’s dating a guy named Chris.
Everything’s going well. They’re preparing for the wedding of two friends in their group. They’re happy. During the bachelor party at their usual hangout, Jordan has a little bit too much to drink and does some oversharing about something that Brett’s ex (that would be Sam) said to him while Sam and Brett were pretty serious. It’s something that was said years and years ago but it’s obvious that the words hurt Jordan even now. This causes a bit of an uncomfortable riff between Jordan and Brett that I didn’t really understand. Okay, Jordan didn’t tell you that your jerk boyfriend said horrible things to him while you and Sam were still together. Hmm… maybe Jordan thought by doing so that you’d have to make a choice between your best friend and the man you loved and he didn’t want to put you in that position?
Anyway, that’s awkward until the wedding when Jordan is determined to get them back on an even keel. He pushes until Brett dances with him at the reception. Finally, finally, Mr. Serious Brett relaxes a little. Later, everyone’s surrounding Brett’s laptop watching a slideshow he’d made of the two grooms and having a nice time. Brett’s a little closer to Jordan than normal, even rubbing his thumb inside the waistband of Jordan’s slacks, driving them both crazy – even more so when his finger rubs the head of his erection. Jordan knows what’s happening – he’s obviously reacting to it – but he’s not understanding it. He and Brett are just friends, nothing more. Before either man can get into whatever is happening, everything changes in an instant.
Brett gets word that his sister and her husband have just been killed in an accident and he needs to come to his parents’ house immediately. Of course, Jordan’s right there with him.
That was so heartbreaking. His sister had been on page earlier in the book so I was given a glimpse of her and her children together. She has four – Ethan (10), Drew and Tommy (8-year-old twins), and 2-year-old Lizzie. After meeting with the family, it’s decided that Brett will move into the house the kids lived in with their parents and take care of them until Jared, the oldest brother who lives several hours away with his wife and three kids, can move into a bigger house and take them. The plan is for it to happen when the kids are out of school, the summertime.
To say things are crazy for Brett becoming an instant parent is an understatement. Of course, with him being the only one (other than his elderly parents) who live in town, he was the logical choice. That doesn’t make it easier when he has absolutely no idea what he’s doing. This is where Jordan comes in. It’s always Jordan, his best friend who he loves more than anybody else. When things get to be too much, while the kids are with family, Jordan takes him back to his place. This is when their relationship goes from being just friends. Brett had long broken up with Chris and Todd wasn’t an issue for Jordan because their relationship was only sexual. As time goes on the sex continues, as well as Jordan helping out with the children as much as he can. They become a little family, though not officially. Brett finally gets a routine with Jordan’s help. There are the typical ups and downs with children who are mourning their parents but they work through it. Even so, Jordan and Brett are just friends. Well, just friends who have sex now. They’re exclusive but they still won’t say it’s anything more than Jordan helping him forget his responsibilities on occasion.
I adored all the kids. Ethan, being the oldest, has his moments, as does Drew, one of the twins. My heart broke for all of them. As time passes things get easier and Brett knows that no way in hell will he be able to let those children move in with his brother and his family at the beginning of summer. When Jared tries to push it, Brett puts his foot down. He won’t be letting them go. He wants to adopt them and he’s hoping that Jordan will be right there with him when he does.
The book is mostly drama free. Things are emotional at times, obviously, because of the death of Brett’s sister and her husband. But there’s no drama with Jordan and Brett. The transition from friends, to friend to lovers, to boyfriends is a gradual thing. Honestly, it needed to be with everything else happening. And the sex scenes were nice. I liked their friends too for the most part.
Nice friends to lovers story. My first by this author.