Jerry Lincoln has a problem: his Sioux Falls IT consulting business has more work than one man can handle. Luckily, that means he can hire some help. Jerry just hopes his new employee, John Black Raven, ends up being more helpful than distracting—but John’s deep eyes and long hair are very distracting.
John came to town for an education and a chance at a life he couldn’t have on the reservation, but what’s important to him now is getting a job and keeping it. Six months ago, his sister died, and now her children are in foster care. Despite having the law on his side, John can’t get custody—can’t even see his niece and nephew.
As Jerry and John grow closer, John discovers he doesn’t have to struggle alone. Jerry helps him win visitation rights and provides much-needed support. Yet their victories aren’t without setbacks. Child Services is tangled up with money, politics, and red tape, and Native American children are their bread and butter. But John and Jerry are determined to fight the good fight and to win—in more ways than one.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Tender and sensitive MM romance but the first person narration shortchanged the characters.
The Set Up: Jerry moved back to South Dakota after a bad breakup in San Francisco. He is looking to increase his business staff and hires John, a Lakota Sioux and a man who attracts him like no other. But John is fighting a corrupt social services department to gain custody of his niece and nephew and doesn’t have a lot of time to start a new relationship.
Why I Read this Book: As blog readers know, I’m addicted to the Cut & Run series and Dreamspinner Press published those books so I’m now reading my way through their MM catalogue. This book caught my attention because of the inter-racial couple, which I love reading since I’m in an inter-racial relationship.
What I Liked: This is a very tender, emotional romance. Jerry has so much love to bestow on someone and John is his perfect match. I liked Jerry’s self-determination and commitment to living his life on his terms. It was impossible not to root for Jerry.
I also like the setting of South Dakota. Being a city girl I’m always intrigued by small town life in American’s heartland and this novel offered that. It was even more interesting to have the small town romance be MM. I like the secondary characters, especially Jerry’s newly deceased grandfather who still plays a big role in Jerry’s life. John’s niece, nephew and extended family are lovely characters as well, without being stereotypes. I don’t claim to be a Lakota expert but that part of the book also seemed well-researched and written.
What I Also Liked: I also enjoy that being gay isn’t an issue for Jerry or John. Sure, they share their coming out stories with each other at the beginning of their relationship but neither is gay for the other nor do they have angst about loving a man. My favorite MM romance has these acceptance elements in it so this romance was one I enjoyed.
What I Didn’t Like: I would have loved this book if Jerry wasn’t the narrator. Since everything is from his perspective readers get very little of John, which was a huge miss for me since he was an interesting and compelling character. I’m not a big fan of first person narration in romance because it inevitably shortchanges the other lead and that’s what happened here, in my opinion.
IMO: So long as readers don’t mind the first person narration, this is a tender and heartwarming romance with good characters.