Ben Walsh is well on his way to becoming one of Manhattan’s top litigators, with a gorgeous boyfriend and friends on the A-list. His life is perfect until he gets a phone call that brings it all crashing down: a car accident takes his parents, and now he must return to Austin to raise three teenage brothers he barely knows.
During the funeral, Ben meets Travis Atwood, the redneck neighbor with a huge heart. Their relationship initially runs hot and cold, from contentious to flirtatious, but when the weight of responsibility starts wearing on Ben, he turns to Travis, and the pressure shapes their friendship into something that feels a lot like love. Ben thinks he’s found a way to have his old life, his new life, and Travis too, but love isn’t always easy. Will he learn to recognize that sometimes the worst thing imaginable can lead him to the place he was meant to be?
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Good family-based romance which allows character growth that I liked. If the novel is a tad cotton-candy sweet and idealistic I can forgive it since it’s a true romance HEA.
The Set Up: Ben is one of Manhattan’s top lawyers but he’s shocked when his parents die in a car crash and it’s up to him to decide if he can raise his three teenage brothers. Ben’s loneliness and sorrow is mitigated when he meets his previously-straight redneck neighbor, Travis. But Ben isn’t sure his life can handle one more relationship and Travis won’t force Ben into anything.
Why I Read this Book: This book has gotten a lot of buzz in the MM romance world so thought I’d try it.
What I Liked: This is a family-based romance. Ben’s brothers are just as important characters as Ben and Travis. Who the boys are and what they need in life is part of Ben’s journey and therefore the reader’s and I loved that. Quentin, Jason and Cade are stellar secondary characters and I hope this book becomes a series. Ben and the boys have a makeshift family in their friends as well and this is a lovely idealistic concept for any family but was particularly sticky sweet in its perfection here.
What I Also Liked: There is simplicity in Ben and Travis’s romance that I enjoyed. Neither character is angry or broken-hearted in life; they’re just normal guys who fall in love and need to figure out how to make a life together. The emotional and sexual intensity match and doesn’t overshadow the men’s relationships with the teenagers or their friends. This isn’t an all-consuming romance that is typical in the romance genre but I enjoyed it for its simplicity.
What I Didn’t Like: I admit that this book is nearly cloying in its HEA. Ben and Travis work out as couple; Ben’s job works out; the family relationship is perfect; the teens have their first loves; they jet set between Texas and Manhattan and have Thanksgiving with The Barefoot Contessa herself at the St. Regis; even Ben’s ex-boyfriend finds his soul mate. Everything here is neat and perfect to the point of being almost too sweet. Still, HEA is part of the romance genre so I shouldn’t complain.
IMO: Good romance with good characters in a perfect modern-day fairytale story.