Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.
Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.
Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Stellar read with very compelling characters in an unconventional romance.
The Set Up: Kevin has made big changes in his life: acknowledged he’s been gay his entire life, gotten divorced, started a new job and enrolled in community college. He’s also ready to pop his gay cherry but he wants to be in a relationship to do so and not just with a random hookup. But when he suddenly meets British Cedric, Kevin isn’t ready for his life to change this much! Cedric is committed to lifetime treatment for his OCD and social isolation. He’s never had a lover but Kevin makes him want to try. But Kevin has three kids who need him and maybe a family man with a messy life like Kevin’s isn’t the right match for OCD germaphobe Cedric.
Why I Read this Book: I love this author!
What I Liked: Kevin and Cedric are stellar characters and their romance unique and unconventional. Kevin wants to embrace his homosexuality but he also needs to be a father to his kids and work toward large life goals. His honor and stalwart nature are wonderful, from being at his son’s soccer game to accepting Cedric’s demands of ahem, personal hygiene. Cedric’s battle with his OCD are simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating, when he fails and wins. This starts from Cedric and Kevin’s first date until the novel’s conclusion but always offers hope for these leads.
The romance is as unusual as the characters. I don’t want to spoil it but if other MM readers are similar to me, they’ve come to expect an erotic formula of sorts where the leads quickly and easily have sex—and continue non-stop throughout the read. This romance has excellent sexual tension but it’s overlaid with realism involving Cedric’s condition, as well as Kevin’s believable reactions to it. Kevin’s acceptance and hurt about Cedric’s demands, as well as Cedric’s fear of Kevin’s reactions, packed an emotional wallop for me. I adore the romance because it isn’t simple or always perfect but it’s all the more relatable and enjoyable because the leads communicate together, even when it nearly destroys them emotionally.
What I Also Liked: I adored the secondary characters as well. Kevin’s children aren’t perfect plot moppets but just normal kids and I loved them. Kevin’s ex-wife is neither the vindictive shrew nor the sassy girlfriend but a friend to Kevin who still gets emotional about their time together. Cedric’s therapist and his friend, Evan, are lovely characters who showcase Cedric’s treatment and struggles. I adored these characters with their imperfections and relationships with Kevin and Cedric.
The plot isn’t one of great mystery but just how-in-the-world can these two opposite men make a relationship work. This isn’t the novel for someone wanting lots of action but for readers like me who want lots of emotional intimacy and character growth this is a gem of a plot. I loved watching Cedric and Kevin figure out their relationship only to be suddenly thrust into the world of Kevin’s children and family. This didn’t force character growth, in my opinion, but instead showcased how far these two men came from beginning to end. The ending isn’t neat or perfect and Cedric isn’t “fixed” but it does readers better in giving the men a HEA that stayed true to their characters and relationship.
What I Didn’t Like: If you want a book with lots of erotic interludes, this isn’t the read for you. This long novel has just a few sex scenes but it was plenty for me since I was so invested in these characters and their romance.
IMO: I know Disasterology 101 is expensive but it’s worth every penny.