Author: Londra Laine
Kelly Brooks Montes is only nineteen years old and just starting college in New York City when tragedy strikes, and he becomes a single dad to his toddler brother. Four years later, Kelly and his baby brother, Jaylen, are doing well, though Kelly leads a double life to make ends meet. He’s a high-level administrative assistant by day and a racy go-go boy by night. Between raising his brother, dancing, and trying not to run afoul of his new boss, Kelly doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. Even if he did want a man in his life, a past trauma makes him question whether he can ever trust a man with his body or his heart. But then Kelly receives an unexpected but steamy birthday kiss from his boss, a man he was sure hated him, and he begins to wish for things he knows he shouldn’t.
Andrew Whitman knew from the moment he held Kelly’s hand that the man was special, and it both annoyed and terrified him. Kelly makes him feel a little out of control and Drew is a highly controlled man. He has to be to keep his sexuality a secret from his father, a conservative politician. And he is OK with that. He has a perfectly good, mutually beneficial, life plan with his best friend, Lex. A long time ago, he’d made his peace with the fact that he’d never find a man worth turning his life upside down for. Then he ends up with his capable and gorgeous assistant under him on top of his desk, and his life plans change. Drew can’t seem to get out of his own way when it comes to the quiet, sexy, and surprising single dad, but he can’t stop himself from falling for Kelly and his sweet baby brother. And just when it seems that Kelly has worked through his past hurts enough to let Drew into his body and his heart, manipulative family and words unspoken threaten to tear them apart. But after getting a taste of a life he never thought he could have, Drew won’t let anything tear his fledgling family apart.
Before I begin the review, a word of caution: this story contains a graphic depiction of past rape.
As the blurb states, this story is about a young man who’s taken on the responsibility to raise his young asthmatic brother, complete with all the extra medical expenses that entails. He loves living in New York City and has a decent job, and he supplements that income by working as a go-go dancer on the weekends. Though he loves dancing, it’s not something he plans to do forever—just for now to help pay for medical deductibles when his kid brother is ill.
The story opens with Kelly doing his job as an administrative assistant to the new Director of Operations who has come in to help with the transition after their company was sold. Highly efficient, Kelly is an outstanding assistant so he can’t understand why his boss, Andrew, seems to ignore him at times and is downright hostile at other times. Unknown to Kelly, that’s Andrew’s way of dealing with his attraction to the young man.
To be honest, I must say that my first impression of this story was not good–and that’s because of Andrew, aka Drew. There was not enough dialogue in the early pages of the story and it just felt very wordy—too much narrative as the author backfilled the merger, Kelly’s job duties, and Andrew’s reasons for cold-shouldering him. In the first chapter, Drew comes across as a total ass, always thinking of nothing but Kelly’s body and what sex would be like with him, not giving any value to Kelly as a person. If it was true that he would like to date or “be with” the young man, he should be looking at the whole person. The crude thoughts and words just turned me right off from Andrew’s character. Yes, there was more to him and we saw that as the story progressed, but to be honest, he was such a disappointment to Kelly when Kelly needed to trust him 100% that it kept me from being invested in any romance between them.
Kelly was a sweetheart throughout the story. Yes, he overreacted a few times, but considering his life circumstances and his background, including a rape that isn’t described in the blurb or book info and is explicitly described in a flashback, one can understand why he acted and reacted the way he did when he found out Drew was withholding personal information from him. Drew seemed to be mostly thinking with his libido throughout the story, and I felt that he didn’t love or desire Kelly as much as he loved and desired Kelly’s body. There was so much more to the young man’s character, and yes, that was mentioned, but the focus seemed to be on sex.
In my opinion, the story needed a more extensive edit to help the author stay on track and clear up inconsistencies as well as to chop off about 2,000 words. Little things as simple as character eye color and as complex as a character doing or saying something totally in apposition to the character’s previous description drove me crazy. Also, how many times can one person say or think the same thing over and over again and still not act on it? To me, that just added pages to an already long story. And then, so what if Drew’s BFF masquerades as his girlfriend to foil their fathers? This was made into a huge plot point in the second half, and by the time he started to see the implications of not telling Kelly and it became time for the big reveal, it was already absurdly overdone.
I really wanted to enjoy this story because I liked the concept and I think the author has potential. Kelly was a sweet character and the idea of him raising his brother and supporting himself with two jobs was solid, but the execution left much to be desired, and that’s mostly due to the unlikable main character, Andrew, and the unpolished writing, so unfortunately, I don’t recommend it.