Review: Parker Williams – Of Love and Corn Dogs (Of Love And… #1)

corn-dogsAuthor: Parker Williams
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Summary: With more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn’t keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant’s newest employee.
Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.
As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs— something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.
Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.
Review: Darwin Kincade is like a fairy tale prince. He’s rich as blazes and runs an incredibly successful company but he is also kind, good to his employees, nice to people and very closed off in his heart since the death of his beloved, Dean. The one bright spot in his week is flirting with Roy, is favorite waiter at Asiago. He keeps hoping the man will see him as a potential date. So he’s a little upset when he shows up at Asiago only to find Roy has quit and he has a new waiter, Ricky. Ricky is friendly and upfront, both things Roy was not. Oh, and Roy was straight with a wife and kids, Ricky is not. Ricky is a breath of fresh air. When telling Darwin the specials of the day, Darwin asks him what he thinks of it. “Honestly? I thought it was pretentious. Give me a corn dog any day.” And so begins the friendship, courtship of Ricky and Darwin.

Since Darwin’s family, while kind enough, had definite social expectations and boundaries, Darwin has never actually had a corn dog. Until he takes Ricky’s advice and gets one at the mini-putt course. Bam, it’s love. For the corn dog, that is. What Darwin likes most of all is that Ricky doesn’t realize who Darwin is, so Darwin can be a regular guy, making a regular friend doing regular things, for the first time in his life.

Of course, things aren’t that easy. Ricky ends up nearly losing his job once and then losing it for real. Since Ricky has no idea who Darwin really is and what he can do for people, it’s sort of a catch-22 for Darwin. He can’t help without sharing who he is and he can’t share who he is without losing the normalcy they have (so he feels).

Darwin’s best friend, Henley, who also works for him encourages Darwin to come clean with Ricky but Darwin is just so unsure if things will remain the same. Of course, you know that the day of reckoning is going to happen. The interaction between Henley and Darwin is brotherly, best friend-ish and awesome. Of course, there’s a little bit of a heartbreaking moment there but they are so solid. And Henley has good advice – come clean!

Darwin is just so sweet and he’s not at all a stereotypical rich boy, though he has missed a lot of “regular people” stuff. The kind of stuff Ricky can show him. “He wanted to send the cab away and order a pizza or something, because sitting in a public place with Ricky, trying to make interesting conversation while drooling like the village idiot had now become a real possibility.” No, Darwin, give yourself some credit. Such as: “Okay, it sounds silly now, but I thought about your kitten at home, and figured he should get a doggy bag.” That’s the mark of a thoughtful person.
Ricky wants to move up in life and make something of himself. But he wants to do it himself. So when the moment happens where he discovers Darwin’s secret, you know it isn’t going to be good. But anything worth having is worth working for.

Darwin treats his employees as family and it shows in their loyalty. There is a side issue with his brother and that shows how much Darwin cares for people. This is a sweet story with a fairy tale feel, although Cinderfella wants to do everything himself with no help from any fairies or the sweet Prince. Adorable.

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