Author: Shira Anthony
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?
Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.
Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.
Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….
A sweet take on the Ugly Duckling tale. Jimmy Zebulon—short, chubby, gay boy—has a crush on Danny Parker—tall, athletic, straight boy. High school’s not the place to be when you are like Jimmy, who wears his heart on his sleeve. After one verbal gay-bashing too many by the football team, which includes Danny, Jimmy knows he can’t go on like this, so when his new stepfather is transferred to Tennessee, Jimmy takes on his last name and uses his own middle name, becoming J. Graham Swann. It also helped that he grew eight inches over the next year as he created a persona that was totally unlike “Zebby.”
In the present time, the new attorney Graham’s partner, Terri, has hired for their North Carolina law firm is none other than Dan Parker. But imagine Graham’s shock when he discovers that the woman in Dan’s life is his four-year-old daughter, Lacey, and not a wife. In fact, Lacey was adopted by Dan and his husband, Benn, who passed away two years before.
Over time, against Graham’s instincts, the two become friendly. The few times Graham tries to tell Dan about the past are cut off by kisses from the handsome man who is attempting to storm the gateway to Graham’s heart, so he decides to withhold the information. Unfortunately, it all blows up in his face down the road when old resentments bubble to the surface.
I enjoyed this tale of the dorky kid who became a handsome man. He was difficult to like, however, since he constantly held himself so aloof. On the other hand, Dan was a very likeable character right from the beginning—smart, personable, and a great daddy to Lacey. The tale of how they came together and what happens to mend the rift created by Graham’s temper tantrum is heartwarming and, thankfully, there’s a sweet HEA well worth waiting for.
If you enjoy these “fluffy” Dreamspun Desires stories as much as I do, this should be a good one to pick up. I’m a sucker for reinvented fairy tales and Shira Anthony hit a homerun with this.