NYC cop and all around great guy Danny has a problem. Or at least his adopted daughter thinks he has a problem. He’s lonely. Clearly he needs a girlfriend.
The problem is that Danny doesn’t need a girlfriend. Why? Because he’s already got a boyfriend. Specifically, his daughter’s school librarian.
And if you think you know what the conflict is… you are wrong. So very very wrong.
So I’m conflicted when it comes to this book. I tend to give LBGTQIA+ books a bit more leniency in some areas because they already face a greater stigma. I wanted to like this more than I did. I am 1000% here for cute matchmaking kids and adorable Rottweiler puppies. But there are problems. Problems I couldn’t ignore.
Mostly because the author was lazy and didn’t do the research. Pro-tip to all authors out there… do the research or hire someone to fact-check you.
Here’s a list of things that were wrong:
Milo is too young to be in the job he’s in. The length of time to get the qualifications and move up the ladder to where he’s in line to be head librarian is too fast.
The fact that Milo seemed to be able to bike to work from Brooklyn when the school is on the West Side of Manhattan.
That Danny could afford a 2 bedroom apartment on the West Side of Manhattan, private school, and a PERSONAL car and parking for said car on his NYPD salary.
The last one I was like… WTF. There was a whole Law and Order Criminal Intent episode about this (starring Viola Davis as the perp of the week). Seriously… do some research. Living in NYC is expensive. Private school costs tens of thousands of dollars a year. Owning a car in NYC is hella expensive and paying for parking costs as much per month as rent.
Then I need to get into spoiler territory.
Remember how I mentioned the conflict isn’t what you think? It’s not that an educator is dating a parent of one of their students. Or even a meet cute. Nope it’s “can we tell our the child we’re dating? Can I come out to my child?” Which let me tell you, kids are resilient fuckers. If you tell them that you like to date boys as a boy, they will go OKAY! and ask for ice cream.
Worse, the conflicts were all set up as super huge mega big deals… and then resolved in like a paragraph. It was like Season 8 of Game of Thrones that left you feeling like… is this it?
Essentially the pacing was off. And pacing matters. You want things resolved fast enough that people don’t get bored but not so quickly that people get plot whiplash.
Additionally the giant elephant in the room conflict of a parent of a child dating an educator in the same school that the child attends was never addressed. Before starting down the career path that I’m on now, I was a teacher. This was literally something that a fellow teacher of mine got fired for. It’s a big deal. The final straw for me was when Danny, a New York cop who took his daughter from an abusive home, left said seven-year-old daughter home alone, granted asleep, to drive his boyfriend home across town. That is literally against the law. It doesn’t matter that he was only gone for an hour. That’s still illegal and Danny should know better. Subways run 24 hours in NYC. They might be slower but the city does not sleep. Even in the middle of a pandemic, which is when I am writing this.
The book isn’t all bad, though.
Milo is a great character for the most part. I liked him. I liked him a lot. Danny was okay, sort of flat. But he was acceptable. But the best character is the kidlet, Melissa. The author nails what having a seven-year-old is like. I felt like I was talking to the kids I used to teach as well as take care of.
I also really appreciated the candid talk about STDs and confirming a sexual history before having sex. Can we have more of this in romance? I am pro modelling good sex etiquette in fiction. I am less OK with the leads not having protected sex, but that’s a squick on my part and didn’t knock this down to star. I like to see safe sex in my smut. It’s a thing. Especially with anal… and anal where enemas have not been performed. It’s a thing.
Honestly if Milo were aged up and not working at the school where Melissa goes but instead was a librarian at a local branch or a bookstore owner this would have been better. The conflict needed to be better and more clearly stated with Danny’s work being more of a problem than it actually turned out to be.
I didn’t have any issues with the technical. And the writing style was engaging.
But ultimately I couldn’t get past the focus being on the wrong conflict, the handling of the other conflicts, and the inaccuracies that I mentioned. Three stars.
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
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