Monday, December 19, 2011
Daddy, Daddy & Me by Sean Michael
Author: Sean Michael
Length: 200 pages
Publisher: Torquere Press
When Jeff agreed to be the sperm donor to his best friend Beth, he never expected a tragedy to leave his newborn and three year old motherless. That's exactly what's happened, though, and it's totally thrown his life into chaos: his lover has left him, his house isn't anywhere near childproof and his boss feels the restaurant has been patient enough with the time off.
Donny has always known he wanted to be in childcare, and he just finished his degree in early childhood education. He didn't count on people being less than thrilled to hire him when they find out that not only is he a male nanny, but a gay one at that. Job hunting has been frustrating to say the least, so when he knocks on Jeff's door and is greeted by the sounds of things breaking and a pair of screaming children, he thinks, just maybe, he can begin this particular interview with a trial by fire.
Becoming the nanny to Jeff's children just might be a dream come true for Danny, and exactly what Jeff needs, but are either one of them ready to really be a family?
The story jumps right into the chaos here, with Donny arriving to find a disaster in the making, however he quickly takes control and gets things settled down before he can even be interviewed. Jeff is completely exhausted and frazzled and is happy to hand things over to the more experienced Donny and pretty much hires him on the spot. Before long they are getting into a routine, although Jeff works until very late because of his restaurant job, however on his days off he tries to spend as much time with the kids as possible and often invites Donny to be a part of family outings. Before long ... well, you guessed it. The two men are having fun after the kiddies are in bed and then .... the ex comes back, wants Jeff to dump the kids and let him come back or at the very least give him half of the dream house they lived in, but that Jeff bought and built.
When on a weekend away, the house burns to the ground, Jeff completely loses it and Donny is forced to pick up the pieces again as Jeff spirals into a depression. While I thought these two moved a little fast, I think it was within a couple of weeks (hard to say as it's not spelled out - at most a month), and Jeff had only broken up with his lover of seven years, it didn't bother me too much. It sort of seemed natural given that they spent all of their time together outside of Jeff's work. I rather enjoyed the fact that while Jeff was older and supposedly more stable with a job doing something he was very good at, when the pressure came, it was younger Donny who stepped up and put on the big girl panties and did what needed to be done, while Jeff flailed around emotionally.
I didn't find the kids overwhelmed the story as can happen sometimes. The little guy had tantrums, and they got thrown up on, although I have no idea anymore how a 3 year old really talks or behaves (my how quickly we parents block it out LOL) but I didn't find the kids intrusive to the romance, which would have been a bit sweet perhaps if Jeff hadn't had his breakdown and Donny had to give him a metaphorical kick in the ass. On the other hand, the kids weren't ignored in the story until convenient, they interrupted sex, they ended up in bed with them, they got sick, it was what most parents of small kids deal with while trying to keep a relationship as a couple.
There were some nice female characters in Jeff's sister who was freaked out by kids, and also the kids' grandmother who quickly accepted Donny and didn't have a problem with Jeff having custody after her daughter died. So that's a pleasant change, although the psycho vindictive ex is rather cliche.
One thing I'd not come across, was when Donny told Jeff he was gay, Jeff said "you're family" and then later the gay couple who ran the B&B they stayed at said they wanted to sell it to "family". Is that a new thing, to call the gay community family? Am I just out of the loop on that? I'd just never seen it before and at first I was confused that somehow Donny and Jeff were related.
Still, if you liked stories with kids and or the boss/nanny trope, it was an easy enjoyable read.