As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.
Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.
To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.
Archer is a blogger/writer who rails about gays who want to be married to be “normal” and ridicules them for their misbelief that monogamy and love are real. He goes so far as to say gay men aren’t supposed to be parents, it’s unnatural to their true selves. He has a good reason for believing as he does and voicing his opinion has been lucrative. When he finds out his only (beloved) sister has died and left him her children he’s not only crushed by the loss but devastated by the implications it could have on him and on the children to be their only parent.
Ryan is a teacher who knew Archer’s sister closely the last year, enough that she listed him as an alternate guardian for her kids in an emergency. (The father is also dead.) He has wanted nothing but a marriage and family of his own since he could remember wanting a future. In fact, his last boyfriend left him because he was pressuring him too much.
It’s not a good meeting when Archer and Ryan meet – Archer is mostly an ass and Ryan is pretty judgmental. But… for the sake of the kids they agree to live with one another over the summer in the hopes of getting Archer to a point where he’s comfortable with the kids on his own.
Of course – a lot can happen over a summer…
Chris Scully has a knack for delivering real romance and three-dimensional, authentic characters. This story, like her others, is a slow-burn romance with not a lot of heat. There is a boat-load of sexual tension and oodles of feels developing, but she doesn’t emphasize the sex as a way for these guys to get close.
There is a lot of deep soul searching and a lovely growth process for both men. The children seem pretty realistic if a little too “easy” and the love that grows between the family is the most beautiful part of this story.
Though the Epilogue doesn’t leave a big window for a sequel- I’d sure love to see these guys after they decided to plant roots together. We spend so much time watching them avoid each other it’d be nice to see them together – at least for awhile.
It’s a really touching and beautiful story on it’s own – add in to the mix the Aboriginal aspect to the story (Archer and his sister are Cree ) and it’s even more rich and powerful.
I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.
4.5 of 5 stars
Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review