Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Freddie Whittle devotes his life to his cancer patients, cheese, and his overprotective fathers. His big move to Cardiff is tainted by bigot neighbors and a dismal social life. He wants something more but doesn’t know what until he runs headlong into a Scottish-Maori mountain of a man.
Taine Afoa retires from international rugby feeling restless. He left his career behind and relocates for a change of pace. The last thing he expects is to become infatuated with someone who seems far too young and innocent for him. No matter how hard he tries, it’s impossible to get Freddie out of his mind.
Can Freddie handle the intensity of Taine’s naughty sexual desires?
And when the strong alpha male tangles with the playful nurse, will this May-December romance end before it even begins?
The Caretaker is book two in Dahlia Donovan’s international bestselling gay romance series, The Sin Bin. Each one features hot rugby players and the men who steal their hearts.
The Caretaker is the second story in Dahlia Donovan’s Sin Bin series revolving around a group of retired rugby players and the men they love. While the name the sin bin refers to the penalty box in the game, here it evolves into a bar named appropriately The Sin Bin, owned and managed by the group. Freddie Whittle is a character we first met in The Wanderer. He played an important part in the cancer treatment and recovery of Graham Hodson, one of the main characters there. Freddie stood out, even as a secondary character and you just hoped that meant he was coming back to get his own romance. Now here it is.
His romantic match is Taine Afoa, a part Scottish, part Maori retired rugby player who is one of the aforementioned group. He’s older than Freddie, an element other characters need to work through. Taine’s has an unusual history of being abandoned as a baby, raised by a local priest, and has a hamster as a beloved pet. So many layers to this kind man. A lot of kinks as well as we find out as the story proceeds.
He’s the perfect match for Freddie, a man burdened down by two overprotective fathers (think smothered), a job that comes with heavy grief of losing clients you get close to, and neighbors who seem to be constantly attacking him because he’s gay. He needs a huge rugby player in his life and gets one. This is a wonderful romance to watch happen, no instant love. Just a recognition that they work together as a couple and want to see what happens in the future. It’s a HFN ending with a story with a HEA coming up further down the series.
I love that sort of realism that Dahlia Donovan deals with here. We see Freddie’s job and it’s effect on him up close. The maturity and strength it takes to handle that job. Things aren’t perfect, unfortunate or bad things happen to people and they learn to deal. This is a grownup look at life and romance. It’s refreshing, realistic, and wonderful.
The sex scenes are wonderful kinky (erotic spanking) and very hot! It matches the chemistry between Taine and Freddie perfectly. I thought I had my favorite couple of the series down but Taine and Freddie kept growing on me until I have to admit they are right at the top too. I can’t wait for their HEA book to arrive, that would be The Haka Ever After. See the entire list below.
I love this series and all the characters that Dahlia Donovan has created for it. They are so human, some broken, some brave, all intelligent, quirky, and multidimensional. Throw romance into the mixture and this series has an unbeatable combination. It’s one I highly recommend, including The Caretaker.
Cover art by Claire Smith is perfect, and contains an important element of the story. Great job.
Sales Links: Amazon