Rating 5 stars out of 5
In my opinion, this is the best of the Mannies series and one of my favorite Amy Lane stories. As the author states in her promo, her work is divided into three flavors: alt universe, angst, and sunshine-yellow happy. Well, color this one bright sunshine because it was one of those stories that grabbed me from the first chapter and pulled me through to the end when the very clueless Quinlan Gregory realizes just how very loveable and needed he is.
Quinlan was kicked out by his wealthy parents when he announced he was gay. He had a feeling it would happen, so he had all his worldly goods packed and all his finances in order. In fact, the moment he left the house he changed all his passwords so his family couldn’t access his accounts or his trust fund. Good thing too, because years later he found out they’d tried to access them immediately.
Quinlan is Sammy’s college friend and fellow musician, so naturally, kind-hearted Sammy sees being a manny for his aunt’s brood is the perfect job for Quin, and the timing is perfect since Taylor is getting married and leaving the position. Though he knows nothing about being a manny, he really wants to be a part of the world of this close-knit family—a world so far from the cold, lonely life he left behind. When he spots Dusty, the oldest, and boldest, of the kids, acting out and assuming the role of family troublemaker—Quin realizes he can definitely make a positive contribution to the Robbins-Grayson’s lives.
Time passes, and as Quin and Dusty become friends, Dusty bides his time to reach his goal of making Quinlan see him as an adult, an equal, and a mature responsible lover. There aren’t more than six years between them, but Dusty knows he’ll need to be in his twenties before he can actively pursue the man of his dreams. So by the time he’s twenty-one, he starts to make his move, and though it takes more than one attempt, he’s finally in a position to help the kind, caring man when Quin comes home from summer band tour with a bad virus and virtually falls into Dusty’s open arms.
What follows is a courtship that made my heart melt. Dusty is the perfect mate for Quin and he sets out to prove it as Quin receives news his father has died and his mother is again attempting to access Quin’s money.
The most outstanding feature of this story is the character development and family interactions. These are real people in a large, happy family composed of those both born into, and folded into, their collective arms. Dusty’s character was a surprise on the one hand, but knowing his parents, it shouldn’t have been. He’s very much like his father in temperament and he’s goal-driven like his mother with an attitude that proves good things come to those who wait.
I laughed and I cried with Quin and Dusty, and I wallowed in the pure enjoyment of seeing where Channing and Tino are in their relationship, as well as where Sammy and Cooper are in theirs. Quin’s reaction to Sammy’s good news was spot-on and showed just what a wonderful friend and caring character he is. There’s so much to this story, it’s hard to pick a favorite segment, and conversely, it’s almost impossible to pick something I didn’t like—other than the evil, cold-hearted woman who birthed Quin, of course. And to be honest, to make the story work, she needed to be exactly the way she was.
I wouldn’t recommend this book as a standalone, purely because of the interactions with the other characters in the series, but I would highly recommend it to those who’ve read the others, especially books one and three. And to those who haven’t read them—start from the beginning and enjoy this whole series. It’s so worth it.
The cover by Bree Archer, in typical Dreampun Desires style, features a handsome young man, likely Dusty, set against a dark purple background.
ebook, 230 pages
Expected publication: July 17th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleA Fool and His Manny
SeriesThe Mannies #4