Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .
Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .
Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.
It is no secret that I am a huge Anyta Sunday fan, so I greatly anticipate any new book coming out. This one, part of the Made for You series, had me dithering because I have a low tolerance for people who walk away, especially at a much needed time, for less than stellar reasons. I wasn’t sure how Mort was going to redeem himself. And then I read it and he did. The writing and the dialogue – fresh, witty and never patronizing – worked so well.
Except there were other things that bugged me here. I have to say straight away that the person responsible for Mort’s disappearance not only didn’t say anything in his defense when he returned but also didn’t grovel at all or apologize nearly enough for me. Mort and the Rochester family deserved that. I am definitely not a fan of Dolores, the Rochester’s mother. She is selfish, homophobic and truly not grateful appearing for everything that is done for her, particularly by Felix I can add in that Roch, also, is oblivious to how much Felix pours into the family to keep it going.
The fact that Mort left the family without a word right when they needed him the most – Mom’s kidney transplant – puts him in bad graces with not only Roch and Felix but young sisters, Tiffany, April and May. A year later he’s back, trying to get back the family he has so desperately missed but it’s not as easy as he hoped it might be. I was very glad to see that because those siblings were Hurt, with a capital H, when Mort disappeared.
“I sent you emails.”
“Christmas and birthday. Each one felt like a slap.”
He knows he messed up. “I’d given up my best friend and his family over a few painful words.” Yes, Mort, you did.
The Rochesters have been Mort’s family for years. He has no blood family left, “Just an achingly empty house that continues to smell like a dad who never cared.” He’s back now and trying to earn back both their trust and his place in their family. It’s difficult because he hurt them so badly.
Mort has been in love with his best friend, Roch, for years while at the same time younger brother, Felix, has been in love with Mort. He can’t do anything about it because he always would wonder – was he second place, the consolation prize when Mort couldn’t have Roch? Even as Mort says he is over Roch, it doesn’t always seem that way.
“Roch loves hot sauce. Habit, sorry.”
“He’s not over him. He’ll never be over him…”
Poor Felix. He is so open about his feelings for Mort and it is so painful for him. “Impossible feelings that have no place to grow amidst Mort and Roch’s epic friendship. Feelings their shared smiles and secrets have trampled.” The vulnerability is there all the time. And the worst insecurity is hard to get over because the one Mort has been in unrequited love with is Felix’s own brother. Who questions motive as well. “Roch slinks up, frowning at me. “Do you really? Genuine concern shades his voice. “Or is this the next best thing if you couldn’t have me?”
Felix himself is a gem. He is open, caring, kind and generous to a fault. And he’s funny. “You’re like, experienced. And I’m, all like, Elmo Goes to a Gay Bar.” His penchant for bowties, copied by his young twin sisters, is awesome and unique. I love how much they adore him and they even act like children, not mini-adults! I hated that so often he took blame for things. “Specifically, neither of us mentions my failures at putting myself out there.” He actually did and Mort spoiled it for him. Get a clue, Mort!
There is a conversation between Roch and Mort that made me wonder, WTF? Why is this happening? Mort does, however, really try to make things right with his chosen family and you can see how much effort he is putting into getting all of them to forgive him. This would have been much easier had the person actually at fault let any of them know what happened.
This is a pretty angst-free story with characters I truly enjoyed, save one. While not my favorite of the series, it is a great addition to it. We also get to see Pax Paolo, from Shrewd Angel, who is lovely. We also get a little bit of Ben and Jack from Made For You, a favorite of mine. It has witty dialogue and while the unrequited bit stings, nothing is dragged out forever. Just baggage and issues that need to be addressed.
Cover Art: works for the story.
Sales Links: Amazon