Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Number five in the Mangrove series, this story features sexy fire chief, Essien Dodd. Essien moved to Mangrove when he took the chief position so that his precocious daughter, fourteen-year-old Ivy, would have a safe environment in which to grow up. His ex-wife passed away from cancer during the past year, and he stayed with her and Ivy to care for them until the end. Now he has full custody, and he wants to provide the best home life possible for his little girl.
Essien is a caretaker—from his job, to his family responsibilities, to his friends and neighbors— if someone needs to be taken care of, it’s a sure bet Essien will find out and be there to help. He had divorced his wife when he knew he was gay and needed to come out, and he’s enjoyed his freedom as a gay man since then, but now that Ivy lives with him full time, he doesn’t pursue relationships or one-night-stands because he wants to be available for Ivy 24/7. Ivy, on the other hand, seems to want him to find someone, so much so, that she actively seeks gay men her dad might like. After the match with the school counselor fell through because he was much too young for Essien and because he refused to let his daughter set him up, he finally told her that if he ever finds a man it will be a man, not a young boy, and he’ll find him all by himself.
What he didn’t tell her is that he has his eye on the gorgeous Dr. Roark Hammond. And Roark seems attracted to him as well, but Roark has a secret, and it’s one that Roark feels will put any hope of a long-term relationship into the impossible-to-have category. Will Essien settle for being put off? Will Roark be able to allow Essien to be his caretaker? Will they sleep together ’til sunrise and wake to greet each new day with hope?
I really enjoy this series, and this one has one of the author’s trademark heroes in Essien—the nice guy who doesn’t realize how much others admire and like him and care about his happiness. Essien deserves to find his man, and the man in this story equally deserves a guy like Essien. There’s nothing about this story to dislike. It’s fairly short, a very light read, and a very sweet romance. Another great bedtime story for the holidays.
Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts a gorgeous black man, sans shirt, standing against a picturesque sunrise coming up over the Atlantic. It’s perfect for this story.
ebook, 90 pages
Published December 16th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1627984712 (ISBN13: 9781627984713)
Series Mangrove Stories with links to Barb the Zany Old Lady’s reviews: