Holy sweet baby Jesus.
I don't know anything about taking care of kids.
I pierce nipples, navels, and noses for a living.
I've never even held a baby before. Not once. Never changed a diaper or cleaned up a skinned knee. Hell, I don't even want kids. I'm more of a drifter, a once in a lifetime lover, and then I move on.
Family? Commitment? Nuh uh, no way.
Tough shit, though, because my brother and his kids need me. Desperately.
I never thought to wonder if I might need them, too.
That I might need her, this strange woman I met at a playground.
She doesn't know I'm not a professional nanny, but what am I supposed to do now?
She hired me; I took care of her sister's kids for her; I fucked her.
My life is so screwed up.
From the moment I saw this drool-worthy cover my hormones started running amok. I was captivated by the manliness and badassery it exuded which had me willing to overlook some of the flaws of this book. By the turn of the final page I was content, waiting for more of a culmination to this couple's story, but aware of the imperfections that kept this from being a great book.
Zayden Roth is a free spirit who's never done what's expected. He's a tattooed and pierced sex god who goes through women like Kleenex as he detests the idea of commitment. He likes his life in Vegas that's one fun time after another with a variety of women clamoring for his attention, a life that's orderly where he only has to take carry of himself and his sweater-wearing hairless cat. When his brother calls him out of the blue for help in watching his kids for a few weeks Zayden expects the worst (which he gets) but also gets an eye-opening look into his heart and the chance to be an adult for once. Meeting Brooke gives him a glimpse of someone very different from himself, but it's those differences that draws him to her. Being around her shows him that he can be so much more than his reputation allows. Brooke brings out a supportive side to him, a side that has him sacrificing to help someone he's coming to care for. He's truly drool-worthy with a bit of geekiness to him. He's a bit arrogant at times, a bit crass when discussing other women with Brooke, but I still found myself drawn to him. He's clearly uncomfortable taking care of children early on but quickly shows himself able to adapt and roll with the kid's contrary natures in charming yet laughable interactions. He and Brooke are a combustible couple from the moment they meet. She's unlike any other woman he's been with before as she's a bit nerdy and naive. He's a sounding board for her, helping her when she needs him most, but has no easy answers for her situation. He acts casual at the start of their relationship but quickly becomes a bit jealous and proprietary as he's her teacher when it comes to sex. In oh so many ways Zayden's a jerk, a naughty boy caught in a man's body, but I still found myself drawn to him...warts and all.
Brooke's always been the good girl, the one to do everything her parents wanted, but never to get the recognition. With her sister's latest abandonment of her children Brooke's the only one left to pick up the pieces as her parents are out of the country and oblivious to all that's transpired. Brooke left her life behind to care for her nieces, alone and trying to juggle school and a job as a stripper which she's having trouble coming to terms with. She's smart and loyal...and untried when it comes to the opposite sex. That's part of what draws her to Zayden the first time she sees him. He's everything she's not as he never does the expected, unlike her. He's lived his life as a sexual smorgasbord while she's still inexperienced but longs to take a walk on the wild side with him. Brooke's got a high IQ but she does some very silly things. Her choosing a man she just met as a caregiver for her nieces is dangerous and unrealistic. Letting him practically live with her after just a few days of conversation is also reckless. She had a lot of book smarts but when it came to real life she seemed ill-equipped to handle much of anything as Zayden took care of six kids as well as cooking, cleaning, and managed a menagerie of poorly-behaved pets. Overall Brooke's a nice girl just trying to clean up her sister's mess. There were times I was left frustrated by her not standing up for herself, but then she'd do something in support of herself or her nieces that left me cheering.
This is an erotically-charged romance of opposites attracting that's very rough around the edges with over-the-top actions and melodramatic moments. With such a simple premise, and not a lot really happening, the story is bit too long too. The beginning is a bit jarring as well with Zayden's bedroom aerobics with another woman giving readers a glimpse of his unappealing side. Despite that he's super sexy and a master of dirty talk in and out of the bedroom, only acting like a gentleman occasionally. He likes being accountable only to himself but was surprisingly competent when forced into caring for his nieces and nephews. Brooke's smart in some respects but without Zayden I truly don't know what she would've done as he helped her in so many ways. Their interactions with the children vividly depicted the chaos of parenting, all the good and the bad. Some of the children were sweet and easygoing while others were nothing but trouble. Most romances push kids into the background but here they were front and center alongside an increasingly scorching romance. The erotic encounters showed Zayden clearly the more educated with Brooke just enjoying the ride in scenes that overtook the narrative in their frequency. While the main characters, and most of the secondary characters, were entertaining I had major problems with Zayden's brother who was unappreciative and belittling of his younger brother. He was ungrateful and judgmental and I wholeheartedly detested him despite his obvious love for his children. The ending too was a bit frustrating as things could've easily ended with its HFN conclusion, but the author's chosen to drag the story out unnecessarily in a sequel. Despite its issues this was a romance that I enjoyed and that will have me coming back for more. Ultimately it's not a great book, but it is one that you can't help but get caught up in.
My rating for this is a C+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.