This whole contest was supposed to be easy. I know, I know. Famous last words.
It’s a long story, but I messed up at work. Big time. To earn back the trust of my boss, I promised to save one of our magazines. Yep. That Hot Dad contest you’ve seen advertised all over the place was my idea. And if I’m successful, if I’m able to increase our online readership, then I get a shot at my dream job.
But the one thing I never expected to happen, happened: Contestant number ten, Grayson Malone. Hello, Mr. Difficult. And did I mention sexy as hell?
Unfortunately he knows me. The old me, anyway. And while we might be older now, I remind him of before. Of the woman who broke his heart, who hardened him, and who left him alone to raise the cutest little boy I’ve ever seen.
But I don’t want a relationship. And I definitely don’t fall for single dads with baggage. Even ones with chiseled abs and killer smiles.
But he got to me. They got to me. Him and his son and their messy, crazy life. But I got to him too. I see the stolen glances. I feel the walls he built start to crumble. I recognize that there’s an unexpected beauty to the chaos in his life.
And now that the contest is about to end, we’re left to decide whether the last six months were just fun or if what we have is worth risking it all?
“The best things in life never are easy. You have to work at them and struggle with them just to make them work, but that’s the best reward … that you didn’t give up and it netted you something beautiful. We could be beautiful.”
I’ve never pleaded in my life, but I’m doing it now. I need to hear him tell me he’ll try. That I’m worth the risk. That he wants me to stay.
“I love you, damn it, and I don’t have a fucking clue what to do about it other than to ask you to choose me. To tell me I’m worth the risk.”
If I thought the other Malone brothers were something, oh goodness, Grayson is THE SOMETHING! Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t have his issues, because wowza…
He is a single dad, which is one of my favorite types of men. He is dedicated to his job, his family, and first and foremost: his son. In everything he does, I could tell he put those around him first, but he also seemed to be stuck in the past. I can identify with some of how he felt – it’s always difficult to hope for the future when your past has scarred you so deeply. There were many a time I wanted to knock some sense into him! But, no matter how high my annoyance level reached, Grayson still took my heart.
Oh Sidney … from the minute I met her I saw straight into her heart. It took me a little time to come around, because goodness did she get on my nerves too! What I loved about Sidney was that she always seemed really honest with herself. She acknowledged her privilege, her mistakes, and her feelings (well, she gets there eventually).
What I loved most about the story was how it really exhibited the frailty of life and relationships. There was SO MUCH love in this story, but there was just as much insecurity and doubt. Each character had parts of themselves that they needed to really focus on and decide how they were going to live for their future. In this, it allowed me to see deeper into them, as characters, and helped me to connect through my own insecurities and doubts.
All the feels ❤