I have to admit I'm a sap for books featuring a guy with a kid. So when this offering from Dreamspinner came up, I simply HAD to read it.
Rue is working hard at a local gay bar, paying his way through cosmetology school. He longs to get out of his podunk town and go to California. He's got an acquaintance out there that he'd not only once burned the sheets up with, but who works with some big names and is eagerly trying to find him a space in the industry.
Then a mistake Rue made comes back to haunt him. It seems that Rue one night decided to get rather drunk, and while inebriated, decided to see if he was all the way gay or part straight. In the way that oddball shenanigans often happen while drunk, he came up with the idea to prove his gayness by trying to have sex with a woman, and so, still drunk, he picked up a chick and did the deed. Only a few months later, she's contacting him again, to ask him if he wants the baby she's going to have or should she just put it up for adoption. And so, the stork makes a rather unscheduled and unplanned delivery to Rue.
Rue falls in love with his daughter and wants the world for her. Sadly, he's still working at the bar and trying to graduate while angling for that lucrative job in California, so he needs cheap but top notch childcare. He finds that ANY childcare can be hard to come by, and the sort of care he insists on practically impossible within his budget. Until his desperation leads him to his work at home neighbour that is. He doesn't really know Erik, but he's quiet, has a clean home, and is home all day. All these things are already miles above what he's found so far. So, he bulldozes his way into Erik's and presses him to become his child's babysitter.
Erik is reclusive, not just quiet. He also works from home because he's a sci fi writer, and he's one with a LOT of personal issues. Issues that indicate he might be on the autistic spectrum a la Asperger's syndrome, but nothing about that is ever directly confirmed beyond a few mentions about childhood coping methods and his parents taking him to doctors, and his need for routine. He likes his routines, and he hates anything that doesn't follow it, and babies scare the bejesus out of him. They are unpredictable and cry and stuff, and no no no, this is a bad idea, but oh my gosh his royalties are dwindling, and his mind goes on and on in this manner at a frenetic pace until he decides to watch the baby.
It's actually rather cute watching Rue and Erik deal with arranging the childcare. Erik is obsessed over details and routine, but it's Rue who is actually the neurotic one. He freaks out over the tiniest detail, lest he forget something that his little darling might need- such as the number to the fire department so that she can be rescued in case of a disaster involving fire. It is his dedication though that leads him to become more involved with Erik, wanting to get to know the man he's left his daughter with and to become friends. Erik slowly leaves his shell, and so begins a sweet little romance as the two bond over one little cutie pie of a baby girl.
It's saved from being schmaltzy or saccharine by serving up just the right amount of angst as Erik deals with his personal boundary issues and begins to form personal attachments to the baby, Rue, and to Rue's best friend who comes to hang out and help with childcare. As their friendships develop and deepen, changes come as they adjust to life with a baby and come to realize that have, in essence, all become a little family of sorts. But when Rue gets the job offer he'd been hoping for, what is everyone to do? Can things stay the same for the three friends, or is change always inevitable? Rue's best friend faces losing the buddy he's spent years of studying and angsting with, and Erik faces losing Rue, the baby, and the new routine that friendship and affection have given him. Even worse, he's begun to become comfortable trying new things, outside of his set routines, but these things all centred around Rue and the baby. And what about Rue...is he ready to give up his support network and the people he's come to care so much for- including one very geeky Star Wars fanaticy sci fi writer that has gone from friend to beloved within his mind? I simply adored how it all panned out and yes, it's a HEA that was simply the icing on a very yummy cake indeed.