Tuesday, July 17, 2018

ARC Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane

A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies, #4)
Seeing the truth and falling in love.

Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan's friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man. 

At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he's never met akinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny”?

Todd's rating:

Awwwww. Well, wasn't that just goddamned adorable!

As the story began, Quinlan was 27 and Dustin was 21, but Quin had been the manny from the time that Dusty was 14. So yeah, his attraction to the younger man made him feel a bit squeamish.

But Dusty actually took the time to court Quin, while he was on the road, touring for two summer months, slowly convincing Quin that Dusty was no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. Maybe even his man.

We get to know Quin and Dusty much better over the course of the story through a series of flashbacks, starting when Quin was 20, still had a crush on Sammy, and the kids were still sort of mourning their loss of Taylor as their manny.

And Dusty was still a surly, fourteen-year-old asshole. Or so we were told. I could've used a few more extreme, on-page examples of his bad attitude to be honest, though, to have more fully convinced me. One fight and some smoking does not a juvenile delinquent make.

But toward the end of the tour, after Quin had kinda-sorta decided to give Dusty a chance, he limped home very ill, and Dusty nursed him back to health. That's when major forward movement in their relationship finally took off.

Dusty may've been a bit of a prickly bitch to everyone else, but he and Quin had a bond, so after a short "God, I hate that guy" phase at the beginning, Dusty was never anything but kind and attentive to Quin.

Oh dear God. He would die for Quinlan Gregory.
And the scene where Quin finally won the hard-hearted Dusty over was motherfucking *EVERYTHING*.

This story was truly packed with all the feels, but not just feelings between Quin and Dusty. This was a story about healing. And family. And learning to fully accept the love your people are freely *trying* their best to give you.

There was some steam and sex, but not enough to consume the story. Mainly just enough to tease and tantalize.

Amy also managed to slip in a bit of extra angst regarding the abrupt and not-so-sweet return of Quin's wealthy, uncaring mother. And sweet baby Jesus, I would have killed to be a fly on the wall during that attorney's meeting.
Nica took a deep cleansing breath, and Quinlan could hear her whispering “I will not judge, I will not judge, I will not judge” under her breath.
Both Nica and Jacob played a larger role in this book than in previous stories, and I loved every minute of their on-page presence.

I would caution potential readers that THIS IS NOT A STANDALONE BOOK. Not if you wish to fully enjoy it and all of the (many) relationship nuances found here. At a very minimum, I believe that you'd need to read books 1 and 3 for the majority of those small connections to fall into place.

The three previous books all rated 4 stars for me, but this one was a solid 4.5 stars, taking its place as my favorite in the series (so far?)

I'd still love to see a few more books in Amy's Mannies universe, but if this was the last one, I've been very happy with the series.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.


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