Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?
Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.
Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.
Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after….
This book uses the Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan trope, with a bit of a twist.
When Jimmy Zebulon was 15, he was a bit of a band geek and a little on the short and chubby side, in love with Danny Parker, the hot and straight football player, who unknowingly broke Jimmy's heart when he stood idly by, allowing his teammates to reduce Jimmy to snot and tears with their torment and taunts.
Fifteen years have since passed and Jimmy is now J. Graham Swann, successfully attorney and co-owner of his very own law firm. The years have been good to Graham, who now sports movie-star looks and has left Jimmy, the band geek, in his past.
But of course the past comes back to haunt him - in the form of Danny, now Dan, recently widowed and moving back to North Carolina to be closer to his parents.
Graham recognizes Dan, though not until after an almost hook-up, but Dan has for the longest time no idea that his super hot new boss is his former classmate.
Graham is standoffish and almost rude, but then remembers to be a professional.
As the story unfolds, we see Dan and Graham become friends and then more, though Graham keeps his past identity to himself. Of course, I knew this would come back to bite him. Graham is not willing to tell Dan the truth - that he's Jimmy - and things are complicated a little bit further when Dan reveals he has a young daughter named Lacey.
And then Graham finds out that Dan, his secret high school crush, is gay and came out not long after leaving high school, met and married a man and adopted a child.
I adored this story. I loved both characters, and I loved how well the author brought across Graham's hang-ups and his pain from the past, and Dan's confusion when Graham blows a bit hot and cold for a while. I loved how easily the story unfolded, how seamlessly each scene flowed into the next, how Graham and Dan go from employer and employee to friends and then to lovers.
And then... well, you read this for yourself. I don't think you'd regret it. The book has two great MCs, a lovely little girl that pulls them together, and an excellent supporting cast that rounded out the story.
Seriously, read this. This was a perfect addition to the Dreamspun Desires series, and I utterly adored it.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **
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