Author: Mary Calmes
Length: 71,330 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Cops/Crime, The Mob, Family, Kids, College, May/December
Rating: LOVED It!
Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.
Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been seeking. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.
I don’t know why I haven’t read this until now! I absolutely loved it — I really did. It was all of what Mary Calmes writes that is my favorite and the epitome of her contemporary romances that I’ve grown to love. It is definitely my favorite book of her’s that I’ve read so far, and I’ve liked many of them.
Nate, or Dr. Qells, is a English Lit professor who everyone loves. He’s close to his ex-wife and her husband and they’ve got a kid together. He’s got one closeted ex on the Chicago police force that always seems to show up at inopportune times, and another man named Sean, an ex-student and now a surgeon, who he’s gone out on a few dates with. Then, there is Michael and Dreo, his neighbors and the little family he has created around himself now that his own son has fled the nest. Nate doesn’t speak to Dreo much, but they seem to be raising Michael together. Michael is a 16 year old kid and Dreo is his 27 year old uncle, so they need a little help — especially since Dreo is doesn’t talk about who he works for, but he’s some kind of muscle for an Italian man and he always carries a gun. It isn’t difficult to put two and two together. But Michael is like his own son, and when life takes a turn for the absurd (in several different ways), Dreo and Nate start getting to know each other better — only to find that there’s a fire there Nate has never felt for another person.
Acrobat has a distinct style that is all Mary Calmes. It reminded me of a somewhat subdued A Matter of Time in some respects, in that the situation sometimes takes a turn towards truth being stranger than fiction. Also, some readers have trouble with this author’s characters, who often are very physically perfect and perfect in other ways too. That is certainly the case here. With the exception of some people who might want to kill him, Nate is universally loved — I mean LOVED. He’s held as an ideal among many. Sometime I feel like if this were the case written from any other author I would hate it, but Mary’s writing is often so tongue in cheek and at times absolutely hilarious that I can totally buy it. It gives the story a kind of bounce that is helped along by her trademark banter dialogue that can sometimes go on for pages and pages between characters. That happens several times here between Nate and Michelle, his ex-wife who is still his best friend. In fact, the book opens with one of these scenes full of funny dialogue and it gives the characters a certain charm that you either click with or don’t. I’m glad that I do.
Dreo is such a great character. I honestly don’t know if I’ve read anything that just…. HOT in a long, long time. Dreo just about burned up my Kindle, with his Alpha Dominance and Italian sweet nothings, he was totally drool-worthy. The cast of secondary characters in this book is really wonderful and they each have a charm of their own, but also charm as a group and family that surrounds Nate. I would have loved if Nate’s son had gotten some page time (at least, in person). I try not to say this very often, but I sure would love to read more of this one. If only it were just the first book of a series, then i could get even more of Dreo in the future!
This was a perfect book to start my Author Backlist Project. It has everything I adore about Mary Calmes’ books. I’m getting a little bit sad that the majority of her books I’ve read have been her contemporaries, and while I also enjoy her paranormals, I certainly enjoy the contemporaries more I was going to finish the Warder series after this, starting next Saturday, but since I loved this book so much I decided to read Mine. Hopefully I’ll love it too!