Imagine sitting by yourself in a library, wracking your brain to figure out to come up with money for rent, for tuition, and that pesky food you need, all while being just 20 years old and working three jobs, because your parents have blown your college fund on their acrimonious divorce, when suddenly, the older, good-looking and seemingly wealthy man sitting at a table across from you makes you an offer that sounds too good to be true - come live at his house (it's big enough), save money on rent, keep going to college to become a lawyer like you want, and I'll even teach you how to cook.
You'd be running out the door as fast as your feet can carry you, amirite? Because nobody is that generous without wanting a little something in return. Right?
Well, in the case of Step By Step, you'd be wrong.
Jamie is 20, broke as fuck, and doesn't know how to come up with the next month's rent. He's approached by Guy, 38, who was once in a similar situation and who was saved from the poorhouse by someone making the same offer he's now making to Jamie. He's genuine, nice, and wanting to pay it forward.
Oh, and he's gay. With an ex-wife, grown kids, and still mourning the loss of his lover/benefactor a few years ago.
So Jamie, once he's gotten over the shock and disbelief, moves in with Guy. Has use of a car. Drops one, then another of his three jobs. And learns to cook. And makes Guy laugh and smile more than Guy can remember.
And falls in love. When Jamie turns 21, he musters his courage and asks Guy for a kiss. At this point, Guy is already head over heels, but still thinks that Jamie is straight. Surprise!!
There's very little drama here between Guy and Jamie, and I loved that. The age gap is mentioned, but doesn't cause any friction between the two men, as Guy realizes that Jamie is an adult and makes his own decision, and if falling in love with Guy is what he wants, then Guy is only to happy to return the sentiments.
The drama in this book is primarily caused by people outside of their relationship, primarily Guy's spoiled brat of a son, and his petty ex-wife. Guy's daughter is cut from a different cloth, and since they're close in age, she and Jamie become fast friends quickly.
Time and again Jamie surprises Guy with his maturity level, and there were moments when I wanted to smack Guy just a little bit, because he shouldn't have been so surprised, dammit. Though I forgave him when he introduced Jamie to some of his friends and thus provides a leg up for the young man, consistent in supporting his aspirations, just like he promised he would.
Also, sexy times. HOLY SMOKING SHEETS, BATMAN!! Jamie goes after what he wants, he doesn't care about labels and only sees the person - cue "let's get it on". This author can really, really write the sexy times and bring across ALL the feelz. *fans self*
The ending - gah. Beautiful. Might have sniffled just a little.
This book was lovely and I enjoyed every moment I spent reading it, HEA and all. Definitely recommended!
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **