Nadia is a smart and determined girl. She wants to be a special ed teacher and she’s working her ass off to make it happen. However, this means she doesn’t have time to be the typical college party girl. Between classes and working at the local daycare, she barely has time to eat and sleep, much less worry about her love life. But when she meets Ty, the grumpy single dad downstairs, she wonders if she can’t make time. Ty’s life is centered around Sam, he’s son. Becoming a single dad at 20 was a crazy loop, but he can’t bring himself to regret the heartache that came along with it because he has Sam. Between work, night school, and parenting, he also doesn’t have time for a romantic relationship. But he can’t help noticing Nadia, even when he shouldn’t. Can these two make time for each other or will this opportunity pass them by?
Nadia is that girl that’s so easy for me to relate to. All her parents hopes and dreams are centered on her because she is the smart one. She has the brains to make it out of their podunk town and do something great with her life. And she will, if it kills her. Determined to live up to those high expectations, she excels at school, pouring all her energy into learning how to be the best special ed teacher she can be. If it wasn’t for her friends and roommates forcing her out sometimes, she wouldn’t have any normal college experiences. She’s not the average party girl anyway, preferring to sticking to a light buzz over idiot-level drunk. I really could understand her plight and sympathize with her once her desire to get to know Mr Hot Ginger a little better…or a lot better.
Ty, AKA Mr Hot Ginger, is a total sweetheart, even if he does have his grumpy asshole moments. Hey, not guy is perfect and we all get frustrated at times. He’s a hard worker and loves his son enough to sacrifice his whole world on him. It’s rare to see a single father so determined to make everything right for his son. When he really starts to give in to Nadia and allow their friendship to blossom, he really becomes swoon-worthy. He’s cranky and difficult at times, but with the load he’s dealing with, how could he not be? He’s also determined to do what he thinks is right by his son, even when it might not be the right thing.
One of the things I really loved about this was the lack of a traumatic past for either character. Okay, Ty has a kid, so he has a tinsy bit of drama, but fans of NA will really know what I mean. Neither character was abused or assaulted or neglected. Both characters came from decent homes where their parents genuinely want to see them succeed. That was such a refreshing take. Finally, an NA where it’s just about two people in this age range finding themselves and each other. And it focuses a lot of attention on their connection and need for each other on a mental and emotion level as well as the need to rip each other’s clothes off. The tension is there, but it’s not all sex, sex, and…oh yeah, more sex!
There is also no love triangle aspect (or a cliffhanger). This could have easily gone down that path, with Nadia and her roommate Max, we are saved that headache. Which is a real relief for me because even though sometimes I get past the triangle enough to love the book, I always hate recommending things with triangles. It feels like love triangles in themselves double the drama level and I like to keep that level as low as possible.
The issues both characters face are very real and easy to relate to. Though Nadia wants to be with Ty, is she ready to be a mom at 21? Is Ty ready to let go of his past and allow himself the opportunity to move on? Both dilemma’s make the reader really thing and sympathize with the characters because there is no easy answer or easy way. No matter how much Nadia loves Sam, helping raise him won’t be easy. And neither will getting Ty to forgive himself for his past fuckup. You just can’t help but root for him.
From the moment I heard about this novels, their premise, and their Backstreet Boys titles, I wanted in. I wanted to read them as soon as possible and I’m so grateful for Kelly at Inkslinger PR for providing me with the opportunity to read and review it. It’s perfect. There isn’t a thing I would change (and that’s really saying something for me). If you are a fan of NA or contemporary romance or are just looking for a story with a little heart, give this a try. You won’t be sorry!
****Thank you to Inkslinger PR and Harlequin HQN for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****