A twenty year age gap, a neurodivergent ‘boy’ and a gray ace of a ‘Daddy’, both lonely and unable to find their match… until now.
Ethan Humboldt is a cocky, confident chef with zero filter and even less humility. He’s also a very good, neurodivergent boy who’s been searching far too long for the perfect Daddy. At thirty, Ethan knows what he wants—and what he needs. The only problem? Finding a caregiving type of Daddy to provide it.
Danvers Jones has more money than he knows what to do with and nobody to spend it on. He’s not looking for a fling, Dan needs someone to pamper. To romance… to adore. As a romantic gray ace, nothing else will do it for him.
Newly retired, Dan has one final mission—to find his former best friend’s long lost son and deliver a trust fund. After that, Dan’s determined to start fully living his life, which starts with the right partner. Only problem? Dan requires the type of person who’ll need his unique brand of Daddy.
Danvers and Ethan aren’t expecting to meet their perfect match in a random meet cute gone wrong, but when does life ever go according to plan?
This stand-alone novel is a full-length, 43k non-age play Daddy romance. The core of this story was previously published as a 15k short in the USA Today bestselling “Dirty Daddies 2021 Anthology.” It’s now been reworked and lengthened to provide the tale as originally intended.
Watching for Daddy’s reaction to breakfast, I tried not to stare while taking a bite of my own. I’d served us perfectly cooked Eggs Benedict, complete with Canadian bacon and my own special hollandaise. My secret? A bit of OJ and a dash of orange zest.
It felt like my heart was beating in my throat when he finally took that bite. Pinching my lips tightly shut, I squeezed my legs together with my hands rhythmically patting my knees. I knew I was stimming, even before my hands started going, but I wasn’t concerned.
And why should I be? Some repetitive motion because I was excited was perfectly fine, a fact my doctor had drilled into me. As long as I wasn’t flapping my hands too much or letting my excitement turn to stressed anxiety, I’d be good.
And yes, I did need to remind myself of this every time and this was also okay.
Thank you, Dr. Stapleton. Years of work, God only knew how much money spent, and now I could calmly explain to myself why I was excited and how it was okay for a little light stimming.
Gasping, I jumped when a light knock on the table jerked my attention away from myself. I looked around the room, desperately trying to anchor myself again—I’d been that startled.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. Did I frighten you?” And just like that, Daddy’s voice gave me the anchor I was looking for.
“Huh? I guess I was zoned out, lost in my head. I was being stupid, going through a bit of rationale in my head, and I guess I was deeper than I thought if I never heard you speak.” And, now I truly had a reason to be upset but… I glanced down to see my hands resting quietly on my legs. Huh. So much for the stimming.
I couldn’t understand why, but Daddy looked upset. He held up a finger, waving it back and forth. “That’s a no-no, sunshine. Never call yourself stupid, not on my watch. Especially when you are anything but. In fact, now I think I would enjoy hearing what had you lost in thought. Trust me, I wasn’t adding anything to the conversation. All I said was how these were the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever eaten.”
It felt like my chest exploded with a surge of rainbows and glitter and hearts and all the other things that made my mother squeal like a little girl. At least when I felt myself smiling, I didn’t have to question why. “Sorry about the whole stupid thing, I can respect that rule. But we can agree to disagree on what you consider fascinating conversation because I want to hear more about how much you enjoyed my eggs.”
Daddy started chuckling as he loaded his fork with a fresh bite. “I’m not exaggerating, these are amazing. Definitely the best. I might be prejudiced because I have a crush on the chef, but I don’t think so. And since we both know you tell it like it is, how about you simply agree with me and I can focus on eating instead of talking? Sorry not sorry, sunshine. But this deliciousness needs to get in my belly.”
Why did his dorky side make me like him more? That was a question. One I wasn’t certain how to answer. But quite frankly, I shouldn’t be this enamored by an outdated Austin Powers reference—or the Daddy with the worst Scottish accent ever who’d given it. And yet, here I was with another crazy question I knew I couldn’t answer.
It was super hard not to find it cute when Daddy powered through his breakfast, finishing before mine was half done. I gave up and started laughing when he actually lifted his plate and began licking it clean.
Finding a romance with anyone who is neurodivergent is difficult. I have looked for them, as someone I am very close to is on the spectrum. Finding a romance where one of the main characters is neurodivergent, is very rare, so I was excited to pick this one up, and I wasn’t disappointed.
What I loved most about this book was that Ethan wasn’t portrayed as a lost man, someone who hadn’t known anything about himself until he found his true love. He was a confident chef, tried to be a good person by using the social cues his mother had drummed into him, and knew enough about himself to know that a Daddy was exactly what he wanted and needed in his life, in the bedroom and out…but definitely NOT in his business. He just hadn’t found the correct Daddy. He didn’t hide this part of himself, and in fact, his mother presented Dan with the contract that they would use for the one week trial. It was so refreshing to see all of this, all the while still having many of the same issues that someone on the spectrum might have; i.e. lack of eye contact, zero filter, anxiety, etc.
Meanwhile, Dan himself knew enough to know that he really wanted a boy that he could cherish, and found all of Ethan’s differences from “normal” to be adorable, and exactly what he wanted in his life. He saw himself as being on the ace scale, although in the book he does discover that perhaps it isn’t as cut and dry as he once assumed. So, he was willing and able to grow and change in their relationship as well.
Portraying someone on the spectrum with a “normal” life (I keep putting that in quotes because it comes up several times in the book, and is simply a descriptor, and not an indicator that Ethan wasn’t as normal as the next person) can be difficult, because no one is the same, and yet, there are many areas that will be seen in many people. But the author did a great job of showing that they can fall in love, they can feel, they can have a great sense of humor (which Ethan does!), and still may need to avoid eye contact, flap their hands, and try to wheedle a puppy out of their Daddy. 🙂
This was sweet, a little sexy, funny, and all around, a read well worth the time.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it. This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.
I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that. Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.
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