“They sparked every time they touched. Alex wasn’t mistaken there. That wasn’t an illusion, it wasn’t a dream, and it wasn’t wishful thinking. Hell no. It was chemistry.”
In a word: Read the thing. This is a cute, sweet, low-angst, low-drama romance between a family law attorney and an ex-soldier mechanic. This is mostly pure fluff, it’s great. Alex is a lawyer and Titus is a mechanic, theirs is a chance meeting. Alex is in need of a mechanic one day and Ty happens to be the closest. Alex is instantly into Ty when he first sees him (Ty pushes all of his buttons), but since Ty seems straight, Alex isn’t overly hopeful that anything will come of it. Alex doesn’t really expect to see Ty again, but he gets a pleasant surprise when Ty shows up at his office one day, needing his services. Alex still finds Ty beyond attractive, and Ty is shocked to realize that he’s also having feeling for his – very male – attorney. They can’t act on their feelings while they’re still technically working together, but that doesn’t stop the sexual tension from ramping up every time they’re alone together. The first half of the book is mostly Alex and Ty trying to keep their hands off each other while they try to win a custody battle, while the second half is them getting together and having a fairly drama-free relationship (it’s technically a GFY, but Ty doesn’t have much of a reaction to suddenly being attracted to a guy for the first time in his life). There is very minimal drama going on, and it mostly resolves itself. Most of this story is just schmoop and pretty low-stress to read.
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Couple: Alex Wilson is a lawyer who specializes in family law. He’s a space nerd, dog parent, and gay ‘as the day is long’ (his words). He’s painfully single, and he’s still in the closet at work because he’s worried about being fired or losing work if he comes out. That sounds like it should make for some angst, but nothing really comes of it. Titus ‘Ty’ Edwards is an ex-soldier who now works as a mechanic and owns his own garage. He’s been out of the army for a few years, and is now raising his 8-year-old niece. His life at the moment seems to revolve solely around fixing cars and child raising. Alex and Ty meet completely by chance one day when Alex needs a mechanic and Ty is the closest one on hand. Alex is immediately attracted to Ty. Alex has a type and Ty fits it perfectly: huge, muscly, huge tattoo, typical bad boy image. Alex doesn’t fall in love right away (this story is just barely insta-love), but he would really like to hit that. Multiple times. On his part (and the POV switches each chapter), Ty isn’t instantly attracted to Alex, but something seems to develop over time. Up to this point, Ty has only been interested in women and has never even been attracted to a man before (and he’s ex-military, I’m pretty sure there’s a trope in there somewhere), but he finds himself wanting Alex. Alex is completely male and doesn’t come off as effeminate in the least; sure he’s smaller compared to Ty but so is everyone else, really. Ty is apparently a fucking beast. Also you’d think there’d be some angst about that, but there really is none. Ty doesn’t seem to give any fucks about suddenly not being as straight as he thought he was (which is honestly fairly refreshing, I’m not complaining). Really the only obstacle for the relationship to move forward is that Alex is Ty’s attorney, and dating one’s client is not a good idea. Though once the case is over they’re completely free to be together, and they certainly waste no time about it. All told, their relationship is pretty much smooth sailing. There’s no major angst, no misunderstandings, no fighting, NO THIRD ACT BREAKUP. It’s a sweet romance.
The Side Characters: Alex and Ty don’t seem to have any friends. Like, at all. So there aren’t many side characters. The biggest two are, of course, Ty’s eight-year-old niece, Phoebe, and Alex’s corgi, Valentina. Phoebe is Ty’s sister’s daughter. Ty’s sister, Mel, died in a car accident a few years before and, since Phoebe’s father wasn’t around, Ty stepped in and took custody. I don’t think it specifies how long it’s been since Ty took guardianship, but it’s been a few years by this point. Phoebe is a delightful child; well-behaved and well-adjusted. She’s a happy little girl who loves her uncle and Harry Potter and Tae Kwan Do. Ty’s life mostly revolves around her, but she isn’t really in the story enough to be considered a main character. Valentina is a corgi named after the first Russian female astronaut, I believe. Because Alex is a huge space nerd. She’s not trained as a therapy dog, but she does go to work with Alex and she’s a great hit with the kids he works with. Phoebe gets pretty attached to her pretty quick. The third side character is the closest thing that Alex seems to have to a friend, Caroline. Caroline is either Alex’s secretary or just a secretary who works at the firm. She’s an older woman who is very friendly with Alex, and she’s the first one that Alex comes out to at work. She’s a nice person and she makes for a few good laughs and we really don’t get to see enough of her.
The Drama: The main conflict in the first half of the book isn’t about Ty having a sexuality crisis, surprisingly. Ty has had full custody of his niece Phoebe for the past couple of years, and before that his sister was a single mother. Phoebe’s father, Kyle Montgomery, has never been in his daughter’s life. So it comes as quite a shock when he shows up one day, completely out of the blue, and tries to take her from her weekly Tae Kwan Do class. He doesn’t get past Ty that day, but he does get a lawyer and tries to sue for full custody. That’s how Alex gets back into Ty’s life, and it gives the both of them excuses to see each other. The downside there is that it’s also an obstacle to them being together; since it’s not really ethical for lawyers to start dating their clients. For all that this situation should be angsty and dramatic, it really isn’t. The whole custody ‘battle’ with Kyle doesn’t get nearly as dark as it could, and resolves itself pretty quickly. They barely even go to court. Kyle actually comes off as pretty non-threatening, even though he is shady as fuck, so there never really is a sense of worry that Ty is in any danger of losing the case (I mean, Alex tries to be doom and gloom about it, but everyone reading can tell that there’s no way Kyle is going to get Phoebe).
The Sex: The book starts out with a sex scene that takes up the whole prologue. I was a bit put out by this because we hadn’t even met the main characters yet. I think the whole thing turned out to be a flash-forward, but I didn’t care enough to go back and check. Anyway, the first half of the book is mostly just ramping up the sexual tension (the only sexual content, aside from the prologue, is Ty masturbating in the shower and Alex having a wet dream). The second half is where all the actual sex happens. The court case is finally over and done with, and Alex and Ty celebrate by nearly having sex over Ty’s office desk. As you do. They don’t end up having sex right away, they decide to date first, because they are sappy as hell. Of course the dates go well, and the two of them add sex to their list of couple activities. One thing I want to point out about the sex scenes is that these are all first-time experiences for Ty, who isn’t a virgin but has never been with a man before. So he does continuous research on Google about gay sex so that he’ll know what to do. We never see him do this, he just informs Alex of it later. That got a chuckle out of me. All the sex scenes are pretty good and appropriately sappy.
The Writing: This book was mostly fluff and it didn’t have any third-act breakup, for which I am greatly thankful. This book was very low angst; the couple didn’t have many obstacles to go through to be together. The book’s prologue is just an out of context sex scene, which I could’ve done without, but that’s just a personal peeve. The romance in the story just borders on insta-love, but that was alright for this kind of story. I enjoyed Alex and Titus as characters and found their romance believable, and I liked the way they interacted with each other outside of sexual situations. If you’re looking for a sweet, low-angst story, Guardian is a good read. And even if you aren’t looking for that, this is still a good read because it’s pretty cute and inoffensive and I found some parts of it pretty funny.
[Guardian was published March 7, 2016, by the author, it is available both in print and as an ebook]