Me + You by Brenda Gayle

Me + You by Brenda Gayle
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (88 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Teacher Lori Tait has always wanted a family, but now she’s 40, she’s pretty much decided all the good men are taken. Instead, she devotes herself to her students, particularly one little girl whose struggle with math seems inconsistent with an otherwise brilliant and artistic mind.

Mark Wilder hadn’t planned to become a father, but when a fling resulted in his daughter, Grace, he whole-heartedly embraced the role. Raised in a family of boys, what does he know about women and girls? Once he learns of Grace’s inability to comprehend basic math, he welcomes the role of tutor as a way to connect with his daughter; the opportunity to spend time with her sexy teacher is an added bonus.

When Lori cracks the mystery of Grace’s problem Mark’s world is thrown into turmoil; he’s the last person who can help his daughter. He pushes everyone away, confirming Lori’s theory about men. Grace, however, has other plans. Using her new-found understanding of math, she sets out to prove to her father and teacher that, together, they add up to the perfect match.

Lori enjoys teaching her students in the second grade, but Grace is having serious difficulties in math. Calling a meeting with Grace’s divorced parents, Lori is dismayed when Grace’s mother is adamant that math isn’t necessary for an artists’ life. Grace’s dad, Mark, however, fully appreciates how important basic addition and subtraction can be. Then Grace herself suggests to Mark that they get Lori to come over and help tutor her. Can Mark and Lori find each other while helping Grace together?

This is an interesting book. Grace is clearly a special character and an interesting child who views the world very differently. Talented in most areas but dismally behind in her math I found this a realistic and very strong plot for the whole story. I liked both Mark and Lori together. They clearly have sparks, but it’s a slow burn kind of romance, one that took its time and flourished throughout the book. I was also quite pleased that Mark’s ex-wife and Grace’s mother, Jade, wasn’t made out to be some evil witch – as is far too easy to do for such a character. Jade was definitely a “free spirit” and had some strongly non-traditional opinions, but at no point did I feel the character was hard done by. I can strongly commend the author for portraying Jade as an ex-wife, but still part of the family unit without being oppressive or negative. I found this refreshing and enjoyed it.

I also really enjoyed how the plot was quite thoughtful and deep. Without going into spoilers, I found the link between Grace’s math problems and some of Mark’s personal concerns really well thought out and clearly not just some throw-away plot device to bring Mark and Lori together. With vibrant characters, a very, very strong plot and some steamy, raunchy sex thrown in for good measure this ticks a lot of boxes and I feel should have a lot of readers really enthralled. I was delighted by each progression and eagerly turning the pages myself. With a romantic, satisfying ending I really enjoyed this book and will happily re-read it a number of times to come. Recommended.

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