The Family You Choose by Ellen Bishop

The Family You Choose by Ellen Bishop
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (37 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

It’s been nearly a year since Henry Graham’s brother and wife passed away and he took custody of their daughter, Brenna. He never thought he’d be a parent, much less to a grieving eight year-old girl, and Brenna proves to be almost more than he can handle. Her willful personality and stubborn temper drive away nannies almost faster than he can hire them, and Henry’s nearly at his wit’s end. When the most recent nanny shows up for the job, Henry is as equally appalled by the fact that it’s a man as he is by the tattoos up and down his arms. Before either of them know it, Michael Anders is filling gaps in their lives that they didn’t know they had, and no matter how unprofessional it is, he can’t deny the attraction he feels for his nanny.

Henry Graham has taken custody of his niece, Brenna, after the death of his brother. Positive the nanny service is going to blacklist them after Brenna has run off every care-giver to date, Henry is starting to feel like an abject failure as an uncle and father. Determined to make this nanny stick, Henry is struck dumb when he answers the door to a charming, youthful, utterly sexy man with a wicked grin and shining eyes. Lust hits Henry hard and he struggles not to swallow his tongue as Michael – the new nanny – introduces himself. Puzzled, but hoping faintly that perhaps using a different style altogether might help Brenna adjust, Henry is willing to give this a shot.

I really fell in love with all three of these main characters. I greatly enjoyed how the author made Brenna, Henry and Michael all so different but wonderfully compatible. The characters all but leap from the page, and the pace of the novel is excellent. You really get to know the circumstances and how Michael and Henry get together – but just be warned, there are only a few kisses, no consummation or sex in this story. Personally I didn’t mind the lack of sex in the least – or not until the last few pages when I wished there’d been another dozen or so pages to finish where they began… *grins*. There is tons of sexual tension, desire and lust – all unresolved until the last few pages. My only issue was this was billed as an erotic story, and for me a few kisses and a happy ending doesn’t cut it as “erotic”.

Regardless, I adored the characters I thought the plot was deep, emotional and highly interesting. This is definitely a “proper” short story and not just a few scenes strung together. I read this whole thing in one sitting and would have been just as happy had this story been twice as long. It’s one of those rare tales where I wish the author (or perhaps the word limit) allowed for it to keep on going. An emotional, complex and wonderful story, I’d strongly recommend it for when you’re in the mood to read a character-and-plot heavy short story.

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