As much as I love my morally gray characters, I’m not one for mafia romances. However, I am very much for almost everything written by Cara Dee, so I knew I’d be diving into this book as soon as it was released. I have not read the M/F books that also take place in this world; for other readers in the same boat, I promise that it only takes a handful of pages for the names to settle and this story to work completely as a stand-alone. I almost liked that this story took place in the aftermath of bigger events because I love the experience of stories that don’t exist in isolation. Kellan and Shan may be secondary characters in the This Life books, but Dee gives them their chance to shine here, and I absolutely adored it.
Kellan has been low-key in love with Shannon (his best friend’s dad) for most of his life. He’s determined to be there at the lowest point in Shan’s life, even at the expense of his own emotions. It blows his mind to find out the other man isn’t as straight as he thought, then blows his mind again when Shan asks Kellan for a specific favor. What follows is one of the most unique setups I’ve read in a romance novel, but it fits the slightly darker world (no pun intended) in which the Sons of Munster exist. Kellan may be too clever for his own good, but Shan is still an incredibly intelligent man, even in the depths of his depression. The first way they come together may be slightly heart-wrenching, but the second, with full awareness between both of them, is the polar opposite and poignant in all the best ways. I expected the reveal to be a lot more dramatic, but that would have been unnecessary between two men who more than deserve to find happiness with each other.
I’m not sure why Dee slapped an “age play” label on this book because the relationship between Kellan and Shan doesn’t even go as far as the Daddy/boy dynamic I’ve seen in other romance novels. Kellan is all adult, all the time, and the “Daddy” element that does exist in this book has much more to do with what he finds attractive in a partner and a bit of a riff on the position Shan holds for most of Kellan’s life.
Overall, I highly recommend this book to fans of Dee’s other writing, whether or not you’ve read the other Sons of Munster books. As usual, she packs a ton of emotion and unexpected romance into the pages, and I stayed up way past my bedtime with these two incredible men.