Family Unit

Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Maxfield Books
Buy link: (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: novel plus (250 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


A retired marine, Logan is methodical and conservative. Richard is a liberal pacifist who is pathologically afraid of guns. Yet the minute Logan sets eyes on Richard, his heart turns over like an old car engine and it isn’t long before his motor is revved and Richard is in the driver’s seat—even if it seems like each man is driving a different car.

Richard Hunter is parenting his grandson, and the kid—Nick—has had it rough. Richard vows nothing will stop him from creating a loving and stable home. Not even a tempting, red-hot relationship with a very attractive man. However, when Richard looks into Logan’s blue eyes it’s tough to stay focused.

It’s never easy to become a family, what with a temperamental eight-year-old, disapproving outsiders, and outright extortion attempts. But when push comes to shove, both Logan and Richard are committed family men who want to make a loving home for a little boy who needs them.


 The last thing Logan thought he would find when he went looking for the kids who vandalized his house on Halloween was hot looking, lickable grandfather Richard. When he lifted his jaw off the floor and introduced himself he realized that he was in trouble especially as he looked into Richard’s eyes. Richard also knew that Logan had it going on when the hard body of the ex marine made his sex drive go into overdrive.

Soon Richard started seeing Logan at his favourite hangouts every day, and then he noticed that he was being followed on his daily runs. He became so distracted one day that he ran into a light post and knocked himself out which resulted in a slight concussion, a trip to the hospital,  and a sexy man who was definitely interested in dating him and maybe more. But there was a fly in the ointment. Richard’s grandson Nick was not happy with this new turn of events and he resented that Logan was gaining a place in their lives. Richard, whose #1 priority had always been Nick, had been awarded custody of his grandson when his son died and Nick’s mother proved unfit to care for him due to her drug use. Now 5 years later they were a family and Richard had no regrets about giving up his previous lifestyle and ex partner of 10 years who was not enamoured with kids. Dating Logan added another complication for both Richard and Nick, requiring adjustments in their lives.

Richard’s and Logan’s relationship started off very rocky since both of them had a lot of baggage. This was definitely a case of opposites attracting as they had different philosophies about life – Logan was very conservative and Richard was out and proud and liberal in his views in addition to being a pacifist. It also didn’t help that Nick was not very friendly towards Logan whom he regarded as an intruder in their lives. He had other problems, the main one being his mother who continued to disappoint him by dropping into his life and then disappearing, and never fulfilling her promises to him.  In addition, he was subjected to gay bashing at school because his grandfather had a boyfriend.  This created a lot of tension and stress which no kid should have to experience. So many issues for such a little boy!

The sex and romance between Richard and Logan were at warp speed as these two guys would make men 20 years younger envious of their stamina and skill. Richard in particular was very agile and loved to show off his skills at lap dancing and his version of stripping. On the other hand there were many funny moments in the story such as the guys needing reading glasses to see the expiry dates on condoms or the names of CDs. I wondered if they had split personalities because although they were only in their mid forties sometimes they acted much older, then they would switch and their sex play would be high energy.

This is an engaging read and I loved the story because older couples are not normally protagonists in gay romances, although I have noticed that recently there are a few more stories focused on  them. I was on the way to giving this book a much higher rating when I ran into the last 40 – 50 pages which took the edge off my enjoyment. There was a sub plot which I won’t reveal, but I will say that the perpetrators of this crime were unbelievably inept and, as well, I thought that the way the resolution was achieved may not have been the optimum solution. Also, there was an epilogue which wrapped up the HEA but didn’t explain a number of threads that were left hanging in the story.

Z.A. Maxfield is an incredible talent.  I love her books and I was quite looking forward to this one because I have enjoyed her stories and I love her characterizations. In my opinion this was not her best effort and I was disappointed with some elements and I had a few other issues such as name switches and other editorial as well as spelling errors. However I would definitely recommend Family Unit because as usual ZAM’s writing was very good and I also loved the protagonists and Nick.


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • Believe it or not I have read this jewel now. I loved it even with its “buts”.
    Thank you for your review 🙂

    • Hi Helena
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this story and your comment made me take it out of mothballs to re-read it because I loved the characters. Thanks for checking the book out. 🙂

  • “although they were only in their mid forties sometimes they acted much older”

    this one didn’t work for me as much as ZAM’s other books have. Mostly due to the age thing. Both characters acted at least 10-20 years older than their age. If ZAM would have had them be in their late 50’s, early 60’s, the characters would have made a lot more sense to me. A more realistic late 40’s early 50’s (at least to me) is Jacob in JCP’s psy-cops.

    • Hi MRB
      I noticed how much older the characters appeared to be than in their mid forties, which is supposed to be the “new” thirty. 🙂
      Now that you mention it, Victor and Jacob in PsyCops are in their mid forties and don’t act anything like these two (except for the hot sex)!
      I do like Zam’s writing but, as I said in the review, there were quite a few elements of the story I thought could have been improved. However, I’m not a writer.

  • Hi jmc
    >>But I was a little unthrilled with how the so-called liberalism and conservatism were demonstrated, which seemed kind of stereotypical. And a little TSTL and ostrich-like in terms of Richard’s take on self-defense in the face of bullying.< < * As a reviewer there's only so much I can say about a story without giving away too much of the plot. I did think that Richard's attitude on self defence training for Nick was silly, and I liked Logan's approach because at least the kid would learn some basic self defence techniques.This is so important these days when so many children are bullied at school. However, even though he was a pacifist Richard did come around eventually. Re the "gun" thing, I can relate to Richard's fears because in Canada citizens are not allowed to bear arms (only the criminals can). 😀 * Re the action sequences in the plot, I thought they could have been handled much better and not appear to be a scene from a satire.

  • I am a fan of ZAM’s work generally, and enjoyed Family Unit, although it is not my favorite of her books.

    The last 40-50 pages did not bother me; in fact, I appreciated the action brought to the plot. The ages were fine, too. But I was a little unthrilled with how the so-called liberalism and conservatism were demonstrated, which seemed kind of stereotypical. And a little TSTL and ostrich-like in terms of Richard’s take on self-defense in the face of bullying.

  • Another great review Wave!
    Another book to buy. 😉
    I was waiting for your review on this one.
    A few reviews mentionned that the age factor was a problem for them, (Mid forties felt like they were much older than that…)
    It looks like it wasn’t a deal breaker for you so I will try this one over the weekend.

    • Aliens
      I had no problem with the guys’ characterizations. I think that ZAM did a really good job on them.
      >>A few reviews mentionned that the age factor was a problem for them, (Mid forties felt like they were much older than that…)< < Maybe those reviewers felt that anyone over 30 was too old to be in a romantic relationship. I needed a break from the twenty somethings and this book provided welcome relief as well as a good story. I hope you like it.

  • Lily
    As I said in the review, I really loved the story except for the last 40 – 50 pages which were not all a loss but were not up to the quality of the rest of the story IMO. I love ZAM’s writing and I think you will enjoy Family Unit because the characters rock. Sometimes these sub plots are tricky to navigate and making them seem believable is tough.

    Let me know what you think after you read the book please? As always this is just my opinion and I did a check on other sites which gave the book 5 stars so I might be totally wrong, which is not unusual. 😀

  • Wonderful review, Wave 🙂
    I’ve had this on my buy list for a while now. I like ZAM’s writing so will eventually be getting this one, I’m sure.

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