Title: Sleeping ’til Sunrise (Mangrove Stories #5)
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 16, 2015
Page Count: 79
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
Everyone in Mangrove, Florida, knows Fire Chief Essien Dodd is a saint. He took care of his ex-wife until she died, is raising his teenage daughter alone, and is the kind of man who pulls kittens from trees. All in all, the man’s a catch. But Roark Hammond has sworn off getting involved with a man who’s been hurt before because he can’t guarantee he won’t hurt his prospective love again. If only he could get Essien out of his mind long enough to focus on anyone, or anything, else.
Strong emotions are in play. Essien is lonely but determined to focus on Ivy; Ivy wants her father to have a new life so much that, to his horror, she’s trying to find him a man; and Roark is so scared of the present and past, he won’t allow himself to commit. To have any chance of sleeping ’til sunrise and greeting each new day together, Essien and Roark will have to rethink how they’re living their lives and focus on what’s most important.
Essien Dodd divorced his wife when he couldn’t live deny his sexuality any longer. They, luckily, maintained a very friendly relationship while raising their daughter. What’s a newly-realized-but-never-acted-on-it gay man to do? oh yes, Essien sowed some oats. However, his ex-wife develops a horribly aggressive cancer, and Essien returns to her side to care for her – and their daughter – full time as she dies.
After both he and his daughter are grieving their loss, they decide to start over in a new town. They move to Mangrove, Florida and are immediately charmed by its setting and its people. He settles in as the new fire chief, and he also settles in as a full time single parent – thinking he needs to concentrate on 14 year old Ivy and will worry about a long term relationship when she graduates.
He immediately began crushing on, but did nothing about, Roark Hammond, the town pediatrician. He knew Roark found him attractive from their first meeting based on Roark stumbling all over his words in front of him, but Roark has avoided him like the plague ever since, and Essien is convinced Roark REALLY doesn’t like him now for some reason.
The truth is Roark is crushing equally as hard on Essien, but has a VERY good reason to avoid him.
Their story was very sweet to see unfold. It had the perfect amount of will they/won’t they that fit this novella-length tale. It was less “scatter-brained” than Calmes tends to pack into her novellas, which I know may lure some non-Calmes-crack people in. I’m all-Calmes, all the time, so it never bothers me. I eat it up. There are less time jumps, less external “goings-on.” There’s still some, but it’s minimal.
I have to say that this isn’t my favorite series of hers, but this is my favorite book of this series. I honestly wished for a longer length because I didn’t get enough character development with the length. We’re only in Essien’s head, and I need to know more about Roark. The few steamy times were HOT – Mary knows her way around these scenes – but I wanted more! There’s, of course, only so much she can fit into a novella, though.
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