A year ago, Parker Adams lost his husband in a tragic hit-and-run accident. Ever since, he's been putting one foot in front of the other for the sake of their son Nate, but he struggles with finding a balance between his work and home life and with being the kind of dad Nate needs. When his babysitter informs him that she's moving away, Parker is filled with dread until she informs him that she's taken the liberty of getting in touch with a few replacement candidates for him. During the interviews, Parker senses a spark of attraction for Jake Walsh that leaves him feeling panicky and like he's somehow being unfaithful to his dead husband. That's why he sends a letter offering the job to the best female applicant even though Jake was Nate's favorite. Due to an apparent mix-up in the envelopes, Jake shows up for work instead, making Parker wonder how he's going to manage his growing feelings for his son's new nanny.
Since college, Jake has worked at a small day center, but with it soon closing its doors, he's decided to look for a more stable live-in nanny position. When he comes to the interview, he makes an instant connection with Nate and thought he'd connected with Parker, too. But by the end of the process, the other man has closed down, leaving him all but certain he won't be getting the job. Needless to say, Jake is pleasantly surprised when the letter arrives and he's eager to start work. He and Nate get along wonderfully, and before long, Jake has fallen in love with both father and son. But when Parker shuts him out after their first shared night of passion, Jake discovers it's impossible to compete with a ghost and believes it might be time to leave in order to protect his vulnerable heart.
I've discovered that I'm a sucker for the nanny/manny trope in romance, and since I hadn't read one in a while, I picked up A Nanny for Nate. It's been on my TBR pile for a while, and I was in the mood for something cute and sweet and this seemed like it might fit the bill. It's the story of Parker, a single father who lost his husband a year earlier in a tragic accident. He's been struggling ever since to find a balance between his busy work schedule and caring for his young son. Now he's about to lose their beloved babysitter. She suggests that he hire a live-in nanny and presents him with a few promising candidates. After interviewing them, he narrows it down to two, a young man and a young woman. His son has a clear preference for the male candidate, but the instant attraction Parker feels for Jake leaves him running scared. He offers the job to the woman - or so he thought - until Jake shows up on his doorstep. Parker can't possibly send him away now, especially with his son being so excited about the new nanny, but when their attraction takes root and starts to blossom into something more, Parker can't seem to get past the feeling that he's somehow cheating on the husband he adored.
Parker is a busy attorney, who met his husband, Darren, on a business trip to England. They instantly hit it off and eventually Darren came to the U.S. and they married. Darren was the single father of Nate, an infant son who was the product of a drunken one-night stand, but whom he adored. Parker adopted Nate, but Darren was the stay-at-home dad and was only just thinking of going back to work when he was tragically killed in a hit-and-run accident while biking. Ever since then, Parker has struggled with figuring out how to balance his career with being a good father and feels like he's failing. When his sitter announces that she's moving away, he's about to freak out until she tells him she's already vetted a few replacement candidates for him who are interested in a live-in nanny situation. When Jake shows up for the interview, Parker is instantly attracted to him, but the emotions and lust Jake arouses leave Parker uncomfortably feeling like he's being unfaithful to Darren's memory. He decides to hire a female candidate even though Jake had been Nate's favorite. However, after an apparent mix-up with the envelopes notifying the candidates of his decision, Jake is the one who shows up for work. Living together for the next several weeks only makes the attraction grow stronger, but when they finally give in to their passion, Parker can't help feeling a load of guilt that he has trouble processing, leading to him nearly losing Jake. Parker is a good dad who came to rely on Darren a lot, so like many parents who are suddenly faced with raising a child alone, he struggles to figure things out. He vacillates between being angry with Darren for not fixing his bike and for leaving him, and loving him so much, he can't seem to let him go. I kind of found myself wishing that he didn't feel quite so much guilt over falling for Jake, but he does eventually come around.
Jake is a pretty easy-going kind of guy. After college, he started working at a small day-care center. He enjoyed his job, but with the center about to close its doors, he needs to find a new position and wants to try being a live-in nanny. He didn't expect to get the first job he interviewed for, so being hired is a pleasant surprise. He was as attracted to Parker when they first met as Parker was to him, but he tries to keep things professional. However, a fun family outing finally loosens Parker up enough to talk more honestly with Jake, leading to some intense passion. But Jake wakes up the next morning to an empty bed and Parker giving him the cold shoulder. Even though Jake loves Nate and has fallen in love with Parker, he realizes that he can't stay if Parker can't put the ghost of his dead husband to rest. Jake is great with Nate, proving that he'll make an awesome dad and he's kind and caring toward Parker. The only thing that might have made him a better character is if he'd fought a little harder for a relationship with Parker instead of all but giving up after one obstacle is thrown into his path.
Overall, A Nanny for Nate is a cute, heartwarming story that was a pleasure to read. It's on the short side, probably only long novella length, so the story is a little light on character and plot development. It looks like the book was republished with additional material added, and it appears that I have this newer version. I'm not sure how it differs from the original, but even with new scenes supposedly added, I still couldn't help thinking it could have been beefed up even more. There were also a lot of typos that a good editor/proofreader should have caught and that could be rather distracting. But in spite of these things, I still enjoyed the story for what it is. Parker, Jake, and Nate make a wonderful little family unit and the sweet epilogue stamped paid to their HEA for me. So, it was a good read that I would recommend to readers who enjoy a good M/M romance about a single dad and his manny.
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