One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea

One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and MJ O'Shea
Stars: 4/5

Length: 214
“Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

A touching, delightful story of a young man who steps up to take on the responsibility of caring for his daughter and the quirky young man who happens into his life. While some elements of the ending felt a little overboard to me, I really enjoyed this story and would have probably given it closer to a 5-star rating if the ending had been stronger (not that it was a bad ending!). Definitely a hit for those who like stories with kids, nerdy reclusive men, and awesome understanding friends.

I never used to like stories with children. I'm not a big fan of kids in general, and I didn't like when they intruded in my free time. Then I read a few stories with kids, wrote one with children and my brother and his wife had three (at once). I'm much more comfortable with children now, though it's still not something I go looking for in my reading, and I need the kids to play a role, but a minor one. Baby Alice plays a perfect part in this story. She's often a motivating factor (say, for the main characters to meet and interact), she's never forgotten in any scene, but she also doesn't overwhelm the story and distract from the development of the main characters. Like having a real baby in the room, everyone is aware of her, but that doesn't mean the conversation can only focus on her, which I appreciated.

I loved Erik and Rue who are as different as different can be, but who come together sweetly. While some may take issue with them being interested in each other (since they don't really share any common interests), I bought it and felt it was realistic. Erik is a hunky hermit who eats nothing but junk food (the big jerk!) and is desperate for some money to help pay the bills. Rue is desperate for a baby sitter. While I raised a brow at Rue letting someone with no baby experience take his daughter for the day, I concede his desperation would probably push him to such extremes.

What really made me fall in love with Erik was when he finally agrees to babysit and then agrees to take a smaller fee than what Rue was offering. The scene was touching and perfect and from that point on I wanted them to be BFFs. Or more.

One of my favorite lines is almost cliche, but I loved the description, because it fit the two of them so well:
"He’d somehow managed to seep into my cracks and fill all the odd, empty spots in my heart."
Yep, I'm a sap.

Aside from the issue with Rue leaving his kid with a stranger who knew nothing about babies, I have to question how he affords things. Sure he admits money is tight, but he still buys lots of produce (I mean, good on him, but stuff isn't cheap), all those things for the baby, pays for school and rent, and pays for a manny. He must get paid a lot of money at the club where he works! It didn't bother me much, as I don't feel like money was supposed to be the focus of the story and so I can understand why the authors glossed over it and just kept it mentioned in passing, but it still raised a brow.

Finally, while the end wasn't bad by any means, part of it felt a little extreme to me. It definitely cleared up loose ends and tied everything together properly, and the characters' reactions were all in line with how they behaved throughout the story, but it still rubbed me a little. Erik, who spends much of the latter half of the book acting like a normal, mature adult, has what feels like a temper tantrum that seems to drag on. It's completely fitting, but I was peripherally bothered by it. Still, the ending was satisfying, and hopefully Dusty is finally getting laid...

Requested this book for review.

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