Title ~ Building a Life
Author ~ Alexa Snow
Publisher ~ Torquere Press
Published ~ 4th March 2015
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance
When Levi goes to his best friend Cooper's engagement party, he doesn't expect to meet an adorable 5 year old named Ashley or to be re-introduced to her hot, intriguing father Philip. Levi is anxious to get to know Philip, and the feeling seems to be mutual. But Philip is married to Cooper's sister Meg, even if his wife has been mysteriously out of the picture for the past two years, so this ready-made family can't possibly have room in it for Levi... or can it?
Previously published in Torquere's anthology "Going to the Chapel."
Levi is a nice normal guy. He doesn't have a boyfriend, more a friends with benefits agreement with a chap named Brian, so when he has to attend his best friend Cooper's engagement party, Levi hasn't got a problem with going alone. During his visit, he meets a little five year old Ashley, who gives him guardianship of her stuffed dog, named Hershey. Unfortunately Ashley and her father, Phillip, leave before Levi has a chance to give it back, and Levi offers to drop it off because the little girl can't sleep without her favorite toy. Phillip invites him in, and if this book had been written by anyone else then these two men would have been in bed by page twenty.
But Ms. Snow is the master of slow and steady wins the race. Phillip has issues, not least the fact that his wife, and Ashley's mother left home two years before, leaving Phillip alone with to raise his daughter. Phillip is gay but a drunken night with a best friend resulted in his daughter and he married her because of it. With her gone for so long there was a big part of him that wanted to take Levi and to heck with everything else. But Phillip is a decent human being.
I did have a couple of issues with this book. The scene with Levi and Brian was not good - I don't like cheating and while I can say the whole "I understand why it happened" thing, I don't really mean it. The scene was unnecessary and showed Levi to be weak. You don't profess to love someone one minute and fall into bed with an ex the next. I also felt when Meg (Ashley's mother) came back there should have been a lot more to those scenes than there was. Her presence at Cooper's wedding and Ashley's birthday made her appear really self-centered - after all you don't disappear for two years and worry your family, husband and daughter sick for that long and get offered a drink when you walk in the door.
That said, there was a lot of chemistry between Levi and Phillip. It would have been nice to get some of Phillip's point of view because even by the end of the book I wasn't really sure why Phillip loved him so much. I think that was my biggest problem - apart from hearing Phillip claim that Levi was beautiful, the reader never got to know why the two connected so intensely.
Ms. Snow is an awesome writer and this is not the first book of hers that I have read. I won't go so far as to say it is my favorite, because I do think the story could have been more, but the characters do evoke some serious emotions, and little Ashley is a darling that steals quite a few scenes. If you don't have a problem with cheating in a relationship (and I do), or you can ignore it, then I am sure you will love this story.