Author ~ Nick Wilgus
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 24th February 2017
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Thomas, an older gay musician living in a small Southern town, is ready to start a family. He fosters Jeremy, a special needs boy with no arms, and teaches him to play the drums so Jeremy can realize his potential to do anything he wants. Though it takes time, Thomas’s closeted boyfriend Randy steps out of the shadows to be part of what Thomas is working to build. With the advent of marriage equality, it’s a different world in the Deep South—one where the three of them have the chance to be a family.
Yet no one said it would be easy, and they soon learn the foster care system is far from perfect.
Just as Jeremy begins to settle in and thrive, his biological father reappears, demanding custody. Thomas and Randy know the man is unfit to care for Jeremy, but the law says otherwise. It seems they’re the only ones looking out for Jeremy’s best interests, and they face an uphill battle if they want to keep their new family together.
OMG where to start with this book, suffice to say I absolutely loved it, like gushingly loved it. Read it in one sitting, couldn’t put it down. I laughed, I cried, I raged at the injustice and unfairness of the situation but I was filled with warmth and love and hope too. My heart was practically swelled up out of my chest by the end.
The story begins with a tragic accident which sees little Jeremy Tripper in the care of the DHS. Thomas is a fifty one year old musician who is about to foster Jeremy with a long term view to adopt him. Jeremy has special needs and was born with a genetic condition that means he has no arms. As you can imagine, at the start Jeremy is a very scared seven year old boy, but Thomas has such a beautiful, genuine way with him that they establish a good routine and he is able to help Jeremy work through some issues and they seem to have struck a balance in their lives. Thomas is always encouraging Jeremy to be independent and to realise his potential and to that end they discover he can play the drums very well with his feet. Thomas loves Jeremy so much but the one thing that frightens him more than any other is the thought of Jeremy’s biological father turning up to gain custody of him. He knows as a foster parent that this can happen but he’s desperate to adopt Jeremy. He wants his son and his family.
Thomas is in a relationship with closeted gallery owner Randy. I wasn’t sure about Randy at first as he seems to be avoiding any type of commitment to Thomas or Jeremy. Just turning up for a booty call and to say he’s feeling neglected. He ends up having the biggest character transformation throughout the book. His development is total. He entirely changed my mind about him and I adored him by the end. We see Thomas and Randy’s relationship deepen and Randy becomes the papa whilst Thomas is daddy. However, the foster system is not infallible and the worst happens. This throws Thomas into such grief for his son, it was heart wrenching. It’s too much for Thomas and he resolves to never foster again as he can’t lose another child. Months later and totally unexpectedly another tragedy befalls a family and Thomas and Randy end up fostering eleven year old, smart but grief stricken, Dwayne. Randy comes into his own as a huge support for Thomas at this time as Thomas feels like he can’t do it. Randy really stepped up and I admired him for that. He persuades Thomas they should all visit Jeremy and that’s when they find out things aren’t what they seem.
The author has a gift for storytelling and is able to convey such emotion through his dialogue. The depth of Thomas’s love for Jeremy is palpable as is his bone crushing grief and overwhelming helplessness at the hands of the law. There are moments of such hilarity in this book too, the humour is used to great effect. I love this authors’ style of writing and as he publicly acknowledges, he is going through this very same process in his life right now and you can feel that on every page. The reality of the situations and processes are evident and it lends a real authenticity and gravitas to this story. The ending made me smile so wide inside and out, it is life affirming to feel that love and hope. A definite recommendation from me. I just adored Thomas, Randy, Jeremy and Dwayne and really want to see how they’re getting on in the future. I will beg for more!
Meet Nick Wilgus
I sold my first short story to The Horror Show Magazine at the age of seventeen and I've been writing ever since.
From murder mysteries to romantic comedies featuring gay couples, I've been channeling my dreams and demons for almost four decades. Along the way, I picked up a Lambda Award nomination, was named one of the best columnists in the state of Mississippi, and had an award-winning movie based on my first novel, MINDFULNESS AND MURDER.
A former newspaper editor, I'm a proud dad who lives in Tupelo, Mississippi right down the street from the house where Elvis grew up.