Title: You’re the One
Author: Pepper Espinoza
Length: 6,000 words (25 pdf pages)
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m contemporary interracial
Jonathan hates babies. They’re stinky, loud, and they always spell the end of his closest relationships. He understands that a new baby means new priorities, but he doesn’t have to like it.
When his best friend, Brian, becomes a new father, Jonathan fears their relationship—the best relationship he has—is forever doomed. Yet he doesn’t expect Baby Enzo to break through his emotional shield, and once that happens, he’s powerless to stop the love he’s been denying for years…
While I really liked main character Jonathan in this story, I was left with so many questions about Brian and his life, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I think I would have if Brian had been more of a fleshed out character. Jonathan hates babies and he’s seen his friendships wither and die as his friends have kids and he’s less than enthusiastic about hanging around with them. He’s really upset that now Brian is next up, but much to his own shock and amazement, he finds little Enzo adorably cute and it doesn’t take him long to realize that he not only loves the little guy, but his Dad as well.
Jonathan is very self-aware about his life (except that he’s been in love with Brian for years), he’s aware of the techniques he uses to push people away and why he prefers one night stands to relationships, and I found his own confusion at his feelings regarding the baby quite amusing and fun to watch as he is forced to accept that he might not be the child-hating curmudgeon he’s always been proud to be. The problem lay with Brian. Brian has joint custody, he’s supposedly not completely straight, so I assume he was in a relationship with the mother, but it’s not clear and yet he claims to have been in love with Jonathan for years, but obviously, maybe?, had a relationship with the baby’s mother in the last 12 months. That kind of nebulous background I find frustrating.
As well, aside from the cover, I had no clue that Jonathan was African American. Given the description of Brian, I presume he is the white guy, but Jonathan could have been any ethnicity and you would not have guessed that this was an IR story from the text, at least I didn’t catch it if the clues were more subtle. I like the author’s voice a great deal, and I did like Jonathan, I smiled several times as he went through the process of accepting his feelings, but I didn’t feel like I really knew much about Brian beyond he’s a friend with a baby. The baby does not overwhelm the story. I think it fit well with the length and other people may not mind feeling just kind of plunked down in the middle of two men’s lives with little background beyond friends forever.