by Sean Michael
||Erotic Contemporary Romance
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Slayde's got the best job on earth: he's a nanny to Army nurse and widow Mindy's three kids. He's been with the family since the oldest was born and is Uncle Slayde to all three children. When Mindy's deployed, things aren't easy, but he manages just fine. At least he does until Mindy's big brother Drake shows up unexpectedly, announcing he's there to help while Mindy is gone.
Drake is almost a stranger to the kids, hot as hell, especially in his motorcycling leathers, and straighter than straight. On top of that, Drake's not used to dealing with kids, with things like gluten free, recycling and not eating fast food and soon has Slayde's tight routine in shambles.
Slayde thinks Drake is far more of a hindrance than a help, at least at the start, but he tries to get along for Mindy's sake and eventually, having Drake around is easier than not. But what's he supposed to do when the straight, sexy leather wearing ex-cop makes a pass at him one night? Maybe there's more to Drake than Slayde assumed.
"Yes, Christian?" God, he had a headache.
"The baby colored on the table."
"Well, good thing it washes, huh?" He ruffled Christian's -- not Chris, his name was not Chris, thank you very much -- hair and headed into the kitchen. Maggie sat her booster seat coloring away while Jenny busily ate her blue crayon. It was a good thing they were non-toxic, too. "Out of your mouth, Jenny girl. Maggie, on the paper, not the table. Christian, do you want to color, too?"
"Coloring's for girls."
"It is? Nonsense. Art is amazing. Your other options at the moment are reading at the table, Play-Doh, or practicing your writing. I need to clean up the kitchen and start lunch."
Then they were all taking a nap so Slayde could sit for five minutes and go through all the mail, the bills. Good thing he loved Mindy and her kids, or he'd run screaming into the night.
A racket sounded outside. Maybe a motorcycle. After it stopped, there was a knock at the door.
"Christian, can you please keep an eye on your sisters? I need to answer the door."
"Yes, Uncle Slayde."
He went to the door, opening it to a stud in leather. "Can I help you?" Lick you all over? Direct you to Austin?
"It's Slayde, right?"
"Yes, sir." He held firm to the door. No way was he letting this guy in, no matter how hot the man was.
The guy put his hands on his hips. Shit, he was amazing. "Drake Baltimore. Mindy's big brother. Are you going to let me in?"
"Nope. Do you have any ID?" He'd never met Drake, somehow. The man tended to visit when he was on vacation.
"ID. Identification. Driver's license. Military ID. Something with your picture and your name and some way to prove you are you." Slayde wouldn't risk these babies.
The guy stared at him for a long moment before pulling out a wallet from his back pocket, opening it, and holding it up to his face. "Happy now?"
"Well, no, but you're Drake. How can I help you?"
"You can let me in." Drake was starting to growl now.
"What's wrong?" He backed up, frowning. "Mindy didn't mention you were coming."
"I told her it would be okay, that I'd take care of everything. So I'm here to take care of the kids." Drake stepped over the threshold, and Slayde noticed for the first time Drake had a bag over his shoulder. "So where're the rugrats?"
"Take care of the kids?" Oh, he didn't think so. "They're having art time and waiting for lunch. You are not disrupting them before naptime." Who the fuck was this asshole?
"I'm not going to…" Drake snorted and headed for the kitchen. "Hey, Christian! Come say hi to your Uncle Drake."
The kids stared, all of them, then Jenny started to cry.
"Great." The kids all looked at Slayde, eyes wide. "You have company, how neat is that? Momma must have forgotten to email and remind us!" He was going to kill someone.
"Christian? I know Jenny's too little to remember me, but you and Maggie must."
"Do you remember your uncle? Momma's brother? He came last summer and you went to San Antonio to see the dolphins?"
"We had cotton candy and alligator on a stick?" For the first time since Slayde had answered the door, Drake looked disconcerted.
Christian came to him, took his hand, and Slayde knelt down. "He's the one with the motorcycle."
"Oh…" Christian's eyes lit up.
"Your Mom called me to let me know she was going away and I came as soon as I could."
But why? And why didn't she let Slayde know?
Drake stepped from foot to foot. "So uh. It's lunch time, huh?"
"It is." Slayde sighed, went to Maggie, who looked stunned. "Peanut butter sandwich, Mags? Or spaghetti?"
"We could go to McDonald's. My treat."
"No. No, we can't." He shook his head, eyes wide. "Maggie is gluten-free, Uncle Drake, and Jenny is terrified of Ronald. Like hysterical."
"But I like McDonald's!" Christian whined.
"Gluten-free? What the hell is that?" Drake grinned at Christian. "I like McDonald's too."
"Gluten-free. No wheat. No barley. No buns. No wheat-soaked French fries. No McDonald's." Oh, God. What was the son of a bitch doing here?
"Seriously?" Drake gave him a wide-eyed look. "What does that leave?"
"Food." He bit the word out. "Peanut butter and jelly, guys?"
Maggie nodded, Jenny threw a crayon, and Christian burst into tears.
Drake turned to him. "You call this taking care of the kids?"
Reviewer: Shirley Frances
Slayde is the nanny to Mindy's three kids and has become their temporary guardian while Mindy is in Afghanistan. Everything was running smoothly (as smoothly as a house with three kids under five years of age could be) when Mindy's brother, Drake, showed up. Drake is a cop and in the closet. He just wants to help out his sister and be with his family. What he didn't consider was Slayde's loyalty to the kids or his loving personality. Can Slayde open his heart to a man that doesn't accept his own sexuality?
I enjoyed Mannies Incorporated very much. It felt real to me, what with the kids' behavior and the adults trying to survive it all and trying to find some time for themselves. There really is no drama, but there was a lot of hot chemistry and humor. The kids were great; they reminded me of my own. The main characters were adorable as well as the secondary characters; I found them all to be fun and easily relatable. It was great to see how each character grew throughout the story, especially Drake who came to accept himself and love Slayde openly. I appreciated the epilogue greatly since I was already wondering what would become of these two in the future. The writing was good, although there were some errors in spelling, but all around a great, entertaining read.
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