More than learning to LISTEN–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a contemporary M/M romance from RJ Scott. LISTEN  is the fifth book in the Single Dads series, and features a widowed gay man hoping to adopt a special needs child, and the daring teacher who could help, or hinder, him. I loved SINGLE, TODAY, PROMISE, and ALWAYS. Nick has made some cameos in SINGLE and ALWAYS, but this story is really all about his family, and how he’s coped with loss–for better or worse.

ListenAbout the book:

He only wanted to make the best home for his new daughter; he never meant to fall in love with the man who might steal her away.

Nick and his husband had always wanted a big family, but when cancer took Danny six years ago, Nick was left a single dad of three. He never considered his broken heart would heal enough to add to his family, but as soon as he meets Teegan he knows he wants to adopt the little girl. Born profoundly deaf, Teegan has been rejected twice already in the adoption process and hasn’t found her forever home. Nick wants to be her hero—her dad—and create a world that is safe and happy for her. He knows he wants to make her life perfect—he doesn’t know how to go about it or understand the best thing to do for his family, and he needs help. Enter Elliot, and Nick finds himself falling for the frustrating, sexy, inspiring, and caring teacher who can make things right.

Elliot is wary of helping the man who appears more interested in public opinion than the needs of his own family. But, learning that Nick, wealthy and entitled, is now adopting a deaf child, Elliot knows this is a step too far and strides into battle. As the child of deaf adults, Elliot knows he is the best person to advocate for little Teegan and, if needed, he is determined to intervene and halt the adoption. Nothing and no one will get in Elliot’s way when it falls on him to protect Teegan.

This single dad story features a widower struggling to make things right, a teacher battling for a child’s wellbeing, an adorable toddler, three loving siblings, a home with a view of the ocean, and families standing behind them both.

My Review:

Nick Horner is a widowed gay man, still mourning his late-husband Danny going on 6 years now. They had a daughter, Hannah, via surrogacy, and later adopted two orphaned brothers, Mason and Caleb. Danny was a stay-at-home dad while Nick did investigative reporting, selling his stories for big sums. Anyway, it Nick a long time to get beyond his depression and grief, and be a solid father to his children, after Danny’s death. He’s just sold his interest in his production company, and is committed to building the bigger family Danny always wanted, beginning with adopting Teegan, a deaf toddler in foster care. Nick is committed to ensuring Teegan will thrive in their family, but he’s struggling to learn sign language. He reaches out to his children’s school to see if they have any discreet resources, after an online “educator” tried to blackmail him. Nick’s so committed to being the best dad he can to all his kids–including Teegan–that he’s willing to seek the help of Elliot Curtis–the only man to turn his head since Danny’s passing.

Elliot Curtis is an English teacher at St. Josephs elite private school for the wealthy and privileged. He taught Nick’s daughter Hannah a couple of years back, and is still stinging from the problem he had convincing Nick (at first) to get evaluations and services for Hannah, who he suspected had ADHD. Well, that and the big one-sided crush he had on Nick, fueled by an unexpected kiss Nick gave him two years ago. But that’s all in the past, right? Now, Elliot is being tasked to assist Nick learn ASL so he can better communicate with the young girl he hopes to adopt. Elliot, a Child of Deaf Adults (CODA), is convinced that Nick’s adoption of Teegan is just some sort of publicity stunt, and he’s dead set against facilitating this, but his side project, a safe space for Deaf children and families to congregate and learn, could use the hefty donation Nick will make, in return for Elliot’s help.

This book seemed to start as a twist on an enemies-to-lovers type of romance, but without any solid enmity. Nick is embarrassed to be attracted to Elliot, as if he’s disrespecting Danny’s legacy to find another man attractive, and he’s mortified about how he acted on that attraction. Elliot is frustrated to still find Nick honorable and sexy, even after their confrontation over Hannah’s needs. Teegan is at the heart of their current situation. Elliot knows first-hand the challenges that persons in the Deaf community face. Can Nick actually provide a loving and supportive family? Should Elliot interfere with the adoption, if he thinks Nick won’t be a good parent? It’s not like many Deaf people are looking to adopt.

Elliot and Nick have a lot of history to uncover and rehash, but their inconvenient attraction brings more struggle to the situation. I loved how patient Elliot was, teaching Nick ASL, but also more about how to navigate the Deaf community. And Nick’s so vulnerable and open, with Elliot, but also with his children. He’s a committed parent, and is willing to do the work to make himself a better person–having years of therapy supporting this mission. It’s a tender romance, with Elliot bringing out the best in Nick, with the kids being overjoyed at the dad’s new happiness, and with Teegan finding a forever home with a big family that will love and support her. Expect a bit of drama with the birth mom, and a scam artist hoping to profit off Nick’s good will. Other than that, there isn’t too much angst. I loved how Nick’s happy ending began with a new beginning, and laying to rest his ghosts. Very sweet.

Interested? You can find LISTEN on Goodreads and is available on Amazon and BookBub.

About the Author:
RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

Catch RJ on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, twitter and LibraryThing.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!