One of a Kind Dad

Dream Daddy
by Daly Thompson
(Harl. American #1308, $4.99, PG) ISBN 978-0373-75312-3
Dream Daddy is a story with a real brooding hero who comes out of his shell after meeting Tansy Appletree. Now, Ian Foster has reasons to brood. He grew up on the streets, and if it weren’t for his foster brothers (no pun intended), he would not have made it to be the man he is today. For years he, Daniel and Mike had befriended each other as they grew up in foster homes together. As adults, the bond they formed pushed them into changing their legal names to Foster. Now they are real brothers. They also formed a corporation to help as they each got on their feet, Daniel as a vet, Mike as a chef and restaurant owner and Ian as a sheep farmer. Mike and Daniel have found brides and are deeply in love. They live in Serenity Valley, Vermont and all is well.

Until the day Ian gets a letter from the IRS that they are being audited. They have nothing to worry about – after all Ian is a meticulous bookkeeper. But his meticulous nature runs to hand written ledgers and a box of receipts, not the computerized system the IRS expects to find. Daniel and Mike convince Ian to hire Tansy, who is a CPA and the mayor of their little town, to bring them into the 21st century and to help to ensure they are well-represented at the audit.

Ian is a bit of a recluse, preferring to stay home on his farm with his hands and his housekeeper. He is shy, only because of his poor beginnings. And he is immediately attracted to Tansy when she comes out to help out. He is so attracted he doesn’t realize until it is too late that she has conned him into helping during the town’s festival. First he is going to bring a sheep for the sheep shearing booth, showing how wool is made from start to finish. Then she cons him into sharing his paintings and trying to sell them.

Ian finds solace in his painting and many carry emotions with them. For Tansy, those emotions speak to her and she is certain that his ability to capture that emotion will push people into buying them too. Tansy and Ian could not be more opposite. She is outgoing, friendly and a true politician, with some political aspirations of her own – maybe state office. Many members of her family are in politics and it is almost an expectation. Ian, on the other hand, wears his emotions close to the vest. He is only truly at home with his brothers and their families. Daniel has opened his home up to foster children and Ian often helps with those troubled boys. One such boy, Nick, seems to strike a special chord. Ian struggles with sharing himself with Nick and with Tansy.

This was a well-paced, entertaining story. The emphasis was on changing and Tansy was like a whirlwind whose energy impacted everyone. She was easy to like and with Ian’s engaging antics with her, it was easy to like them as a couple. There were times when things seemed to get resolved quickly and easily, but it worked for this romantic entry. The author steers clear of most clichés, even though she does pull out a few. This saves the story from the maudlin and the fate of a reader feeling like they had read this story before. Ian’s compassion with everyone he meets, from his partially disabled housekeeper to his hearing impaired foreman, easily won over this reader’s heart.

Dream Daddy is not a groundbreaking story, but it is a solid story with a lot of humor, romance and engaging personalities.

--Shirley Lyons

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