Title: The Virgin Manny
Author: Amy Lane
Narrator: John Solo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspun Desires
Run Time: 6 hours and 49 minutes
At a Glance: A cute manny story with an unlikely hero who saves the day–and a family. John Solo’s narration adds that little something extra that takes this trope to a new level.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Growing up and falling in love…
Sometimes family is a blessing and a curse. When Tino Robbins is roped into helping his sister deliver premade dinners when he should be studying for finals, he’s pretty sure it’s the latter! But one delivery might change everything.
Channing Lowell’s charmed life changes when his sister dies and leaves him her seven-year-old son. He’s committed to doing what’s best for Sammy… but he’s going to need a lot of help. When Tino lands on his porch, Channing is determined to recruit him to Team Sammy.
Tino plans to make his education count—even if that means avoiding a relationship—but as he falls harder and harder for his boss, he starts to wonder: Does he have to leave his newly forged family behind in order to live his promising tomorrow?
Review: Tino is a young guy finishing his college degree, working at Panera to get through school—along with his many student loans. His parents have always worked hard, and Tino intends to make them proud, finishing his business degree and getting a great start in the business world. When he gets talked into doing a favor for his sister, he stumbles into a situation he’s not in the least prepared for.
One of his sister’s customers for her dinner box business is a family who has just suffered a tremendous loss. When Tino shows up, it’s just one more change and disappointment for Sammy, a little boy whose entire world has been upended by the loss of his mother. Channing, Cheryl’s brother, is doing his best, but Sammy is reeling and so is Channing, truth be told. Add in an evil housekeeper and a lot of money and, well, this recipe isn’t coming out quite right. But Sammy seems to take a liking to Tino—even though he’s NOT his sister’s “Dinner box girl”, and Channing leaps at the chance to make a positive move.
When he’s offered a full-time gig taking care of Sammy for the summer, Tino is less than thrilled. This isn’t what he envisioned for himself after graduation. He wants to use his degree, but Channing makes him an offer he can’t refuse. And there is also Sammy tugging on his heartstrings. But there is also the smoldering attraction between Channing and Tino that makes Tino nervous about living with him and Sammy.
In the end, of course, Tino can’t let Sammy down, and he’s also amazed at the offer on the table. So, he moves in and takes over Sammy’s primary care. In the meantime, poor Channing is driving back and forth from San Francisco to work, which is taking its toll. Tino does what he can to try to take care of Channing as well as Sammy, and the attraction continues to burn between them.
As things are heating up between Channing and Tino, Sammy also seems to be adjusting to his new reality, little by little. Tino does his best to distract him and to introduce him to more people and get him to come out of his shell a bit. The nasty housekeeper is the thorn in his side, and he has a bad feeling about her. Things come to a head and Tino has to decide if he really wants to pursue something with Channing, or if he is going to be stubborn and hold onto his old vision of the future at the expense of what could possibly be a much better one.
This is a sweet manny story with an unlikely hero who saves the day with a struggling family. Tino is adorable and his voice is humorous and just young and naïve enough to be believable. Channing is more worldly, but he doesn’t want to steamroll Tino—well, not too much anyway. 😉 When they do give in to their mutual attraction, it’s not gratuitous or contrived.
Sammy is a cute kid dealing with a devastating loss and trying to process it as best he can. Luckily, with two adults on his side, he’ll be ok.
John Solo did a great job narrating this story. I was not a fan of the first audio of his I listened to, but I really enjoyed his voices in this one. I thought he really captured the characters, from Tino and Channing to Sammy and his piano teacher. I can’t wait to read the next Manny story. 🙂
You can buy The Virgin Manny here: