Title: The Blinding Light
Author: Renae Kaye
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man.
Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves.
Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.
Review: I hadn’t read any other Renae Kaye books prior to this one, but I love a poor-but-good-at-heart-boy makes good story, and in the process, tames the beast who is actually a great but lonely man who has been hurt in the past. Got all that?
Jake Manning is a smart ass. This has led to him having trouble holding a job despite the massive debt of unknown origin that looms over him. He takes care of his alcoholic mom and practically raised his three younger sisters, who are, for the most, part spoiled, entitled brats who continue to take from Jake while he works two or three jobs at a time, lives in a dump of an apartment, and uses a second hand bike as his mode of transportation. Somebody needs to slap those girls. Well, only one of them really needs to be slapped, the other two are kind of tolerable.
Jake figures since he spent most of his life cleaning up after four women, he can apply for the job opening he sees for a housekeeping service. He is hired but warned that the client to whom he will be assigned is a blind man and very difficult to please. Patrick Stanford is picky, prickly, impolite, and very demanding. Being his housekeeper is a larger job than most because of the additional work required to make the house blind-friendly.
Patrick leaves notes to his housekeeper each day, and they are addressed to the woman who cleaned for him about five housekeepers ago. The agency has stopped bothering to tell him how quickly their employees quit because of how poorly he treats them. Jake, as desperate as he is for a job, makes sure to go above and beyond the duties required of him. He does such a good job that Patrick calls the agency to compliment him and gives him a substantial tip.
But Jake also doesn’t take any shit from Patrick. He responds to Patrick’s notes in kind, but shows Patrick where a little manners and common courtesy might improve the way people interact with him. He threatens to change all the Braille labels on the food in the pantry. It is really funny to see how Patrick reacts when someone finally gives as good as they get from him.
One day, when Jake comes to work, Patrick is home sick. Very sick. Jake forces Patrick to accept his help in caring for him. Jake does everything from go to the store for cold meds to make homemade chicken soup, all in addition to his regular duties. There is a hilarious scene in which Patrick is rubbing Vicks on his chest, and Jake tells him it feels like foreplay. This leads to a kind of friendship developing between the two men. They share meals and it soon becomes obvious that the attraction Jake feels for Patrick is mutual.
I loved seeing how these two men began discovering each other. They start sharing bits and pieces of their life stories and eventually bigger and bigger bits. Patrick allows himself to spend time with another person for the first time in a long time, and it feels good. He can’t believe that his blindness isn’t a problem for Jake. The few people Patrick has allowed into his life before Jake made a big deal of his blindness, where Jake just accepts it as part of the whole Patrick package.
When a family emergency takes center stage in Jake’s life, Patrick shows that he can be there for Jake in the same way Jake is for him. No one has ever been there for Jake, and it’s a little weird for him. But it all comes together. Their relationship grows despite Jake’s family drama and Patrick’s inability to trust the motives of someone who wants to “do” for him. It’s a beautiful thing to see it all unfold as they both learn that opening their hearts to someone won’t necessarily lead to hurt. And that family emergency? Turns out to be the best thing to happen to them since each other.
You can buy The Blinding Light here: