Review: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane

Seeing the truth and falling in love.

Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan's friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.

At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he's never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

Back when I read Stand by Your Manny and realized that sweet Quinlan who crushed on Sammy was being paired with the oldest of the Robbins-Grayson children and the bratty, Dustin I was ready. I had the thought of “I can’t wait for the next book…Dustin and Quin??? Really? Bring it on, Amy Lane. Bring it on.” And that thought actually got a response from Amy Lane herself warning me that Dustin and Quin would break me in the sweetest ways and OMG was she every right! This book one hell of a helping of hurt/comfort and I am wiping my chin from my meal. Good lord. This was so good.

Real quick: this is listed 4th in The Mannies series and if you don’t want to be confused on who everyone is, you might wanna catch up if you haven’t already. The Lowell-Robbins-Robbins-Grayson clan is pretty damn big but it’s a fantastic read seeing how this family comes together.

I love the way this is told! We get a bit of an awkward situation as Quinlan comes home to his apartment to a Dustin in his bed living out one of Quin’s dirtiest fantasies. It just sucks that Quin is so sick, having picked up a bug while on his last summer tour and incapable of walking, let alone being productive with Dustin. This gives a chance for us to know something has happened between these two which needs to be settled and with a turn of a page, we are seven years into the past where Quinlan and Dustin meet.

Dustin is the oldest child of Nica and Jacob Robbins-Grayson. He’s always been the kid who was known for getting into trouble. He’s also the kid who gets carrot cake for his birthday though he hates it and we finally learn why in this book. But Dusty, for all his rough edges he presents has a soft side when it comes to his family and those he claims as family. In the beginning, when he first meets Quinlan, he’s coming from a place of grief having Taylor leaving as their manny to move in with Brandon and this family doesn’t like to see the ones they love go. Granted, Taylor and Brandon aren’t going far. But the kids have grown to love Taylor and this is an adjustment. So, of course, 14 year old Dustin is a brat to 20 year old Quin, who just wants to be part of a family, but doesn’t know how to get one.

Quinlan… we met him in Sammy and Cooper’s book and I adored him. I thought I would love his story but I had no idea how much or how much it would break my heart. Quin is a fantastic, but guarded young man, who never ate dinner with the family he cared for because he didn’t think he was wanted. And yet, all it took was an invite from a young Dustin who needed the support of the man who now meant more to him than any of the mannies before.

I absolutely love that Quin and Dusty have a discussion about crushes and that they bond over their shared crush of Sammy. It was just too stinking cute to not tuck away in my memory but that discussion was more than just about crushes; it gave Dustin the courage to come out to his family and it gave Dustin an insight to how Quinlan needed to be loved. It’s a damn good thing Dustin stored that insight away in his Quin files preparing to use them when he thought Quin would be ready.

These two made me smile, made me laugh, they made me ache and they made me so stupidly happy. I love every damn thing they went through because it brought them closer together and really allowed Quinlan to see how much he is loved and not just by Dustin. You see, there is a running theme with this series and it’s one of unconditional love of family. The family that Quinlan walked away from doesn’t and didn’t deserve him and it was fate that he was asked to care for “Sammy’s family” because that is where he belongs. I have to say, I would love the have been in that crowded room to hear Conroy’s speech… Nica and Jacob raised some amazing kids!

Speaking of Sammy’s family, of course they are involved in this, as Quinlan takes care of Jacob and Nica’s kids; seeing them on page more was a pure delight. Nica is fierce and protective of all her kids and my mother’s heart hurt along with hers as she wants nothing more than to take care of Quin and have him feel how much she loved him. Of course, there is comedy with this family and I wouldn’t expect anything less and it’s a full package once you are in these pages; laughs, tears, triumphs, setbacks and family pictures where no one is on the edge.

I just want to hug this book, so I can hug everyone in it. I can’t believe the angst bit with Sammy Lane put me through, but I get how it belonged in Quinlan’s story arc. I can’t believe what shitty parents Quinlan had but I love that he was on the take me or watch me go path when he came out and made himself into the amazing man he is today. I love that Dustin knew at eighteen that Quinlan was everything to him and that he waited so he wouldn’t spook the love of his life with his intense feelings. I love the freaking crazy cats, I love that the boys peed in bushes because they didn’t want to dry off and go into the house when they were young, I love Nica not judging and I love Channing and Tino going balls to the wall business when it comes to protecting Quinlan.

But what I love most of all is Quin accepting that Dustin isn’t a boy he used to take care of, but a man he’s watched grow up and one he has fallen head over heels for. Their romance was super swoony from the first kiss to selfies on the road to Quinlan not getting the question being asked. They are amazing together and this whole series give me hope and joy in a current world where the day to day can be pretty dark.

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