The Single Dad Project
Grade : B+

The Single Dad Project by Naima Simone is the fifth contemporary romance in the author’s Rose Bend series. I hadn’t read any of the others in the series when I picked up this one, but it reads well as a standalone and has me intrigued to read more about this small town and the Dennison family.

Photographer Flo Dennison is licking her wounds back in her hometown of Rose Bend. A two-week work trip to Thailand turned into more than just a disappointment, with harassment from her mentor permanently tainting the trip and her respect for him. A one-night stand with a sexy stranger (her choice) is just what she needs to take back control of her life.

Single Dad and architect Adam Reed has taken a temporary job restoring an old home in Rose Bend, and he goes to a local bar and meets Flo, ending up with her for the hottest night of his life. But as per Flo’s request, he doesn’t tell her anything about himself other than his real name (even though she’d said he could use any name he wanted). With no regrets, they both go their separate ways, only to be shocked to discover that they’re going to be working on the same restoration project. The TV show Vintage Reproductions has hired Adam as the architect for the restoration of the house, while Cole, Flo’s brother and the mayor of Rose Bend, wants her to take photos for a coffee-table-book to capitalize on the TV show choosing to film there.

Having never expected to see each other again, Flo and Adam pretend to meet for the first time at the house. But neither has forgotten their night together. Still, it’s not immediately obvious that anything more will happen between them. Adam’s prime focus besides his job is his five-year-old daughter, Jussy. His ex-wife is not a reliable co-parent, popping in and out of their lives, leaving Adam with the sole responsibility for Jussy’s upbringing, and he’s not looking for a new partner. Besides, he’s thirty-seven, and Flo is twenty-four. Not a problem for a one-night stand but too big an age difference - in Adam’s mind - for a relationship. As they spend time together though, it becomes more difficult to ignore their mutual attraction. With Adam planning to leave when the restoration is done, is there even a chance at something more than just a steamy affair?

I’ve been reading Naima Simone’s books for several years (according to Goodreads, my first was Beauty and The Bachelor in 2015) and pretty much know what to expect, which is what keeps me coming back for more – emotional and sexy stories from start to finish. With this series, the author is focusing more on family relationships but with the same heat and heart as her previous books. Flo has experienced a unique if difficult upbringing, with her birth mother passing away when she was young, and her stepfather at the time being unable to properly care for her due to his grief, and as a result, she was adopted by her stepfather’s brother and his wife. Her new family has treated her with much love and affection and she has a close relationship with all her siblings. But her stepfather has, in recent years, been sending her letters, causing her a lot of emotional conflict as she isn’t sure of his intentions, or what kind of relationship she might want with him as an adult after he abandoned her as a child. This forms a secondary storyline to the main romance.

Adam is naturally protective of his daughter and is torn about what role his ex-wife should have with Jussy as she doesn’t always keep her promises about phone calls. The friendship that Flo develops with Jussy is also an issue, as his daughter is naturally seeking maternal bonds with the women who enter his life and he is afraid of his daughter getting too attached to them. Trying to keep boundaries with Flo becomes impossible the more time they spend together, and the clearer it becomes that Flo really cares for Jussy. Giving Jussy a home with friends her age and people around her who care about her seems like a possibility in Rose Bend, if only Adam can overcome his reservations and see beyond Flo’s younger age to the passionate, determined and mature woman that she is.

With a deft hand, the author ties all the various strings together resulting in a heartwarming (and sometimes tearful) story with happy endings all around. If you like emotional depth, family and friend relationships that anchor the story, and sexy times in your romances, this is a good story and series to sink your teeth into.

Reviewed by Maria Rose
Grade : B+

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 26, 2024

Publication Date: 02/2024

Review Tags: AoC PoC Rose Bend series

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Maria Rose

I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.
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