family man


Sometimes family chooses you.

How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.

There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.

It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.

Warning: This book deals with alcoholism, broken promises, and overbearing little sisters. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte – 5 stars

Gitte: I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one Jenny. First of all, I love everything Heidi Cullinan writes and I keep being recommended titles by Marie Sexton. Also, I absolutely LOVE this cover so I was extremely excited to start it. I was NOT disappointed. I absolutely loved Family Man. It was a refreshing change to some of the recent M/M stories I have read; the writing style was perfect; it was emotional and beautiful. It had everything you could possibly want to feel and experience when reading. I loved the characters, I connected with them both and their story was addictive and had me hooked from the start. It was pretty perfect but I advise getting those tissues handy!

Jenny:   Same here Gitte.  I fell in love with Heidi’s writing style in Dance With Me and wanted more! Marie Sexton had come highly recommended to us and we’ve been dying to read some of her books and what a perfect way to be introduced to this author. This book for me was perfection.   Like you, the cover immediately drew me in, it’s gorgeous!   When I finished this book the first word that popped into my head was “breathtaking“.  The characters were so sincere and so genuinely beautiful, the story so real and I just can’t say enough how much I loved this book, how much I enjoyed this whole reading experience.  And yes…definitely have some tissues on hand.

Gitte: This is Vince and Trey’s story; two characters who grew up under entirely different circumstances very much like night and day in respect to their families, their life style and their confidence and actions. Vince comes from a huge loving Italian family, the kind that rounds the troupe up when one of their own is going through troubles. Trey on the other hand has been struggling through life, his Dad died at a young age so he has lived and endured an alcoholic Mum which has marred his life and seen him having to grow up way to fast.  The only constant has been his loving Grandmother.

Vince is older than Trey and has been married several times but these marriages have never lasted long. Nothing has ever seemed right for him though, he has felt inadequate and confused until a specific event makes him question everything including himself.

Vince decides to try and figure himself out – his sexuality to be exact, prompted by a heart to heart with his sister. He finds himself in a bar trying to work out if he is crazy or going through a phase when he bumps into Trey who is a familiar face from his family’s restaurant. Their journey pretty much begins on this night when Vince makes a realisation and knows he is attracted to Trey who sparks his mind and body to life. Trey sees something he has been missing and he knows he wants Vince because this man represents everything he believes in, makes him feel safe, accepted for his morals and ultimately he feels protected.

Jenny:  The thing I loved about Marie and Heidi’s writing in this story is that I could picture everything.  They gave us enough without giving too much. They enabled me to live this story rather than just read it.  When Vince was talking to his sister Rachel (who I just adored!) I felt like was leaning up against the wall having a ciggy with them, that I was more or less eavesdropping in on their conversation.  I felt like a willing participant in every snippet of conversation. I felt it all.

Vince and Trey are very different but if felt as if they were only really whole when they were together.  Like two missing parts of the puzzle.  These characters and their stories really did take a piece of my heart.  I adored them both for different reasons.  The stoic, tortured and sensitive Trey who had so much to contend with on those young shoulders rendered me speechless.  I wanted to reach in the pages and hug him, tell him everything was going to be okay.  I was so moved and felt so much for this beautiful soul and his struggles

“Don’t wait up” I said.  I didn’t bother to acknowledge the disappointment on her face.  God knew she’d never bothered to acknowledge mine. (Trey)

And promise.  That’s the worst one of all. Because a promise is supposed to be real. A vow. Almost sacred. (Trey)

Conflicted Vince.  I just loved this man.  Nearing forty with three failed marriages behind him and questioning his sexuality and the strong feelings he has towards Trey. This man had a heart the size of Texas.  For all the inner turmoil he was feeling, this man never wavered in his support of Trey. He knew just how much to give and when to pull back.  He was like a breath of fresh air for Trey.

This beautiful man had denied his feelings and the fear of coming out the closet to his large Italian family weighed heavily on his mind and the one thing I got out of this was that it all felt so real.  None of it felt contrived. You really could actually visualize and feel Vince facing his family and it was all done with such warmth, sincerity and sensitivity. So moving.

“I want to promise you the world, but I know you hate promises” (Vince)

Hope is a lie. All hope does it make it easier for them to crush you (Trey)

Gitte: I loved Vince and Trey with all my heart. Their story not only made me smile but the obstacles placed in their path broke my heart and I cried so many tears for them, both happy and gutted.

These two Authors wrote this story with such passion and emotion that I inhaled every word with a lump in my throat, wanting to keep reading to see them get their HEA. I cannot recommend this M/M story highly enough so if you enjoy this genre then this one is a sure must read.

Jenny:  This story was flawless.  All these characters stole my heart. It was a story of love, hope, strength and honesty combined with deep emotion, affection and passion.  I hung on every word and I ached for these two beautiful men.  I hoped with them and I loved with them and I certainly shed many tears for them – both happy and sad.  This is up there as one of my favorite M/M reads.  It definitely hit the mark for me.  I loved it and can’t recommend it highly enough.


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