Love: Not as easy as ABC.
They were supposed to keep things casual. Who’d expect they’d be schooled in love?
Those who can, teach. Marvin Block is one of the best kindergarten teachers out there. And despite his anxiety, Marvin’s life is sweet. He knows what he wants. And what he wants is the Teacher of the Year Award. Not just for himself – his school needs him to win.
Returning from break, the New Year finds Marvin all set to welcome a new pupil to his class. But when Illona walks in with her cute-as-hell single dad beside her, Marvin’s focus starts to slide.
Sure, his students always come first, but he deserves to have a life outside the classroom, too, right?
As their friendship starts to deepen, Marvin realizes Olan has the potential to teach him things about love he never thought possible. But with the Teacher of the Year award and his school’s future on the line, now’s not the time for anything complicated.
Education has always been Marvin’s world. And he needs to keep a cool head if he wants to win the award and save his school. But will it be worth it if he loses Olan in the process?
With Olan’s past and Marvin’s present colliding, their experiment in love hangs in the balance. Marvin knows what he wants out of life. But now he’s forced to consider what he wants out of love.
Will Marvin chalk the relationship up to experience? Or can they revise their story into a textbook romance?
Teacher of the Year is a steamy open door friends-to-lovers gay romance novel that explores the balance between friends, family, career, and relationships while overcoming trauma and dealing with anxiety.
I enjoyed Teacher of the Year, Marvin was cute, though plagued with anxiety and trauma from his mother’s alcoholism when he was younger, this causes problems later on with Olan, some of which I thought were a bit of an overreaction and I was glad when his best friend Jill serves him a few hard truths and tells him to get his head out of his backside.
Because this was a single-point-of-view read, we only get to know Olan through Marvin, I would have liked to have read the story from both POVs, as I feel I get a better all-rounded story, but what we did get about Olan was still enough to make it enjoyable.
Olan has had his own battles and a recent divorce has ended with him moving to the small town where Marvin becomes his daughter Illona ends up in Marvin’s kindergarten class. I liked the text messaging which was Olan’s way of flirting, but felt he jumped from flirting to I really like you super quickly seeing as I didn’t feel they’d had much interaction, but I rolled with it anyway. I liked that once Olan decided he was interested in Marvin, despite it being his first male love interest, he is all in and there wasn’t any angst about it. Illona was a cute kid and added a good dynamic to the story, both in the classroom and for Olan as a single father.
Jill and her husband Nick, as secondary characters were fun, I enjoyed the banter between Marvin and Nick and Jill was a great friend.
Work/life balance was an important theme throughout, determining if and why someone might work too much is an individual thing but I liked that Olan realised how much teaching meant to Marvin, but was going to be there to make sure he got the balance he needed after he himself had burnt out by not maintaining that balance.
Overall, this was a fun and cute read and I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.
Exclusive Excerpt from Teacher of the Year
“Princess, did you have a good day?” The moment Olan sees his daughter, a shift takes place. He lifts her up and gathers her in his arms, and she wraps her legs around his waist, causing his burgundy fleece to ride up just enough to show a sliver of skin. Damn. There I go wanting to lick him again.
“I had so much fun! We went to Art, and I made a sculpture with clay, and we played games inside for recess because it was too cold, and I played Candy Land, and I won, and I made a new friend, and she held my hand and read me a story, and I have the book in my backpack, and everyone was so nice, especially Mr. Block.”
“Wow, sounds like you had a busy day.”
“She’s probably going to be exhausted tonight. I know I will be.” I chuckle at my own joke. Olan glances my way and gives a little grin. That punim. And that smile. Can I bottle it up and keep it for times I’m anxious or sad or just need a pick-me-up?
“Illona, can you share the book with your dad tonight?”
“She nods quickly.
“I’ll see you in the morning.” I throw her a wave.
“Hey, thank you. For everything.” Olan puts his hand out for a shake.
And there it is. Another chance for skin-to-skin contact. Clumsily, I wipe my hand on my pants and reach out. Our hands touch, and he wraps his long, strong fingers around my palm and squeezes just hard enough to show me he’s a master at the art of the handshake.
“I truly appreciate it.”
His eyes home in on mine, and I feel a warmth coming from his hand and entire body. He holds on a second or two longer than I expect, and my insides take a little tumble. I’m keenly aware of the gaggle of moms watching us, and I pull my hand away a little more abruptly than I want to.
“Okay, I will see you tomorrow, Illona,” I interrupt, hoping he’ll be back again too. “There’s some paperwork in her blue folder for you.” I glance up at him quickly, stealing one more look.
Rushing in, I pee quickly and proceed to wash up. I position my hands under the automatic faucet. Nothing. Out and back under. Still nothing. While the tree-hugger in me understands these sinks are meant to conserve water, their inability to function in a timely and reasonable manner often leaves me wanting to scream with frustration. As I’m fighting with the damn sink, about to actually yell, a blur zooms toward the urinal.
Hurrying to finish, I throw my hands under the faucet one last time, and it erupts to life. A stream of water sprays my arms and gushes all over the front of my gray joggers. And now I appear to have thoroughly pissed myself. Lovely.
Glancing over at the urinal, I see that the man peeing clearly isn’t a white, short, rotund redhead. Jerry wouldn’t be at school this early anyway. From the back, I can see he’s almost as tall as me, with rich brown skin and hair springing from his head in tight coils. The urge to escape embarrassment washes over me, but I also need the bathroom’s air dryer to attempt to rectify the large splash on the front of my pants.
“It’s water from the sink. Be careful. They’re automatic. And relentless. And well…” I move my hands away, revealing the source of my mortification.
Without a word, he slowly places his hands under the sink, and the faucet magically comes to life with no histrionics or fanfare. He looks at me, gives the faintest grin, and washes his hands.
I turn to the air dryer and do my best to position myself under it, thrusting my hips forward to get the airflow right. I’m now gyrating in the bathroom in front of a handsome stranger like a complete putz. The man finishes and, as I’m bogarting the dryer, wipes his hands on his pants and gives me a nod and exits. Standing there, hot air blowing my nether regions, I wonder, who was that gorgeous man, and why am I so damn flushed?”
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About the Author
I write steamy queer rom-coms.
My goal is to tell adult gay love stories with a diverse representation of flawed and damaged characters who find healing through love.
I love rom-coms and have always wished there was better representation, so I’m writing the stories I wish existed. The gay men in my stories are flawed and messy. Helping them find their HEA is my passion.
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