By the Numbers by Chris Owen and Tory Temple
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, M/M, GLBT, Erotica
Length: 156,698 words
The last thing Nathaniel, aka Deuce, expects to see when he gets home from work is his street jammed with fire engines and police cars. When he realizes that it’s his apartment building that’s on fire, Nathaniel can only think of one thing: his pregnant dog, trapped inside.
When firefighter Trey Donovan delivers Nathaniel’s unharmed dog to him, Nathaniel is exceedingly grateful. After all, it isn’t every day that he meets muscular, attractive rescue workers. Nathaniel manages to find out where Trey’s station is with the idea of saying thank you and offering him a puppy, but discovers that he and Trey have something else between them that needs exploring.
Trey, however, has responsibilities that could prove to make that exploration difficult. He has shift work to contend with. His seven year old daughter is a priority, plus he shares custody with his less than friendly ex-wife. Since Nathaniel is the new owner of one dog and six puppies, and doesn’t even have a place to live, he isn’t exactly in an ideal situation to explore a new relationship. Even if it is with a hot, handsome fireman.
Can Trey and Nathaniel find some common ground amid the yapping of puppies and Trey’s complicated family life?
By the Numbers is a very sweet love story about two fine men, both having come through troubled times, finding their way to form a family. Add in an ex-wife who hasn’t worked her way toward being happy since the divorce, a very precious little girl, and a litter of adorable puppies and all the elements are there for a rich and enjoyable story; and that is just what Chris Owen and Tory Temple deliver.
Trey is an uber sexy fireman, formerly married and the father of a young daughter. He balances a tough fireman’s schedule with the schedule of sharing the raising of his young daughter. That has left him very little time to develop a relationship with anyone of the gender he now acknowledges he prefers. While on an apartment fire, Trey saves the life of a pregnant dog and the dog’s owner, Deuce, is immediately smitten. When the puppies arrive, he tries to convince Trey to accept one in thanks for saving the mama dog.
Anyone who has been through a disaster of any sort knows that the event itself is just the beginning. There is the insurance company to deal with, the landlord, and the question of where one can live while everything is sorted out, repaired and rebuilt. As time drags and the puppies are born, Deuce finds himself living with a friend who would really like for him to move along with his puppies in tow. Since Trey has available room, and is seldom home, they come to a platonic agreement that soon becomes much more than platonic.
I really enjoyed the depth of the characters in By the Numbers. Both Trey and Deuce are most concerned about Trey’s daughter, that things be right in her life. The ex-wife is presented as someone who loves her daughter, but just can’t get over that her husband hadn’t been honest about both who he is and the nature of their relationship, and rather than say ugly things to the child about her father, she belittles Deuce. It is the way the ex-wife treats Deuce when he is always so very loving with the child that brings things to a head in the story.
By the Numbers is a good, good story. With all the characters, human and canine, this story touches on different expressions of love, the quick ease with which a well-loved child reaches out in love, and how the path to the love of our lives is not always easy. Chris Owen and Tory Temple’s books are always a joy to read.
Rated 4 1/2 Ravens by Lea!