Sterling grew up poor in a small Texas town. He has always been an outcast due to the large birthmark on his face that left him stared at and ridiculed. He has also always been alone, with his father taking off shortly after his birth, his beloved grandmother dying, and his mother a drug addict who takes off all the time. Sterling makes the best of what life has dealt him, and he has learned to be strong and independent, but that doesn’t mean things are easy.
Barrett was born richer than he had any right to be and now owns an investment company where he tries to give back and help businesses that are able to do good. When he stops randomly in Billow, Texas, on the way to Dallas for a meeting, Barrett doesn’t expect to see the beautiful boy tending bar, nor to find himself so drawn to the shy, sweet man. Barrett is used to trusting his instincts, and something about Sterling just captivates him. Barrett wants nothing more than to get Sterling out of this awful town where he is treated so badly, and to bring him to Vegas where Barrett can pamper Sterling in the all the ways a Daddy can care for his boy. At first, Sterling is resistant to everything Barrett offers, even dinner, as he doesn’t want to be seen as charity. But once the men spend a few days getting to know each other, Sterling takes a chance on following Barrett home.
Sterling’s new life is overwhelming, as Barrett is rich beyond anything Sterling has ever seen. Sterling is also new to a Daddy/boy relationship, but finds that it just fits. He loves everything about being with Barrett, but Sterling is also wary. He knows that a man with a face like his, not to mention lack of education and experience, is never going to hold the attention of a man like Barrett for long. But Barrett knows that Sterling is perfect for him, everything he could ever want in a boy. Now, he just has to make Sterling believe it as well.
Pretty Boy is a sugary sweet, absolutely lovely story about two endearing men finding their way to each other. It is a total Cinderella tale, with poor, mistreated Sterling swept off his feet by the rich, dashing Barrett and whisked away to his castle in Las Vegas. I’m not going to lie, there is a suspension of disbelief you just have to go with in this fairy tale-like book. The men barely know one another when Barrett decides he wants to move Sterling across the country and into his home, and Sterling agrees to uproot his life and go. But I’ll say right now, it totally worked for me and I just loved this incredibly sweet story.
When we meet Sterling, we can see that he is strong and independent, but also used to the worst out of people. He is the subject of stares and ridicule, and people in his small town treat him poorly. His mother is an addict, whom he has to support and who frequently runs off when a new man catches her eye, and his dad left when Sterling was born. It has left him very self sufficient, but also so lonely. But worse, Sterling has come to accept that this is his lot in life. I loved how even as Sterling is out of his depth at some points during the story, he retains that inner strength, even as he relishes in having someone to really love and care for him for the first time. He has trouble believing in Barrett’s affection at first, so used to thinking of himself as ugly and undesirable. But Barrett is patient and determined to show Sterling how much he wants him and cares for him. This story is really Sterling’s journey most of all, and I loved seeing him grow in confidence over the course of the book.
Barrett is a total cinnamon roll character — sweet, doting, supportive, and loving. He is a Daddy Dom and just wants to take care of his boy. Barrett has had some bad luck in the past, with boys only out for his money. So Sterling is a total contrast in that he wants nothing from Barrett besides his love and affection. Barrett is introducing Sterling not just to a Daddy/boy dynamic, but to any type of emotional or sexual relationship. He is so sweet and patient, and the men are nicely sexy together.
Ok, here is my one tiny quibble. Sterling is talking to a friend about how it would be nice to have a mobile library that could travel to rural areas making books available to those that need them. He brings the idea to Barrett and they talk about making it a reality. What bugged me is that this mobile library is presented as a totally new idea, when it is not. We had visits from the county Bookmobile (which is what they call their idea as well) in my neighborhood all the time growing up. This was managed by our library system, but there are corporate versions as well. And while Sterling from his small town may not have ever heard of such a thing, certainly the more worldly Barrett, who manages an investment company, would have done a little research to see that such a thing already exists. I know it is a small thing, but just googling “bookmobile” makes it clear this isn’t a new idea, and it threw me out of the story a bit to see it presented that way.
So anyway, did I mention this book was sweet? I know I have said it so many times, but that is the best way to describe the story. It is a little bit fantastical, but also just a warm, yummy story that was so much fun to read. We meet some other Daddies here, as well at least one other boy, and I am so intrigued by all of them. I am totally all in on this series and I can’t wait for more.