The Barkeep and the Bro (Single Dad's Club #3) ~ A.J. Truman
I’m his boss. He’s my daughter’s ex-boyfriend. This has nope written all over it.
For twenty-five years, I’ve been in an exclusive, all-consuming relationship with Stone’s Throw Tavern, my family’s local bar.
I don’t need a boyfriend. What I need is a new bartender.
And what I get is Charlie, my daughter’s old college boyfriend, a guy who still acts like he’s chillin’ at the frat house. He was canned from his Wall Street job and escaped to small town Sourwood for a fresh start.
He knows bupkis about bartending, but he makes up for it with his cocky charm…and the tight shirts he wears, which secretly drive me wild. Now I’m making up excuses to hang by the bar during his shifts.
There’s a pile of reasons why I can’t cross the line with an employee. Especially this one. He’s twenty years younger than me, and I’m a foot taller than him. Even on a purely mathematical level, this can’t work.
The growing heat between the fratboy and me burns like a shot of whiskey. I just need to keep my beer can in my pants, or else I could lose my business and my daughter.
The Barkeep and the Bro is a fantastic way to finish this heart-warming series, providing an excellent introduction to the spin-off series, the first book featuring one of my favourite characters from this story.
I love an age-gap story. While this one isn’t an extreme gap, it's enough that the two men's ages would usually have them at different stages of their lives. Charlie and Mitch work, though. Charlie gives Mitch the fun, light, and love he needs to start living properly again. In return, Mitch gives Charlie the love and stability he craves and the confidence for Charlie to start exploring the man he wants to be, not the one shaped by his previous experiences.
The Barkeep and the Bro shows significant emotional growth for Charlie, but I really loved that Mitch wasn’t the catalyst for the change. Charlie didn’t 'grow up' to fit Mitch; he was already doing it; Mitch simply gave him the love and support to do so.
I really enjoy AJ Truman's writing style. The ability to project sometimes quite deep emotion while keeping the general feel of the story light is quite a knack. His stories are always effortless to read, grabbing your attention from the first page and refusing to let go until the end. Similarly, his characters are always those I wish I knew in real life. They are a gorgeous group of genuine and likeable men and women who I can imagine it would be so easy to be friends with.
I absolutely adored the reappearance of the characters from the previous two books, especially Russ and Cal, who are still my favourites. I loved seeing that Cal is still as chaotic as ever, and Russ still loves him for it. It was fantastic to witness the continuation of their relationship with two significant milestones and see them get their happy ever after.
The Barkeep and the Bro could technically be read as a standalone, but I really, really do not recommend it. The main characters from the previous books are very present in this one, and it’s a shallower experience if you don't have their backstories. All three books are an absolute joy to read, so it’s not a hardship to start from the beginning, and I guarantee it’s so very worth it!
I’m so happy I’ve had the opportunity to meet the men of the Single Dad’s Club, and I’m so looking forward to the spin-off, the South Rock High series. I loved every moment of The Barkeep and the Bro, it was an excellent way to finish the series, and I can't wait for Mitch and Charlie's cameos (along with the others) in the new series.
The Barkeep and the Bro is available as an ebook.