Doing it at: 96%
Catnip: Friends to Lovers; Single Mom; Real Live Grownups; Slow Burn; Strong Female Lead; Coach Me; CoHo Exception; Neighbors; Sports Stuff; Mexican American Heroine; Perfect Gentleman
Shame Scale: No shame, you could share this book with your local little league coach, or read most of it aloud in your quiet office over winter break. It’s basically a clean read, guys.
Fantasy Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (not doing anything remotely violent!)* & America Ferrera
If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.
Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.
With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.
Except for a boyfriend.
Or a husband.
But who needs either one of those?
Wait for It is Mariana Zapata’s newest release, and the fourth of her books that I’ve read, and to begin with I have to say that these are not my usual type of books. Zapata writes SLOW BURNS. And I am not exaggerating the slow, look at that doing it percentage up there! With my growing inability to focus on anything for more than two minutes at a time (ooooh something happened on Twitter, better fall down an internet hole!), I don’t know what it is about Zapata’s books that hold my attention.
The easiest answer is that these novels are eminently readable. Her characters feel true to life– fallible, honest, NOT underwear models– and she takes her time building the romances. By the time her hero and heroine (finally) kiss the reader feels like they know each other. Zapata doesn’t write instalove, she writes deliberate, leisurely romances with lots of simple family drama tied into the plot. These books are comfort food in the best sense.
Wait for It (which has nothing OFFICIALLY to do with the Hamilton song of the same name–but unofficially there’s a case to be made for drawing some parallels, so feel free to do so intrepid readers) is the story of Diana and Dallas. Diana is a single young woman who has been entrusted with the raising of her two nephews. Her brother and sister-in-law both passed unexpectedly, and Diana has stepped up to the plate admirably. She loves the boys unconditionally and works hard to provide for them and to make sure that she is raising them into the kind of adults she can be proud of.
Dallas is ex-military, smarting over a marriage that didn’t end well and maybe should never have happened in the first place. When Diana and her boys move in across the street from him, and he thinks that she might be hitting on him, he has exactly zero time for it– even though the pair meet after she saves his brother from a nasty American History X style beat down. Di immediately thinks that Dallas is hot, because she has eyes:
he was built like those long-limbed male models with brawny chests, six-packs, thighs for days, and a giant brown and black tattoo that seemed to cover everything from his upper arms, across his pectorals to the notch at his throat and continuing to arch up above his trapezius muscles, disappearing somewhere on his back.
He was built like a porn star. The really attractive, muscular porn stars.
Or I guess a male calendar model.
But she isn’t hitting on him, she doesn’t have time for relationships, not even with the hot guy who is suddenly her neighbor AND her nephew’s little league coach. Sure, they are spending a lot of time together, and sure he is great with the kids, and sure he’s super hot and funny. But they are just friends, guys!
Wait for It carefully builds out Diana’s world, her boys- who are sweet and challenging and funny and all the things that real life kids are-, her mother – who is harder on Diana than this book reader was comfortable with-, her friends and neighbors and extended family. Extra points are awarded for the way that Zapata has her characters actually raising these kids, they don’t just disappear when its convenient, or pop up only to be adorable. There are no holes in the plot, this is a tightly woven little story. It isn’t hard to see why Dallas can’t help but fall for Diana and her entire package.
The build up of Diana and Dallas’ romance plays out so slowly that by the time they got to the good stuff I was 1) super invested and charmed by these characters and 2) ready to spontaneously combust if they didn’t hurry it along. Luckily Zapata does not disappoint when she finally reaches her destination.
“It’s already locked,” he told me as both those big palms slid from where they’d been at my waist, down, over the hem of my dress, before making a return trip upward, inside the skirt that time. Those rough, callused fingers and palms scratched my skin in the two heartbeats it took for Dallas to reach my ass, cupping the bare skin there in those big hands, gripping and molding them together as his breath hit my ear. “I always thought you looked like mine, but you sure do fucking feel like mine too,”
If you think you have any patience for a slow moving romance, if you’re into top notch single mom porn (he helps her delouse her house after one of the boys brings home lice, and let me tell you that is SWOON worthy), and if you have a thing for gruff tattooed gents with hearts of gold you owe it to yourself to pick up Wait for It.
Check it out:
*Jeffery Dean Morgan was on Shameless once for about 30 seconds, and he was just really really doing it for me, and the next season it was Dermot Mulroney who is fine but come’on, look at this guy and feel free to picture him as Dallas to enhance your reading experience.