Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward
Standalone. Contemporary Romance
I didn’t even read the blurb for Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward before jumping in. I saw single dad and just grabbed it. From the title and cover, I assumed it was a romantic comedy. While there were some really funny moments, this was an emotional book that covered a lot of themes—single dad, second chance, friends to lovers and even a bit of a love triangle.
Francesca (Frankie) is a 1st grade teacher at a Catholic school, living with her much older, professor boyfriend for 2 years. She is comfortably happy with her life.
“You should get a look at the DILF at the registration desk,” Lorelai whispered as she entered my classroom. “Hottest dad I’ve ever seen in my five years here.”
Until Mackenzie (Mack) walks into her classroom with his young son. Mack was Frankie’s college roommate, best friend, and first love.
“He was the first guy who’d ever broken through my walls, made me comfortable in my own skin, then broke my heart.”
“Frankie-Four-Eyes” was awkward and shy in college with some major OCD and anxiety. Mack was gorgeous and popular. But between them, something clicked.
“I’ll make a deal with you, Frankie.”
What did he just call me?
“Yes. You look nothing like a Francesca. You look like a Frankie to me.”
“What were you going to say?”
“I’ll make a deal with you. I’m an asshole, right?”
“You’re a scaredy cat—a pussy.”
“I’m a pussy…”
“I’ll rub some of my asshole off on you if you rub some of your pussy off on me.”
My eyes widened. “You’ll rub your asshole on me?”
As their friendship grew, Frankie fell head over heels for Mack. The problem is, he had a girlfriend back home in DC that his politician father was basically making him stay with. He never cheated on her physically, but his heart was with Frankie. They just never went there. Every time he left to visit his girlfriend in DC, Frankie’s heart cracked a little further. When he was about to leave to go home for the summer, they finally admitted their feelings. So he went home to break things off with his girlfriend and come back to Frankie. Only he never returned. Now he is standing in her class with his 8 year old son who suffers from OCD and anxiety.
“I remember everything, Frankie. I remember that you were wearing a Punky Brewster T-shirt the day we first met. I remember the way your hair always smelled. I fucking use the same shampoo—Finesse—just so I can smell you every day…. I remember the way the sun caught the red in your hair at that outdoor bar during our last day together. And I’ll never forget the look of sadness on your face when you knew I was leaving Boston and not coming back. I remember everything, and depending on the day, that’s either a curse or a blessing.”
One thing I really loved in this, is that in the present tense, you never ever doubt Mack’s feelings for Frankie.
“We all have that one person. It’s not necessarily someone we end up with. But it’s that person who, for whatever reason, gets under your skin and stays there. You can move on, but parts of them are always with you. Sometimes, if things never had a chance to develop, if feelings are still unresolved, that person becomes an even more powerful force in your life, even in absentia.”
The problem? Frankie is living with a really good guy, and Mack broke her heart once before. Quite honestly, she never let him go in her heart, she just can’t let herself get hurt again, especially when she has a great guy at home. But the pull may be too strong.
“You asked what I plan to try? Everything. Every goddamn thing, Frankie—until you tell me to stop. Until you look me in the eyes and tell me there’s no point in continuing.”
There are a lot of twists and turns and side stories that to me weren’t really necessary and caused even more angst, but boy, it certainly made me scream at my kindle…NO!!!!!!
- I loved the OCD/Anxiety story.
- I love a single dad story.
- Her friend Lorelai was a riot.
- There was so much angst but it was broken up nicely with humor.
- Alternation of POV and flashbacks never caused any confusion.
- As hard as it was, I respect the author for not making Victor a bad guy.
- Frankie was honest with Victor and didn’t go behind his back.
- Well written and engrossing.
- You never doubt Mack’s feelings.
- Not enough cute father/son moments.
- Sometimes I thought he didn’t really deserve her, if he couldn’t stand up to his dad or his ex, he wasn’t really man enough to deserve her.
- Too much of them not together, I would have enjoyed a little more of the happy together times.
- Poor Victor.
- Some really random stuff thrown in that wasn’t necessary at all.
While I wouldn’t say there is out and out cheating in this book, there is definitely something very close to it on both of their parts. While I usually hate that, I felt like it wasn’t sneaky, so I was OK with what went down.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.25-4.5 Stars, 4 Heat