Book Reviews

Handle With Care by Cari Z.

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 26-January-2022

Book Blurb

A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years--boss's orders. Road-tripping to his brother's wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas--and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron's mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won't be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron's opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron's heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler's hands?



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, October 2018.


Book Review

A friends-to-lovers story with engaging characters, a very sweet romance full of obstacles, and quite some angst and hesitancy before Aaron and Tyler finally admit their feelings for each other all make for great reading and had me fully entertained. Aaron and Tyler have history – as foster brothers who became friends – and know each other well, yet admitting the deep feelings they have for each other is a different matter. It takes facing Aaron’s past for him to realize what is really important and to be able to trust Tyler with his heart. I loved the theme as well as the writing style: despite the serious topic there are lots of humorous observations peppered throughout and it made reading this story very enjoyable.

Aaron is very likable from the start. He is a case worker at Child Protective Services and determined to solve all his cases' problems. His dedication is particularly poignant since he grew up in the foster system, so he knows what it's like. But Aaron' self-destructive tendencies leave him stressed, so he ends up being sent on a vacation. That is where the road trip with his best friend Tyler comes in, and Aaron's journey to dealing with his past once and for all begins. Aaron's struggle to help everyone and always be strong touched me and I really, really wanted him to find love with Tyler.

Tyler is, in many ways, Aaron's opposite. He is relaxed, funny, and keeps Aaron connected to the real world. Even though the story is told from Aaron's point of view, Tyler comes to life really well. Tyler is determined to help Aaron understand that denying their feelings is not necessary and that Aaron’s heart will be safe in his hands. Tyler‘s emotional support when Aaron faces the woman who refused to adopt him (but did take in his younger brother) is an essential part of the trust-building needed before Aaron can take the leap of faith into a happy future.

If you like emotional drama, if friends-to-lovers stories are your thing, and if you’re looking for a sweet romance told with lots of humor, then you will probably like this novel.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. The first edition of this book was provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 192 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 26-January-2022
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link