Six Feet by Michelle M ReynoldsSix Feet by Michele M. Reynolds is an age gap, opposites attract romance set in the summer of 2020, with the Covid pandemic is in full swing.

Henley Smith, 42, is a psychologist who’s juggling working from home while raising three foster daughters. Paloma, Jackie, and Manhattan have been kicked around the foster system and test Henley at every turn. The only mother they’ve known is an abuser struggling with substance abuse. Henley is drowning in the complications the pandemic has added to their lives.

Nicki Zabelle, 28, is a professional video gamer. She’s the number one ranked woman in the sport. Through product endorsements and prize-winning championships, she’s become a self-made millionaire. She sleeps in late and blogs into the wee hours of the morning. She’s recently relocated to a quiet neighborhood in Western Massachusetts after a stalker wreaked havoc in her life in Boston. She guards her anonymity, separating her online persona from her personal life.

After a morning mishap lands Jackie in Nicki’s life, Henley and her girls quickly become regulars at Nicki’s pool. They decide to become a Covid pod and navigate the pandemic together. When Henley is summoned back to work in her office, she has to figure out how to provide childcare for her daughters. Nicki happily volunteers to have the girls at her house during the day in exchange for home cooked dinners.

Nicki’s been besotted with Henley since the moment they met, but Henley doesn’t seriously consider a relationship with Nicki at the outset. Her personal time is limited, and her paramount concern is making sure she’s able to finalize the adoption of her foster daughters. Anything that could get in the way of that isn’t an option. But as Henley spends more time with Nicki, she can’t help but fall in love with this kind, loving woman.

During a video chat with their biological mother, one of the girls mentions Henley’s new girlfriend. Their biological mother wasn’t aware that Henley’s a lesbian, and she decides to use that as leverage to regain custody of the girls. This is everything Henley was afraid might happen.

Unbeknownst to Henley, Jackie has accidentally outed Nicki in the gaming world, and Nicki faces losing her sponsors, fans, and livelihood.

Are these obstacles too great for Henley and Nicki to overcome, or is their love strong enough to keep their found family together in the midst of a pandemic?

Pros And My Favourite Parts

I just adored the dynamic between Henley and Nicki. They really shouldn’t work as a couple. Henley is trying to meet the needs of three young girls who’ve come out of the foster system with a lot of baggage. She’s struggling with balancing work and homeschooling the girls during the pandemic. She’s weighed down by life and rightly so, yet she rises to meet every challenge thrown her way. Taking all this into consideration, it’s not surprising she’s reticent to start a relationship with a woman twelve years younger than she is.  Nicki is a delight. She’s like a big kid who lives on junk food and soda and sees the delight and possibilities in every situation. Despite having to relocate due to a stalker, she’s completely unencumbered by old ideas and behaviors. She’s an open book. She shares her time and her heart with an ease I rarely see in romances. She’s also steadfast in her pursuit of Henley. There’s one scene in particular where Henley throws a barrage of statements at Nicki that are meant to goad her into a fight. Henley’s handing Nicki all the ammunition she’d need to turn her back on Henley and the girls, but Nicki just quietly lets Henley tire herself out. It’s sweet because it’s the moment Henley realizes there’s nothing that’s going to scare Nicki into leaving.

Cons And Heads Up

Anyone who reads my reviews knows I like a good amount of spice in my romances. Six Feet is fade to black, and it took all the patience in the world to go with this flow. I stopped asking, “But what…but what…but what…?” after Nicki and Henley’s second or third night together, and simply enjoyed their sweet make-out sessions.

The Conclusion

This is a lovely, feel-good romance. By my standards, there’s not too much angst in the romance which works because being set in the first wave of the Covid pandemic is angsty enough. It almost makes those early days feel nostalgic. Six Feet is all heart. It’s a story where love conquers all, and everything ends in the best possible way. I’m a sucker for stories about single moms. This romance pulled at my maternal heartstrings because Reynolds highlights both the emotional highs and lows of raising daughters. I completely enjoyed it. When you’re ready to face the Covid pandemic in your fiction, this is a gentle place to start.

Excerpt from Six Feet by Michele M. Reynolds

Nicki was interested in Henley.

Henley, the older mom of three kids?

Henley was fourteen when Nicki was born.

When Nicki was five, Henley was 19.

When Nicki was 15, Henley was 29.

When Nicki was 20, she was 34. Such a huge difference in life experiences at that age.

Now, Nicki was 28 and she was 42. What could she possibly see in Henley?

“Look, we’re new to each other and these times are especially weird. I’m usually not this forward, but I’m more honest than I should be. At least that’s what people tell me. I’m attracted to you. If this was another time and I moved into the neighborhood of a hot lesbian, I’d ask you out. For now, the fact is that I’m attracted and interested.”

Hot lesbian. Henley was a hot lesbian? Her days had been filled with work and parenting. The love-life side of her had been nonexistent for two years.

“I . . .” Henley scouted the girls who hadn’t moved since the movie started.

“You’ve got a lot on your plate and I get that. Let me help you out and I promise I’d do that if they had an ugly, single dad who could cook,” Nicki said.

“Wow, that was . . .”

“Rambly,” Nicki said.

“Very honest,” Henley said.

“Yup,” Nicki scanned her pool and yard. Her heart was thrown out there. She was naked in front of this gorgeous woman. “But one more level of honesty here. It’s more satisfying for me to be watching the kids of a hot, redheaded mom who hasn’t put me in the friend zone yet.” Nicki flashed a smile.

“Let’s see how this works out. The babysitting, not us,” Henley quickly corrected. Nicki laughed.

“Cool, and I adore the flustered Henley.”

Henley didn’t adore it one bit.

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 979-8544026976

Publisher: Indie Author

Michele N. Reynolds Online

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