Worth Fighting For by Wendy Qualls
Worth Fighting For is another entry in the Heart of the South series. Homeschooled for many years. Sterling Harper entered college without feeling anything for women. In a one-night trial to see if he really does like women at all, he gets his best friend pregnant. He's clearly gay, but now he's 18 and a dad. He marries his friend in an effort to do the right thing.
Ten years later, Sterling's wife is dead. He's raising his transgender daughter on his own. His in-laws are firmly against the transition and refuse to call "Louis" by her new chosen name Alexa. Sterling is not about to cave to their pressure, and it's clear they are not the right people to watch Alexa all summer long. He tires a nanny to watch her. Jericho is a confident gay man with a degree in special ed. He's perfect.
Soon Sterling finds that Jericho is perfect in more ways than one. For years, Sterling has hidden his sexual orientation from almost everyone he knows. Jericho makes him want to throw caution to the wind and fall head over heels in love. If he does, however, he could lose Alexa forever.
Alexa is my favorite character in Worth Fighting For. She's facing a tough road, but she does it with humor, a bit of sadness, and so much strength for her age. Jericho is the perfect role model. I love when he takes her to meet a transgender woman who is ideal for answering questions and helping her find her new self.
Sterling needed to grow a set. I get he hadn't come out of the closet with most. He was scared. As the dad he was supposed to be, I found his encouragement of Alexa to be a bit hard to swallow given his own fear of revealing his true self.
I liked the romance that builds between Jericho and Sterling. I think they were a bit naive thinking that they could have a relationship under the same roof without Alexa knowing, therefore (at first) reinforcing the idea that your true sexuality must be hidden behind a locked door. Finally, I wish the ending hadn't seemed so rushed. The conflict that's mentioned in the publisher's summary of a custody battle comes quickly and goes just as quickly. I expected that to be a key part of the story and it wasn't.