I initially wanted to read The Boy On The Porch because the blurb sounded so interesting. Childless widow finds parentless boy on porch searching for identity. She helps him, gains the son she's always wanted and gets the guy.
And it does, sort of, come together that way, but what's missing from that scenario are the personalities behind the widow, orphan and love interest. The boy in question, Cullen, is a little rough around the edges but basically a good, easily liked kid. It's the adults that leave much to be desired.
The heroine, Annie Hunter has expended so much effort pleasing others, regardless of what she wants, that she's this ineffectual, unhappy, dissatisfied person. Even she doesn't know who she is. Or what she wants. What's sad is that in the beginning she seemed like this person who had this great life and this great love with a wonderful man, that had been lost too soon. As a result the reader wants her to find happiness in another great love.
Unfortunately, the reader finds out too quickly that Annie's great love wasn't all that it was cracked up to be and what we're left with is Annie, who's never really taken a stand for herself.
Enter Linc, the mandatory love interest; this is after all a romance. Linc runs the house for troubled boys that Cullen's been living in, Noah House. Linc's superior in his role as director having had a great deal of success helping his charges turn their lives around. But however effective Linc is as the champion of troubled boys he's dismal as a love interest. His disinterest in a long-term relationship wouldn't have been too difficult to accept if it weren't for the fact that Annie who it seemed, nothing good ever really happened to, wanted more. It's obvious from the beginning that she wasn't the type for a casual affair.
So, here we have two people who don't seem right for each other and a young boy who needs a family and some stability in his life.
Had Annie been more assertive and willing to fight for what she wanted, or if Linc had been less able to detach himself from his emotions I believe this story would have come off better. The plot is there, and there's nothing wrong with Holmes writing style, so, in my opinion it's the characters that need work.