Hi there! Today I’m reviewing a Contemporary M/M Romance from a series that celebrates the working man. Piper Vaughn’s Hard Hats series is all about “regular Joes” who connect. I loved book one, WOOD SCREWS & NAILS, and couldn’t wait to get deeper into this series. There are no billionaires, no dramatic rescues, just ordinary work-a-day guys who meet, connect and find love. Which I adore. That they do this near my beloved Chicago? *swoon*
HOOK, LINE & SINKER is a tale of two childhood frenemies who meet again as adults and find the truth in the statement: There’s a thin line between love, and hate. (This is an ADULT read.)
About the Book:
When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.
Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred.
Blake is a construction contractor and an impetuous man in his late 30s. A broken leg has him sidelined from work and staying back in his mom’s ranch home as he can’t quite manage the stairs to his three-flat condo in Chicago with the cast and crutches. While recuperating, Blake’s mom attempts to catch Blake up on all the neighborhood gossip. Turns out, the neighbor across the street has moved, selling her home to her grandson, Castor. Like Blake, Castor is gay. And, Blake cares not a whit, because Cas was a prissy, one-upper when they were kids and time has likely only made that worse….
Castor is a qualified professional, traveling the country to help upgrade Human Resources software and training new clients on its use and implementation. And, he’s sick of it. Well, he’s sick of traveling. He’s anxious to settle down–and buying his Gram’s outdated house is that first step. He’s also been promoted, which means less travel. Yay! He’s an active gay man, with good friends and some casual sex partners, but finding his childhood nemesis, Blake, on his doorstep, ready to add more than a coat of paint to the avocado green-era kitchen, isn’t the beginning of his new settled life…or so he thinks.
See, Blake was told Cas wanted help refurbing his fixer-upper. And Cas? Well, he wasn’t told anything. Polish mother plus Irish Grandmother. Can you hear the scheming? LET THE MATCHMAKING BEGIN!
These guys are really fun together. Their youth relationship still holds sway, for a bit. But, then they decide to just start over. And, they are smoking hot together. Neither expects to find love, but who can deny the fire between them. Besides, they do share some hobbies–like fishing, and watching baseball. They are fit, virile men, living across the street from each other, albeit temporarily, and they exploit the short commute from bed to bed with zeal. (Double Yay!)
When Cas decides to have a full remodel on his house, they are comfortable enough in what has developed between them to co-habitate Blake’s Wrigleyville condo, now that Blake’s cast is gone and he’s back to work. In fact, these guys are looking forward to a “trial run” of living together. Their chemistry has been great and well, they recognize that each could be THE ONE! for the other.
Then, Cas’s job comes crashing down. He’s got to satisfy an irate client by rebuilding a whole HR platform, onsite. In Colorado. It’s supposed to take 4 weeks. And he can come home for weekends. But, the weeks stretch on and job is only getting more complicated. Four weeks turns into six, and then eight, and then…. With absence stressing their fledgling relationship, can Cas and Blake make it work?
It’s a real romance, with solid characters and fun and flirty scenes. The smexytimes? OMG. Off the scale. Blake has to learn to get over his insecurity about infidelity, and Cas has to learn work/life balance–neither of which is easy for these men. I really enjoyed watching them step out of their boundaries. And I’m glad they were able to connect, and reconnect–even if it wasn’t easy. For all the “first love” stories out there, I do appreciate the effort of writing about mature men finding happiness. They have a lot of self-constructed hurdles to leap, which makes for a satisfying read.
This book brought back some characters from the first book in this series–WOOD SCREWS AND NAILS–which was really fun, and introduced us to charming new characters who will undoubtedly carry the next book. I received this book from the author; this is my honest review. I can’t wait to get her next release. /fangirl 😉
About the author:
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two thousand book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends.