Rating: 4.25 stars
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When Henry Travis, a brilliant robotics researcher, takes his beautiful classic Mercedes into Nick Shelton’s shop, he has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. The buttoned-up, fussy Henry is used to having things done a particular way, and within just a few minutes, he realizes Nick does not subscribe to the same philosophy. Nick’s great with cars and has even done a bang up job taking over his father’s classic car garage, but he’s more than a little clueless in many aspects of his life.
Nick lives with his aging father and his 14-year-old nephew, Grant, who was dropped off at his house by his sister, after she decided she no longer wanted a child. Nick knows nothing about raising a kid and even less about what to do in a relationship, so when things start to heat up with the genius, he can’t quite read the cues in order to figure out how to keep the man happy.
The two are a unique pair. Henry may be smart, but when it comes to real-world information, he’s still lacking. And he certainly cannot abide this gruff, unrefined man blowing apart his meticulously structured world, even if he’s extremely attracted to him. There’s more than meets the eye to both of these two, though. When Nick first meets Henry, he’s wearing a bow-tie, of all things, but Henry’s behavior in the bedroom is not at all consistent with Nick’s first impressions. And while Nick claims he’s not the smartest tool in the shed, he’s not giving himself enough credit. He runs a successful business and manages to keep up with Henry without any problems.
This novel is mostly an opposites attract story. It’s about two men who are seemingly so different, but who realize that, while it takes some serious communication to figure out the language the other is speaking, they can still be good for each other. And these two characters, Henry and Nick, are absolutely delightful. I cannot say how much I enjoyed them. They are each, in their own way, witty and funny and don’t take life too seriously. They care for each other and are fiercely protective of the people around them. Their repartee is charming, and their interaction with each other never failed to put a smile on my face.
The first 70% of this book was entertaining and sweet and so much fun, and I think J.M. Cartwright is an author with immense talent. Even the supporting characters, especially the nephew, Grant, and Nick’s father, are well-developed and, while each flawed in their own way, are so extremely likable. I would’ve given this book a higher grade if it didn’t go a little haywire the last third of the book.
One of the things I enjoyed the most about this story is that it didn’t need to rely on angst or conflict to engage the reader. It was captivating simply because they were well-written characters with interesting, fun dialogue. Then, the author felt it necessary to insert a bit of a baffling conflict. The focus, which should’ve stayed on Nick and Henry and their budding relationship, was moved another direction, and it ended up feeling unnecessary. Then, once the big issues arise, the book ended before anything is truly resolved. This story would’ve been much stronger without it. Generally, I like a little conflict with my romance, but in this case the story did not need it, and then when it did arise, it felt forced and unresolved.
I really, truly enjoyed this book. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, and it was such a pleasure to read something that was, in general, just a lot of fun. It made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, and I was rooting throughout for this unconventional yet wonderful family. It even didn’t bug me that Nick was so utterly clueless, since it lead to many a fun conversation and even more hot make-up sex.
If you’re on the fence about this book, don’t hesitate to buy it. I can highly recommend it and will look forward to seeing what J.M. Cartwright produces in the future.