bored, stroked, and blueprintedRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Mick Ambrose is a young boy the first time he sees the 1969 Z28 Camaro that changes his life. Falling in love with the car he sees driving down the road sparks his fascination with American muscle cars in general, and eventually he makes his living working and restoring classic cars. When that Z28 pulls into his parking lot, worse for the wear and clearly in need of help, Mick is thrilled for the chance to work on her. And even more intrigued by her sexy new owner.

Logan Gregg inherited the car from his uncle, and he made a promise to see about getting her back in top form, which is why he brings her to Mick’s garage. But restoring a classic is not a cheap endeavor, and Mick offers a deal; if Logan helps with the work, Mick can get the parts for cost and will barely charge for labor. It’s clear the two men have a chemistry, and Logan takes Mick up on the offer.

Mick hears the truth about Logan’s past from a friend, but he keeps that knowledge to himself. It’s clear Logan is skittish, despite their connection, so Mick does his best not to push. They act on their attraction pretty quickly, and when Logan finally opens up a little about his past, a disagreement between the two men sends him running. But he doesn’t stay gone, and the guys work things out while restoring the car. But as the restoration draws to a close, Mick starts to wonder if when the car is done, Logan will be too. He doesn’t want to push, but he knows if Logan can face his demons, they could build a life together. Now, he just has to hope Logan sees it too.

I shall begin my review with a confession: When I read to the word Camaro in the blurb, I took the book instantly. Classic cars are a weakness of mine, Chevys in particular, so I knew I was going to like this book. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Kendricks did a fantastic job, both with the cars and weaving them around the story of two men falling in love.

I loved Mick. There’s no other way to say it. He’s the POV character, and seeing the story unfold through his eyes was great. From the moment he first spotted the Z28, which he dubbed Onyx, I knew he was my kind of guy. Any man who can have a near religious experience the first time he sees a Camaro is my kindred spirit. But just as endearing as his love of cars, is his big, generous heart. This guy is genuinely good. He’s never over the top, he definitely has flaws, but he is the kind of character that just feels real. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he stepped off the page and into real life. He’s that believable. And I adored him, flaws, personality quirks, and all. When he spotted Logan, talked to him, and their chemistry burst onto the page, I wanted nothing more for them to live happily ever after.

But it’s not an easy road, and that’s largely due to Logan’s hang ups. Logan has his demons, and the shadows of the past still haunt him. The things that have happened to him have shaped him into being a wary man, and it was so well done. While admittedly there were moments when I wanted to shake him and tell him to just talk already, because he clearly had trust in Mick and I didn’t know why he wasn’t sharing, I liked how he grew and opened up as the story progressed. It felt very natural, and his insecurities and worries faded over time. I liked, too, that when it came down to it, Logan went to bat for what he had with Mick. It was wonderful to see.

This book was nicely paced and the perfect length to tell the story. When these guys get to the end, they are in the perfect place for them. I really liked the way the author handled their next steps, as it was very fitting for the characters. And that, in addition to the sweet cars, was what really endeared the book to me. These guys were well developed, and their motivations and actions are clearly rooted in their personalities.

Ultimately, I really enjoyed this book. It was made all the better for me by the car talk but at its heart, it’s about two men who find themselves in the right place at the right time, and with a little work and communication, work through their hurdles to get to a good and happy place they both deserve. This one is definitely recommended.

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