screwed coverRating: 4.5 stars
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Length: Novel

After three failed marriages, Ollie is used to hearing the jokes from his brother and best friends. He knows his desire to find a lasting love has him choosing the wrong men and accepting too little. After Ollie’s last boyfriend hit on his friends, he has decided to lay off dating for a while. However, when he heads with the guys to Vegas for Cole and Ren’s bachelor parties, a drunken night with their friend Daniel has unexpected results — the guys wake up and realize they got married. Ollie is ready to accept the ridicule that will come with yet another failed marriage, but when the guys start to give him a hard time, Daniel steps in and tells them the relationship is real. When no one believes things will last, the situation spirals a bit and Daniel and Ollie accept a bet that their marriage will make it 8 months, and if it does, their friends must pay up.

Things are easy when they are all in Hawaii for the wedding and vacation, but once they are home, Ollie and Daniel have to face the reality of posing as a loving couple. It’s made even more awkward because months ago Ollie asked Daniel out and was turned down. While Ollie is a guy who rushes into relationships too easily, Daniel is a man who runs from them completely. He likes Ollie, but knows if emotions get involved Ollie will get hurt, as Daniel has no desire for love or relationships. So the men attempt to live together as platonic friends. It isn’t easy, as the chemistry is fierce between them (especially as they indulged in some vacation sex in Hawaii before putting the ban on hookups). But Daniel is clear he wants to keep things casual and Ollie doesn’t want to push.

As the months pass, their fake relationship is starting to feel like a real marriage, especially once sex is back on the table — sometimes literally (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Ollie is falling hard for Daniel, but trying to keep things low key as he knows Daniel’s feelings about a relationship. But Daniel, too, realizes he is having feelings for Ollie, feelings that scare him. With their marriage bet winding to a close, Ollie and Daniel have to figure out if they are ready for things to end between them, or if they are just getting started on what they could be together.

Screwed is the fourth book in the fabulous Four Bears Construction series and it is one of my favorites. This is such a fun, playful series with a sexy vibe and a lot of heart, and Screwed definitely continues that tone. Before I go too far, I’ll note that the set up here is sort of over-the-top and takes some suspension of disbelief that Ollie and Daniel would pretend to be married for eight months just to win this bet. And that relationship averse Daniel, who doesn’t know Ollie all that well, would come to his aid when the guys are ribbing him by making this massive commitment to fake a marriage for the better part of a year. So you have to squint a little here and just go with it, but I think it is worth the ride for sure.

Poor Ollie, for the past three books we have seen him bear the brunt of the jokes from the other guys about his tendency to leap into marriage and seek out love. There has been some chemistry with Daniel, so I was really eager for their book and was not disappointed. The story has almost a slow burn feel (despite the fact that the guys share a blow job months before the wedding and engage in ALL the vacation sex they can manage before coming home). But what we see once they return to real life is two men slowly building their friendship and a real connection, while they try to ignore the fact that they are totally hot for each other. I appreciated how this gives time for both men to really have some self reflection, as well as the way they are able to help each other see things from new perspectives. In Ollie’s case, he comes to see how his desire for love and a relationship has him settling for the wrong guys, and how he is twisting himself up to make things work, even at the expense of his own happiness. He needs to stop thinking of himself as someone incomplete who needs a partner, and more as his own person. For Daniel, he is so scared of a relationship, he keeps sabotaging with jerks, so he has no chance of being disappointed. So both men have road blocks to their happiness, and both grow over the course of the book. Fortunately, that leads them to recognize the happiness they have with one another. The guys are super sexy together and also really fun and sweet. I loved fierce Daniel being all protective over Ollie, and the way Ollie’s tenderness helps soften Daniel.

As with the other books in this series, this story features all of the bears and their new loves. I love the camaraderie among the group (especially once they stop giving Ollie a hard time), and I enjoyed seeing them all here together. I was impressed at how Neuhold takes this large ensemble cast and really makes these men and these couples feel distinct, even when they are all together. I enjoyed the various relationship dynamics and seeing the bonds among all these men. While you don’t necessarily need to have read the other books to follow this one, knowing the other guys will definitely help make the experience richer here.

So I really enjoyed this story and have loved the series. There are a few other guys in play who are side characters and I am hopeful that while the bears have all gotten their books, we may see more for them. If you are looking for a series that is fun, playful, sexy, and warm-hearted, definitely check out Four Bears Construction.

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