Rating: 3.75 stars
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Apollo and Ridge grew up together and were the best of friends. Apollo was also crushing hard on Ridge, but Ridge wasn’t interested in guys. In fact, he was marrying Apollo’s sister. But when Ridge left Anna at the altar, Apollo broke off their friendship and the two men spent 15 years not seeing or speaking to each other. Now, however, Ridge has gotten a job at Four Bears Construction where Apollo also works, and avoiding each other completely is impossible. Still, Apollo stays away from Ridge as much as he can and wants nothing to do with the man.
Unfortunately for Apollo, the guys are tapped to work on a project renovating a remote camp hours away, which means that they will have to spend a month alone together while making the repairs. At first, things are all kinds of awkward, as Apollo doesn’t want any interaction with Ridge, nor does he have any desire to hear Ridge’s excuses for what happened that day years before. But as the men spend more time together, it becomes harder for Apollo to keep his distance… especially when he finds out that Ridge is not straight after all.
As the days and weeks go by, Apollo and Ridge manage to work through their past and start falling hard for one another. But what works when they are all alone at the job site is going to be a lot harder at home. Apollo can’t imagine how he is going to tell his sister he is dating her former fiance, and bringing the relationship into the light of day isn’t going to be easy. But Ridge and Apollo have fallen hard for each other, and if they take a chance and are honest with their feelings, they may just make it together after all.
Drilled is the seventh and final installment of K.M. Neuhold’s engaging Four Bears Construction series. I have really enjoyed this series and found the books fun, playful, and sexy. There is a nice dose of humor and a bit of craziness, along with a really lovely found family vibe among the group that I enjoy. While Ridge and Apollo are alone together most of the time, some of my favorite moments here come when the rest of the Four Bears crew are around and I love the camaraderie and close bond among all these guys. I mean they are kind of wild, and their workplace is basically a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen, but if you can go with the crazy, they are a lot of fun. I wish we had a bit more wrap up for the group here, as I would have loved to really round things out here for all the men (there does appear to be a free series epilogue, but it’s not attached to this book). But I will say that I have really enjoyed the series and while the books can probably stand alone, I really like the way the stories integrate and the men appear in each other’s books.
I will admit, this one started rough for me as miscommunication, misunderstanding, and downright refusal to communicate abounds in the early part of the book. When Ridge didn’t show up for the wedding, Apollo punched him, moved out, and never spoke to him again for 15 years. He refuses to have any discussion with Ridge to allow him to apologize or even explain his reasoning. Apollo just avoids dealing with it and won’t even engage in conversation. Ridge notes that this is a pattern from Apollo and at one point thinks:
God forbid he stay and face what just happened like the forty-year-old man he is. I have half a mind to go in after him just to tell him what a spoiled child he’s being.
He’s more than happy to blame me for our friendship being ruined, and believe me, I know I shoulder most of the blame, but if he would give me one goddamn second to explain myself, maybe we could fix things. At this point, doesn’t that make this mess just as much his fault as it is mine?
And I have to say I agreed here, as Apollo refuses to even listen to Ridge. Then there is a misunderstanding around Ridge being gay, as Apollo won’t listen to anything he says, so he thinks Ridge is straight far longer than he should. Then at one point, Ridge says something that Apollo misinterprets, causing more problems for them. It just felt like one thing after another and I just wanted to sort of yell at them to just talk to each other. I’ll also note this isn’t all on Apollo, as it’s 15 years later and we find out that Ridge never even talked to Anna or explained to her why he left her at the altar in all this time. Even at the end, the conflict comes from assuming someone’s feelings about something, rather than just having a conversation with them about it. It is just one thing after another and I found that even once the men moved past all of that, it kind of left a bad taste it my mouth and took me some time to really get into the groove with the story and their relationship.
Once Apollo and Ridge finally get out of their own way, things did eventually settle. While the men were never romantically involved in the past, there is a nice “second chance” romance vibe to it all, and I particularly enjoyed that rekindling of their close friendship. There is such a natural, easy way about their interaction and a sense of finally putting the pieces together in just the right away. There is also a rough kind of intensity to their sexual dynamic, so if you like your guys big and tough and alpha, Ridge and Apollo will likely appeal (especially if you like a growler like Apollo). But at the same time, there is a nice sweetness here, a vulnerability and way of opening up to each other once they finally decide to give things a shot that gave some nice balance. Like I said, Apollo is a growler, all gruff and grunty and moody. So those moments where we see Ridge make him smile are so rewarding and it is clear that they have a special bond.
This one ends the Four Bears Construction series and I think it is has come together well. While I will miss these guys, Neuhold has a connected series planned featuring a mechanic’s shop, and we have met some of the folks there already. I am also guessing a certain veterinarian will make an appearance in those books as well. So I’m glad to see that this world is continuing and think overall this is a fun series with a lot of heart and definitely worth checking out.