crankshaft coverRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel


Steele is running himself ragged as the owner of Big Bull garage. Business is good, but the work is never ending. He also is constantly being dragged into his brother’s problems and finds himself needing to bail his brother out time and again. His friends tell him he needs to stop taking care of everyone else, but Steele can’t help his desire to look out for those he cares about. His non-stop schedule means Steele isn’t looking for anything serious, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be up for a hookup, particularly with an adorable veterinarian.

Porter has just graduated vet school and bought his own practice and he is totally overwhelmed. Being a vet in the real world is much different than being in school and while he loves his time with the animals, managing the business side of things is much harder for him. When a big veterinary corporation comes sniffing around, part of Porter is tempted to just sell to them so he doesn’t have to worry anymore. But he loves the idea of his small practice where he can really give his patients and their owners true attention. Porter is so busy he can barely think of anything else, so he too isn’t looking for love right now.

When the guys meet, the attraction flares between them, but neither is ready for anything more. Their schedules barely align enough to see each other regularly anyway. But as they become friends and start hanging out together, Porter and Steele also realize that having someone else for support really makes a big difference. Soon, the men are spending more time with one another and even starting to fall for each other. But with both men overwhelmed running their businesses, they worry this may just not be the right time to start a relationship. Now Porter and Steele must figure out if they are better together, or if their busy schedules are going to pull them apart.

Crankshaft is the first book in K.M. Neuhold’s new Big Bull Mechanics series, which spins off from her popular Four Bears Construction series. We met Porter (and maybe Steele?) in Four Bears and there is crossover here among the side characters, as the mechanics and construction guys are friends and socialize a lot together. This book, and presumably the rest of the series, is very much in that same style of lots of humor and playfulness, a sweet and sexy connection among the main characters, and a nice found family vibe to the side characters. So if you liked the Bears books, I am sure you will enjoy this one too.

Porter and Steele are both into each other right away, but both men are just overwhelmed as small business owners. Steele is further along in owning the garage, so he has more experience managing it all, but he still has a lot going on. Porter is just getting started and trying to get his business off the ground and so he is not only just exhausted and run ragged, but also having doubts and second guessing himself as to whether he is cut out for it all. So I liked that we see these guys on parallel tracks, but slightly different points, and how they are able to bond and connected over this shared experience. They become friends and fall for each other, even as they worry this is just not the right time for a relationship. So there isn’t a conflict here in terms of their feelings or what they want, more about whether they can have it. I enjoyed these guys together and found their dynamic fun, especially the super toppy, slightly geeky Porter bossing around Steele in bed.

As I said, these series have a nice found family vibe and we meet the guys from the garage, as well as see them interacting with the Bears. We get a chance to meet Steele’s friends in a way that feels organic, though there are two characters that clearly have something happening between them and I assume will get their own book at some point.

This one was a lot of fun and a nice start to the series. If you are a fan, as I am, of this world Neuhold has built, I think you are going to really like this series as well. I am excited for more.

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