The Mechanics of Lust is the second book in Jay Hogan’s Mackenzie Country series. While the relationship between Zach and Luke is new to this book, the overall series arc began in the first book and, since there are tie-ins, you may want to read these books in order. This review may then reveal spoilers for the series.
Zach and his best friend, Holden, had a friends-with-benefits relationship. When Zach wanted more, Holden didn’t feel the same, and Zach was devastated. He then found himself living and working on Holden’s family’s farm, as when Zach’s father learned he was gay, the only way Zach could stay was if he hid who he was. To make things worse for Zach, he had to then watch Holden fall in love with Gil. Zach is feeling more than a little bruised these days. When Luke, Gil’s ex-husband, comes to Mackenzie Country for a change of scenery and to try and get his life back on track, the chemistry between Zach and Luke catches fire, but Zach is not looking to get his heart broken once again.
Luke knows he made some wrong moves after the death of his daughter and his marriage and his world fell apart. He’s not in love with Gil anymore, but he can admit he misses having someone close. Luke wants Zach, but Zach doesn’t like him and Luke isn’t exactly sure why. Luke wants to build a new life in Mackenzie Country and if it would include Zach, that would be even better, but he has to get past Zach’s icy exterior first.
I really enjoy the setting in this book and it has become almost another character for me. I find the sheep farm both a fascinating and tranquil place and I like hearing about the sheep and Zach’s dog training and life on the station in general. We met both Zach and Luke in the first book and there was a definite spark, but Zach is holding a grudge against Luke that really isn’t his to hold and Luke can’t understand why Zach is keeping his distance.
Zach has no interest in opening himself up. He is still tending to his wounds after being rejected by Holden and he’s still trying to wrap his head around his family’s feelings about him being gay. Zach was supposed to take over his family’s station with his brother, but his father put an end to that and Zach is trying to figure out his next steps. We are told why Zach was trying so hard to keep away from Luke, but I felt like I kept having to remind myself why, as I didn’t feel that his feelings on that came through strongly enough to warrant his treatment of Luke. Then, when Zach and Luke start hooking up, he really isn’t all that nice to Luke and keeps stepping all over Luke’s already fragile feelings. So, while I liked Zach and wanted to see him get himself together, some of the reasons for his actions didn’t translate off the page as well for me. There is also a larger story with Zach’s family and, while that story is still a work in progress for him, I would have like to see some more details tied up or at least referenced again at the end.
There is a lot of hurt in this book, as well as a lot of comfort. The book is character driven and their stories seem to easily come to life with great development for both men. The setting creates its own backdrop for a love story as Zach and Luke fall for each other while building their lives. I will look forward to my next visit to Mackenzie Country.