Riggs and Shep are co-workers at Big Bull Mechanics, where they have watched their friends all settle down with partners. But neither Shep nor Riggs is looking for anything serious themselves. For Riggs, in particular, the idea of romance holds no appeal and he is happy with his hook-ups. When Riggs finds himself looking for a new place to live, Shep offers up a room in his house. The plan is for it to only be temporary, but despite the fact that the men love to give each other a hard time, they find they are enjoying living together.
Both Shep and Riggs feel an attraction to each other (though they’d prefer not to have to admit it) and eventually decide to act on it. If neither one wants more, this could be the perfect friends-with-benefits arrangement for them both. As their friendship continues to grow, so does the sexual connection between them. But Shep realizes that he is feeling more than just a desire for sex with Riggs, he is growing real feelings. However, Riggs has never wanted romance or a relationship and he isn’t sure he can give Shep what he seems to need. Now, Riggs and Shep need to figure out if they can turn their hot sexual connection into something more that will be the right fit for both of them.
Lube Job is the fifth and seemingly final book in K.M. Neuhold’s Big Bull Mechanics series. With both guys working in the shop, Riggs and Shep have been regular side characters along the way, although you could probably read this as a standalone if you don’t mind not knowing the various backstories of the other characters. I’ll admit that the prickly Riggs has been a favorite of mine throughout the series. He is a feisty, grumpy little hedgehog of a guy who somehow manages to rule over everyone at the garage. I loved him from the first moment he walked into the shop and basically hired himself for a job that didn’t exist, so I was really anticipating his book and I think it comes together well. This one is a pretty straightforward story of two friends and roommates who start off just having sex and eventually move into something more. There is also a light enemies-to-lovers vibe, as the two like to poke at each other a lot, but it is more pretending to dislike each other than any real animosity. There is a nice heat between Shep and Riggs and they have great chemistry from the start. There is also a lot of playful banter that I enjoyed and that makes for a fun dynamic between them.
Aside from Riggs being a prickly hedgehog and Shep being a marshmallow manwhore, the main conflict comes from Riggs’ feelings about romance and relationships. He has never wanted what other people seem to want out of a partnership and the idea of hearts and flowers and tenderness is super unappealing to him. He is fine with casual sex, but the idea of any kind of a romantic relationship is a complete turn off. Over the course of the story, Riggs comes to recognize that he is aromantic and begins to explore what that means for him, as well as what a relationship with Shep might look like. Shep is open and understanding and willing to build a partnership with Riggs in whatever way works for him. As he comes to better understand himself, Riggs develops a better sense of what parts of a romantic relationship work for him and what doesn’t fit, and the guys end up very happy together at the end.
This series has a generally light tone with lots of banter and occasional foolishness, which I generally enjoy. However, I did find Riggs’ attempts to sabotage Shep’s hookups early on in the story didn’t really work for me. Partly it is because there is a similar element in play in the connected Four Bears Constructions series (in Stud) and this felt repetitive to me since the series are so closely linked. But also, it seemed kind of absurd that these guys really believe these ridiculous things Riggs tells them (or heavily implies) about Shep, like he had sex with a horse or he is a serial killer (who Riggs just happens to be casually living with despite Shep being a murderer?). I know this is just “go with it” humor, but it didn’t all land for me. Also, Riggs has a giant dick that he refers to casually as “The Beast,” and not in a sarcastic or joking way, which may have been amusing the first time, but after many mentions it got a little old for me. But that is all just personal preference, and the humor may all land better for other readers.
I am definitely sad to see this series end, as I really have been enjoying this world Neuhold has created with these two series. Fortunately, it appears we are getting another series set in this same world and focused on Inkslingers, a local tattoo shop. We meet more of the guys here, including one who befriends Riggs, so I think it will be a nice follow-up to this series and I am looking forward to getting to know them. Lube Job does a nice job wrapping up our time with the mechanics and I enjoyed Riggs and Shep’s story.