Hook, Line, & Sinker (Hard Hats #2)

     Author: Piper Vaughn

     Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

     Rating: 4.5 stars

     Buy Links: DSP and Amazon

     Type: Novel from Series

     Received from Publisher

 

Blurb:  When they were teens, Castor McCormick was the bane of Blake Kowalski’s existence. Their mutual animosity led to summers filled with rivalry. Now, nearly two decades later, Cas is moving back into the neighborhood to live in his grandmother’s old house. Blake tells himself he isn’t interested in seeing how snarky little Cas grew up, but when his mother dupes him into visiting his former nemesis, he finds out “pretty” can evolve into “sexy as hell” on the right man.

Cas didn’t think he wanted to see Blake again. No one has ever pushed his buttons like the arrogant boy he remembers from their youth. Turns out, the adult version of Blake still gets him hot under the collar—and everywhere else. With Blake on leave from work to nurse an injured leg and Cas taking time to move and unpack, they form a tentative friendship that turns into a sexual affair neither man can deny. But when Cas’s job sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client, their new relationship will be tested, and if they fail, Blake’s broken leg might not be the only thing to end up scarred.

 

Review:  Hook, Line & Sinker is the second book in the Hard Hats series, but can be easily read as a standalone as it follows a different couple.

 

Blake Kowalski and Castor McCormick, a year apart in age, were frenemies who spent their summers in a constant game of one-upmanship, but that was twenty odd years ago. When Blake moves back in with his mother, Karina, to recuperate from surgery on his broken leg, the last person he expected to ever see again was his old rival from the house across the street. After a week of forced inactivity, Blake is ready to climb the walls from boredom, so Karina’s mention of Castor moving back into the house across the street piques his curiosity despite their somewhat contentious history. Nineteen years is a long time ago and people grow up, after all. And Cas sure did grow up nice.

 

A decade of spending more time at hotels than at home travelling for work and thirty-six year old Cas is more than ready to grow roots and stay in one place. Moving back to the house he spent summers in is the perfect opportunity to do just that, now that his work has promised him nothing more than local assignments. Cas was looking forward to doing things like spending time at home and finding a guy he could share his love of fishing, camping and baseball games with. Meeting his old nemesis, Blake, again as adults proves to be far better than the years they spent tormenting each other as teenagers. In fact, Cas and Blake find that they not only enjoy spending time together, but that the passion that fuelled their animosity back then is just as strong in fuelling their desire for each other. What starts out as a wary friendship quickly eases into an easy relationship, but when Cas’s boss sends him out of state to deal with a difficult client for weeks that turn into months, the forced time apart threatens to destroy their budding relationship.

 

I really liked both MCs, despite Blake’s insecurities and hot-headedness getting in the way on occasion. I was a bit leery of the conflicts caused by Blake’s temper and experiences with his cheating father at first, but in the end they were nicely addressed by the characters without dragging on too long or dipping too far into the melodramatic. Blake and Cas were both well-developed, realistic characters and I loved seeing the growth of their relationship from former frenemies to lovers. I adored their banter and sweet moments, and the sex scenes were oh-my-god hot. Even though the minor characters of Karina, Blake’s friend Riley and Gavin, Cas’s best friend, only make brief appearances, they are all really engaging and feel completely real. Even Dee (Cas’s grandmother and Karina’s friend), who’s only appearance is in a phone call with Cas and a few mentions, is delightful.

 

I found the abrupt time jumps to be a little jolting because my head was still in the previous scene and then I was suddenly a day or whatever ahead, it took me a moment to adjust before sinking back into the story. But that minor issue aside, I thoroughly enjoyed Cas and Blake’s story. Their relationship was fun, passionate and sweet, with scorching hot sex and amazing chemistry.

 

 

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