Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: A Wrench Wars Story
Everyone at Jim Irving’s garage is gung ho about Wrench Wars, a new reality show featuring mechanics. Everyone, that is, except talented mechanic Chandler Scott, the sole employee who has refused to sign the contract. The rest of the mechanics are pressuring him too, because without Chandler—and his volatile interactions with his boss—no one’s getting on the show.
Chandler’s one ally is Jim’s son, Mark, who’s being forced to work for his dad until he pays down his student loans or finds a better job—and who’s been Chandler’s secret lover for a while.
Then a playful tryst in the garage blows up in their faces, giving the network ammo to blackmail Chandler by threatening to out Mark to his father. Now Chandler is backed into a corner, and Mark needs to decide how far he’s willing to go to protect the man who’s been sharing his bed… and may have stolen his heart.
Review: Chandler Scott and Mark Irving are having their affair in the closet. Chandler is also hiding the fact he’s in love with Mark. Chandler’s boss, Mark’s father Jim, is a jerk. Chandler could get another job and leave their tiny town, but Mark would be trapped as he’s got student loans hanging over his head. It doesn’t help things Chandler is being hounded to sign onto a reality show being filmed in the garage. This is when Mark decides it would be a great idea to have sex in the garage to relieve stress. The garage that already has cameras installed in it. You can see where this is going. Chandler is blackmailed into signing onto the show. The network needs someone to fight with Jim for ratings. Chandler is their man. Being used to boost ratings begins to wear Chandler down. As he becomes more and more depressed Mark begins to realize something he didn’t know he had is slipping through his fingers.
I enjoyed this story quite a bit. Chandler is a hot head who isn’t really a hot head. Chandler just wants to do his job without a camera in his face and a crazy boss breathing down his neck. Mark thinks he just wants to pay down his student loans that have trapped him in the home of a raging homophobe. My big problem with the story is the whole plot hinges on Mark and Chandler doing something incredibly stupid. Mark comes up with the whole plan to have sex in the garage because he wants to know he’s done something his father would hate where his father would least expect it. I get being petty and having personal triumphs, but the cameras are already there. People do lots of stupid things, so this is plausible enough, I guess. I think I just felt like it was a massaged plot point as opposed to an organic situation. I didn’t like it.
I’d wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone looking for a short, sweet read. Mark and Chandler are a cute couple of friends who Mark fails to realize became lovers long ago. It’s not until Mark really sees what he could lose that he can see what he’s willing to lose.