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Hard Hats: Book Two
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.
I have not read the first book in this series – but Piper Vaughn assured me that the two books could be read as stand-alones so I decided to give it a go. Blake and Castor were ‘enemies’ during their teenager years; Blake thought Castor was an annoying little ‘sh*t’ and Cas thought Blake was arrogant and he loved to push Blake’s buttons. Almost two decades later, the men’s paths crossed again when Cas moved back to his grandmother’s house while Blake was staying at his mother’s house due to an injury.
I thought the beginning of the story – right until Blake and Cas finally acted on their heated attraction – was very enjoyable. It was fun reading how these two guys were thrown back together by a meddling mother and grandmother and ended up knowing that they both had more similarities than they initially thought. Clues: kink *wink* … so anyway, they were able to get past their differences and embraced a new stage of their relationship.
Unfortunately, after that, I felt that the sizzle fizzled. The problem of Blake’s jealousy and insecurity (Blake’s father cheated on his Mom so he had trust issues) that was spurred by Cas’s tendency to be friendly (and rather flirty) with other people, alongside the separation due to the demands of Cas’s job became a bit boring for me. Like it was introduced in the story out of need, because Blake and Cas hooked up rather early on. The problem was also wrapped up rather rushed and the ending felt abrupt.