Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 6th 2016
Underneath the axle grease and tatsHe's a gentleman
Foley Sanders figured he'll always be content with a life of cars and casual hookups. Until a run-in with Cyn, a statuesque firecracker with a hate-on for men, leaves him bewitched and intrigued-much to her annoyance.
Maybe Cynthia Nichols was a little hard on Foley, that muscular, tattooed, super-hot mechanic next door. But she's tired of feeling defensive about her size and has sworn off men. She's got a new job, new life, perfect plan. Foley has trouble written all over him-no way is she going to fall for his charms.
Foley might look like a bad idea, but underneath, he's all gentleman. Too bad Cyn's not buying it. What's a bad boy to do when the goddess of his dreams won't give him the time of day?
Body Shop Bad Boys Series:Test DriveRoadside AssistanceZero to Sixty
Marie Harte mostly delivers with this book. The hero, Foley Sanders, is absolutely delicious and ticks every box in the dreamy man repertoire. He’s a huge, tattooed guy that steams up the pages with his presence alone. Some of the things he said had both the heroine and myself almost literally fanning ourselves. If I had to summarize him in one single word I’d probably say: irresistible.
Cynthia Nichols, our heroine, is a successful businesswoman with a bit of a mean streak, tall, gorgeous and outspoken, she isn’t afraid to assert herself. That made me like her right away and that stayed the same for the most part. She shares ownership of a coffee shop with her brother and sister in law and has invested in other small businesses in her life. She has achieved enough to make her a professionally fulfilled woman. The coffee shop sits next door to Webster’s Garage, where Foley and the rest of the mechanics who make up the cast of heroes that populate this series spend their days and earn a living. Foley and Cyn meet and the attraction is exposive.
I really enjoyed this book. The hero was fantastic, the sex was scorching and the pacing was quick. There is a ton of dialogue, something I normally love in books, and a lot of banter between both MC’s and the supporting cast. And that supporting cast is large. We get to spend time with Cynthia’s big Italian family, including her overbearing, obnoxious mother Ella (who is mainly responsible for Cynthia’s issues with her weight and looks), Foley’s friends, his own mother, his mother’s boyfriend along with his own family, and so on. This makes for a book where keeping track of so many characters can be challenging.
My main criticism, though, has to do with how little conflict there is in the story. Whatever there is, it mainly has to do with Cynthia’s insecurities regarding her weight which gets mentioned over and over again. It also has to do with far Cyn is willing to trust, having already been badly burned in the relationship department. I’m not normally a fan of the Big Beautiful Woman with Self Esteem issues trope. I don’t really care to explore that angle in my fiction and because Cynthia’s weight kept being mentioned, it detracted from some of my enjoyment.
This is more of a “slice of life” type story, dealing with the every day challenges, internal conflicts and insecurities of two people who gradually fall for each other but have very different backgrounds. It deals with friendship and relationships of people that could very well live around the corner from you. In that respect, it’s unique and refreshing. It’s an up-lifting, lighter, feel-good type book. The story isn’t too deep, but very enjoyable nonetheless, possibly as a palate cleanser between more challenging, darker reads.
I do recommend this book and I’d read Marie Harte again. She’s a skilled author, capable of handling big casts well and writing to-die-for heroes.