Author: Meg Harding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 6, 2016
Page Count: 68
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Ex-business owner and soon to be ex-husband Jake has had some rotten luck of late. His world is tumbling down around him, but it’s time to dust himself off and move on. Buying and fixing up the most dilapidated home he can find might be just the thing to get him back on track.
But Jake gets more than he bargained for when he meets former lawyer turned landscaper Dakota. Dakota is smart and ridiculously sexy—and Jake doesn’t have a clue how to act around him. After several gardening mishaps, Jake is sure Dakota thinks he’s completely inept.
Turns out Dakota is thinking something else entirely. And as Dakota gives Jake advice, an ear to listen, and helps him work through his issues, Jake realizes flowers aren’t the only thing blooming between them.
From the blurb we find out that Jake has fallen on hard times. He was a business owner with his husband but when their marriage imploded, so did the business. Jake decides to make a clean break and sell his ex his share of the business and completely start over. Part of his plan to start over is to move to the suburbs and fix up a dilapidated house. His problem with that is that he has no experience in any of the tasks it takes to re-build a house. He needs carpenters, construction workers, painters, bricklayers and landscapers. Since Jake seems to be most comfortable “doing” instead of “watching,” he tries to get in on the rebuilding action by asking all the teams if he can help.
Everyone, with the exception of the landscapers, gives him the side-eye and asks him to stay out of their way. Landscapers Jasper and Dakota take pity on him and allow him some menial tasks to keep him busy.
Dakota is a highly educated former lawyer who needed to get out of the corporate rat-race and work with his hands. He started a landscaping business with his step brother and lives on a hobby farm and has never been happier.
As the weeks go by and clumsy Jake finely starts to get the hang of turning his yard into a beautiful showplace, it becomes very apparent to those around them that Jake and Dakota and both dancing around their attraction to each other.
Here is how they figure it out:
It was awkward. Jake felt so awkward. His right leg began to bounce. His hand shook as it hovered over his phone. He hadn’t felt this awkward around Dakota since the beginning, and even then he’d had the work to distract him.
After an eternity of awkward silence, Dakota heaved a heavy sigh and set his drink down with a not so light thud.
He turned in the booth to face Jake, draping one arm along the back and propping one ankle on his knee. “Do you like me?”
How fucking cute is that?
The men begin dating, which is actually more like Dakota “courting” Jake. He was romantic and thoughtful and you could tell just how much he enjoyed having Jake around. (The story is told in first person, Jake.)
For someone who prefers to skip reading high school/teen romances (my daughter is 17 and has many gay friends and thinking about them in romantic situations is WAY out of my comfort zone) this book was especially refreshing because of the slow burn and sweet courting of men in their 30’s.
But I’ll tell you, the end results of these two getting to know each other before falling into bed was a HUGE payoff of wicked hot sex and a glorious HEA.
Short and sweet with highly likable characters makes this one a win for me.