Reviewed by Tori
“Come on, guys. I’ll show you where real men work. And none of us have unicorn tattoos.”
“What about butterflies?”
“Now you’re just being ridiculous.”
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? (Goodreads)
Roadside Assistance is the second installment in Marie Harte’s Body Shop Bad Boys; a spin-off of her McCauley brothers series. This series focuses on Webster’s Garage and the four gorgeous, sexy, commitment phobic mechanics who work there. Even though there is some character/storyline crossover between the two series, you do not have to read one to understand the other.
I reviewed the first book in the series- Test Drive– and thoroughly enjoyed it but I honestly felt this installment goes a step beyond in both story line and characterization. The same engaging narrative, kink kissed romance, and endearingly flawed characters are present but Harte builds a more complex relationship in here, made more so by the exterior dynamics that affect our hero and heroine. I was reminded of the intricate dance between Del and Mike in What To Do With A Bad Boy.
Heavily character driven, Harte introduces us to Cynthia Nichols and Foley Sanders. We have met Foley before but our time spent with him was superficial; he was mainly used to help flesh out the hero and set up the world. Foley is a mechanic at Webster’s Garage. Single and charming, his social life limited to hanging out with friends, work, and casual hook ups. Gorgeous, sexy, and ripped, Foley is honest to a fault and a total gentleman despite what his size and mannerisms suggest. Best friends with fellow mechanic, Sam, Foley considers three things in his life most important-his job, his mom, and Sam.
Cynthia has just recently moved back to town after leaving ten years ago. Born and raised here, she is now part owner of the local coffee shop with her brother and sister in law. Cynthia is hoping for a fresh start after some problems with a former business partner and breaking up with her now ex-boyfriend. Some long-standing issues revolving around her size has her judging all men by the actions of a few. A gorgeous, witty, intelligent woman whose self-esteem has taken one too many blows, she is now choosing to focus on herself.
Foley and Cyn are like ice and fire but as everyone knows, fire can melt ice and make it “steam” if you do it right. And boy, does Foley do Cyn right. Their first meeting sets the tone for the story. Cyn is angry that the overflow of cars from the body shop are being parked in her coffee shop’s parking lot. After issuing a much-needed smackdown, Foley immediately attempts to make it right and asks Cyn out on a date but she shoots him down. After a few more tries, Cyn gives in but a poor choice in words on Foley’s part have her abruptly abandoning him during the meal. Foley is forced to start all over again and learns that sometimes it’s better to zip it.
“Foley, you never comment on what a woman eat or doesn’t eat. Are you loco or just stupid?”
“We were being honest with each other. I never called her fat. You’ve seen her. She’s fucking built, man”
“Woman hears ‘big,’ she’s hearing fat. I’ll bet she’s dealt with that bullshit over her size for a long time.”
Foley and Cyn are delightful characters. So vibrantly entertaining and honest in both deed and word, their chemistry burns up the pages.Their romantic journey happens relatively fast in terms of time but Harte champions this couple with her whole heart, giving us a believable story that screams soulmate. Foley falls hard and fast. Even with his seemingly player like past, he sees everything he ever wanted out of a relationship in Cyn and isn’t hesitant to claim her in front of everyone.
“Hottest on out here, bar none. The guys all want you. Sam knows to be hands off. Johnny is pissed he’s stuck with Lara […] and Lou…I don’t trust that bastard. We need to watch out for him.”
Cyn also falls fast but she has a long history of being hurt by those she loves who claim she is perfect and then chip away at her, trying to mold her into what they feel is the ideal woman. She has some serious trust issues that need working through.
“She had to stop fixating on her looks. If she wanted other people to see past her body parts, maybe she should start with herself.”
Humorous dialogue spiked with sexual euphemisms ups the ante on Cyn and Foley’s attraction and opens the doorway for a deeper understanding of each other. Sexually adventurous and open to one another, neither hide their desires or wants. One aspect I enjoy about Harte’s writing is her love scenes are not only entertaining and hot but they are also fun. I love a couple who can laugh and enjoy one another in and out of the bedroom.
“Tell me I’m an idiot and my mom will be okay.”
“You’re an idiot and your mom will be okay.”
He sighed. “Now tell me to relax and enjoy being with you.”
She smiled and kissed the top of his head, wanting to offer comfort. “Relax and enjoy being with me.”
“Now tell me I’m the most amazing man you’ve ever been with, and put your hand down my pants.”
A well-developed cast of new and familiar secondary characters add to the overall dynamics of this story with humor, angst, growth, and lots of love. The comradery between Foley’s fellow mechanics and the Websters continues to entertain and I love seeing what Del and the McCauleys are up to. I adored Cyn’s relationship with her brother and sister in law. The snark flies fast and funny when these three are together. Family plays a strong role in here, as seen by the heavy inclusion of Sam and Cyn and Foley’s mothers. Harte uses the differences between Foley and Cyn’s family’s to showcase the things we do for love and the different effects they can have on everyone involved.
Cyn finally finds the voice she has been searching for, helping her move forward with her life and her relationship with Foley, giving us a well-earned happy ending. Fans of sexy, fun, blue collar romance contemporaries with a strong sense of family and friendship are sure to love Harte’s latest couple. I am looking forward to book three-Zero to Sixty-which is Sam’s story. YAY!!! It releases February 17, 2017.