Reviewed by Carissa
SERIES: The Bristol Collection #3
AUTHOR: Josephine Myles
PUBLISHER: Samhain Publishing
LENGTH: 263 pages
When things come to a head, there’s nowhere to go but down…
On the surface, Derek “Call Me Dare” Nelson’s life is simple, doing up custom campervans while living in a slightly illegal caravan in his riverfront yard. When a handsome, smooth-talking developer offers to buy the land out from under his feet, Dare realizes it’s the same man he had to escort home from a party months ago for causing a drunken scene.
Grant Matravers lives a double life, attempting to adjust to weekends as a single, divorced gay man while staying closeted at work. The strain of keeping up the part-time pretense, missing his kids, and now a problematic attraction to the shave-headed, tattooed Dare, has worn his emotional barriers dangerously thin.
Dare blasts through those barriers in a way Grant isn’t prepared for, challenging everything he thought he knew about himself as a gay man. But as their chemistry heats up and the intimacy between them grows, Grant edges toward a decision that could blow up in his face. Exposing a hornet’s nest of complications that could destroy any chance for happily ever after.
I feel like I am apologizing an awful lot this week. But I guess it can’t be helped. If I could figure out how to stop crying, I think that might move things along, but for now I’ll settle for a lack of a runny nose and the ability to semi-see what I am typing. I just thought I’d warn you that if this review seems more maudlin than it oughta be, there is a reason for it, and it has nothing to do with the book. If I had the choice I would spend the day hiding under my covers with a copy of Going Postal, but I have responsibilities today, and you guys are one of them. I’ll try to keep the sobbing to a minimum. Thanks.
When, exactly, had his life got so complicated? Once upon a time, it had all seemed so easy. Marry the girl who was his best friend, have children and climb to the top of the ladder in his chosen career. Happiness would follow. It was bound to.
It was only now Grant started to wonder if he hadn’t been looking in entirely the wrong place for happiness. Only trouble was, he didn’t know how to change the life he’d chosen. And when he closed his eyes and tried to imagine happiness, it looked a lot like a cocky, shaven-headed bloke with tattoos. Which made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Dare didn’t make him feel happy. Dare made him feel confused and angry and horny. But at least that was better than feeling depressed.
After getting tossed out on his drunken ass by Dare and a few other men at Mas and Perry’s big party (see: Stuff) Grant is in a bit of a state. For whatever reason, Dare decides to drive the man home before Grant can get himself or someone else killed by his car. Dare didn’t think that he’d ever see the drunk bastard again, even if he momentarily found himself intrigued by the not-drunk, none-assholy, parts of Grant’s personality. It isn’t until months later, when Grant’s firm is trying to buy up Dare’s junkyard/caravan repair shop, that their paths cross again.
Grant doesn’t want to like Dare. He doesn’t. And he certainly has no interest in letting the bare-headed, bossy tattooed mechanic top his ass. None whatsoever. Grant just wants to find a way to convince Dare to sell his land, so that Grant’s boss will leave him alone. There just seems to be the small problem of not being able to avoid the man…or the way he gets under Grant’s skin like no one else. They have two widely different lives, pasts, and probably futures…but hell if Grant can remember that when he is in Dare’s presence.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read either of the two previous books in the series, and I was worried that since I didn’t have the time for a reread that I would be terribly lost when I picked up Scrap. But I shouldn’t have worried. Except for a few brief moments at the beginning where I was still trying to place characters, this story was nicely set up for those of us who don’t quite remember what has gone on before. And it is probably best that I don’t remember much of Grant from before, because it sounds like he was a bit of an asshole in the last book. Also in this book. But he grows on you.
I liked that both of these were such bull-headed men. Dare, who intends on breaking down Grant’s walls, and Grant who intends to stay in charge in all aspects of his life. They butted heads, more often than not, and that made for a very interesting story. I especially liked it when things did not go according to plan–for either of them. They both probably had no intention of falling in love with the other, but you can tell that they fit when they are together. They smooth out the rough edges of each other, and boy do these boys have some rough edges. Grant’s need of a touchstone, and Dare’s surprising ability to be that for Grant, was one of my favorite parts of this book.
There were also some great secondary characters in this. I really liked Grant’s kids (which was a shocker) and Dare’s brother and his girlfriend grew on me. I have no idea if what they have started will last, but Myles certainly had me hoping that they would make it. Mas was still a little over the top (but if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be Mas) but he and Perry make a few appearances here, and it was nice to see them again.
There was quite a bit about this book that I liked, and it was on par with the rest of the series. Even the stupid decisions made by some characters (*cough*Grant*cough*) were understandable. I’m not sure I have a favorite couple of this series, because each book I loved in different ways, but I love going into these books no knowing what I am going to be getting–other than a very well written story.
If you haven’t read anything in this series yet, you can probably read this as a standalone, though it does tie back into book two at some points. It was highly enjoyable no matter what, and I recommend it if you love Myles’ particular English flair.