October 7, 2015

REVIEW: Dirty Thoughts (Mechanics of Love #1)

Dirty Thoughts (Mechanics of Love #1), by Megan Erickson
Publish Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Avon Impulse
e-book, purchased
adult contemporary romance
To Buy:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art...all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna MacMillan - his biggest mistake - walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.

Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she'd once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever... and this Cal is all man.

Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she's always been his light, and it's getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone or if it's exactly what they need for the future of their dreams.

Second-chance love story + Megan Erickson = HELL YES.

I’m so glad that Megan Erickson went back and wrote the stories of the enigmatic, charming Payton brothers, who were introduced in the second book of her Bowler University series, Make It Right. Cal Payton is the oldest brother, and definitely the most serious. He’s a man of few words – you can tell he’s always thinking about the right course of action before he makes a choice. And his family is the most important thing to him.

Family is something that Jenna wishes she had more of. Oh, she has parents and a brother, but they are all so concerned with appearances and their status in the community that the important parts of family get lost. Jenna has never been that way. She once thought she would have the kind of family she always wanted with her high school boyfriend, Cal Payton. But, then both hers and Cal’s decisions on one night 10 years ago destroyed everything.

Megan Erickson is so good at what she does. From the moment Jenna and Cal were reunited, the tension – both sexual and emotional – was so thick, I could’ve touched it. I didn’t know what had gone down between the two of them, but 5% into the book, I already wanted them to just sit down, talk, hug it out, and go get married and have babies and stuff. It was so obvious that 10 years apart meant nothing – they still loved each other madly. But… pride. And time. And baggage and stupid families. Ugh.

Reading about these two wading through their past hurts and present feelings was painful (in the best way possible). It seemed like they would take one step forward and two steps backward. Eventually, they get to a place where they feel like they can be friends again, but nothing more. OMG – how many times have we heard that before? Silly people.

As usual, there are complications with Jenna and Cal finding their way back to one another. Cal’s relationship (or lack thereof) with his mother is definitely a sore spot in his life. And, when his mother’s current life invades Cal’s, it only stirs things up with her more. But, it introduces a new dynamic to Cal’s and Jenna’s lives that neither of them saw coming. It made things even more challenging for Cal to get around in order to fully be with Jenna. But, luckily, the past 10 years have made a more determined and self-assured Jenna, and this time, I love her fire and determination when it came to winning back her man.

I wasn’t a fan of Jack Payton, Cal’s father, in Make It Right. I actually kind of hated him. But, in Dirty Thoughts, we can see that Jack has made strides since then. He’s still super crabby and incredibly stubborn, but he’s now kinda loveable, which shocked me. I didn’t think that was possible.

And, I adore Cal’s relationship with his brothers Max and Brent. We don’t get to see Cal interact with Max much in this book, but Brent is there a lot. Brent just loves pushing Cal’s buttons, but it’s obvious that he does it because he loves his big brother. Their relationship was my second favorite in this book.

My favorite, of course, being Jenna and Cal. They had a lot of past regrets and guilt to wade through. There were times when I wished I could just smack them both around a little until they saw the whole picture. Gah – I love books like that. And this was one of the best.