Once again this series goes into a different direction with Everett Aldridge and his road to HEA.
We have had Cole who wasn’t looking for love when he found Ren, his forever Honeybee. Then there was is hilarious bighearted Stoney who managed to find his true love just next door in his neighbor, Dare.
I did rush ahead to get Ollie’s story in Screwed #4 but I won’t spoil how wonderful that turned out here. But there are definitely inklings about.
Nope. Hardwood, double entrendre’ intended, is all Everett. And what a story it is. Because it’s not just a romance but also Ev’s path towards coming out of the closet he’s sealed himself into for decades. It’s about letting go of his fears, finding himself as a gay man later in life.
That’s a lot to unpack.
Especially if you’re also a father to a young daughter, Livi, and still have a ex wife ,Valerie, you maintain a good relationship with who needs to be told.
There’s a LGBTGiA crew and work family that are comfortable with themselves and their sexuality you’ve known for years thats clueless you’re gay. Now Everett needs to tell them who he really is. Because no one really knows who he is. Maybe even himself.
That’s so much pressure and guilt on top of the enormous feelings of insecurity and fear pressing down on Ev that you can almost hear him gasping for air.
The two person POV that’s a format of this series works beautifully to give us real insight into Everett’s emotional state and situations as he decides to reveal his sexuality and come out as a gay man.
It’s poignant, frustrating as he vacillates at points on deciding when is exactly the right timing, his fears and excitement on his “gay firsts”. Nuehold does such an outstanding job bringing us along with him on this journey. We are there standing on the edge with Ev time after time as he works up the courage to finally see what and who his truth self is. Bravery isn’t always huge steps but small ones.
And sometimes who need someone to support you and show you the way. That would be Watson.
Watson Bolt, the music teacher, is amazing . From his school interactions with other teachers to his song choices (young tunes and Broadway worthy showstoppers), Wats is a gem of a character. He’s such a lovely layered person, especially flirty, generous, outgoing, engaging, and vulnerable too. Love his hedgehog too.
I have to mention how much I appreciate the treatment Ev’s ex wife , Valerie, gets here. She’s a well rounded personality, seen through loving eyes as a great person and good friend. Her part in their marriage and consequent divorce is handled with great sensitivity and love. So well done.
Everett’s journey from closeted divorced perceived “straight dad” to happy out gay divorced dad in a new relationship is a path strewn with small pitfalls, a few barriers , some awful dancing and one memorable finale.
I just loved it. It set me to singing.
Not baby shark, but maybe a Broadway musical tune or two.
Snap this story up along with all the others. Yes 🙌 I’m highly recommending it and the series.
I’ve spent forty-four years of my life telling the world I’m a carpet man. Is it too late to admit to myself and everyone else that deep down I’m really all about the Hardwood?
It took me over thirty-five years to admit to myself that I’m gay, another seven to find the courage to say it out loud to anyone else, and exactly thirty seconds to develop a massive crush on my daughter’s music teacher. It’s really not my fault, have you even seen those cute bowties he wears?
After everything it’s taken to get here, am I going to work up the nerve to come out to my ex-wife and my best friends? Am I ready to shake up my comfortable, simple life and take a chance on Watson? Or am I going to throw a wrench in my own chance for happily ever after?
***Hardwood is a steamy, seriously so much delicious tension, single-dad, gay awakening, low angst story, which happens to be the third in the Four Bears Construction Series. It CAN be read as a stand alone. There are NO shifters in this series, only the OTHER kind of bears.
Four Bears Construction series:
🔵Goats Like Cake Too: Four Bears Construction Series Epilogue
by K.M. Neuhold