Stroker, second novel in the Big Bull Mechanics series, is such a strong, emotional story. Not just a romance but the journey of two men back together, their individual struggles with their past history (together and their own), and their current shaky status to discover if they can learn to grow and trust enough to have a relationship.
Honestly, the bar has been set high by this story for any that follows it.
Gates, Steele’s 40 ish younger brother, who’s always been a family disaster and vagabond, is someone we met in Crankshaft. Gates was undergoing a personal physical crisis that made him return to his hometown after a significant amount of time traveling around the country.
The mystery and pain hinted at there between Gates and Tallahassee is delved into fully here, along with Gates dealing with the ramifications of his surgery for testicular cancer.
Somehow , the Big Bull Garage works so well as a grounding point for the men of the series and the story. Like a family’s kitchen table, the garage acts like a center where everyone comes together to work, chat, reflect, act as a Greek chorus on each other’s lives. It feels believable and , ‘wipe the grease from your hands’ sort of real.
Tallahassee has been working with Steele, his best friend, hiding the pain that still feels so raw whenever he sees Gates, the man he used to call a friend, the one everyone calls a screwup, the man he married and who left him eight years ago.
Tallahassee is a great character. With a pet parrot with a smutty mouth, Tallahassee’s anguish over Gate’s return, then his illness, then his close proximity is so raw , and torn. Neuhold makes Tal’s indecisiveness and anger absolutely understandable.
But so does the author make us and Tal eventually understand that Gates has been growing up, especially since his operation. He’s making internal changes. Ones the readers are there with him, as the revelations hit. Sad, painful revelations about himself and his decisions. And how they have effected others and his family.
It’s so moving, and emotionally realistic the way Tallahassee and Gates slowly find their way back into each other’s trust and hearts. They communicate, share their fears, and hopes. It’s fragile. Especially when Gates is confronting his fears about his scars and the ramifications from his surgery.
This is what makes this so wonderful to read.
I felt like I was sharing a special moment with them. And Nigel, the parrot, of course.
Stroker is sexy, sensitive, beautifully written with fantastic, well defined characters. One of my favorites!
I’m highly recommending it.
Big Bull Mechanics:
✓ Crankshaft #1
✓ Stroker #2
Is there an easy way to tell your lifelong best friend that you secretly married his brother eight years ago? Asking for a friend…
When Gates shows up needing a place to crash , I offer him my spare room. Whatever happened between us nearly a decade ago is water under the bridge. I don’t lie awake at night wondering what could have been. Nope, definitely not.
But Gates seems determined to get a rise out of me. He’s tie-dyed all my clothes, removed my bedroom door, and replaced my hand soap with lube. I’m not sure if he’s hoping I’ll kick him out or kill him, but he won’t break me that easily.
When he tells me his Stroker Rod is broken… What kind of mechanic am I if I don’t get hands-on with his problem?
We put our feelings behind us a long time ago, and there’s no way I’ll let Gates break my heart again. No amount of fiddling under the hood will fix everything broken between us. From here on out, it’s purely physical. Right?
Yup, just a couple of guys and their stroker rods.
***Stroker is a best friend’s brother, secretly married, super steamy MM romance.
🔹Connected to The Four Bears Construction Company series.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.