Title: Tools of Engagement
Series: Hot & Hammered #3
Author: Tessa Bailey
Tropes: Enemies-to-Lovers, Age Gap Romance
Edition/Pages: Paperback, 368 Pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Avon via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review
Bethany Castle’s life is perfect. And she works hard making sure everyone continues to believe that. But her love life is far from perfect. In an effort to focus on herself, she’s decides to take on a new challenge – flip a house from start to finish. The only problem is her brother doesn’t take her seriously and won’t give her, her own project.
Despite the fact that she can’t stand him, Bethany teams up with the handsome new guy in town, Wes to flip her soon-to-be-brother-in-law’s childhood home. On a reality TV show. In just 3 weeks.
As the house is demoed, so is Bethany’s perfectly structured life. And amongst the ruble, Bethany realizes she might not hate Wes quite as much as she thought.
➸ POV: 3rd Person, Wes & Bethany’s POV
➸ Bethany Castle: ‘Just Us League’ creator and coordinator, Home stager at Brick & Morty, Perfectionist, 30, Middle sibling, Wants a new challenge – flip a home herself, Struggling with anxiety & confidence
➸ Wes Daniels: Caring for 5 year old niece – Laura, 23, Ex-bull rider from Texas, Construction worker at Brick & Morty, Grew up in foster care, Older brother to half sister
➸ Content Warnings: Foster Care System, Drug Abuse, Anxiety, Panic attacks, Child Abandonment, Talk of abuse (in the past/off page)
I always know going into a Tessa Bailey book that I’m going get steamy chemistry and witty banter – and this book brought it in spades. I was looking forward to Wes and Bethany’s story as soon as it was introduced in book 2 and I definitely wasn’t disappointed!
The chemistry and banter between the main characters was top notch. I loved their back and forth and light enemies-to-lovers romance. Their connection felt really believable and overall I just really liked the relationship they formed.
Wes turned out to be my favorite male MC of the series. He felt like the least alpha-male of the bunch (especially compared to Dominic in book 2). He was so sweet and supportive, and I couldn’t handle how adorable his relationship with his niece was. He was always there to comfort and support both Laura and Bethany.
I also really enjoyed Bethany as a character. I don’t think she will be a character everyone loves – she’s definitely difficult. But I also related to her a whole hell of a lot… Bethany works tirelessly to appear together and perfect to the point of panic. And while some of her choices drove me absolutely mad, they felt authentic (and like things I would have done too……). But she won’t be for everyone. She is stubborn to a fault and really struggles to open up. I really appreciated her growth throughout this book and I liked that in the end she wasn’t magically “fixed”.
I will say – this ending was so over the top and cheesy. The grandstand reconciliation was a little too much for me. But overall this was a really solid and satisfying conclusion to this series! Definitely pick up this trilogy if you’re looking for a new steamy, fun, rom-com series!
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