Brainy and the Beast by J.M. Cartwright (5 Stars)

He thought he lacked the IQ to keep the hot researcher, but it was his lack of relationship know-how that almost lost him the prize.

Nick Shelton is an auto mechanic who is taking care of his teenage nephew, Grant, and running his own business. After his sister dumped the poor child into Nick’s life and left, Nick had his Dad move in to help take care of Grant. Henry Travis is an extremely intelligent and kind, but very lonely, person who also loves old cars. They meet when Henry brings his car to Nick’s shop for some repairs. This leads to the start of an interesting and loving relationship, which although not very smooth, also wasn’t filled with too much angst.

The story is told from Nick’s POV and is focused on his relationship with Henry, Grant, and his Dad. The interactions between the characters were realistic. It was hard not to feel bad for Nick, since he is a bit clueless about how to raise his nephew. Fortunately, Nick has a heart of gold, and his Dad and Henry are both very helpful, leading to a much better uncle/nephew relationship as the story progressed.

Nick also struggles with being in a relationship and pretty much messes up on a regular basis. Henry doesn’t have a lot of experience either, but he does seem to be a bit more knowledgeable. Fortunately, the story takes place over a longer period of time, and the improvement in their behavior is believable. The sexual interplay between Nick and Henry was pleasantly surprising. Henry has a slightly dominant edge to him leading to a lot of very steamy scenes with some enjoyable dirty talk.

There was a subplot issue revolving around child and spouse abuse which happened off-page. There were also several open issues which could easily work into a second book, but closure wasn’t necessary for the final HEA to be believable. The addictive writing is what cinched this story as a 5-star read. I literally could not put this book down.

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Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

BLURB

Robotics researcher Henry Travis uses his brain for just about everything, but once he meets Nick Shelton over the hood of his 1960 Mercedes 300, he’s at a loss. How does he control his attraction to this brash, sexy mechanic?

Nick owns his own classic car garage, and he is more than willing to hit it with the brainy, seriously hot, Henry. What he doesn’t need is the aggro that comes with feelings. But since his 14yo nephew, Grant, has come to live with him, he’s been dealing with aggravation every day. And now his dad lives with him, too. A dad who doesn’t mind commenting on Nick’s lame parenting skills.

With Henry turning his crank in a big way, and Nick enjoying not being in charge for a change, things heat up pretty fast. They’re actually dating, with dinner and everything, before he knows it. And the after-dinner drinks at Henry’s gorgeous house have Nick wiping the sweat from his brow.

But Henry and Grant don’t get along; Nick isn’t sure he wants a relationship at all, and Nick’s dad, Big Mike, has an opinion on everything.

How’s a guy to have fun on the weekends–even during the week, for crying out loud–with all the family baggage hanging around?

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