Wood, Screws, & Nails, Piper Vaughn, Kade Boehme
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Erotic Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap, Erotica, HFN
Length: 176 Pages
Aaron Costa’s summer was all planned. Despite having to remodel the family lake house, it would be a vacation of sorts, and he had every intention of enjoying it—until the friend who was supposed to help him got injured and left him in a lurch. He decides to take the opportunity to bond with his son and hires Julian and his roommate, Malachi, to assist.
As a broke college student, Malachi could use the money, and spending the summer with Aaron for eye candy sounds like a dream. “Look but don’t touch” becomes his motto. But when Julian starts flaking on his responsibilities and Malachi and Aaron are forced to spend long hours alone together, their mutual attraction is impossible to resist.
Aaron can’t fight the temptation sexy Malachi presents. But more than their age difference stands in their way, not the least of which is Aaron’s semi-closeted status and the fact that he’s never openly discussed his sexuality with his son. He has no idea how Julian will react when he learns his father is not only gay, he’s also dating his best friend.
If you read the blurb, you’ll see why I was all over this book. My favorite thing in the world to read about are characters who have a large age difference who find love. I have to say that Wood, Screws, & Nails was perfect.
Aaron is a successful contractor. He has been asked by his parents to remodel their lake house to get it ready to be sold. He had it all planned. He and his best friend Blake would spend a couple of months at the lake house, get the renovations done, and enjoy the summer in the process. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) Blake has an accident and is unable to go. This puts Aaron in a bind. He can either call a few of his employees and have them come and help with the renovations or he can call his twenty-one-year-old son Julian (aka Jules). Julian would be perfect, Aaron thinks. He and his son rarely spend time together so a summer away from everything sounds ideal. He would pay Jules the same rate he would pay the other guys and still have quality time with his son.
Julian was pretty much the typical college kid these days, only calling dad when he needed some cash.
At first, Jules balks. That changes when Aaron tells him that he’ll be paid for the work and will have the weekends off. Jules is a typical college kid so he jumps on making extra cash and being able to do his thing on the weekends. When he suggests bringing his best friend and roommate along as well, at first Aaron is hesitant. The roommate, Malachi, is every gay man’s wet dream. Aaron has only seen Malachi a few times but each time had him wanting the other man. Throw in the fact that Aaron is not quite out of the closet, and that causes other issues. Aaron doesn’t lie about his sexuality. He just doesn’t announce it. At thirty-seven, he knows he should sit down with his son, but he hasn’t before now. Unfortunately for him, Jules finds out in a big (and most embarrassing way) later.
Malachi is a twenty-one-year-old college student, one year away from his degree in education. He doesn’t come from a financially comfortable family like Jules, but he’s loved and supported by them. He works for everything he gets and doesn’t wear the expensive name brands. He’s also openly gay and has a crush on his best friend’s father. When Jules throws out the opportunity to make extra money over the summer working for Aaron, Malachi knows he’d be a fool to say no. The pay is good and he would be working with a man he’s lusted over since the first time he met him. He calls that a win all the way around.
Jules and Malachi show up to work at the lake house and everything goes fine at first. Jules, who has never had to work a day in his life, does a good job at proving to this father that he is capable of doing the job he is being paid for. Malachi is an excellent worker and with the three of them working together, everything is on track to be done in the time frame allowed. Then Jules’ attitude starts to change. He gets lazy and turns into the ultimate jealous brat. He takes off and parties when he should be pulling his weight with the renovations. When he starts getting nasty toward his father and best friend, it gets even worse.
It’s obvious from the get-go that Malachi and Aaron are attracted to each other. Malachi figures out immediately that Aaron is gay and he questions how in the hell Julian can’t see it. A bit of flirting here and there and Malachi knows that Aaron wants him as much as he does Aaron. Of course, Aaron being sixteen years older and the father of Jules makes ‘hooking up’ an impossibility in Aaron’s opinion – he thinks. One friendly bet between the two men and the attraction – and lust – can no longer be denied. A secret fling gets going hot and heavy and anytime Jules is not around (which is often) they are taking advantage of that time. Neither expects more than a summer thing, so it’s difficult for both when feelings get involved.
There are a lot of things about this book that I loved. I mentioned the age gap so that’s a huge plus for me. There is also a lot of hot sex in this book and it’s all written very well. I adored Malachi from the very beginning and that didn’t change the more I read. He may not have much as far as background or material things, but he appreciates his family and all that he does have. Julian’s mother and stepfather were also amazing. This is the way it should be with ‘step’ families and I was very pleased with how they were written.
Then we get to Aaron and Jules. While I liked Aaron for the most part, I felt that he did Malachi a huge disservice in many ways. He allowed Jules to slack off on the job but yet paid him full wages anyway. This wasn’t fair to Malachi who got the same wage for doing double the work. This eventually changed, but it took a long time to get there. I also couldn’t understand Aaron keeping his sexuality from his son for so long. I know that each person’s coming out is different but it’s not like it was this huge secret or anything. Aaron’s parents knew, his friends knew, Julian’s mother and stepfather knew, so why not tell his son? And when Jules did discover it, it ended up hurting Malachi.
I absolutely adored Malachi’s mother. She’s not in the book much but when she is, she’s simply amazing. She accepts her son without question. She is there for him when he needs advice or just an ear. She doesn’t judge nor does she expect him to do things simply because she feels he should. I loved her.
I am not much of a fan of Aaron’s parents but I don’t think the reader is supposed to be. His father is a bit rough around the edges and not very accepting of Aaron’s homosexuality. His mother seemed okay for the most part.
Now we get to Jules. Jules is twenty-one and spoiled rotten. He’s never had to work for anything a day in his life and acts as if he is entitled. Why shouldn’t he? He is never held accountable for his actions so why bother trying to change? I had an issue with him immediately and while he had a sudden change of heart toward the end, I couldn’t get beyond the other stuff. Not only was he lazy when it came to working but he was hateful toward Malachi and Aaron because he wasn’t getting his way and “Boo hoo! My friend is getting more attention than me.” Well, yeah. Even putting aside the fact that Aaron and Malachi ended up having a relationship later, Malachi kicked butt and earned his money whereas Jules was a slacker. I was quite angry with the fact that Aaron did not step in and change things earlier. Pay should have been docked and the boy should have been sent back home. I know I’m not the only reviewer who feels this way.
I enjoyed watching Aaron and Malachi get together and work toward what will hopefully be a happily-ever-after. While I would have loved the ending to have had a bit more added to it, I know that it couldn’t have ended any other way. Like others, I am going to hope to see more of these guys later on. I really want to see them have a true HEA.
Very entertaining book. Very sexy and exactly what I was looking for. Highly recommended.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.