Title: Tools of Engagement
Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: Hot & Hammered #3
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Contemporary romance
Dates read: 30th – 31st March 2021
5th sentence, 74th page: A day earlier: ‘Laura claims you let her watch Judge Judy.’
When two enemies team up to flip a house, the sparks between them will either burn the place down or ignite a passion they can’t resist…
Hair, makeup, clothing, décor – everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. The homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing II not II perfect? Her track record with men. So she’s on a dating hiatus, and now she finally has time to focus on her dream: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and won’t take her seriously.
When a TV producer gets wing of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brothers’ construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. However, Wes’s Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, and the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.
As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke, and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a II flipping II disaster…
This novel and conclusion to the Hot & Hammered series most certainly bought a tear to my eyes. It was brilliant, cute and sweet. Most definitely the kind of story that I will remember for a long time and read again. There were just so many wonderful moments to this story that were brilliant. It bought tears to my eyes, with hand flapping and everything.
I have a bit of a habit towards perfectionism. Mostly, I’m aware of it, but yeah, sometimes it kind of sucks. The fact that Bethany has this tendency made me love her that much quicker. And it turned this romance into a story that wasn’t just about falling in love, but also about finding yourself and learning to accept the chaos in your life. It’s something that I’m constantly working towards, something that I think many people need to work towards in their own lives.
One of my favourite things about the romances that I read is when you connect strongly with the characters. With Bethany’s proclivity towards perfectionism and not wanting people to see her vulnerability, I connected with Bethany way more than was comfortable. The panic attacks, the difficulties with being close to someone, the inability to show my vulnerabilities… yeah, I felt that. And it made Wes all that much more drool-worthy and admirable, after all, I know how difficult it can be to put up with my little quirks.
Wes is a fantastic leading man. He is steadfast and honourable. That, and the fact that he’s a bull riding cowboy who quit his roaming life to raise his niece? Perfect book boyfriend material there. Which works well, because Laura, the adorable niece? She steals the show multiple times throughout this book.
This is a fantastic conclusion to a wonderful trilogy. Not only is it a great standalone romance, but you get a little bit more of the happily ever after for Georgie and Rosie as well… it just tied everything up beautifully and left me smiling like an absolute goofball. While tears of happiness and joy threatened to overflow.