Series: Body Shop Bad Boys #3
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 7th 2017
Genres: Blue Collar, Small Town
Bad boy Sam + Good girl Ivy + Stray puppy = Damaged hearts learning to love again
After her last relationship bombed, Ivy Stephens is doing her best to put her life back together. She's enjoying her job, her apartment-and the cute little puppy she's seen hanging around. When she goes looking for him, she finds the stray in the arms of a big, burly, devastatingly handsome man.
Sam Hamilton is lonelier than he's ever been after his best friend's engagement. To give himself a sense of purpose, he takes in a puppy that keeps showing up around the garage where he works. The puppy has another suitor though-one who happens to be blond and beautiful.
I liked Sam’s story a lot more than I thought I would. While he was a bit of a jerk in Roadside Assistance, he turns out to be a big softie.
In Roadside Assistance, Sam was pretty angry over the fact that his best friend, Foley, was interested in Cyn as more than just a quick screw. Sam grew up with a neglectful mother and was “adopted” by Foley and his mother. He spent a good deal of his childhood with them and Foley’s mother treated him like another son. As grown ups, Foley and Sam lived together after they did time in jail together. The fact that Foley was spending so much time with Cyn and “pushing aside Sam” caused a lot of anger in Sam and fights between him and Foley.
In Zero to Sixty, Sam quickly changes his opinion on relationships. He knows that Ivy is a good girl, and much too good for him, but he will do whatever he needs to to spend time with Ivy. He is hooked from the first time he looks into her eyes. So the guy who never looks past a pair of tits is suddenly melting over pretty eyes. Sam still wants to get Ivy into bed but he actually waits until it can be something special between them.
Sam is a completely different character in Zero to Sixy then the one introduced to us in Roadside Assistance. While he is still a bit crass, he truly becomes a romantic from the moment he meets Ivy. I am uncertain if this is simply a matter of him finally meeting the one woman who is perfect for him or the fact that after spending time with several couples who are very happy, including Foley and Cyn, he is rethinking relationships.
Ivy and Sam are both from neglected upbringing and both spend a good deal of the book not believing they are worthy of the other. While their lives up to the moment they meet are kind of sad, it does make them a perfect match.
I would say that I enjoyed Sam’s story a lot more than I originally thought I would. I was interested to see what happens with Sam after finishing Roadside Assistance but that was mostly because he was treating Foley and Cyn so bad for “abandoning” him. You can understand why Sam didn’t want to lose the closeness of his adopted family, but he was very selfish in the last book and he had a hard time accepting Foley’s relationship with Cyn. I needed to see how he would act when a woman walked into his life.
From the beginning, Sam was 100 percent interested in pursuing more with Ivy and I thought that was an interesting spin. I thought a guy like Sam, after giving the other guys such a hard time, would have fought the idea of having a girlfriend, rather then desperately hoping she would stay with him.
It was an enjoyable story and definitely worth the read.
At her car, he waited while she unlocked the door. He didn’t cage her in, but stood back enough that she wouldn’t feel smothered. Kind of like the first time she’d met him, when he’d given her a lot of space so she could get him her business card. She wondered if he did that a lot, because he gave the appearance of being so large and threatening.
She paused before getting in. Instead, she turned around to see him watching her. He seemed dejected, though she couldn’t have said why she sensed that. As before, he wore a nearly emotionless expression.
“Well, it was interesting.”
“My nights usually are,” he deadpanned.
She smiled then and, unable to help it, laughed. “Sam, you sure know how to show a girl a good time.”
He gave her a ghost of a smile before shrugging. “What can I say? It’s a gift.” He shoved his hands in his pockets. He did that a lot too. “Sorry about the bar. I guess…Ah, hell. Well, I’ll text you about the dog. Just let me know when you know something, okay?”
From her landlord. “I will. And thanks for, ah, standing up for me in there.” At least, that’s what she though he’d done. For all she knew, she was a convenient excuse to pummel people. He shrugged again, then turned to walk away. “Later.”
It didn’t seem right, this ending. She couldn’t stop remembering that sweetness in his smile. The joy sparkling in his eyes as he’d cared for Cookie. She took a step and latched on to his arm, which stopped him in his tracks. He turned, slowly, to face her.
She tugged him toward her. When she could reach him, she kissed him tenderly on the cheek. Goodness, he smelled good. Like sandalwood and man–nothing off about Sam Hamilton. His beard had been surprisingly soft. She pulled back and saw him frozen, his eyes wide.
“Thanks for keeping me safe in there. I’ll talk to you soon.” She patted his chest once, then stepped back and got into her car. She started up and left, checking her rearview. And saw him staring at her while she drove away.
Sam watched her go, not sure of anything as he let the feeling of her warmth fill all his cold places. Just…damn. Such soft, warm lips on his cheek. He touched the spot, still feeling her there. The despair that he’d ruined everything earlier faded, replaced by an unfamiliar sense of hope that hadn’t been with him in years. Not since first realizing he and Foley had a home at Webster’s.