Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey
Narrator: Charlotte North
Series: Hot and Hammered #3
Published by HarperAudio on September 22, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Length: 9 hours, minutes
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Hair, makeup, clothing, decor... everything in Bethany Castle's world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family's real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She's on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.
When a television producer gets wind 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 brother's construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany's skin on day one, but 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. But 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 flipping disaster.
I have been enjoying the Hot and Hammered series with its mostly men in construction and women with all sorts of interesting work. This takes place in a small town in New York and there are some family connections as well. I love this circle of friends and family. The women have formed their own group to support each other and it’s great. Throughout the series, the siblings in the construction family find their callings and their loves.
Bethany is the oldest sister in the family. She does the staging for houses which are ready to sell. She always wants to make everything perfect – in her work and in her appearance. She is constantly working in her head to figure out how to make everything the best. She has always wanted to flip her own house, doing and making all the construction decisions and not just the decorating aspects.
Finally she quits the family firm her brother runs because he won’t let her do her own project. Wes who just came to town and is attracted to Bethany quits to become her foreman. I have to say with the amount of personal issues they have, which take time from working, it seems impossible for them to have finished on time.
But they both do good work on their personal foibles and insecurities to build a relationship and make a house livable. It’s amazing to see the impacts on Wes’ niece Lara, the improved relationship Bethany builds with her friends and family, and the compassion they all show Becky, Lara’s mother.
Charlotte North is the voice of the series, being the main point of views are all female. I was comfortable with her performance, although the male voices were husky without being much deeper Wes was different with his southern accent to blend. I was able to listen at my usual 1.5x speed.
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