Everett is supposedly the only one of the four partners in Four Bears Construction who is straight. After all, he was married and has a daughter he shares custody with his ex-wife. Only ‘Ev’ has a secret: he's gay. He tried to deny it for years, and he still hasn't come out to his friends or his ex-wife, but now he's finally getting out there dating, and getting serious with Watson, who just happens to be his daughter's music teacher. But balancing things with Watson with the demands of parenting, as well as trying to find the “right time” to come out proves very difficult. Meanwhile, Watson has to wonder if there's really a chance for a lasting relationship with Ev, for whom everything is new.
This third book of the Four Bears Construction series follows a now predictable story arc: Two men not really expecting to get into a relationship, who find a connection, which gets complicated. That said, this is definitely a unique story that stands up well with the others. Like all of the books in the series, you could read this as a stand-alone, but you'll be missing out on the background on the other partners in the company.
We've already met Everett as one of the partners of Four Bears Construction, but he's has probably played less of a role in the previous stories that the other three men. Ev seems like a really nice guy, but that proves to be his biggest problem. While we can sympathize with his desire not to hurt his ex-wife's feelings, his constant prevarication about coming out to her, and his friends, becomes increasing exasperating. In the end, his whole hesitation about coming out proves to be the major driver of the drama in the story.
Watson is also a nice guy, and perhaps too nice as well. He's probably a little too understanding of Everett's dilemma, which contributes to the tension that ultimately develops over where their relationship is headed. Still, Watson does seem very sweet, and you'll be rooting for these two to somehow make it work.
There are some quite humorous moments along the way. As usual, many of these involve the partners in Four Bears Construction as they banter with each other, but there are also a few funny situations that result from Ev and Watson trying to keep their relationship on the down-low.
One of the highlights of this series is the rich set of characters that is built up around the pair that is the focus of each story. That's part of why you should read the books in order.
“Hardwood” is available from Amazon.