Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.
Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie, and realizes that for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built.
When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.
But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan's job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention puts both Ryan and Bess in deadly danger.
Product Warnings: Contains train geekery, bed-hogging, a hero with no experience and another with plenty to spare, and a spider called Mabel.
Oh this story. I loved it so. Every last word. The fan boy, the bad boy, the small town life and its characters, and of course, Old Bess, the steam train, I loved ALL the things. If you embrace any bit of vintage geekery in your life, you will enjoy this story immensely.
Sam is incredibly charming even though he’s living a stagnant life. He’s inherited his elderly uncle’s home, his friends and basically his whole life. Problem is, he’s a very young man and his prospects for a life and love of his own are pretty slim. He spends his time train-spotting, hanging out in online train forums, logging all things train-y in his notebooks and spreadsheets, tending to his uncle’s garden, and working his dead end retail job. He’s happy, because that’ just who he is, but there’s no denying he’s lonely.
Then he sees Ryan, the engineer of Old Bess, Sam’s greatest love. Ryan is highly skilled at his job, but he’s got the air of a bad boy about him (with good reason) that totally intimidates Sam so he admires from a distance both Ryan and Old Bess alike. They finally have their meet-cute and damn if it isn’t cute. And steamy.
I loved these two together and I think that was my favorite thing about the whole story. The evolution of their relationship was such a refreshing read. It wasn’t overly angsty, there weren’t a bunch of outside forces affecting them, they were just total opposites getting to know, and more importantly, getting to appreciate one another. They started out just ‘having fun’ but they didn’t fight the progression of the relationship just to be stubborn dicks like so many characters do and I loved that.
The story did have its twists that affected their lives though, and the bit of mystery gave the story an edge. Sam’s misguided and somewhat naïve attempts to help Ryan gave a needed blast of reality that sucked to read because I was busy being in love with their relationship and I didn’t want anything to go sideways, but the bit of pain worked to give them perspective and kept them from being too good.
I really liked how the author worked it all out in the end. It wasn’t too easy, there was a chance for Sam to be the hero he was meant to be and all the loose ends were tied up.
I highlighted so many quotes while I was reading because I just really enjoyed the author’s writing style and the way she could sum up emotions in one sentence. The story was really well told and the conversations between characters were so easy to read. It was funny, the characters were charming and I am looking forward to reading more of the author’s words.
For more information on Blowing Off Steam, check it out on Goodreads.
**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**