Book Review: Dirty Thoughts by Megan Erickson

Mechanics of Love, #1
Some things are sexier the second time around.

Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art...all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna MacMillan--his biggest mistake--walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.

Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she'd once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever... and this Cal is all man.

Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she's always been his light, and it's getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone or if it's exactly what they need for the future of their dreams.


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"He placed his hands above her knees and slowly ran his palms up her thighs. His calluses rasped over her soft skin, his hands permanently stained with grease while her skin was practically glowing clean. Hadn't it always been that way? He made her dirty, and she loved it."


In Megan's new adult Bowler University series, readers first met Max Payton and his gruff and tough family in his book, Make It Right. It was my favorite book in the entire series! We got a glimpse of the strained relationship between Jack Payton--a single father--and his sons, as well as the relationship between brothers. We also got a good look at their family business, the Payton & Sons auto shop. Now, that auto shop is getting an even bigger spotlight, with its mechanics starring in their own spinoff. And it all begins with the eldest brother, Cal Payton.

Cal Payton is grumpy and stubborn. He's guarded. But he's also protective and loyal to his family. Underneath all of the metal and grease, this mechanic really has a caring, loving heart. He just hides that tender side of himself behind an iron wall. A big reason for that? Jenna MacMillan was Cal's first love, but their relationship came to a rather painful end. Now, ten years later, Jenna's back in her hometown of Tory and stirring up old feelings in Cal. Grown-up Jenna is smart and dedicated to her new job. She's the kind of woman who speaks her mind, stands her ground. There was something so strong and level-headed about her nature that I absolutely loved. And she was patient. (Praise Jenna for being so, so patient.) She was really a heroine that I loved and rooted for from beginning to end, who ultimately complemented Cal so well.

Megan takes you on a journey with these characters and captures the essence of a second chance romance perfectly. When they flash back to a memory, it's like I'm the one reliving it. When they ache, I feel it right along with them. Cal and Jenna's shared past lends an intimacy to their love story, something warm and familiar, but rediscovering each other as adults gives them a new, sexy, and fun spark. Together, these two just had amazing chemistry! I fell for them as they fell for each other all over again!

There's truly a complete arc that you experience within this book. There is so much growth and development. After his breakup with Jenna as teenagers, Cal didn't want to feel again. He never wanted to be vulnerable again. Also, as the eldest Payton brother, Cal had taken responsibility for his siblings, basically raising them himself. So these days, he just wants to be alone, doesn't want to worry about anyone else. We see the painful effects of him being stubborn, of being reluctant to change, of doubting the future. It's a frustrating pattern, yet a relatable point of view. But, although Cal built up walls and prepared to live on his own, Jenna shows how he can open himself up again. I loved watching Cal work through his doubts and struggles. I loved that Jenna (and ultimately his family as well) come along to warm him up and make him realize the light he could have back in his life.

There was also so much more to the story, beyond Cal and Jenna's relationship. Family was so key, and I adored, adored, adored exploring those dynamics. Cal and his father. Cal and each of his brothers. After the first page alone, with a particular scene between Cal and his brother Brent, I was already squealing YES I LOVE THIS STUFF! The humor and camaraderie. There were moments where I simply enjoyed laughing out loud and highlighting up a storm on my Kindle. These characters feel so real and down to earth. They have personality. A fantastic cast! 

This book gets 5 shiny stars because there isn't a single thing I would want to change about it. Dirty Thoughts lived up to all of my hopes and expectations, and then some. Sweet, sexy, and funny. Emotional and heartfelt. This story had it all. Megan's books are just feel-good, comfort reads. I devour them easily, flipping pages eager for more and more, but I'm always left completely satisfied. Dirty Thoughts was a heart-melting story about finding love again and holding on! My heart was just bursting for the Payton family, and I'm absolutely looking forward to the next book in the series! (Brent! Yes yes yes!)


| Make It Count, Bowler University #1 | Review | Excerpt |

| Make It Right, Bowler University #2 | Review | Excerpt | Bonus Scene |

| Make It Last, Bowler University #3 | Review |

| Changing His Game, Gamers #1 | Review & Excerpt |


Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.

*** ARC provided in exchange for an honest review ***