Who doesn’t want a bad boy: the leather jacket, the motorcycle, the dark looks and brooding presence? It all adds up to create a dangerous and captivating package. Joseph Naderi is just as susceptible as any other to the intriguing aura of a bad boy. When he follows a recommendation about the best shop in town to fix his motorcycle, Joseph meets the owner of the garage, Gage Mason. He can hardly resist Gage’s intense eyes and wild energy, and makes only a token attempt to try. When Joseph takes the plunge and asks Gage to dinner, the mechanic accepts with a typical bad boy smirk and sultry look. But Gage has a complicated past, and an intense way of dealing with his issues. Will Joseph be able to break through Gage’s walls? Or will it all end the way relationships with bad boys usually do: a broken heart?
Bad Boys Need Love Too: Gage by Christa Tomlinson had me anticipating an intense relationship between Joseph and Gage from the very first page. Their immediate attraction to and cautious curiosity about one another had me wiggling in my seat, preparing for a wild ride. Tomlinson’s style incorporates the points of view of both characters, which I deeply appreciate. The author also mitigates confusion about shifting points of view and shifting setting by having different indicators for both.
The interactions between Joseph and Gage are arresting. Joseph calls Gage out on his bullshit. A lot. It’s great. Gage is consistently surprised by Joseph’s mysterious ability to make him want more than casual sex. Though the sex they have is smoking hot and mutually satisfying. It’s good enough that they’re rarely fussed about where they hook up, getting down to business on the side of the road, in parking lots, dressing rooms, studies, Gage’s garage, and alleys.
The sex is sizzling, but the character growth satisfies the soul. The novel recounts a journey of self-discovery for each character, as well as their discovery of each other. It’s not about Joseph and Gage becoming a couple solely in name, but also about them learning how to support each other while creating and maintaining healthy boundaries. Tomlinson makes it clear that relationships take work and effort from both parties, carefully showing Gage and Joseph’s struggles with creating a solid relationship of trust, respect, and commitment.
There were only a couple things I didn’t like, and even then they might be things that I, personally, am more sensitive to. There were a few times in the narrative when it was implied that Gage generally didn’t take no for an answer when it came to getting what he wanted. In his relationship with Joseph, it was framed as something for him to grow from, taking another person’s feelings into account and not manipulating them or ignoring their boundaries. He did get better, and I appreciate the growth, but men who don’t take no for an answer, especially when it comes to sex, bother me.
There were also some vaguely sexist comments about ‘agonizing like a chick’ and ‘acting like a pussy.’ Nothing too bad, and it didn’t happen in the narrative that often, but I take note of things like that because it’s the casual sexism and other -isms that often go without comment. I dislike the stereotype that men can’t have emotions. It’s untrue and damaging.
Overall, I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars! The story wasn’t only about Joseph and Gage getting together despite their differences, but how those differences affected their relationship, heightening their connection to each other and encouraging them to grow in new ways.
This book is available on KindleUnlimited. If you read it, let me know what you think. Is there anything you liked that I didn’t mention? Is there anything you think I should have mentioned? I’d love to talk about a good book with a new reader.