Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from netgalley; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
Review: I really liked Blowing Off Steam and how it dealt with a topic I didn’t know much about – steam engines. Sam Chancellor loves a particular engine named Old Bess, a love he shared with his late uncle who basically raised him. When Ryan Saunders gets the job as Bess’s new driver, it doesn’t take long before Sam is noticing him as well. As for Ryan, he eventually takes note of Sam, but only as a baggy-clothes wearing nerd who likes to come and watch the trains.
Obviously, when the two officially meet, it doesn’t take long before they are really getting to know each other. What starts out as a physical relationship soon turns into more. Ryan has never had boyfriends in the past and he isn’t really interested now. As for Sam, Ryan is his first everything, but he knows not to push or he’ll lose whatever they are forming.
Blowing Off Steam has a bit of a mystery included, when Ryan is in risk of losing his job and information comes to light that could ultimately help save it…if they can figure out who is behind it all and gather enough evidence. I liked that this was more than just a romance, though there is plenty of that (and forewarning – there are graphic sexual scenes if that bothers you). I do wish that it had been a bit longer, though, or we were able to dig deeper into the characters more. Ryan has a secret past, but I feel like it wasn’t dealt with enough between him and Sam.
In all, not a bad read!