Title: Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay: Book Three)
Author: Z.A. Maxfield
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 250 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Nash is the reliable one in the Holly family, the guy everyone counts on to keep things going. His genius twin brother is off at university, so Nash runs the family’s auto repair business and cares for his partially-paralyzed little sister while his crackpot father invents. His life seems mapped out for the foreseeable future, however much that might chafe.
So when Wolf’s Landing actor Spencer Kepler-Constantine lands in his life, Nash is ready for a diversion. Spencer is in the middle of a very painful, very public divorce and isn’t ready for a relationship—not that Nash wants one. But they both need a friend, especially one with benefits.
As they grow closer, Nash starts to see his family in a whole new light. Do they really need him so badly? Or does he simply need to be needed? Then Spencer’s ex reappears with a grand romantic gesture, and Nash has to figure out what he wants—and how to get it—before Spencer’s gone for good.
Note: Can be read as a standalone.
“Usually a couple of chapters,” I answered.
I read this quote online not long ago and figured there’s probably not a book it applies to more so than Z.A. Maxfield’s Hell on Wheels. In fact, it may not have taken me even that long to fall madly in love with Nash Holly, the gorgeous, charming, and funny Mr. Fix-It who made it easy to understand why Spencer Kepler-Constantine was so drawn to him.
Nash is the constant. He’s the fixed variable in the equation of a family made up of a genius twin brother, a somewhat eccentric inventor father, and a sister who suffered a traumatic injury that’s left her wheelchair bound, among other things. What makes Nash the constant? Nash is the steadfast son and brother, the one who is always there for his family in spite of the fact that has meant him giving up any sort of life of his own. What makes Nash awesome is that the very things that might make some bitter or resentful, are the very things he has embraced, and he’s done so with love and humor…even if he’s missed the fact that the sacrifices he’s made may not be altogether necessary anymore.
The actors who populate Bluewater Bay, Washington, where the wildly popular television show Wolf’s Landing is filmed, have moved in and already left their mark on the sleepy little town in the first three books of this multi-author collaboration. Spencer’s highly publicized divorce is the obstacle Z.A. Maxfield has chosen to create conflict in the relationship between Nash and Spencer, and she used it to its full, if not awkward, effect (poor Spencer) when his ex makes a grandiose and very public gesture. The one thing ZAM doesn’t do, however, is villain-ize Spencer’s ex, just makes him a little pitiful in some ways, but I even ended up liking him a teeny bit before the book ended. If anything, what takes it on the chin in the book is our fascination with the private lives of public people, exploring how the paparazzi, and even the mean girls at Shelby’s school, become a side effect of Spencer’s attention.
Between Nash’s sweet and simple wooing, his attempts to help ease Spencer’s way through his divorce, and Nash discovering some hurtful but life-changing truths about himself and his role in the Holly family, Hell on Wheels equates to a sexy and witty and endearing romance . It’s easy to see how and why Spencer would have been so disarmed and charmed by Nash, because I felt the same way about him. ZAM hasn’t reinvented the wheel here, hasn’t even perfected it and didn’t need to. What she has done is delivered another solid and delightful story in this series, with characters and a family that are real, dimensional, and so darn easy to love.
You can buy Hell on Wheels (Bluewater Bay: Book Three) here:
2 thoughts on “Review: Hell on Wheels by Z.A. Maxfield”
I liked this book but not as much as I wanted to, and I really, really wanted to because the first two are so good. Yes, it can be read as a standalone, but you’re doing yourself an injustice if you don’t read the others (‘Starstruck’ and ‘There’s Something About Ari’ first). I felt the story getting lost in a couple of place where it seemed to go on and on and just meander. I felt the epilogue was basically meaningless and took the air out of an otherwise great ending. I really liked Nash and Spencer’s stories and their road to getting together.
I haven’t read Starstruck, but I loved There’s Something About Ari to bits!
Hell on Wheels was all about Nash for me, and while I didn’t get the sense of meandering you did–I thought it was pretty tightly plotted myself, given all the people Spencer’s presence affected–I did find it to be a predictable storyline, not that that hindered my ability to enjoy it at all.
I was fine with the epilogue. I agree it had a bit of a “19 Years Later” feel to it, but I think it’s there to satisfy the readers who want to see their HEAs tied up in a nice, neat package.