The Mechanics of Lust: A Mackenzie Country Story by Jay Hogan - review and excerpt

Zach is afraid to get his heartbroken once again, and new to town pilot Luke has heartbreak written all over him. Plus, their ex's are now together and isn't that awkward, no matter how much chemistry they have together. Can Luke and Zach be there for each other longer than the agreed upon short term arrangement that they agree to? SNik read and reviewed The Mechanics of Lust.

From the blurb:

I broke the rules and fell in love with my best friend. Newsflash—he didn’t feel the same. I had to stand by and watch him fall for someone else. Moving on hasn’t been easy since we all live and work on the same high country sheep station, but I’m finally getting there.

I’m building a new life, a new set of dreams, planning a different future, just me and my dogs. The last thing I need is Luke Nichols, the sexy, enigmatic, ex-husband of my nemesis, filling my head with a laundry list of cravings. Talk about complicated.

Luke is only in Mackenzie Country for a few months and I’m not about to put my heart on the line again just for a little fun. But the more I’m around Luke, the harder it is to remember exactly why Luke and I are a bad idea, the worst idea.

Things between us are about to go nuclear.

Maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe we can keep it simple.
Maybe I can satisfy my cravings and hold on to my heart.
And maybe pigs can fly.

Note: This story contains references to the past loss of a child.

SNik's Review:

The Mechanics of Lust is the second in the series (Mackenzie Country), best if read in order. Hurt/comfort. Dual POV. Heed content warnings. 

There is no denying there are sparks whenever Luke and Zach are together, but Luke’s past marriage and loss of his child as well as the fact he may only be around for a short time make the pilot a no-fly zone for hometown boy, shepherd and dog trainer Zach. Both men commit to trying to have a casual relationship, but deep down know that feelings will be hurt and hearts will be broken when it’s over. 

Both men are likable, supportive, and really try to honestly communicate, and their steamy times are off the charts. Such a romantic story, with tons of emotion, love, fear, compassion and caring. I really appreciated Luke being 100 percent devoted to Zach and not giving up even when Zach pushes him away. 

Luke and Zach still have to carve out a life with each other, and part of the romance is the struggle. The supportive secondary characters and the fantastic descriptions of the New Zealand high country life round out this wonderful second book of the series.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Heather's Review:

The Mechanics of Lust brings together two lonely men, both who've experienced loss in different ways and who share a connection through the fact that their exes are now together...

Picking up where The Art of Husbandry leaves off, we find both Zach and Luke struggling with their realities - Zach, who is still reeling from being ostracized by his family and a failed connection with Holden and Luke, whose marriage to Gil ended after the tragic death of their daughter.  Zach is definitely the more wary, but they have good communication and the steam is off the charts!   They are so positive for each other and it's beautiful to watch.

This book just hits you in the feels... and makes you want to head for the New Zealand high country in a helicopter!

Rating: 5 Stars

KjnRose's Review:

This is the second book in the Mackenzie Country series and it is best read in order, though you don't have to, this is a hurt/comfort book and does have some items that might trigger people. Zach is trying to get over his infatuation with his friend Holden and Luke is getting through a divorce and a death of a child.  

Rating: 5 Stars

Lesetiger's Review:

After I liked the first volume of Mackenzie Country very much, I was already curious about The Mechanics of Lust. 

This time it's about Luke and Zach, who I already got to know in the first volume. You can read the book as a standalone, but it's more fun to read if you know the first volume. 

When Luke and Zach meet, things really heat up and you can feel the sizzle between them. But Zach, after his past, is not ready to give his heart away another time and therefore keeps Luke at a distance regarding a possible relationship. Luke is just as lonely as Zach and knows what loss means. First he lost their daughter and then his marriage broke up. But he doesn't give up, because for him Zach is the one and he wants more than just a casual relationship. A plus in this story is the communication between the protagonists.

The setting in the New Zealand highlands is fascinating and it was really fun to follow Zach and Luke. Zach, who loves the country life, and Luke, who is trying to make a fresh start, are trying to find a way for a future together. However, it's not all that easy. 

I enjoyed this romantic story set in the highlands of New Zealand with lots of emotions, lovable secondary characters and two very likeable men. Who wouldn't want to take a helicopter ride over the highlands with Luke?

Rating: 5 Stars

Sheena's Review:

This is the second in a series, and no lie here, I couldn't wait for Zach's story and I so hoped it would be with Luke. I loved the first book so much, it was so good and I couldn't wait for this to come out. You really need to have read the fist book to have an appreciation for both men and what they've gone through to get to this point in their lives. There are some fairly heavy topics here with the loss of a greatly beloved child, the end of a marriage and getting over the fact your family has thrown you out, your best friend who you thought you loved turned you down and you have to stay on the farm where said best friend lives with his new love only yards from you.

There's so much antagonism from Zach towards Luke at the start, it's almost enemies to lovers but not quite. There is so much chemistry between the two, and I found I was just rooting for the pair of them to sort it out and admit how well they worked together as a couple. I liked that they took their time getting to know each other as well while they were 'friends with benefits'. It's ultimately satisfying, a little swoony in places and packed full of the third in this relationship, which is the NZ high country they both love.

I adored this and really hope there are more in the series.

Rating: 5 Stars

The Mechanics of Lust is available to buy as an ebook, paperback, or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.

When the line between lust and love is barely a heartbeat.


“Speech, speech!” A slow clap reverberated off the faded walls of the Oakwood pub’s back bar, which locals had affectionately named The Fleece.

I put my back to the wooden bar and watched a furiously blushing Gil throw Holden a withering, you-are-in-so-much-trouble glare before stepping onto the small stage. He surveyed the crowd from under the Happy Fortieth Birthday banner, which had taken four of us an embarrassing amount of time and a few beers to finally get in place.

I was amazed we’d managed to keep the surprise party a secret, but somehow we’d done it, and Gil had been stunned, tearful, and touchingly overwhelmed when he’d walked into the packed bar to a loud chorus of happy birthday that rattled the rafters.

As I listened to his emotional thank you to everyone who’d turned up to celebrate, including some of his friends who’d flown in from Wellington, it was hard not to be charmed by the man. Not quite a year in the district and Gil’s name was almost as synonymous with Miller Station as Holden’s. This was partly due to their gay-couple status, but also because of the run of free seminars Gil had begun offering locally on grief, stress management, and rural mental health. The result was a bar chocka with birthday well-wishers.

And I was one of them.

Cue the shocked gasps of disbelief.

Keeping my eyes on Gil, I shuffled sideways to let a man in at the bar behind me.

“We must stop meeting like this.” The gravelly voice sent a shiver down my spine, and I turned to find a familiar pair of blue eyes dancing over my face.

Luke Nichols. Dammit.

Luke flashed that wicked smile that always made my dick sit up and pay attention and just, damn my bad luck. The man smelled of Tom Ford, summer, and trouble, and I cursed the familiar tingling sensation his proximity always managed to induce in my body. A fact that only strengthened my resolve to make sure he caught my eye roll. He did. But the amused smirk he returned my way didn’t help matters.

“Well, look who the cat dragged in.” I tried not to lean in for another waft of that expensive cologne. “Guess there’s no show without Punch, right?”

Luke gave an amused snort. “I guess not.” His gaze raked over me, head to foot, before he turned his attention to the small stage where Gil was winding up his speech. “Ah, the birthday boy.”

I followed Luke’s gaze, pretending to listen while shooting covert glances back his way because . . . well, because I was an idiot. And because he looked so fucking edible. Dressed in dark-wash jeans paired with a crisp white shirt—open at the neck and with the cuffs rolled up to reveal the green silicone wristband he always wore—Luke looked annoyingly cool as a cucumber in the late January heat that had the rest of us layering on the deodorant.

Smelling fresh from the shower, Luke brushed a stray lock of dirty blond hair back into place in a way that made me want to shove a hat over my own shaggy, auburn waves. A woven black leather cord hung around his neck and disappeared under his shirt, and a pair of trendy black loafers poked out from the bottom of his jeans. It pained me to admit it, but the man was effortlessly chic.

Enough already. I refocused on Gil who was gesturing to Holden to join him on the small stage.

“Get up here, baby.” Gil drew Holden in for a long, slow kiss that had the birthday crowd whooping and wolf-whistling.

I waited for the once familiar knot of jealousy in my chest, but it never came. Wistful? Sure. Envious of what they had? Absolutely. But jealous still? I thought about it again. No. Maybe I was fooling myself, but I was going to take that for a win.

Luke leaned in close. “Does this feel as weird for you as it does for me?”

I glanced over my shoulder. “I’ve no idea what you mean,” I lied.

His lips twitched in an almost smile that I chose to ignore. “Oh really?” he asked sardonically. “Because here we are, you and me, at a party celebrating my ex-husband’s birthday, thrown by his new love who just happens to be your best friend slash ex. One could be forgiven for saying it’s a bit of a mindfuck, right?”

When I didn’t answer, he elbowed me gently. “Oh, come on. A little conversation won’t kill you.”

I huffed. “Says you.” I was being a dick and we both knew it, but that was par for the course as far as things between us went.

To be fair, Luke had attempted to build a bridge many times since our inauspicious first meeting. He’d arrived uninvited at the station the year before in an attempt to force Gil to talk and I’d been . . . less than welcoming. I might not have liked Gil much at that time, and I still didn’t know the whole story of what had happened between them, but to walk out on your husband six months after your daughter was killed in a car accident? The rest of Miller Station might have found a way to gloss over that fact and forgive him, even Gil. But as far as I was concerned, how much more did you really need to know about a guy?

Not to mention, getting all buddy-buddy with the man would’ve meant having . . . conversations and likely being paired up to work when he helped out on the station. The problem was that any proximity to Luke brought with it a minefield of potential disaster best avoided.

Luke was sexy as shit and his obvious interest in me might fizz in those wicked blue eyes. But he was trouble with a capital T, and I wanted no part of him for too many reasons to list. Although if I did happen to list them, right at the top would be the fact that my body lit up like a Christmas tree every time the man came within spitting distance.

Not since those first times with Holden had I felt anything like that.

Maybe not even then, and that fact just plain pissed me off.

Too bad I was done with complicated men.


About Jay:

Heart, humour and keeping it real.

Jay is a 2020 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Gay Romance and her book Off Balance was the 2021 New Zealand Romance Book of the Year.

She is a New Zealand author writing mm romance and romantic suspense, primarily set in New Zealand. She writes character driven romances with lots of humour, a good dose of reality and a splash of angst. She's travelled extensively, lived in many countries, and in a past life she was a critical care nurse, nurse educator and counsellor. Jay is owned by a huge Maine Coon cat and a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel

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