Dr Wyatt Case is never happier than when he’s walking the halls of his history museum. Playing wingman for his best friend at Gravedigger’s Tavern throws him way out of his comfort zone, but not as much as the eccentric man behind the bar, Ash Lucroix.
Ash is everything Wyatt doesn’t understand: exuberant, quirky, and elbow deep in a gaslight lifestyle that weaves history into everyday life. He coordinates his suspenders with his tongue rings. Within hours, Wyatt and Ash are hooked.
But strange things are afoot at Gravedigger’s and after a knock to the head, Ash starts seeing things that can’t be explained by old appliances or faulty wiring. Soon everyone at Gravedigger’s is wondering if they’re seeing ghosts, or just going crazy. The answer to that question could end more than just Wyatt and Ash’s fragile relationship-it might also end their lives.
Let me just start off by saying that I absolutely adore Abigail Roux. At this point she is my favourite author, hands down, no questions asked. The Gravedigger’s Brawl went with the whole opposites attract thing which I love, and I thought that Abi handled this beautifully. What also appealed to me is that Wyatt is a museum curator, something that I’m currently studying to be, so that was a bonus.
First, let me state that I loved, loved, loved Ash and Wyatt together. They were such an odd couple, and yet they were so utterly adorable that they pulled at your heartstrings. Dr Wyatt Case is… well, he’s a little bit of a square. He has the bumbling professor thing down pat, and he loves nothing more than to be safely tucked away in his museum. He’s not what you would call out going and his “people skills” are “rusty” (forgive the Supernatural reference; I couldn’t resist). Ash is the complete opposite.. He’s a bartender at the Gravedigger’s Tavern, and loves being the centre of attention. He’s confident and sassy, and utterly charmed by Wyatt’s quiet demeanor At first glance, these two polar opposites would have zero chance of getting past the infatuation stage, and would have even less chance of making a relationship work in the long term. But despite their differences, there’s something there. Ash finds Wyatt’s absent-minded scholar vibe endearing. He likes that Wyatt is kinda clueless and shy. Wyatt is completely intrigued by Ash’s quirky personality and mischievous smile. These two are pretty much smitten at first sight, and things are going swimmingly. The chemistry between these two is so intense, Ash takes Wyatt home that very night and they have some scorching hot sex; if it weren’t so effing cold right now I’d have been inclined to take a cold shower. Everything is right, everything is perfect… until Wyatt lets insecurity dictate his actions.
While I really wanted to boot Wyatt in the ass for being such a moron, I still felt so sorry for him. Ash’s feelings were pretty hurt, and he wasn’t just going to let Wyatt and his shitty behaviour off the hook. Well done, Ash. Three cheers for self-respect! But after much grovelling, Ash decides to forgive Wyatt and things start to get better. Except for one thing… strange stuff keeps happening with the lights and appliances. These occurrences all have logical explanations but Ash is still uneasy. He does his best to shrug off the weirdness and focus on his budding relationship with Wyatt. But, after a nasty conk on the head, things get hairy and Ash starts freaking out. He’s hearing noises the others don’t, and seeing things that can’t be explained. This starts putting strain on things between him and Wyatt.
I didn’t particularly like the whole ghost theme, but that’s mostly because ghost squee me out. So while I imagine that the ghost aspect wasn’t particularly creepy, it still gave me a slight case of the heeby-jeebies. But beyond that, I loved every single thing about this story. Wyatt and Ash were brilliant. Wyatt was this adorable fuddy-duddy and Ash really cute guy with a rather eccentric taste in… well, everything. I decided that Wyatt was awesome the minute after we first met him. The man had crawled under his own desk to hide away from the museum’s board of directors. The mental image alone should have you laughing. Ash cemented himself as a favourite when it was revealed that he coordinates his tongue rings with his outfits. Talk about fashion forward. While Ash and Wyatt pretty much stole the show, the secondary characters were pretty awesome too. Honourable mention also goes to Noah and Caleb. Those two came pretty close to unseating Ash and Wyatt from their position of cutest couple ever.
I highly recommend giving this book a try. It was just such a sweet story with minimal angst which, if you’re familiar with Abi’s other books you’ll know, is something of a rarity. Usually she just stabs you in the feels and laughs as you bleed. So enjoy the straight up HEA when the Evil Overlord sees fit to give it to you.
Also, as a sort of PS: if you haven’t already heard, you can order Shock & Awe from Riptide over here. As well as getting what will undoubtedly be an A-MA-ZING story, you will also be contributing to a good cause. Half of the profits made from the first month of sales will donated to One Fund Boston.