Last year I read and thoroughly enjoyed reading Loretta Hill's debut novel, The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots. The things that really stood out for me in that book were the unusual setting, having the heroine in a truly male dominated environment and the great story. Fortunately, the author has managed to keep all of these same factors in her follow up novel.
When Wendy Hopkins turns up for work at her new job, things couldn't really have gone more wrong. Her uncle Mike has put in a good word for her and the boss comes up with a job. What she doesn't know is that Uncle Mike was blackmailing the boss, and now that there is no need for secrecy, there is no more job! Dan Hullog (the main male character from the last book) does, however, recognise that the skills she has are useful and so he ensures that she gets employed with Barnes Inc, the company responsible for rebuilding a huge iron ore wharf in the Pilbara region of far north Western Australia. Given that she thought she was going to be working for Dan, she turns up on the first day wearing his company uniform which goes down like a lead balloon when she is instructed to go to the Barnes Inc office instead. First on the job issue - everyone thinks she might be a spy from the enemy. Add in the fact that she upset one of the few other women on site and ends up in a cabin that is basically uninhabitable, it's not a great start.
Within a few days Wendy has identified any number of breaches in the safety standards, not the least of which is that her immediate boss is incapable of doing the job. When he gets fired, the other Barnes Inc workers have more reason to not like her, and then of all things, she wants them to actually make changes to improve safety, like having safety briefings and other things like that. Before too long Wendy finds herself being the target of several incidents, one of which leads her to be nicknamed 'Sarge'. She also finds herself the target of the advances of notorious flirt Gavin Jones. With around 350 men to 5 women, the last thing that Wendy needs is to be the target of gossip, but when she and Gavin share a steamy kiss she can't help but be interested.
Gavin Jones played a large secondary role in the previous book and I really enjoyed getting to know him a little better in this story. He is originally portrayed as something of a lovable larrikin with an eye for the ladies, but there is much more to him than initially meets the eye. While he is happy to muck around a lot of the time, he is also damn good at what he does. Wendy isn't sure though, there is something that just doesn't add up in terms of his skills and his experience. She knows he is hiding something, but she has no clue what, and to be honest, as a reader I was completely surprised by his back story.
I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next books from this talented new author. I can't wait to see what comes next from her.
Follow the blog tour
Yesterday, Bree from All the Books You Can Read shared her thoughts on the book. Tomorrow's tour stop will be hosted at Confessions from Romaholics
From the author of The Girl in Steel-Capped Boots comes another funny and deliciously romantic tale of a woman in a man's world.
Wendy Hopkins arrives in the Pilbara to search for the father who abandoned her at birth.
Getting mixed up in construction site politics at the Iron Ore wharf just out of town was not high on her 'to do' list.
But when she takes a job as their new Safety Manager she becomes the most hated person in the area. Nicknamed 'The Sergeant', she is the butt of every joke and the prime target of notorious womanizer, Gavin Jones.
Giving up is not an option, though.
For, as it turns out, only Wendy can save these workers from the coming storm, find a man who wants to stay buried and ... put a bad boy firmly in his place.