Mason gives people too many chances, Hunter gives too few, but are they willing to take a chance on each other?
Mason’s always tried to believe the best in people, and for the most part, their sunshine attitude pays off. They love their friends, their family, and they’re determined to win over their broody, gorgeous coworker Hunter—especially when their car in the shop turns into carpooling to work together.
Hunter’s only seen the worst in people, and he doesn’t trust easily—not after growing up with a mom who ditched and an addict dad. However, perky, sweet, hot-as-hell Mason seems to win him over with every goofy comment or adorable smile, and before he can stop himself, he’s falling hard.
The more time Mase and Hunter spend together, the more their attraction flares until they’re both holding the hope for something real. However, when Hunter’s past collides with his present, the secret he’s been keeping threatens to destroy everything—the home he established, the friends who’ve become his new family, and any chance of a future with Mason.
Roll the dice on romance at Tabletop Tavern
[I received a digital arc for an honest review]
Intelligence Check is the third book in the Dungeons and Dating series by Katherine McIntyre. While I myself have been reading it from the beginning, it can be read and enjoyed as a stand alone. This is a grumpy/sunshine M/Enby romance between two friends with obvious chemistry.
Hunter’s upbringing makes him believe that he’s worthless and a burden, and leaves him quiet and insecure. Mason is flirty and vibrant with everyone they meet, but inside they struggle with losing their twin sister / best friend. When Hunter rebukes Mason’s advances when they have been drinking, Mason assume their feelings are one-sided. After carpooling to work and spending more time together , both learn that each others feelings are in fact reciprocated. But will regrets from Hunter’s past be too much for Mason to handle, and will their new relationship survive when they come to light.
“If Mason had any chance of not falling for this man, it vanished. They were one hundred percent smitten with every single thing about Hunter Hayes, from the serious, meaningful answers he gave to the bits of softness he tried so desperately to hide.”
I enjoyed both Mason and Hunter equally. Mason is non-binary and very comfortable in their sexual identity. They are confident , bubbly, and flirty even when they are hurting inside. Then we have Hunter who just broke my heart, which I was surprised at because I’m not a fan of characters who have zero self-esteem and their personal arc focus’ on the fact they find themselves worthless. Yet somehow Hunter with his quite grunts, soft-spoken unconfident words, embarrassed blushes and cinnamon roll center completely won me over.
“If he could only wish for one thing in this universe-, it was this – Mason in his arms, in his life. And after a lifetime of loneliness, of feeling like a stone jettisoned out in a lake, he’d do whatever it took to keep them.”
When it comes to Hunter and Mason’s relationship it was a bit slow moving because of some miscommunication, but when they eventually realize they both have feelings it kind of ramps up in speed. I thought it was a kind of fast, but because of their backstories they both have the ‘life’s too short’ mentality. I loved the communication in the bedroom! Hunter has never been with a non-binary person, and their check in to confirm what Mason is comfortable with does not take away from any of the steam and passion. I also appreciated the communication outside the bedroom too once they are in a relationship. When they argue, they are mature about it, and both ready to acknowledge when they are at fault.
“You’re fucking beautiful, Mase.” The awe in his voice as he said it had Mason swallowing hard, a wave of vulnerability washing over them. Hunter undid them in the best sort of way.
In the end, Intelligence Check by Katherine McIntyre is a solid friends to lovers romance with the grumpy/sunshine trope, found family, supportive friends, communication, healing from the past, table-top gaming, Comic Con, random animal facts and an only one bed situation that turns steamy!
Tw: drug and alcohol abuse by secondary character and a parent