Review: Slap and Tickle (With a Kick #3) by Clare London

Bryan Harrison is a successful accountant and a man who admires order and self-discipline. It’s a startling break from his routine when he literally bumps into Phiz Bussman outside With A Kick. Phiz’s lifestyle and behaviour are in complete contrast to Bryan’s, and appear totally chaotic. But they each recognise something in the other that they need.

Bryan has been helping With A Kick with its financial difficulties, and is finding it difficult to balance his professional persona with friendship with the owners. But then he’s always found it tricky to expose his more vulnerable feelings. His cool facade hides loneliness: he believes he’ll never find a lover who accepts and welcomes his secret desire.

Whereas Phiz is all about exposure! He’s defined by his cheerful but clumsy liveliness, his open-hearted emotions, and his physical needs. Despite that, he’s lonely as well. He craves someone who will help him bring purpose and focus into his life, and admits freely he needs a firm hand – in every way.

If they can both accept a friendship that’s destined for more, Bryan may be just the man to provide it.

This is the third installment of the With a Kick series and every time I read one I crave the concoctions Lee and Patrick come up with even harder. And, I’m not even a big ice cream far. The Slap and Tickle though, I’d be all over that. While this is part of a series I’d say it could definitely be read as a stand-alone. The commonality is the location and With a Kick’s proprietors, but we don’t have their whole story yet so you can definitely read this one for Bryan and mostly for Phiz.

I loved Phiz. He’s the definition of a hot mess. He’s clumsy, speaks in stream of consciousness rants laced with f-bombs and he can’t hold a job to save his life. It’s not that he isn’t motivated or a hard worker, he’s just not comfortable in crowds and lacks the formal education to do what he loves in arts and graphics. He definitely has the soul of an artist but he completely lacks the ability to control his own chaos. Now Bryan, the accountant for With a Kick, on the other hand, is nothing but control and order. This poor dude is so tightly wound he’s in a constant clench. It’s really a good thing we got to read his inner musings because on the surface he just sounds like an uptight asshole. He’s not though, he’s just kind of socially awkward. He blurts out things that come across all wrong then berates himself internally for opening his big fat yapper.

Bryan’s also had his heart broken and because he doesn’t really see himself as the lovable type, he’s resigned himself to being alone. He’s just Sad Bryan until Phiz comes along and messes up his order.
Bryan has more than heartbreak and awkwardness going on. He’s got a bit of a kinky streak in him that none of his previous boyfriends would go for. It’s not even really hardcore, he just gets off on being in charge and dishing out the spanks. I felt bad for the poor guy, because his kink really fit his personality and I couldn’t help but think if he could find his match he could finally be comfortable in his own skin. Good thing my Phiz came along. Phiz not only gets off on being controlled and having his cute little bum taken to task, he needs it.

Who better to help focus a hot mess with a little discipline than a repressed accountant with a spanking kink? Bryan I tells ya, that’s who! Bryan helps Phiz keep centered and the sexy scenes between these two were damn good. They did communicate, if a little awkwardly at times. It made me feel like things were just hanging there waiting to be said at times, but given these two and their personalities it actually fit.

The wrap up at the end was a little quick and I was a little confuzzled as to what went down with With a Kick. Without going into detail, Phiz and With a Kick both had problems solved, but the way it was told without really telling left enough gray area to make me question what I figured actually happened, or may have happened. Not totally sure. That took nothing away from the story though as the story really belongs to Phiz and Bryan. I just love Patrick and Lee and can’t wait for their tale. I really hope that happens soon. Maybe that’s what it missing for me, I’m intrigued by Lee and Patrick and just want more from them. Either/or this is a fun and quirky series that’s both hot and sweet, I’ll definitely be reading the next one.

For more info on Slap and Tickle, check it out on Goodreads!
**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

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