Author ~ Diana Copland
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 21st September 2016
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.
Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.
David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.
This is a sweet romance about two men trying to make a fresh start and stumbling into love.
David has just left his cheating, abusive, long-term partner and has recently lost his farther, while Jackson has moved back home to be the caregiver for his mother who has been diagnosed with MS. David buys a house in his mother’s neighborhood and hires Jackson to do some repair and renovation work.
The two men get to know each other, easily finding conversation. David is an interior designer and Jackson has an appreciation for the historic architecture of the house so they find some common ground right away. David’s attraction grows with every interaction and Jackson appreciates David for who he is as he becomes his old self again. In hindsight David sees just how he changed to make his ex happy, always insecure about what Trevor ever saw in him.
The relationship moves at a believable pace. Each man is there for the other when they need support and the friendship is becoming solid as their attraction simmers. There is plenty of tension in the build-up to that first kiss. With everything going on in their lives it’s tough to find time alone, but their families and friends are willing to give them a helping hand. David’s assistant Michael is a sweetheart and the two have some great banter. Jackson and David’s mothers are sweet, but the rest of Jackson’s family leaves much to be desired.
There is some drama courtesy of David’s horrible ex and there is also an underlying sense of pervasive homophobia in the town that is highlighted by some acts of vandalism and the refusal of contractors and homeowners to work with gay men on renovation and construction jobs. We get to know these lovely men as David hires them to work at his house (I see a future story in Michael and Gil, a big bear of a painter).
While there is nothing here that I haven’t seen before, the story works so well that it was a delight to read. Nothing goes over the top and all the interactions between the characters were very down to earth and believable. The romance builds slowly and it’s a real treat when David and Jackson are finally able to spend some time alone. Seeing David get back the things he changed for Trevor from his wardrobe to his choice of food and furniture was very satisfying.
This is the first book I’ve read by Diana Copland and I found it well written and paced. The MC’s had good chemistry and the secondary characters all added to the story. Although I don’t see it mentioned, it appears that this story sets up the start of a series. There is a full love story here, but there are other minor plotlines that were unresolved and a cast of characters that seem primed to be with each other or find their happiness as well. I recommend this to anyone looking for a feel-good love story.
Meet Diana Copland
Diana Copland began writing in the seventh grade, when she shamelessly combined elements of Jane Eyre and Dark Shadows to produce an overwrought Gothic tale that earned her an A- in creative writing, thanks entirely to the generosity of an indulgent teacher. She wrote for pure enjoyment for the next three decades before discovering LiveJournal and a wonderful group of supportive fanfiction writers who encouraged her to try her hand at original gay fiction. Born and raised in southern California, Diana moved to the Pacific Northwest after losing a beloved spouse to AIDS in 1995. She lives in eastern Washington with four horribly spoiled cats, near her two wonderful adult children who swear she doesn't embarrass them. She thinks they're so cute.