Title: Handyman (Second Edition)
Author: Claire Thompson
Publisher: Romance Unbound Publishing
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary GLBT (M/M)
Length: Novel
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Guest Reviewer: Katiebabs

There are not many authors who can write incredible and engaging gay romance like Claire Thompson. I have always been a big fan of her books ever since I started reading ebooks and I can always count on Claire for emotional and very well written stories. And don’t forget those hot and steamy love scenes. Handyman, her latest release from Samhain Publishing is up there as one of my favorite reads of 2008 and probably one of her best.

I have to admit I am still a bit wary when it comes to reading M/M romance because the majority of these books I have read in the past seem to be just about lust and sex and no real emotional attachment or communication. Maybe I am not picking the right ones? Handyman is a very well rounded story for fans of M/M romance that also includes a May/December storyline.

Will Spencer is a thirty year old Wall Street stock trader living a fast paced lifestyle of sex, sleeping pills and booze that would promise him an early death. Will doesn’t want to end up dead before he is fifty, so he decides to take a leave of absence from his firm and buys a house in the suburbs for some much needed relaxation. The house needs some major renovations and Will needs to hire a handyman to help get things in order. When a friend recommends Jack Crawford to do the work on his house, Will is more than happy because Jack turns him on and since Will is gay, he hopes to get to know Jack much better. But Will is not hoping for much because he assumes a romance with Jack is a lost cause since Jack is a widower with two grown sons.

Jack is forty-two and loves owning his own business and the work he does. He does feel lonely after Emma, his wife of twenty-four years died from a brain aneurysm; he misses her deeply because of the many years they had together and especially since both his sons have moved away. But when he meets Will he remembers his best friend Luke and their one night together when they acted on their lust for each other by kissing and touching. Jack pushed those memories deep down blaming it on adolescence and nothing more. But soon he can’t stop thinking about Will, and every time he is in the same room with him, his heart skips a beat.

As Will gets to know Jack, he can’t help but wonder if Jack is really gay and is hiding the truth from himself and the world. Even if things don’t progress from just being friends, Will is fine with that because he loves being around Jack. Jack in turn thinks Will is a great guy and they start hanging out with each other. Then one night Will and Jack kiss and Will wants more than just friendship. The ball is in Jack’s court and he has some hard decisions to make about himself, what his children will think and if he is willing to be the lover that Will wants. Jack enjoys kissing Will and the way he feels when they are together, but he is not sure if he can take that next step in intimacy between them. It is up to Will to show Jack why their feelings for each other are perfect and why it is okay to explore those feelings, which will eventually lead to more than just kissing and touching between the two.

When I finished reading Handyman, the word that came to mind was “WOW!” Claire can sure write exceptional romance, especially those between men. There are not too many authors who can write gay romance with such emotion and angst as Thompson can. She has taken a touchy subject matter, especially that of Jack finally “coming out”, and making it one of the best stories I have read this year. Not only is this a touching romance, but there is a great deal of many other important subjects discussed such as honesty, trust and being true to one’s self. Thompson has truly succeeded here in every sense of the word.

Jack Crawford really spoke to me because at his age he has taken a step that not many men or women would do. To totally admit you are living a lie and then changing yourself because you have kept your most hidden desires a secret from yourself and everyone around takes great courage. Will’s understanding for what Jack is going through also tugged at my heart. These two men are so very believable about how they handled one another and the steps they must take to get where they can be comfortable with each other and the intimacy that follows.

Handyman is a very special romance with really well written love scenes mainly because of the way Will takes Jack in hand so to speak. These two don’t jump each other’s bones right away, but rather, take the time to make sure they are both comfortable with one another. There is great respect between these two men that I couldn’t get enough of. If you haven’t had the chance to read Claire Thompson or have been on the fence in trying M/M romance, I recommend you start with Handyman.


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