Home Improvement – A Love Story (Bob-O-Link’s Review)

Title: Home Improvement – A Love Story
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 207
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Romance on Aisle Sixteen—opposites attract amid the hammers and screws of the home improvement store.

Gabe Mason became a father at seventeen, and his daughter, Ellie, is the most important thing in his life. But being the parent the courts demand means Gabe has given up most of his dreams—education, making furniture, a gay social life—to be a model dad with a steady, reliable job in a home improvement store. Life’s predictable until Jerry, a shy, eccentric guy in a hat and sunglasses, begs Gabe to oversee the renovation of his run-down mansion.

Gabe loves the house and the work, and Jerry’s pretty lovable too, but when Gabe discovers Jerry’s secret identity, he fears their passion could overturn both their lives forever.

In an earlier, unrelated review, I posited a definition that purported distinguishing porn from erotica, the latter serving to encourage overall sexuality and pornography serving the sensational, or more animal side of sex – the act itself, as opposed to the entity. [Thank you, Internet!] However, left out from the discussion of that arc was romance. To me, romance seems to be the genre in which the emotional relationship of the main characters is primary, and sex is often merely incidental. Think of all the paperback books with covers featuring the touted ripped bodice, or those movies requiring boxes of tissues.

Kudos to Ms Lain. Home Improvement is a real romance, with a fast-moving plot replete with twists and turns and, yes, quite lovely sex, though that only arrives at almost three-quarters into the book. Our heroes don’t have a cute meet, but rather start out with, perhaps, an odd meet. It suits them. Gabe is a sort of “every man” who could easily be portrayed by Jimmy Stewart. And we can see Jerry more as a young Elton John, less a few more patent idiosyncrasies.

The story line is sufficiently captivating, but then add Ms Lane’s deliciously piquant use of well-turned phrases. Wow!

“Hell, if he kept popping wood all the time he saw his new client, . . .”


“Avoiding sexual crap was the smartest thing he’d every done, even if his cock hated it.”

“ – except if he stood up, his erection would have knocked over the woman in the next row.”

And, here’s a topper:

“ . . .wanting not to feel hurt and stupid, except it would be stupid not to feel stupid.”

Bravo, Ms Lain.

This romance quite effectively drags/drugs you into the relationship of our main characters. You root for them. And, if you are like this reviewer, more than once you will cry for them. Home Improvement calls for you to set aside a few hours, grab a box of tissues, and enjoy what a fine romance vicariously can do for you.

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I'm a retired professional. My husband and I, each with an ex-wife, between us have six married children and 10 grandchildren. We both read voraciously, with a strong leaning to gay romance and HEA. Stories with a little (okay, even loads of) sex, and a lot of tears, always pleases.
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