Title: Home Improvement
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 9, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 207
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 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.
Gabe becomes a father at 17 and spends the next 16 years supporting his daughter, working at a steady job and making beautiful handcrafted furniture in his spare time. Or as his daughter says “I live with a man who pretty regularly gives up what he wants to do in his life for somebody else, namely me. It’s great, but it’s not a sustainable strategy.” Or as Jerry says: “Gabe gave up his childhood to assure she had hers.”
Jerry, wearing a weird beanie and sunglasses, shows up at the ImproveMart where Gabe works, asking for help in purchasing some drawer pulls. Gabe is drawn to the tall shy man and soon is caught up in helping Jerry remodel the huge house he purchased. Gabe thinks that Jerry has no money and he tries to get the best value for the best price, each time using this strange black credit card that he is convinced will be declined. But, of course, Jerry has a secret life as an extremely talented rock star (think a tall 26-yr-old Mick Jagger with long long blonde hair).
Okay, sure, some elements of the story are unrealistic, but I was willing to suspend disbelief and just go with the flow of this sweet, fun story where each man learns happiness is in their grasp. Gabe and Jerry’s slow burn romance along with an amazingly fast total house renovation keeps the pace of the tale brisk and interesting, and while the ending is straight from reality television and the situation with Gabe’s ex-wife and her religious wing-nut fiance is just bizarre, overall “Home Improvement” is a fun sweet read. 4 stars.