Please say hello to Diana Copland and
When David Snyder buys the old house he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to call home. Unfortunately, the house has problems; electrical, plumbing, heating, things David knows nothing about. He’s an interior designer and can make a home beautiful, but repairs are beyond him. David contacts a handyman, even as he pictures an overweight guy sporting filthy worn jeans, displaying a butt crack. When Jackson Henry arrives in time to save David from accidentally burning his house to the ground, he finds he could not have been more wrong. Jackson, dark-haired, lean and handsome, is an expert in construction and repairs, and just what David needs.
David knows he shouldn’t be attracted to the soft spoken handyman. His last partner was unfaithful, and jumping into a new relationship is a recipe for disaster. His ex is creating trouble, and David’s car has been vandalized sitting in his driveway. But as David spends more time with Jackson, he finds himself falling -- hard. Is Jackson the love he’s hoped for? There’s only one way to know for sure, and that’s to try to trust what his heart is telling him in spite of the obstacles.
This was fabulous, y'all. I hope you've already ordered it.
Seriously, though, this book is near perfect, with a fantastic cast, two utterly lovable MCs, great moms, a snarky assistant who needs his own book, and a tender and oh-so-sweet romance.
The plot is fairly straight-forward:
After breaking up with an abusive boyfriend, David Snyder, who works as an Interior Designer, is looking for a new place to live and on impulse buys a house he falls in love with. The abusive ex has kept everything, including the condo David pays for, all the furnishings, and even the Keurig.
Soon after closing on the house, David regrets not insisting on a home inspection when the house he fell for turns out to be more like a money pit. Interior Design hasn't prepared him for leaking roofs, bad electrical wiring, bad plumbing, and a myriad of other issues.
David's mom hands him a business card for a handyman. Jackson Henry is nothing like what David expected.
Cue massive UST. The attraction is immediate, but of course David is still licking his wounds, and while Jackson is interested, he's also working for the guy, so nothing much happens other than glances and errand thoughts. So while Jackson fixes up David's house, the mating dance begins.
There is very little drama in this book as far as the relationship between the two men is concerned. As their dance continues, they fall more and more, and their relationship is exactly what one would expect - full of mutual respect, comfort, and helping each other. When Jackson's mom is hospitalized, David is right there, lending a hand, keeping Jackson propped up. And Jackson does the same for David.
Jackson has a bunch of awesome friends, who also become David's friends, and David has a fabulous assistant, who needs his own book. This being set in a small town, there's also some homophobia inside, not within Jackson's inner circle, but from people living in the town, who'd rather not hire someone who's gay. Because, you know, gay cooties could rub off. Morons.
The only real drama is with Jackson's siblings (for whom I had no use, and I wish Jackson wouldn't either), and David's ex, Trevor, asshole first class. The latter was perhaps slightly OTT, but whatever. This is me not caring about that, because it helped to really show how well David and Jackson fit together.
This novel is by design low steam and slow burn, but I appreciated that more than I would have appreciated David and Jackson falling into bed together at first sight. When they do finally get it on, they burn up the sheets. Their emotional connection translated into some really hot passion, and oh my... yeah, that was awesome.
Wonderfully engaging writing style, with fantastic dialogue, excellent pacing, some comic relief - this was as close to perfect as possible.
I very much enjoyed reading this, and while this may have been my first book by this author, it won't be my last. And I'm definitely hoping that there will be a sequel to this one. Soon.
** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **
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Well first I’d like to thank Sandra for the lovely review of David, Renewed. It made my day! It also gave me the idea for this post!
Several people have said they think my main characters, David and Jackson, have friends who need to have books of their own. Gil, Vernon, Manny. And Michael, David’s hipster, snarky best friend. So, for the first time anywhere, here is an excerpt from Michael, Reinvented!!
Michael Crane flipped up the collar of his coat as he walked briskly down the sidewalk, black leather half boots clicking on the concrete, Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ flowing into his ears from his ear buds. He liked the song, and found it helped him to keep up a steady pace as he walked the several blocks of crowded downtown corridor to the high rise building that housed his employer, A.F. Interiors. The cold seemed to seep through his coat, the wind lifting the front of his medium brown hair and slipping under the coils of the heavy dark blue scarf around his neck.
Berms of snow lined the busy thoroughfare, blackened by dirt and exhaust, but the heavy dark clouds hanging low over the city promised more snow within a few hours. February might be the beginning of spring in some places, but in the inland Pacific Northwest the temperatures were still in the low twenties. Michael’s breath rushed out in a puff of condensation, and he huddled deeper into the short gray pea coat, picking up his pace. Starbuck’s was only half a block away.
When he pulled open the glass door, coffee scented air reached out to him, the warmth of the heating system brushing his cold cheeks. He sighed gratefully, taking his place in the short que, pulling his black gloves from his long, pale hands then shoving them into his coat pockets. There were red cardboard hearts hanging on monofilament strands from the ceiling, twirling slowly in the movement of the heated air. Michael eyed them with disgust, moving forward when the woman in front of him stepped closer to the girl working the register. He was four back, and he checked his watch. It was eight forty. He still had time.
When he looked up the young man near the machine where steam lifted from hot milk looked up and gave Michael a flirtatious smile. He was very cute with his dark curls and big brown eyes. He gave Michael a nod, and gestured him closer with a dip of his head.
“Michael, right?” he asked when he reached the counter. “Grande skinny mocha, extra shot, no whip?”
Michael wasn’t surprised to find he knew his order; he got the same thing every morning. He also wasn’t particularly surprised he’d called him up to the counter. He’d checked Michael out head to toe the first day he’d worked behind the counter nearly six months before, and had been cruising him ever since.
“Yes.” Michael gestured toward the irritated people who had been in line in front of him. “But shouldn’t I – “
“What’re friends for?” The come-hither smile was back, and Michael decided to ignore the irked stares burning into his back. He’d take his perks where he could get them.
Five minutes later the barista handed him the white paper cup. Michael had seen him scribbling furiously on the side for several seconds with a black marker. He’d written ‘I’m Carlos’ and a phone number. Under that he’d drawn a heart with ‘be my Valentine’ inside of it. Michael managed, just, not to roll his eyes.
“Thanks,” he said weakly, dropping a dollar into the tip jar before leaving the store.
It was only February seventh, and he was already over Valentine’s Day. He hated the stupid holiday. A friend of his called it ‘Single’s Awareness Day’, and he’d laughed, but he agreed. He was single because he chose to be but to have hearts and flowers crammed down his throat every February fourteenth irritated the hell out of him. He sipped his coffee as he wove in and out of the active foot traffic, already knowing the cup with the come on was going into the trash can in his office as soon as he got there.
His cellphone buzzed in his pocket. He took it out, thumbing to his text screen with his free hand.
Good morning, handsome, the message read. How are you this beautiful morning?
He huffed, pausing next to a building, setting his coffee on a window ledge.
What do you want? He replied. I’m a busy man.
I can’t just send a cutie a good morning text?
A slight smile curled Michael’s lips up at the corners. He couldn’t help it. He was just glad the man texting him couldn’t see it.
Gilbert -- What. Do. You. Want.
He could almost imagine Gil lying on his bed, that snarky smile in place while he tried to compose a witty come back.
Fine, don’t let me flirt with you.
Please tell David I need those color chips for the Waterson’s today if I’m supposed to start painting the exterior next week.
Why don’t you tell David, Michael shot back. You have his number.
I think his phone must be off, because he isn’t responding. I’m guessing he and Jackson are making like bunnies. Besides, you are his assistant, aren’t you? Isn’t that where messages go?
Leave him a voice mail, Michael typed back. His fingers were beginning to ache in the cold; he’d never put his gloves back on.
They’d had this conversation before, but this time it seemed like Gil must’ve had the response already typed, because it popped up immediately.
But if I leave him a voice mail I don’t get to give you grief, now do I?
Michael huffed out an exasperated sigh. Piss off, Chandler. I have better things to do, and you’re going to make me late.
But I’m breaking you down, Michael. Admit it. You love me.
Michael thumbed off his phone in exasperation without responding, shoving it into his pocket. He grabbed his gloves, yanked them on then retrieved his coffee before resuming his commute down the sidewalk. He huffed, wrapping the cord for his ear buds around his hand before jamming it in his pocket, his temper simmering.
The man infuriated him, poking at him on an almost daily basis. And Michael honestly wasn’t sure what to do about it.
He’d met Gilbert Chandler the day his best friend, David, bought an entire house full of beautiful mission style furniture from him. Gil’s dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so they’d moved him into assisted living, leaving Gil to sort out the details of his life. One of those details was the furniture, and David brought Michael along as ‘muscle’ on moving day. That had been a joke; Gil’s friends were all built along the lines of a mountain range and Michael, at five ten and a hundred and fifty pounds wringing wet, certainly wasn’t comparable. But for some reason Gil, six foot four and roped with muscle, Mr. Clean bald head gleaming in the sunlight, deep blue eyes shining and dimples popping by his mouth, had decided he wanted Michael.
Not just for a casual hook-up, either, which Michael might have actually been amenable to. Who didn’t want to climb all those muscles, feel those big arms close around him? He’d admit he wasn’t immune to the idea. But Gil didn’t want a one night stand. He was looking for happily ever after, and Michael most emphatically was not.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into Michael, Reinvented. Go to the Dreamspinner Press home page and register, (just click on the little person icon and it will take you right to the right spot) then leave a comment on this post for a chance to win the first book in the series, David, Renewed!
More about the author:
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.
Promotional materials provided by the author.