This collection was received free of charge in exchange for a fair, honest review.
There are ten m/m stories ranging from contemporary to science fiction to historical to paranormal. All the stories contain at least one main character who works with their hands, from stonemasons to plumbers to electricians and more. I honestly loved this collection and definitely recommend it to m/m romance fans. I would also recommend it to anyone who is new to m/m romance as this isn't overly graphic. My overall rating would be 4 out of 5.
"Coffee Run" by Jess Roth.
Alex is covering for his ill mother as cleaner in the office building where Emmett works. Emmett is cute, easily flustered, and a serious science fiction fan. The story is short, and so very sweet. Emmett is earnest, awkward, and adorkable. Alex is, as Emmett observes, hot. He's also a good man. 4 out of 5.
"The Last Snow Globe Repairman" by Allan Jay.
Tom watched as a new man moved into his neighborhood, his van announcing he repairs snow globes. They run into each other again at a horror film at the local theater. Matt is more than just a repairman, but how will Tom deal with the reveal? I was a little worried at first when Tom grabbed Matt's wrist, invading his personal space. Luckily my concerns were baseless. There's so much going on in this story, so many threads to explore. Missing parents, spirit catching, gay ghost, a lake full of spirits. It deserved a much longer format, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. 3.5 out of 5.
"Of Scribes and Kings" by Bryl R. Tyne.
Ken called his apartment complex's maintenance man to repair some minor items. But he has an ulterior motive. Okay, this relationship really is beyond creepy. Ken traced the other man's IP address to move near him. He sabotages things to get Carr to come to his apartment and stay longer. This is more a slasher stalker porn flick setup than a true romance. We don't even know the first name of Ken's stalkerish affection, only that of his father and his gamer name. Then there are Ken's other issues, such as he never leaves his apartment, even to shop. He downs three beers in rapid succession to fuel his courage. When they do have sex, it is as their gaming alter egos. This isn't healthy, it isn't romantic, it is dangerous. Role play is fine, but not until after a couple has already connected. 2.5 out of 5.
"Executive Decision" by Alice Archer.
Dar Riley saw the offworlder watching him build the wall, day after day. Pierre Catalan is a busy man, one who is fiercely in control of himself and his environment. That changes when he receives bad news while with Dar. What a contrast between our two heroes. Dar is unable to control much in his life. Pierre is too much in control. He needs someone like Dar who can take over the reins, give him permission to step back. I'm always in favor of good science fiction romances, whether m/f or m/m. Science fiction isn't all monsters and space ships. Subtle touches make a good story into satisfying sci-fi and Archer knows just how to paint the scenes. 4.5 out of 5.
"Flat Packed" by Henrietta Clarke.
David Porter, in town for his sister's wedding, is enjoying teasing Louis King, the man of honor and Hayley's best friend. But Louis has the wrong take on David's travels, one that causes friction between them. Both men are good guys, I'm sure that the sex was fantastic. But I worry that there is too much against them as a couple. Still I hope for the best for both of them. And that, dear readers, will always be the mark of a good writer, when you care about the characters. 3.5 out of 5.
"Moonshine" by Charlie Tannen.
It was an unusual request. Charles wants a fast car, all in black, lightweight to help increase the speed, but with a large storage compartment. Oscar is intrigued, not only by the machine that he's building, but by Charles himself. Set during Prohibition, this may be my favorite of the collection. It is a period that isn't seen often in romances, but one I enjoy. Oscar's worry about Charles' criminal activities is well thought out. The attraction and love between the two men jumps off the page. And the ending? Exquisite! 5 out of 5.
"Love on the Tarmac" by Quinn Dressler.
Captain Matt Bowman rescued Cooper Austin from his homophobic First Officer. Coop, like most everyone else, has a crush on the handsome pilot, but didn't think he had any chance. Until Matt joins him for a burger. Another favorite setting of mine, airports and flight personnel. There's a heroic pilot, a cretin First Officer, and an alert rampie who saves the day. I almost got a combination CABIN PRESSURE and WINGS vibe from this tale, in all the best ways. 4.5 out of 5.
"The Stonemason" by Terry Rissen.
Russell Grant had run from his once all encompassing art when it dried up on him. A new job, a new name, a new life, yet still dealing with the art he loved, only this time as a custodian in a small art museum. Then one night something extraordinary occurs. Sad and exciting and heartbreaking and wonderful. Thank heavens for the epilogue or I don't know if I could've survived the story. Even knowing that art, good art, art that pulls at your soul, can be born out of pain, I wanted Russ to have his happily ever after. 4.5 out of 5.
"Hot Cross Buns" by Ginger Streusel.
After a rough resuce, firefighter Cole is wandering the streets at night when Johnny invites him into his family's diner for some hot chocolate. Cole is blaming himself for not being fast enough, believing that the child he rescued wouldn't be struggling in the hospital otherwise. Johnny seems to help lift the weight off his shoulders. A sweet little tale of fire and food. Cole will burn out if he doesn't learn to accept that all he can ever do is his best. Luckily Johnny can help him through that. 3.5 out of 5.
"How to Build a Shed" by Kim Dias.
They met at the library and it was immediate attraction for both men. Shawn, a librarian, was younger and, according to Gabe, too goodlooking to be for him. Still Gabe wanted to see Shawn again, so he makes up a story about needing books to help him build a shed. A desperate lie thought up on the fly as Gabe is actually a construction foreman. Poor Gabe. Poor Shawn. Lies and misunderstandings play havoc on their fledgling relationship. Adorable and beyond sweet. 3.5 out of 5.