06 January 2015

Fixing the Hole by Katherine Halle

 Heavy rains and strong winds slammed an uprooted tree through Steve Crowell’s roof, leaving a gaping hole to match the one in his heart. After his ex left him for a younger man, Steve’s not sure he’s ready to handle another disaster. His best friend highly recommended the contractor, but the man’s already late, and when he shows up with his music thumping, Steve isn’t impressed—until Riley steps out of his pickup truck. Personable, gorgeous Riley talks a mile a minute, which Steve finds both ridiculously endearing and terrifying. Piecing together a heart isn’t as easy as fixing a roof, but Riley might just be the right man for the job.
Fixing the Hole was a really great read. While the circumstances that lead to Steve and Riley meeting seriously suck, I loved the way they interacted with one another and I found their occasional shyness to be sweet. As the story progresses, we learn that both men have been cheated on by a past boyfriend and this makes them both skittish when it comes to relationships – especially Steve, whose much younger boyfriend claimed he cheated because Steve was old and boring. Because the story is told from Steve’s point of view, we understand his hesitancy from the very beginning, but don’t learn of Riley’s cheating ex until much later in the book and that was just as big of an “A-HA” moment for me as it was for Steve.

I feel I should point out that there is no sex in this novella, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any sexual tension. Quite the opposite in fact and this makes for one heck of a foreplay scene when Steve and Riley finally share their first kiss … and second kiss … and third kiss … and oh my goodness does Ms. Halle do a great job reminding the reader of just how good kissing can be. And for two men who have been cheated on in the past, this is the perfect “baby step” toward a potential relationship. I for one would love, love, love for Ms. Halle to write a sequel to Fixing the Hole so that I could get the chance to see their relationship progress further (hint, hint).  
This novella is about is about 43 pages long, and just as the title implies throughout the 4 days this covers we have Riley, a young contractor fixing a roof. The book starts out with a storm, in which a large tree falls through Dale’s home office roof. Dale is the older home owner that was burned in a bad relationship 2 years previous by a younger guy and hasn’t ventured into more than one-night stands since.
They spend the 4 days talking, flirting and mending each other’s past troubles as well has the roof.
This was a sweet PG story about a gun shy 45 year old man and a 28 year old contractor. These two have to get over the age differences, past hurts and learning about each other knowing the have a deadline. Once the work is done, Riley will be gone. I didn’t find much depth to either character, but I did find both enduring and sweet in there boyish way. 
First person is always a unique point of view when you are dealing with adult fiction and it can harm or help the story. In this case, at first, I was sure it had ruined it. In the first paragraph alone, 3 of the 4 sentences started with the word “I”. And over about one-third of the book, I kept seeing I’s everywhere and groaning each time I did. But then something miraculous happened. I stopped seeing the I’s. Because the story was so sweet and so endearing, I just stopped noting them. Instead, I got into rooting for poor Steve who is 45, untrusting due to a past relationship, quiet, and sure no guy almost twenty years younger would ever want him.
Boy was he wrong. Riley is in many ways, Steve’s opposite. He’s 28, gregarious, and talks non-stop. The only thing they do share is the fact each of them had a past boyfriend who cheated on them.
I truly enjoyed how the author made it very clear how much Riley was flirting and at the same time how much Steve was trying to prove to himself that this couldn’t possibly work. Until he forced himself to try.
The story was fantastic and would have gotten 5 stars if it weren’t for so many I’s. I highly suggest it.


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