When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.
Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.
David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.
First, I’d like to thank the two chicks of ‘Two Chicks Obsessed with Books and Eye Candy’ (best site name ever, btw) for doing my release day post for me!
David, Renewed is the first book I’ve written in two years, and it’s always going to have a special place in my heart. I love all of the characters I’ve written, but there’s just something about David and Jackson. David is so insecure and heart sore (understandably), and Jackson is gorgeous and sexy and really couldn’t care less that he is. Mostly, they’re just guys. They have families that come with their own sets of issues, jobs they work hard at, friends they love. In fact, more than any book I’ve ever written, their friends hold a place of prominence.
When I started this book, it was actually supposed to be a short story. (Ha! I suck at writing anything short. Major fail in that department. I start writing short and sexy and plot creeps in.) Anyway, as it grew from short to not short at all, their friends insisted on being included in the conversation. So much so that there will be two more books, just so they can get their turn!
One of the most important relationships in the first book is David and his best friend Michael. Michael is David’s executive assistant, but they became more friends than boss and employee almost immediately. Several years younger, twink cute and snarky as hell, Michael is still infinitely more experienced with dating than David is.
Today I thought I’d share with you a scene between David and Michael that didn’t make the cut. Sometimes, even things we love don’t make it into the final novel. This scene, where Michael helps David get ready for his first date with Jackson, was just such a scene.
When David emerged from the shower ten minutes later wearing nothing but a towel Michael was lying on his bed with a bowl of microwave popcorn between him and Bootsy and some of the reality crap he loved on the television. David was grateful he’d gotten an old blanket out of the hall linen closet and covered his expensive comforter first. He opened his closet and looked at his clothes, and had no idea what to wear. He turned to Michael.
Michael gave an exaggerated sigh but patted Boots on the head and scooted off the side of the bed. “Okay, what are we going for?”
“He told me to wear something sexy.”
Michael smiled in delight. “Did he now?” He all but rubbed his hands together in glee as he began to study David’s wardrobe. He shifted through the hangers where David’s pants hung neatly, pausing on a pair of black jeans. “Have I seen these before?”
David leaned over his arm. “Probably not. They’re kind of tight.”
“Can you sit in them?” David nodded. “Perfect.” Michael laid them on the foot of the bed. “Now, for a shirt.”
It took him longer to go through each of David’s many shirts, but finally he paused on a long sleeved pale green button down with a delicate dark gray lace pattern overlaid. He pulled it out and laid it on top of the jeans.
“You don’t think that one’s a little… girlie?”
Michael looked at him, one mobile dark brow cocked above the rim of his glasses. “Really? You want me to answer that?”
David rolled his eyes. “Shut up.”
Michael turned back to the closet and picked through David’s array of sweaters. He found a v-neck in dove gray and tossed it to the growing pile on the bed.
Michael slid the door over then studied what was revealed, patting his lower lip with his index finger as he looked between the clothes and David. Finally he pulled a dark gray scarf from a hanger and tossed it over his shoulder, rifling through the jackets.
He paused with his fingers on the shoulders of one. “Oh my God, where did this come from?”
He pulled the grey wool pea coat from the closet and held it up, staring raptly at the darker metal buttons and flipping back the side to admire the satin lining.
“I bought it for Trevor, but he never wore it.” David shrugged. “I didn’t figure he’d miss it.”
“Would you?” Michael held it up in front of him, then fingered the soft wool with a sigh.
David pondered for a moment. It really was more Michael’s style than his. “Probably not. You should take it.”
Michael’s eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. “Seriously? Because I so will.”
“It’s all yours.”
Michael grinned in delight and hung the jacket aside on the bedroom doorknob. “Okay, back to making you sexy.” He shifted hangers to the side one at a time, then stopped again. “Hello, there. Where did this come from?”
He pulled a black leather motorcycle jacket from the closet and held it up.
“I bought that one for Trevor, too. He probably will miss it, but it was four hundred dollars.”
Michael laughed in delight. “I like the new and bitchier David.” He laid the clothes in a careful line, tucking the shirt inside the sweater, laying the scarf and jacket next to them. He studied them seriously, then picked up the scarf and went back to the closet. David frowned.
“I liked that one.”
“Too drab.” Michael returned it to the hanger and pulled out a woven infinity scarf with every shade of green imaginable melded. He lay in on the sweater, studied it, then nodded.
“You don’t think all of that is… too much?”
“It’s cold, David. Hence, layers. The jeans will hopefully show off your ass to advantage and the greens will bring out the color of your eyes. Now shut up and get dressed, because Prince Charming is due here in ten minutes.”
“What, so now I’m Cinderella?” David crossed to his dresser and pulled a pair of black briefs out of his top drawer, stepping into them and tossing the towel into the hamper.
“If the slipper fits.” Michael climbed back on the bed and Bootsy scooted closer and laid his chin on Michael’s thigh as he watched David get dressed. When David started to tuck his shirt tail into jeans that had been harder to get up his thighs than he liked to acknowledge, Michael made a noise of irritation.
“Don’t tuck it in. You aren’t heading to the office, David.”
“But the shirt is longer than the sweater.”
“I know. Layers, man. Layers. Hurry up or we’ll never get your hair done.”
“My hair?” David pulled the sweater on over his head. “What’s wrong with my hair?”
“Well, right now it looks like it was styled with a hand mixer.”
David gave him an irritated look and pushed the damp blond strands off of his face. “You know what I meant.”
Michael stood, lifting Boots carefully down from the bed, then grabbed David’s arm not nearly as carefully, pulling him down the hall into the faintly steamy bathroom. Boots sat in the doorway, watching avidly.
“I know what you meant,” Michael said, standing behind him and looking at David’s reflection over his shoulder in the mirror. David had to admit he’d been right about the shirt; it did make his eyes look greener than their usual stormy sea foam color. “And for work there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the ‘gee, ma, I combed my hair so nice for my sixth grade picture’ style you usually wear.” David gave him an irritated look. “However, you’re about to go out with a very sexy man.” He looked around the bathroom. “Please tell me you have styling gel somewhere?”
David pointed to a cupboard next to the hundred-year-old claw foot tub. “In there.”
Michael opened it. “If I thought for one second I could get away with it, I’d unhook this tub and carry it out over my shoulder.”
“There’s a mental image I want to savor,” David quipped.
“Shut up.” Michael came back to him, a large can of thirty dollar styling mouse David had used exactly once in his hand.
“That stuff makes my hair stiff,” he complained.
“Dur.” Michael pressed the pump and sprayed an artful spiral in his hand. He set the can aside and rubbed the mouse gently between his palms, then began to massage it into David’s hair. While it was still standing up in artless spikes, he picked up David’s wide toothed comb and began to arrange his hair from the natural part into a rougher, messier style than he usually wore. He worked carefully, the tip of his tongue between his teeth, then paused studying David’s head carefully. “Okay, you’re done.”
David looked in the mirror, his nose wrinkled. “It looks like I just woke up.”
“Exactly!” Michael grinned in triumph. “Now, go put on your shoes. And don’t wear those ugly loafers. Put on those sexy half boots you’ve worn like… once.”
“Those loafers were expensive,” David griped, heading back towards his bedroom.
“Let me guess; Trevor picked them out.”
David stopped and turned back. “How did you know that?”
“Because they look like something he’d wear.”
David vowed to wear the ‘sexy half boots’ more often and retire the loafers.
The doorbell rang and David stiffened as Boots ran toward the door, barking brightly. David looked at Michael, panic flashing through him.
“Go finish getting ready,” Michael said. “I can entertain him for five minutes. And spritz some cologne on before you come out.”
David rushed into the bedroom. He heard Michael, then a responding deep voice. Pleasure made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end and he quickly put on socks and the black boots. Slipping into the jacket he hesitated over the scarf, but then looped it over his head, haphazardly arranging its folds. Michael clearly knew more about dressing stylishly than he did. He was about to leave the room when he remembered Michael’s prompt and picked up a bottle of cologne from his dresser and added one short spritz. He wasn’t much for colognes, but this one was a subtle blend of cedar and musk and he liked it. More nervous than he’d anticipated, he took a deep breath and walked out of his room.
Thanks for reading! You can buy David, Renewed at: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/david-renewed-by-diana-copland-7541-b
Diana Copland was new to me as an author, but I loved the premise of starting again, after such an ugly breakup. Finding love where you don’t expect it, is one of my favorite tropes, and this one is perfect.
I really appreciated that the author did not have these men fall instantly in love. They needed time. time to learn about each other. Time for David to trust Jackson, but most importantly, time to trust himself and see himself as a worthy individual once again. That was hard to do with Trevor hanging out in the woodwork, causing trouble. However, with each successive encounter with people who cared about him, he learned that he was worth every amount of love that he was showered with.
I also like that a few things were left open ended. We didn’t find out one of the little mysteries (which may or may not ever be solved, depending on the author’s concern). And we didn’t have a chance to see what Michael and Gil might grow to be. Ah, but that can always be another book in a series.
The secondary characters, even down to Bootsy all had their own stories that we learned as we went along, and it helped the reader to really see how this community of men could grow and become a family of their own making.
4 pieces of eye candy
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.
You can reach me at:
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/diana.copland.7
My Website, www.diana-copland11.com
My twitter, @dianacopland
My blog, http://diana-coplands-blog.blogspot.com/
My Pinterest, including my inspiration page for David, Renewed, https://www.pinterest.com/blamb10421/david-renewed-blue-collar-book-one/