Renovations I: Framework
Renovations Print Collection Volume 1
Print Editions: TorquereBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | Powell’s | IndieBound
A print collection that includes Renovations 1: Flipping Out, Renovations 2: Playing House, Renovations: Making Time, and Renovations 3: Moving Day, as well as a bonus novelette — “A Renovations Addition: Counting Blessings” — that picks up where Moving Day left off.
Toby is a lawyer who spends his free time “flipping” houses, which means buying a fixer-upper and selling it once it’s cleaned up. He met contractor Ven on his last flip, and decided he liked the guy a lot. He likes Ven’s work ethic, his style, and maybe a lot more.
Ven is still working as Toby’s main contractor, flipping houses, and this time around there’s more than one project going on. Toby’s other contractor falls behind, and Toby asks Ven to fill in, but when Ven gets another job offer, will the boys be able to work things out and keep on working together?
Ven hopes his lover, Toby, has no plans for Halloween, because he has a lot of things he’d like to do. When he calls Toby up, though, the man is with his kids, trick-or-treating. Toby is more than happy to join Ven for some dancing and more afterward, though. Will they get all the treats they want?
The pleasant routine of Ven’s life is upended when Cake gets notice that he can move into the assisted living facility where he’s always dreamed of living. Cake is ready to live on his own, and Toby is ready to make other moves, but Ven isn’t ready for any of it.
Thanksgiving with Ven’s family is filled with traditions, but this year, change is in the air. Toby comes to dinner and when it’s over, Ven isn’t the only one packing his bags.
Length: Novel | Rating: Hot | Publisher: Torquere Press
Themes: Interracial Relationship; Working Class Hero; Interclass Relationship; Hero with Children; Bisexual Hero; Contemporary Romance
Excerpt from Counting Blessings:
“Do you boys want some more pie before I’m done in here?” Momma called from the kitchen.
“It’s a crime to let Momma’s buttermilk pie just sit there,” Ven murmured.
Toby rested a hand on his belly and hummed a little, then started to wriggle up off the couch. “I’d love some more pie. Anybody else want some? I’ll help carry it out.”
“Me, too, please!” Cake put his hand up. He wasn’t ever not in the mood for pie.
“I’ll share yours.” Ven helped Toby up off the couch, and if he accidentally groped a little, it was really an accident, not that he didn’t enjoy it just ﬁne. “Maybe a little ice cream, too?” He gave Toby his best puppy look.
Toby laughed and said, “I’ll see what I can do.” He turned to Poppy and asked, “Do you want some pie, too?”
“No, thanks, son.” Poppy patted his belly—it wasn’t much of a belly; Poppy worked almost full time with Ven now and it was hard work—and sighed. “I’m getting too old to polish off Momma’s pies. Good thing you boys are around to ﬁll in for me. I wouldn’t say no to a cup of coffee, though, but instant’s ﬁne. Don’t trouble Momma with it.”
“I put the coffee maker on, Ben,” Momma called out to him. She could hear him telling people not to inconvenience her on his account from a block away.
Toby grinned and shook his head, then headed into the kitchen to join Momma. He came back just a few minutes later with two plates and said to Poppy, “Coffee will be out in just a minute.” As he sat down, he passed one plate to Cake. The one he kept had a big scoop of ice cream on it.
Ven loved seeing Toby in the old place. He was glad Momma and Poppy were moving, but he was grateful to get to see his man in his own childhood home. Everything was pretty empty now, all the old kids’ stuff was given away—Ven had spent the day before moving almost a house worth of furniture from one part of the family to the others and redistributing it all—but it was still soothing to Ven’s heart to see Toby here.
Ven put one arm across the back of the couch so that he could snuggle Toby up and held out the other to take the plate while Toby got settled. He could remember a time when he’d worried that he’d never ﬁnd someone else like him, much less someone who loved him. And the idea that he could bring that man home for Thanksgiving dinner… impossible. Toby sat down and Ven pulled his lover close, leaning his head on Toby’s shoulder for a moment.
Toby’s lips pressed against his forehead, soft and warm. “You okay?” Toby murmured, quiet enough that Ven was the only one who could hear over the TV.
“Yeah.” Ven didn’t lean on Toby much in any way, but when he did, it had to be one of the best feelings in the world. “Just thinking about all the times I sat here without you,” he said, just as quietly. He straightened to kiss Toby on the cheek and put the plate down so they could share dessert before the ice cream melted entirely. There wasn’t much more to say than that; he knew Toby would understand the rest. For that, he snuck another little kiss from Toby’s pale, freckled cheek and nuzzled there.
“I like the symbolism of the houses they restore: till the moment both of them Toby and Ven, are not ready to settle down, they play with the houses like two kids, they buy, restore and sell, they never do the work for their own. But when their relationship is starting to become something else, deep and steady, in that moment they start to see the houses with different eyes, the houses are no more doll houses, they bring with them the promise of a future together.” — Elisa Rolle, My Reviews and Ramblings
“I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a complex relationship in terms of the family dynamics and the stressful effects of mixing business, family and personal matters.” — Wave, Reviews by Jessewave
Renovations was included in Jessewave’s list of Diverse M/M Books for having an African-American hero.