Title: What The Carpenter Saw
Author: Vicki Reese
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Novella (143pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (3rd August 2016)
Heat Level: Low – Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 – 4 ½ Hearts
Blurb: Wounded warrior Jake Cramer returned from the Middle East missing part of one leg and with a partially paralyzed left arm. He feels useless in his family’s construction business, but carpentry is all he knows. He needs to relearn how to work and how to live. He can’t even consider finding a man to love. Who would want him this way?
Alex Ford is a top-of-the-line architect who’s tired of big cities and wants to settle down, maybe run a small inn. The mansion he inherited from his grandparents might be the ticket to his dream, but it needs a lot of work. When he meets the handsome builder, he knows he’s made the right decision. He just needs to convince Jake that his scars don’t matter. Unfortunately Alex’s greedy family has other ideas, and they’re determined to ruin Alex’s plans and take the inheritance for themselves—even if they have to kill to do it.
Review: Jake returned from war minus a leg and with damage to his arm, he still suffers from some PTSD and his confidence has taken a blow. Returning to work at his family’s construction business has been a challenge but he’s been forging his own path by taking over admin and adapting his carpentry work. But his personal life is lacking with his confidence at an all-time low.
Alex wants a quieter way of life after the hustle and bustle of the high life as a renowned architect, he has plans to settle in the town of his childhood in the mansion his grandparents left him and his sister. With plans in place to turn the mansion into a B&B or Inn Alex is ready to relax but his cousin and his business colleague have very different plans in thought.
Jake saves Alex when he stumbles across him while checking out the mansion, Alex is drawn to Jake when he first lays eyes on him and Jake returns the regard… but Jake’s confidence takes a blow when he realizes just who Alex is. Alex works hard to convince Jake that his scars don’t matter, that Jake himself is a wonderful person who anyone would be lucky to have.
This is a really good story of two men from different worlds connecting and proving that any obstacle can be overcome. It also has a great mystery/suspense feel as Alex, Jake and the local police try to discover who is behind an attack, a murder and the mysterious movement of expensive bottles of wine.
The pace of the story is great, dropping hints and revealing information at just the right times. It doesn’t have a big reveal where you’re surprised as the story does let its secrets go quite easily. But it does keep you on your toes as the bad guys sure do know how to hide.
The relationship between Alex and Jake does have its moments of tension, but it is understandable as Jake struggles to understand what he could offer a man like Alex. Both men are fantastic, they accept their feelings for the each other without angst; it’s just Jake’s insecurities that cause’s tension between them.
I recommend this to those who love wounded warriors finding love, men who just want a slower pace in life, a dash of danger, a touch of mystery and a truly beautiful ending.