Jack and Dean love each other, but they're missing the woman to complete their triangle. When newly divorced Paige Richards buys a Bed and Breakfast on Hamlet Island and employs them to help her fix the inn up, Jack and Dean are sure they've found the one they've been looking for. Despite the playful, sexy clues they drop, luscious Paige is reticent about getting involved, even when they set the stage so she can stumble on them in action. They can tell by her responses she wants to join them, but rumors travel fast on the small island, and tales of a threesome could get back to the conservative, family vacation crowd who won't patronize those with an alternative lifestyle. And the last thing they want for Paige is the B&B's rooms
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The Handy Men
By Jamie K. Schmidt, Robin Haseltine
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Jamie K. Schmidt
All rights reserved.
Paige Richards was still awake at 5:00 a.m. It was the witching hour when the monkeys in her brain would start to fling bananas at her until she worked herself up into a panic attack that would leave her sobbing and gasping to breathe. Giving up on sleep, she flung the covers back and stumbled down to the large kitchen of her bed and breakfast to make coffee.
Pushing aside the Keurig, she pulled out the coffee bean grinder. She needed the big guns to survive this. As she ground the beans, she inhaled the rich, earthy scent. Aromatherapy at its finest. While the coffee was percolating, she paced the kitchen, making a mental list of things for Jack and Dean to do today so she could be ready for the inn's grand opening next month. All ten of her rooms were booked, and some of them still needed a little TLC to be perfect.
The thought of it made her sit down at the table and take deep, calming breaths. She couldn't fail. It just wasn't an option. If she failed, she'd have to hear "I told you so" from her parents.
After she drained her 401K and most of her savings, Paige had sold her house on Long Island to cover the costs of buying the Nutmeg Inn. It was a "fixer upper" on Hamlet Island off the Connecticut shoreline, just past the Thimble Islands. She didn't own a boat, but there was a daily ferry that went to and from the main land. Being a bit of a recluse had appealed to her, but she needed to expand her comfort zone and decided to become an innkeeper after her marriage, and her life, fell apart. Unfortunately, she hadn't budgeted for zero income coming in for the last year while repairs were being done. She was in dire straits financially. Her parents reluctantly gave her a loan, but the cost of that check was more than monetary.
"You're not smart enough to do this."
"You're going to make a fool out of yourself."
Paige could have been more careful with budgeting, but after her ex gave her the house in her name, even before the divorce had been final, she didn't stop to think. She wanted nothing to do with her old life.
Her parents, though, thought she should have made more of an effort to save her marriage. Fred was the son her father always wanted, and her mother approved of him because he was wealthy and successful. It didn't hurt that he always remembered to send her mother flowers on her birthday. Too bad, more often than not, he forgot Paige's.
However, when she needed the loan — while her parents oozed with disappointment at her failed life — they saw a great real estate investment. Paige had seen something more in the Nutmeg Inn: her future on her own terms. For the first time in a long while, she was the captain of her destiny.
Until she fucked it up, like everyone was expecting.
Ugh. The monkeys slipped their leashes. Only they sounded like her ex-husband, Fred. She forced the impending feeling of doom away from her as her breathing started to get choppy.
The smell of brewing coffee soothed her as she rubbed the gritty lack of sleep from her eyes. Grimacing, she poured herself a cup of coffee and then opened her laptop. Maybe her perfect sister had finally taken her turn in Words With Friends. Janice's husband was a lawyer and they had three perfect kids and they lived in a perfect house in the Hamptons. But Janice sucked at Words With Friends.
QUIZ on a double word tile. Forty-four points, bitch!
Paige smiled for the first time this morning.
The online Scrabble game was one of her weaknesses, and she had six games going on at once with different people. By the time she finished taking her turns, she was finally feeling tired. Not enough to go back to bed, but enough that a late morning nap might not be out of the question. It was weird, but when Dean and Jack worked on the inn during the day, the sound of it put her to sleep like a lullaby.
She made the mistake of looking at her email. Crap. A message from Fred from last night around ten.
She debated opening it. They had nothing to say to each other, as the divorce had been finalized over three months ago, even though they had been separated for more than a year. It had been handled in a civilized, sterile manner by their lawyers. Fred had been very generous. Well, he had to be after she caught him literally with his pants down, with a woman named Barbie. Janice's husband, the perfect attorney, had been a shark. For a moment, she felt a pang over playing QUIZ, but the feeling quickly passed.
Against her better judgment, she clicked the email open.
Paige, have you lost your mind? it began.
She should have hit the delete button right then and there. But she read on instead.
You can't sell our house. It's prime real estate in Long Island.
"My house, shithead," she said in the empty kitchen.
I made sure you had a roof over your head, so I didn't have to worry about you.
"No longer your job." Paige hated that her voice shook. That it still hurt.
But if you've got your heart set on this foolishness, I can't stop you.
"Got that right, buster."
I must insist that you give me the right of first refusal. I will make you a generous offer.
For once, Fred had real old information. Someone's head was going to roll for that oversight — not only was the house already sold, but the new owners had already moved in. After she caught him red-handed, Paige went on an extended vacation. Her parents used to have a summer home on Hamlet Island, so she had come here to see if she could find the happy little girl she used to be. She found the Nutmeg Inn and never left. When the owner told her he was going to put the bed and breakfast on the market, she called her realtor right away.
Fred had more to say, but Paige just didn't have the energy to read it. She took her coffee and walked down to the beach. It was cold for May and she should have put on a hoodie. The sleep T-shirt and shorts she wore weren't enough to stop the goose bumps. Still, it was too much effort to go back inside — especially when the ocean called to her with the crash of waves that soothed her jagged nerves. In the pink light of sunrise, she saw two joggers down the beach.
It made her boobs hurt just to look at them. Wrapping her arms over her chest, she shook her head. Even if she wanted to jog, she'd need two bras to keep the girls from bouncing into her chin. Plus, the thought of jogging right now made her sick. She was more a swimming type of girl. Floating really. On an inflatable raft. With a margarita.
That first summer here had been like a bandage on her soul. She'd gotten to know the charming little island again, this time as a resident instead of a tourist. She'd made a few friends who didn't care if she didn't have matching plates or if she liked to wear maxi dresses with large sunhats. This island represented peace as well as the start of her new life. Of course, it wasn't all sunshine and roses. The community tended to be archly conservative and distrustful of newcomers, but some old-timers remembered her and her family, so she'd been given the benefit of the doubt, no matter how grudgingly. She resolved to ignore the grim discussions around the town square over politics, and concentrated instead on the beach and her inn.
"Earth to Paige?"
Paige took in a deep, shuddering breath. A gray UConn sweatshirt filled her vision.
Warm hands on her upper arms made her shiver. "Jesus, Paige, you're an icicle."
"D-Dean," she said, still gulping breaths.
The joggers had been Dean and Jack, her handymen and the first friends she made on Hamlet Island last year. And now they were standing in front of her, looking so concerned.
She didn't protest when Jack took the coffee out of her hand. Didn't move when Dean stripped his sweatshirt off and plunked it over her head. Then he started rubbing her arms, and reality snapped back into place.
His shirt was toasty warm and smelled like his spicy aftershave.
"I'm okay," she said, stepping away from the vigorous caress that she was enjoying too much. Dean was naked from the waist up, his six-pack in full display. Paige tore her eyes from his tight jogging shorts as she slipped her arms through the sleeves of his sweatshirt. The shaking subsided as the fleece covered her like a comforting blanket.
"Thanks," she said to Jack, who handed her back the cup of coffee.
"You sure you're okay?" Jack's deep voice rumbled through her. Even though he was fully clothed, he was just as handsome as Dean. Jack had dirty-blond hair that he wore long, whereas Dean's dark hair was shorn close to his skull. She knew from watching them work shirtless that Jack had tattoos all over his fabulous chest, while Dean's tanned and toned body was unmarked.
"Yeah," Paige muttered, forcing herself to stop eye-fucking them. They were a good five years older than her, in better shape, oh and yeah, in a committed relationship — with each other. "I must have fallen asleep on my feet or something." She gave a shaky laugh.
"You poor thing. You've been working yourself ragged." Jack stroked her hair, and it felt so damned good she almost burst into tears.
"Come on, let's get you back inside." Dean slung an arm around her shoulders while Jack curved an arm around her waist.
The urge just to let them comfort her was too great to fight. She hoped they never realized how big of a crush she had on both of them.CHAPTER 2
Sure enough, Paige sank into a blissful sleep as soon as Jack and Dean started working later that morning. The monkeys and bad memories had fled as soon as they arrived, but she still felt like a wrung out dish cloth.
A bright sunbeam streaming in from the window rudely woke her a few hours later. With a groan, she looked at the clock on her nightstand. She had overslept and it was past lunch time. Stretching, she got up and took a shower. As the hot water pounded away the cobwebs, she took her time soaping up, sliding her hands all over her body until it was tingling. Maybe it was seeing Dean in those little shorts and nothing else, but she needed to blow off some steam. Arching into the shower spray, she set it to pulse hard bursts of water on her sensitive nipples.
God, she missed having her breasts played with. She could come just by that if the man knew when to be rough and when to be gentle. It had taken Fred years to get it right. Paige didn't want to think about him and pinched her nipple hard in punishment. Heat flooded into her, and she answered the need by dipping her fingers between her legs and strumming her throbbing clit.
Her mind wandered back to Dean, his tight body, and those V-shaped muscles on his sides that dipped into his pants. She wished she were an artist so she could ask him to pose nude for her. She could stare at his body for hours. When he worked outside, Paige would watch how his big hands moved. He was so sure of himself, so in control, so confident and sexy. He would spend time thinking about a project, and she loved watching his brow furrow in concentration as he analytically debated the pros and cons over using certain building materials. Dean would take his time during lovemaking. He would play the long game, going slow with caresses and deep, tongue kisses meant to tantalize and tease. She would run her fingers through his short brown hair.
She gave a little shudder of pleasure as she circled over her sensitive bud.
Then there was his husband, Jack. Jack was pure emotion to Dean's tight control. He was reckless and carefree, his grin infectious. He loved to try to shock her. When he stripped naked and jumped into the surf last summer, she had to pretend to be scandalized by all his tattoos, otherwise Dean would have caught her drooling. Jack's ass was incredible and he wore tight jeans to show it off — when he wasn't skinny dipping. His cock had been half hard — until the cold water hit him. But just the quick sight of that bobbing cock fueled her fantasies for months after.
A little moan escaped her lips as Paige pictured herself jumping into the water after him and into his arms. Jack would fuck like a man possessed, hard, fast, dragging you along for the wild ride.
Paige's orgasm shook through her and she leaned against the shower stall while the pleasure faded along with her fantasies. Sighing in slight frustration, she finished her shower and got dressed. Jack and Dean were never going to share their bodies with her, but it was fun to think about — if a little depressing. Promising herself some time with her vibrator, Mr. Buzzy, later, Paige pushed away the aching need to be touched and concentrated on her own things-to-do list.
At the top of it was making lasagna for Jack and Dean to take home for dinner, to thank them for being so sweet to her this morning. It had settled the jagged pieces inside her to be held, even if it had just been a friendly hug. The most physical contact she'd had all year. Maybe she'd go get a massage. After all, human touch was important.
While the lasagna was cooking, Paige made up a tray of sandwiches and a pitcher of lemonade then went to find the boys. In addition to their excellent carpentry and other skills, Jack was a plumber and Dean an electrician. She found them on the second floor. The first thing she heard when she crested the stairs was Dean cursing the central air unit. She couldn't blame him. It really should be completely overhauled and replaced, but summer was just a month away, and she didn't have the funds for it this year. Jack was finishing up the bathroom in Room Five and didn't look up when she poked her head in.
Leaving the tray and pitcher in the hallway on a side table, she went back to her own chores. The rest of the day passed by in a whirlwind of little things that had to get done, but it left her feeling like she didn't accomplish a damned thing. At least the lasagna came out perfect. She wrapped it up and went back up to the second floor to tell them to call it a day.
They weren't there, but the five rooms on the floor looked perfect. Paige slumped in relief. That left the third floor to finish in the next few weeks. They were right on schedule.
She went back downstairs and put the lasagna into a portable cooler, planning to take a quick walk to see if she could catch them before they took the ferry to the mainland. It wasn't like them not to say good-bye after they finished up for the day. Paige hoped they were all right.
Mrs. Mulberry was out with her husband. They gave her a careful nod in greeting as they passed, which almost passed for warmth for New Englanders. Paige gave them a cheerful smile but wasn't gauche enough to engage in conversation. It was hard to get used to the norms of the island society, but aside from one visit from the town council when she wanted to have — gasp — pink shutters, Paige had fit in.
Walking along the beach path, she smiled at the pavilion where in the summer the tourists could shower and change. It was also a make-out spot at night. Paige had fond memories of letting her summer crush get to second base on the wooden bench in one of the changing rooms.
She heard a deep moan, like someone was in pain.
Paige rushed into the pavilion, thinking someone had been mugged or something. She passed by the showers and was about to call out when she recognized Dean's voice.
"Oh," he moaned, and the way her pussy clenched, it was clear he wasn't in any pain. "Just like that."
She placed the lasagna on one of the benches. Not daring to breathe, she peeked between the door and the frame of the changing area. Just to make sure he was all right, she told herself.
Dean's eyes were closed. His dark head was tilted; he leaned back against the far wall. Jack was on his knees in front of him giving his lover an enthusiastic blow job. Paige sagged, her mouth gaping wide. They were both naked. Jack's fine ass was on display, and it was all she could do not to walk in and beg to join them.
Okay, you had your look. They're fine. They're more than fine. Give them their privacy, she scolded herself. Paige might have been able to tear herself away, but then Dean moaned again.
"Oh fuck. Fuck me. Damn," Dean continued his litany, gripping the back of Jack's blond head.
Paige pictured his fingers in her hair, pulling her in so he could slip his cock down her throat. She swallowed in reaction.
When Dean forced his head closer, Jack groaned.
"I'm coming," Dean gritted out.
Jack gripped Dean's hips and encouraged him to fuck his throat.
She should run back outside and forget she ever saw this. But she couldn't tear her eyes away from Jack's muscled back and fine ass. Paige's nerve endings were on fire. Her breath was coming in short, hot pants and a trickle of sweat tickled down her chest. Dean's growls played up and down her spine until her knees trembled. She shouldn't be this turned on, but she was about to melt into the floor.
Excerpted from The Handy Men by Jamie K. Schmidt, Robin Haseltine. Copyright © 2017 Jamie K. Schmidt. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jamie K. Schmidt has got a new fan! There are so many reasons I enjoyed this as much as I did. Reason #1: It's pretty short and a quick read. I finished it in four days but probably could have done it in two. I love that there's a full complex story but it's not overdone. Reason #2: It gets to the point! None of this "Will they or won't they." We already know they will; so why dance around too long? Reason #3: Did I mention it gets to the point? There's no long work around of reasons of why they shouldn't. Actually there are quite a few reasons of why they shouldn't, and they make for some pretty interesting "oh crap!" plot twists which is also what makes it pretty fun. But they don't really let those things get in the way; because, again, in the end we know they'll work out. Reason #4: I can't stand romances with prolonged problems that can easily be resolved if the characters would just talk to each other or with broken 'unlovable' characters. This has neither. These characters know what they want and get it. Reason #5: I'd like to think that my enjoying it so much is reason enough. It's hot, it's fun, it left me wanting more and I will most definitely be reading more by the author.
This story features Paige Richards and Dean and Jack Reynolds. The story line was great except for a bit of fickleness from Jack. It made me wonder how he could so easily want to commit to Paige when a minute ago he was wanting to be with Stephanie. I love that Dean's feelings for Paige never waivered. I also adored the relationship between Dean and Jack. The end felt a little bit rushed but all in all it was a good story.
I’m a sucker for MMF stories. And those with an established gay (well, bi…) couple looking for a female addition to be complete? Hell, yeah, count me in! I expected steam, hotness, passion and countless dirty deeds. And oh boy did I get that! And still … it wasn’t enough. Maybe it’s because I’ve read some really – and I mean REALLY – explicit and very descriptive stories these past weeks – all I know is I immensely enjoyed the hot stuff but wished for more. Lol. Yeah, I’m dirty and corrupted like that. Oops. But although being novella-sized, THE HANDYMEN also did not lack storyline or substance. The characters were well developed, there was laughter, emotions all over the place, manipulation and drama. Side characters to love and hate and complications that this type of relationship evidently and realistically attracts. A twisty surprise that you won’t see coming. Only the end seemed a little bit too rushed. Everything was solved too quickly and not at all at once. There was no real closure with one topic and too little time to explore another. A lookout sometime later as a last chapter / epilogue would have been desirable for sure. What I did love was the dynamic of those three. Loved intense and vigorous, sometimes even aggressive Jack, more sensual and gentle Jack – they were perfect as they were from the beginning. Add Paige to the mix, how she completed them, enjoyed them to the max, and it got downright explosive. Loved their weekly game nights that somehow and suddenly got so much more interesting. Wonderful story that with a few pages more would surely have been a 5 star read for me.
Sizzlingly hot and yet also really romantic; these guys are not jerks! Page is a recent divorcee whose ex cheated on her. She is starting over with a new bed and breakfast business on an island off of Connecticut. Paige feels guilty for fantasizing about her two married gay male best friends, Jack and Dean, who also fix things in her hotel. Meanwhile, they have been trying to subtly give her a message that they want her to join their relationship. Jack and Dean feel like she could be the right woman for a long term equal partner. I really like the fair, equal relationship among this threesome. They are all good people who respect each other. I also approve that Jack and Dean knew Paige as friends for about a year before they asked her to join their relationship and their bed. The author has a fantastic gift for sexual description as well as a talent for writing vivid characters that quickly make me love them. The book has cute banter as well as serious dialogue. This is the first book by Jamie K. Schmidt that I have read, and I can't wait to look up her backlist to see what I have been missing. I cannot imagine a higher quality book about a menage a trois in contemporary romance. I even like it better than Emma Holly's book "The Assassins' Lover", which was my previous favorite MMF romance (a paranormal one). The multiple love scenes are hot, hot, HOT, with tons of variety too! The sparing use of curse words is right on target. The author also has perfect word choice to keep the scenes' mood and pacing going strong. I really liked the number of love scenes, which was enough for an erotic book but not too much to overtake the relationship development. There are realistic impediments to the trio's relationship, but nothing in the novella is too gritty for me. There are plenty of moments of humor and coziness. For example, Paige felt so comfortable and protected when they hugged her. The guys, especially Jack, are a little rough around the edges, making them more like real guys while still being as hot as molten lava. The book is really hot but also really romantic. It is a novella length (141 pages), but it feels like a very complete and satisfying story. I love it! What a fantastically talented author. I received a free advanced reading copy from the author via Netgalley, and I voluntarily wrote this honest review.
Oh I loved this hot little read I was able to review. While short on pages, it packs a wallop in terms of heat. There were a few areas that where the author could have increased the descriptive portions and character development to reel the reader in tight, but I also appreciated the fact that it was short and sweet. The author brings us a spicy menage story with MMF action that is high on the steam factor. A good read for what it is... a novella that gets right to the punch without a lot of extraneous details.
When Paige Richards divorced her cheating husband, she sold everything and bought a fixer-upper Bed & Breakfast, which needs more fixing than she anticipated, and she’s broke. The only consolation being the two gorgeous handymen who are helping out: Jack and Dean. Paige has been ogling them and mentally salivating over her helpers, but it seems like a hopeless case: they are married to each other! I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of ménage stories I have read, I don’t specifically look for erotic romance, I’m not sure why I picked up THE HANDY MEN, except that it sounded original and fun, and it is. I liked that we get a good feel for the characters quickly, especially that Dean and Jack really love each other in a masculine way, and they respect Paige. The writing is unpretentious and very effective, the pace is steady, and the sex is seriously hot. THE HANDY MEN is one of those rare books that got better as it progressed. Jake and Dean face real problems because they are an openly gay couple, and they also have other issues because of a past relationship. Alternative lifestyles are presented as a fact, without any judgement either way, and seen through the eyes of tolerant and intolerant people, I found interesting to look at it from various points of view. I also loved that Jack and Dean have entirely different voices, they also have a different approach to sex, which was refreshing, as I never got the impression of having mirror images of one character. There was a lot more substance IN THE HANDY MEN than I expected: while it started rather light, cute and steamy, snags happened along the way, and it ended up being quite the nail-biter. The complications are realistic, and handled extremely well by the author. I thought that THE HANDY MEN would provide some sizzling sex, I got that, but even more, I also got a terrific story that had me reading past my bedtime. THE HANDY MEN was a wonderful surprise! I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.
This is a fast-paced ménage read, loved the story as well as the characters. Dean and Jack are already married however they want a woman to complete their trio. Paige is newly divorced and starting over by opening a Bed and Breakfast on Hamlet Island. Jack and Dean are helping her fix the place up. Can they convince Paige that she is the one they are looking for? Entertaining and steamy read, I was hooked from beginning to end. I loved it.
I will admit when I saw that this was a shorter story and a menage, I was thinking it would be filled with a lot of sexy times and not too much of a story, but I was pleasantly surprised! I found myself actually tearing up for Paige and the crap hand she'd been dealt. I loved how protective Jack and Dean were of her and they tried to do the right thing even though it hurt Paige. Paige's strength and determination to not let her past rule her made me love her. She wasn't a weak person and she proved herself over and over again in this story. My heart broke for her and then when the three of them ended up together, I was so happy. I'd love to see more to this story as the small town accepts this non-traditional family. It was really a great read!
The Handy Men is the first book I have read by Jamie K. Schmidt. Paige Richards is twenty eight years old and is starting her life over. After a failed marriage due to a cheating husband, she used every penny she had plus loaned money from her parents and bought the Nutmeg Inn, a ten bedroom bed and breakfast on Hamlet Island off the Connecticut shoreline. It needed a lot of work and the grand opening was in one month. She couldn’t have done it without the help of her two handy men, two men who even though they are married, to each other, fueled her fantasies every night. These two had everything, hot bodies, as well as being kind, fun, compassionate, and they were her best friends. Life was different on the island. People were conservative, slow to accept outsiders. And the married men most definitely gave them all something to talk about. But to Paige, they were her friends, saviors, and even though they didn’t know it, they were part of her dreams. Dean and Jack Reynolds love each other. They have known Paige for almost a year now and they know that they want more from her, that they want to share their lives and their bed with her. Even though they are legally married, they want her to be a permanent part of their lives. They know she is attracted to them but she is afraid to admit it. So, they decide to help her along a little bit. They don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the opening of the inn or their friendship but they’ve waited as long as they could. First of all, this is a fairly short book and it started out so strong. I instantly fell in love with Paige and the guys. Paige was dealing with so much. Not only the stress of opening the inn but also her crappy, controlling parents were constantly trying to manipulate her. Even though they loaned her the money which they were holding over her head, they weren’t supportive at all. Don’t even get me started on her ex-husband. What a waste of space that man is. The guys were so cute (and hot) the way they tried to get Paige to initiate things. They most definitely loved and supported her and would do anything for her. “Pressed between them, she felt like nothing could harm her. With these two at her side, she could do anything.” But then later on, what I initially thought might be a five star read, lost a little steam. And I don’t mean in the sexy times department but with the rest of it. The guys have an ex that comes back and throws a wrench in things, (get it, handy men - wrench!) And the ending left something to be desired. The whole, okay, you’re our wife now, just like that, just didn’t go with the sweet guys I was getting to know. Maybe they could have had a commitment ceremony or something. It just seemed to be so blasé. I wanted more for Paige. In any event, I’m giving it four stars. With all the people trying to yank the rug out from under Paige, she held strong and I was so proud of her. And then there is that hotness factor with two very sexy handy men. The sexy times did not disappoint. I did enjoy the book, I just wish the ending was done a little differently.