Hot for the Handyman is a standard take on May/December romance with an interracial twist. It has its moments when it is incredibly cliché (her doubting the future their relationship due to the age disparity, an ignorant secondary character who opposes the relationship solely for conflict). But, it is still a charming and quick read that should help pass the time. I have read other titles by Ms. Bennett and in comparison to those this is not as entertaining as the others. The story is too predictable, and because of that predictability, less entertaining.
What saves the story from being a forgettable title is the inherent sweetness in both Yvetta as an individual, and in her relationship with Ray. The thing that made me understand and even like her as a character is her vulnerability, which works well with Ray’s confidence. Their interactions with one another are cute and fun to read- even if the dialogue is occasionally cheesy. The thing that I had to understand to truly enjoy the story is that Yvetta is the star of the novella, as such her character gets the most development and everything else kind of flows around her. While I would have liked to know a little more about Ray, what was on the page was good enough to keep me interested in finishing the story. Hot for the Handyman is not Paige Bennett’s best, but it is still worth the time.
Fifty-three year old widow Yvetta Phelps is lonely. She had a great marriage with her late husband, and put her own life on hold after his death three years prior, but now she realizes that she misses the intimacy of a relationship with a man and needs to move forward.
Enter, Ray Cameron, the young attractive handyman she's hired to build a deck on the back of her house. From the first moment they meet, the sexual tension is thick between them. Ray prefers the company of mature women and thinks Yvetta is the most beautiful woman he's ever met. Yvetta is likewise smitten, but fights the attraction due to her fears around their age difference and what people will think, most especially her twenty-six year old daughter, Tanisha.
Inevitably, they succumb to their attraction and spend a transformative night together, but it only fuels Yvetta's self doubt, and she almost loses Ray as a result. It takes forgiveness, and an understanding heart (and steaming hot sex) to bring the two of them back together. (BBW/BHM, Interracial - BW/WM)