A Restoration Channel Novel
Can a prickly carpenter build a reality TV host a way out of the closet?
Real estate guru Brandon Chase knows what “family friendly” means in the biz, and it’s not being open about his sexuality.
The end of Brandon’s marriage is still making headlines when the Restoration Channel makes him an offer: helm a show about flipping houses in New York City’s risky market. Still smarting from the bad press, Brandon is reluctant to get involved—until he falls in love with an old Victorian.
Except the house isn’t the only thing that catches his eye.
It’s contractor Travis Rogers’s job to enumerate every way a renovation could go wrong, which leads to a lot of on-set sparring and mutual frustration between him and Brandon. But when the simmering attraction underneath boils over, the show and their relationship hang in the balance.
Travis hates the media attention that follows Brandon, and the network has a history of firing LGBTQ personalities. Like the houses Brandon makes over, this relationship has potential. But if Brandon can’t convince Travis to take a chance, their chemistry might stay on-screen only.
With this cozy contemporary, McMurray (Stick the Landing) constructs a genial, HGTV-inspired romance following Restoration Channel TV host Brandon Chase as he fixes up a Brooklyn Victorian to flip. In the process, he falls for Travis Rogers, his hunky project manager, even though they often disagree on camera. The guys must keep their relationship on the down-low because Brandon fears blowback from fans and the conservative network execs if he comes out. Brandon's closeted character feels a deep-rooted pressure to succeed. His shaky foundation includes an abusive father and a recently ended publicity marriage to his former cohost, Kayla. In contrast, Travis is underdeveloped defined more by his body and skills than by his internal life but his concerns about going public with Brandon set up a dramatic third act. McMurray's plot is as thin as a New York City apartment wall, but she girds it with copious descriptions of design decisions that will please fans of home restoration entertainment.