Title: Eugene and the Box of Nails
Author: Jaime Samms
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 58 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
At a Glance: Reading Eugene and the Box of Nails made me realize that it’s been too darn long since I’ve read something by Jaime Samms, and reminded me how much I love her books.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Every time it seems like things are looking up for Eugene Kraft, disaster hits. Bankruptcy, a bigoted sibling, and a back-breaking accident have all left him with little money and less faith in the universe.
His last-ditch effort at peace is the small lakeside property where he is building a tiny house from recycled materials. If he can get it livable before the cold sets in, maybe he’ll be okay. Hopefully Cullen, the foreman on the construction site next door, won’t notice Eugene pilfering discarded materials from his dumpster.
When Cullen stops by to talk to Eugene, he’s sure the gig is up—but all Cullen wants is a date. Can two things go right in Eugene’s life? At first it seems possible. Projects on Eugene’s house are getting completed by what he dubs “construction elves” while he’s off site. But like Eugene predicted, his good fortune can’t last, and soon he has a tough choice to make: give up his home… or the man of his dreams.
A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2017 Advent Calendar “Stocking Stuffers.”
Review: Eugene is trying to rebuild his life after losing everything thanks to his ruthless bigot of a brother stealing their landscaping business and leaving him in financial ruin, and then, also having to recover from a horrible accident at a construction job. He at least got a decent settlement from the accident, which allowed him to buy a piece of property on which to build a home, and to have something to live on while he worked on the design and construction of the house. My favorite thing about this story was Eugene’s recycled materials house project. I was enthralled by everything he did to repurpose the materials to use for his build. Including taking the time to pound nails straight again to reuse, and his use of the items he was taking out of the dumpster at the construction site below him.
I also loved his ‘relationship’ with the guys at the neighboring site, which consisted mainly of him leaving coffee out for them every morning, and them leaving money in a jar they set out for Eugene to help cover the cost, and them waving and grunting in greeting as they passed by on their way to and from the job. It was more than that, though, as we come to find out… And then, of course, there was also Cullen, the job foreman. I really adored Cullen. He was amazing, and so sexy, and incredibly wonderful and sweet to Eugene, who he had been admiring from afar. I loved how much Cullen respected the work Eugene was doing, and that he wanted to help preserve the integrity of the way Eugene wanted to build his house, i.e., with the mainly repurposed materials.
The character development was quite good for a story of this length. We get a really good feel for what Eugene has been through, and what makes him tick, as well as getting to know his other brother, Paul, who was so great. I would have definitely liked to know a bit more about Cullen, but we got enough to fall a little bit in love with him anyway. And, though I think if the romance had been a tiny bit more established the guys would have had even better chemistry, I really did like them together.
Reading Eugene and the Box of Nails made me realize that it’s been too darn long since I’ve read something by Jaime Samms, and reminded me how much I love her books. Eugene had everything from a hilarious, snarky crow, to mysterious and generous Christmas elves, and lovely characters that will warm your heart. I absolutely recommend either squeezing this in with this year’s holiday reading, or adding it to your list for next year. I know you’ll be glad you did!
You can buy Eugene and the Box of Nails here:
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