The Handyman’s Promise

by Nick Poff

Handyman Ed Stephens, whose romantic fantasies came true in The Handyman’s Dream, and who learned about building a successful relationship in The Handyman’s Reality, is back for another adventure in life and romance in The Handyman’s Promise.

By the autumn of 1983, Ed’s life partner, Rick Benton, has been working in Indianapolis for more than a year as he pursues a new career in real estate. Ed eagerly anticipates the day Rick will return home to Porterfield full-time. Their time apart has allowed Ed to contemplate the maintenance of a long-term gay relationship, and to reevaluate his definition of a successful marriage.

With the aid of both hindsight and foresight, Ed and Rick are able to move optimistically toward their mutual goals. Although their journey has its share of joyful surprises, several unfortunate events and a sudden tragedy force Ed to once again question their future in a small Indiana town amid the stark realities of gay life in the early 1980s.

Once again Ed and Rick’s friends and families are along for the ride to provide love, support, humor, and occasional aggravation. As always, Mrs. Hilda Penfield, Ed’s bountiful mentor, is close by with words of wisdom as Ed continues to learn how to blend his dreams into day-to-day living.

With yet another soundtrack of timeless pop classics, author Nick Poff extends a third invitation to enjoy the heartwarming journey of Ed Stephens and Rick Benton as they continue to explore the mysteries of love and life.


I brought along The Handyman's Promise as reading material for a relaxing getaway in the mountains with my partner. I became so engaged by Ed and Rick's story that I could hardly put it down. This novel slowly worked it's way into my heart, and thoroughly entertained and delighted me to the end.

I love novels that transport me to a place completely out of my element; small-town living in Indiana is definitely the antithesis of my life in Los Angeles. Porterfield, Indiana (in the early 80's) seems the most unlikely of places for two men to fall in love, create a sense of family, and call home. Along with the realities of intolerance and narrow-mindedness, this mid-western town provides some interesting surprises for Ed and Rick.

Using Pop music references as part of the story's backdrop works well in creating the context of life in the early Reagan era. The mere mention of Three Dog Night's One Man Band took me back to pubescent days I'd long since forgotten.

One caveat for the reader who's looking for hotcha-hotcha steaminess: the emphasis here is on the beauty - and bliss - of an enduring love that comes from commitment, humor, and a touch of romance.

About the Author

Nick Poff enjoyed a long career in the radio industry until technology took all the fun out of it. That same technology, however, enabled him to pursue another dream -- writing and publishing stories about everyday gay men in the "flyover states" of the US. A widower, Nick lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he currently has a day job in the transit industry to take care of the mortgage payments on a home in an historical early twentieth century neighborhood, and cover the Friskies expenses for his current feline companion, Jasper.

His first novel, THE HANDYMAN'S DREAM, became the beginning of a series of books about gay handyman Ed Stephens. In this book, Ed meets his dream man, Rick Benton, in the autumn of 1980, and Ed enjoys all the exciting and beautiful aspects of falling in love. The story continues with THE HANDYMAN'S REALITY, and as the title implies, Ed learns about maintaining his relationship with his dream man. IN THE HANDYMAN'S PROMISE, Ed and Rick explore the meaning and boundaries of their commitment. In the fourth volume, THE HANDYMAN'S HISTORY, Ed reflects on his past as a way to come to terms with is present and the future. THE HANDYMAN'S SUMMER, available October 8, will take Ed and Rick on a journey of discovery regarding the challenges of being gay in the twentieth century.

Nick enjoys reading, old pop music, and the sillier aspects of pop culture. His current passions include both "Wentworth" and "Stranger Things" on Netflix,  and discovering obscure 45 rpm gems from the late sixties and early seventies. He also spends a good deal of time rolling his eyes at the political and societal madness of the world.


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