Ink & Flowers

J. K. Pendragon
Ink & Flowers
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Less Than Three
Release Date
June 2014
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

About to lose his apartment, and desperate to avoid having to move in with his horrendous relatives, shy art student Luke impulsively agrees to a deal from hell: sex with a man he doesn't know in exchange for a couch to sleep on.

His new "roommate" Cooper is everything that Luke hates: crude, uncouth, and covered in tattoos, not to mention openly gay. Luke has all but resigned himself to a miserable fate when it turns out Cooper might want something a little different than he expected.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Jun 17, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
242 people found the following review helpful
A shy Chinese art student is propositioned by a burly tattoo artist, but the seduction that the student expects doesn't go the way he envisions.

When Luke is about to be kicked out of his apartment, Cooper, a stranger who buys flowers every Friday at the shop where Luke works, says he will give Luke room and board if the young man will have sex with him. Since Luke's Chinese aunts have been micromanaging his life and he's been trying to break away for years, he accepts the offer even though he's never had sex with a man before.

Life with the big and bold Cooper isn't quite what he expected, just as the man himself isn't either. For one thing, while Cooper propositioned him in the flower shop, the man backs off once Luke moves in and gets settled. In fact, Cooper also pays Luke's back rent before moving his things and then defends Luke when the aunts track him down and try to browbeat him into moving back home.

As they live together, Luke begins to suspect that Cooper has hidden demons that plague him, but Luke is too shy to ask what bothers the man or how he can help him.

Besides a plot that takes quite a bit of suspension of disbelief to buy into, the book suffers from Luke who should be the sympathetic character. Because of his shy, introverted nature and self-deprecation, Luke is more to be pitied than championed. His fear of Cooper, whose bumbling, almost juvenile, attempts to attract Luke are often laughable, doesn't make sense. Even from the outset, readers know that Cooper is just trying to help Luke, not rape him.

Cooper, then, becomes the character readers will want to sympathize with. But he poses problems too because the reasons for all his angst and drama turn out to be for something outside his control.

While the premise of the book--the repressed Chinese art student bumps up against a seemingly crude tattoo artist--is intriguing, the delivery, unfortunately, undermines the possibilities for a heart-wrenching, memorable story.
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