Posted by gaylistbookreviews
Title: Ink & Flowers
Author: J. K. Pendragon
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Length: 144 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: 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.
Review: I really enjoyed this story. A much more complicated and complete story than the blurb or the length had me expecting.
Luke is painfully, almost debilitatingly, shy. He has near panic attack level shyness that eats at his self esteem and makes him afraid to assert himself. He comes from a very controlling family who are against his dreams of becoming an artist and have made sure that he knows that he cannot be gay. Which made him standing up to them and going to art school amazing.
Cooper is confusing. He sends all sorts of conflicting messages, all the time. He looks a little scary and he frequently acts aggressive with moments of sweetness and gentleness. He starts out acting the letch with his creepy invite to Luke to stay with him, but is basically doing it to help Luke out. He threatens to force Luke to sleep with him to pay the rent, but never really tries to force him to do anything. I started to realize that much of what I found offensive and confusing about Cooper stemmed from the fact that I was seeing things from Luke’s perspective and he was afraid of his own feelings and desires, ones that Cooper brought out in him. Luke never hated Cooper, he hated how much he wanted Cooper and what that meant for him.
If they are going to find their way to each other both men have to work on themselves. Luke has a lot of maturing and learning to stand on his own and be true to himself if he wants to find any kind of peace or happiness for himself. Cooper has some things from his past that haunt him and hold him back from embracing life, he will have to find a way to forgive and move forward before he can be a partner to Luke.
It was great spending time with these men. Both are more than they first appear and I was in the story from beginning to end. I loved that each man was so much more than they believed themselves capable of, and the development of both the characters and the story had me looking for more works from this author.
Reviewed by Nina
Tags: a haunting past, Acceptance, Art, Art School, Artist, B List, Bullying, Career, Changes, Choices, College, Coming Out, Contemporary, Crazy Family, Family Rejection, Finding Yourself, First Love, First Times, Flower Shop, Friends to Lovers, Healing, Homophobia, Hope, Less Than Three Press, Letting Go Of The Past, Making a New Life, Making Your Own Family, Nina, Novella, romance, Roommates, Second Chances, Secrets, Sweet, Tattoo Artist, Tattoos, Traumatic Past