Ink & Flowers
Title : Ink & Flowers
Author : J.K. Pendragon
Publisher : Less Than Three Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 41,000 words (e-book)
Published : June 4, 2014
Rating : ★★★
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.
Luke is a full-time third year art student. His hours have been cut at his job in a florist shop and he just received an eviction notice from his apartment manager. He does not want to go live with his aunts or go back to working at McDonalds. When the rough-looking, tattooed man that comes into the shop every week offers Luke a place to stay, it does not come without conditions. Luke can sleep on the couch, but it’s on the understanding that Luke will have sex with him. Luke is disgusted by the idea. He is adamant that he is not gay and everything about this man, Cooper, disgusts him, but the idea of moving in with his family or working in fast food again are worse, so he takes Cooper up on the offer.
When Cooper asks Luke to keep his end of the deal, Luke is terrified and in tears. Cooper is upset by this and calls off the deal but allows Luke to stay anyway. The men form an uneasy friendship as they get to know one another and we are able to see why both men behave the way they do.
I had a hard time with Luke taking Cooper’s offer rather than working fast food. It did not feel believable, especially with the way Luke was so adamantly disgusted by Cooper and with him being openly gay. As the story progresses we get an insight into why Luke denies his true self, especially when we meet his bigoted, overbearing family.
Cooper is a man carrying a lot of guilt. He behaves in a manner that keeps people at a distance but is also very lonely. Coopers does a lot of things to push Luke’s buttons and in doing so, helps Luke discover it is ok to be himself. This is very freeing for Luke and in return he works to become a better friend to Cooper and help him as well.
There is a lot packed into this novella and it took me a while to warm up to either character. Luke’s family is very controlling and it was difficult to see him give up so easily when they threaten to take away his school funds, especially when the initial problems Luke had in the book are financial. It was nice to see Luke and Cooper’s relationship develop but there were some issues that puzzled me. One being a problem that Cooper had sexually that would have made the initial proposition he made to Luke a bit difficult to fulfill. Although I had some questions about some of the plot development, I grew to like Cooper and Luke as a couple and wanted them to have their happy ending.
While I found some aspects of the story hard to relate to, overall it was an enjoyable book with a hopeful ending.
Rated 3 stars by Deb