Published by Samhain Publishing
Released on April 24, 2012
Source: Free Book
What could have been just your average age-difference romance was given life and complexity with well-drawn characters and the issues of severe health issues on the part of one and past abuse for the other. I was all in and cheering for them to find their way to happy.
Handle with Care is a standalone that I picked up years ago and finally decided to give it a go. I no sooner encounter Benji, living a half-life in his Reading flat as he waits for a kidney and pancrea transplant. The highlight of his days is waiting for the chipper and flirty parcel delivery guy, Ollie, in all his skater guy-looking glory to come by for a brief chat and a delivery. If only Ollie knew how pathetic he was ordering stuff (aka porn) just to see him come more often than just drop off his medicine.
This story is gently-paced, has its stops and starts as these two slowly work things out. Ben is the sole narrator of the story and this is good because it makes Ollie something of an enigma that has to be discovered as Ben gets to know him and earns his trust. There are so many complexities and I love how the author didn’t give them free passes on their feelings or words. Ben is hung up on feeling unattractive and unable to function with another guy because his medical issues like having a port in his belly, his treatments, and his endurance. Ben works for a software company and is doing pretty good. They’re opposites really. Ollie is something of an enigma at first. He seems like this happy-g0-lucky skater kid, just getting by, who might have a thing for an older guy. Ollie’s hang-ups aren’t so obvious at first since Ben’s health is the overriding concern of everyone, but as it all comes out, my heart just broke for him.
There are some spicy moments in the book and I chucked about Ollie’s show of a bit of medical kink, but the relationship and the health issues take the front seat through most of the beginning.
In the end, it was heartwarming and hot, more complex than I expected, and a well-written m/m contemporary romance that I was glad to have read and can recommend.
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