Title: Love and Lint Rollers
Author: Kaje Harper
Length: 202 Pages
At a Glance: In spite of a couple of niggles, Love and Lint Rollers is a strong romance novel that resolved itself rather nicely.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Even with six beloved cats at home, Thom Fletcher can’t help opening his heart to a little injured stray he finds at Pride. Luckily, the generosity of the veterinarian who helps him means he doesn’t have to open his wallet. Thom’s budget is stretched pretty thin, between his struggling start-up and medical expenses for his Crohn’s disease, so the free cat care helps a lot. Thom may have fallen for the little feline, but he’s also intrigued by the attractive vet in the bi-pride bracelet.
Dean Edwards went to Pride with his colors on his wrist, hoping to find community after his divorce. Instead, he’s pulled into a cat rescue by an appealing man. Dean likes Thom’s kindness to strays, his blue-gray eyes, his intelligence, and his perspective from decades as an out gay man. Maybe with Thom, Dean will finally feel able to explore his long-neglected attraction to men.
They’re not a perfect match. From Dean’s cat-hating dog to Thom’s chronic health issues and preferences in bed, going from a casual date to something more will be a challenge for both of them.
Review: From the refreshing aspect of older MCs to the idea of writing about a character with a chronic and socially debilitating disease such as Crohn’s disease, Kaje Harper rolls out her new novel Love and Lint Rollers. If you are unaware of the painful and embarrassing effects of living with Crohn’s, I would caution you against dismissing the very real parameters it puts on not only the day-to-day living of a person, but their sex life as well. Thom deals with intense discomfort much of the time, and a swift attack can have him running to the restroom in severe pain—not to mention that the disease, when untreated, can be life threatening. So it’s special diets, a lot of thoughtful food choices, and acknowledging his limitations socially that has kept Thom fairly lonely most of the past few years.
However, his good friends lure him out of his house and away from his many cats as often as they can, and it’s one such excursion to Pride Day that finds Thom discovering a trapped kitten and meeting a veterinarian hero to whom he is instantly attracted. As Thom finds himself agreeing to foster the kitten while it heals, he also knows that Dean Edwards is a dangerous man. Dangerous in that Thom has so often been tossed aside just as romance has begun to take hold due to his illness and the resulting no-go on any type of anal intercourse—giving or receiving. In short, Thom has been burned and hurt one too many times, so it is with a great deal of wariness that he begins to date the newly out and bisexual Dean.
Theirs is a tentative relationship and more than once, Thom is reminded that Dean has never even dated a man before—a thought that prompts Thom to believe the lie he tells himself that he is simply not ever going to be enough to satisfy Dean sexually, given his limitations. I admired the author’s ability to present Thom’s illness frankly and compassionately. In order to understand Thom, we had to get a glimpse into his daily life, and Ms. Harper carefully unwrapped the mystery surrounding how Thom was so affected by the Crohn’s. It also gave us a window into why he refused to open himself to potential heartbreak again. I really found myself hurting for Thom and understanding why he would limit himself sexually to acts that were more comfortable and fulfilling.
Dean was much like the best boyfriend ever. I think given the fact that the author made her men older, Dean was a fairly believable character when it came to experiencing sex with a man for the first time due to recently being divorced from a long-term relationship with a woman. He was understanding of Thom’s issues and knew the ramifications of his disease. However, like any new relationship these guys had their ups and downs—particularly when Dean would characterize their sex as being enough, even though it wasn’t full-on.
I think one of the two niggles I had with this story stemmed from Thom so often jumping to conclusions rather than talking things out with Dean. For him to suppose he knew what Dean would need physically, as regards their sexual relationship, was a bit over the top occasionally. Thom seemed to be rather easily offended by Dean’s slightly stupid comments that were not always politically correct rather than taking them at face value and trying to realize that Dean was bound to make mistakes, given his past. I have to admit that, at times, I lost sympathy for Thom and wanted to shake him to make him stop deciding for both he and Dean just how things were going to go down.
The other item is more a personal dislike. I was a bit disappointed that Thom’s lesbian gal pal was a bit pushy and in your face. It seemed rather stereotypical to me, as we so often see these pushy broads trying to run their gay male friend’s lives. I also felt we got tidbits about this lesbian couple that never went anywhere, like the decision not to have children—didn’t quite understand why the author chose to include that and not expand upon it.
However, Love and Lint Rollers was still a strong romance novel that resolved itself rather nicely. It gave us complex and interesting characters with real life challenges that they managed to work through in the end. Notably, it was a bit of a departure for this author in terms of subject matter and even style, and it was lovely to see her stretch her author’s wings, so to speak, and present such a warm and gentle love story.
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