Handle With Care
By Gayle
May 22, 2012 - 11:18:17 AM

When their parents were killed, Ben Lethbridge took over raising his young sister. At the time that she reached adulthood he went a little crazy partying, which for a diabetic wasn’t smart, and it destroyed his health. Now he works from his flat and is dependent on home dialysis while he waits for a kidney/pancreas transplant. He’s tired, lonely and doesn’t get many visitors except for his sister Zoe and sexy deliveryman Ollie
, who brings him the DVD porn he orders.

The purple-haired Ollie flirts, but Ben has difficulty believing he has anything to offer. He’s years older, tired and illness has wrecked his body, but with Zoe’s encouragement, they improve his dumpy wardrobe in the hopes that Ollie’s really interested. And then the day of truth arrives. One of Ben’s porn DVDs falls out of the package just as Ollie delivers it and the accident makes it clear just how much the men have in common. Now if Ben can find the courage to expose his heart and scars, he might have the chance at love that he’s been longing for.

HANDLE WITH CARE is the newest release by author Josephine Myles. This is a first time read of this author for me so I wasn’t certain what to expect. On reading the blurb, the realistic life situation of Ben’s poor health caught my interest immediately, and I knew I wanted to give it a try. I’m glad I did.

It’s a rarity for an author to tackle a romance with one of the main characters having an illness. I’ve certainly never read one with a health problem as serious as Ben needing a double organ transplant.  I didn’t know what to expect but Ms. Myles handles it with creativity and sensitivity. Ben’s a likable character. He gave up years of his life to raise his sister. Now after destroying his health, he’s depressed, tired and lonely. We get enough backstory to understand what happened and good descriptions of what’s going on in his life. There’s no doubt of how he’s feeling. Yes, it would have been nice to have seen things from Ollie’s viewpoint, but I still learned what I needed to about him.

This is a cute story but has unexpected depths because of its subject matter, not something you’d anticipate finding in a novella. Ollie’s a great character. He’s fun, quirky, talented and just the guy Ben needs. The portrayal of their relationship is handled well…it isn’t smooth, but did you really expect it to be? I didn’t. HANDLE WITH CARE doesn’t have much in the way of external conflict. Ben dealing with his insecurity and health problems is just about all the two men can handle. Descriptions of Ben’s illness, hospitalization and relationship with his sister are handled nicely. The plot flow is smooth and makes sense, Ollie’s sweet, and the attraction and desire simmering between him and Ben is believable and not overdone. I’ll be looking for other books by this author in the future. Enjoy!

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