Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Length: Short Story
Following a lunch date with his brother and sister-in-law, Chris decides that a trip to the gay district would be nice to grab a beer, maybe more. While sauntering around, Chris comes across a barber shop, an honest to goodness barber shop with the big striped pole, called Rough Cut. Chris has read about the shop online, which caters to the bear community, but what he remembers most is that the owner is Rohan Moore. Rohan is a former football teammate with whom Chris had some mutually satisfying fumbling in his pickup truck one night, but in the light of day, the two boys pretended that nothing had happened.
Years later, Chris is out, but it is a conditional thing. He still hides who he is, but as he reveals more and talks with his family, he finds out that he has the unconditional love that gay people so desperately want from their families. Now he must find out if the ship has sailed for him and Rowan all those years ago or if there is still a chance to rekindle their lost passion. Can Rohan, an out and proud bear in the community, deal with and accept Chris’ half closeted life?
We first get the impression that Chris and Rohan are passing acquaintances, but it turns out they had more going on, at least for one night in high school. They have memories of the night when they fooled around in Chris’ truck, but being a gay high school football player in the 70s was dangerous, which made their decision to pretend nothing happened the only viable option at the time.
Chris’ lunch with his mother on the day Chris is to have a haircut with Rohan was super funny, and definitely one of the highlights of the story, especially when she tells Chris “I said you’re vibrating…” “Not the blasted phone. You. You are vibrating!” It’s a sure sign that the reunion means more to Chris than he is letting on and that his mother is not as oblivious as he thinks.
This was a cute story. The characters were cute, the premise was also cute, and there was virtually no conflict. Rough Cut gives a different slant on bears, since both Chris and Rohan behaved in a sweet, snuggly teddy bear kind of way. In fact, I was shocked when I found out that Chris was 6′ 7″ tall and 275 lb since his behavior is described as bouncy and twitchy, and sounded (sorry for the stereotype) short and wiry.
I will most likely re-read Rough Cut in the future when I am tired after a busy day and in the mood for something light and fluffy.