Jason Robinson has been living on his own and supporting himself since he was 17. Jason’s mom died when he was a teen and he moved in with his older brother, Brad. But having a grieving 15-year-old around took its toll on Brad’s marriage and Jason didn’t want to be a burden, so he moved out. Jason is holding it together, but just barely. His job working the electronics department of a superstore is just enough to make ends meet, even if he has some lean months.
Dusty Mack is settled into his life. He may not have found love, but he is close with his sister and his niece and spends a lot of time helping them out. When Dusty goes to buy his niece a new gaming system, Jason is his salesperson and the guys get a little flirty. Dusty can’t stop thinking about Jason, but he isn’t sure how to approach the younger man. Dusty can’t even imagine someone as young and vibrant and gorgeous as Jason would even want an older guy like him. But Dusty works up his nerve and, to his surprise, Jason is interested.
The guys start spending time together and begin dating, but making their schedules work together isn’t easy. They don’t get to spend nearly as much time together as they would like. Dusty also wants to take things slowly sexually. He hasn’t had much luck with relationships and he doesn’t want to rush things. But also, both men can’t help but wonder if what they are building can last. Jason is struggling financial and worries about being a burden. He feels like he doesn’t have his life together and can’t imagine what someone like Dusty would want with him. For his part, Dusty is sure that Jason will tire of him sooner than later, as Jason is so young and gorgeous, he can certainly do better. The men are falling hard for each other and it seems like they are a perfect fit. But they need to trust in the other’s feelings and open up about their own if they have a chance for something long term.
Love Me Gently is a sweet, contemporary story that very much fits the title. There is just a nice, easy way about the book and a tenderness of two men falling for each other. Both Dusty and Jason are struggling with various things — Jason largely financial and Dusty more with setting boundaries with his family — and both are sure the other man could do better. So even as they are starting to develop feelings, the two men are both a little tentative. As a result, this is a very slow burn, sort of roll into love. Dusty and Jason take their time moving on to sex, and they don’t have much time to see one another. But it is clear how much they are growing to care for each other and their feelings come through as a reader, even if they don’t recognize them in each other. The guys probably needed to do more talking (and more believing what the other says), but this didn’t bother as much as it can in some books. It just felt like a sweet, tender falling in love with two men who are taking care of and supporting each other.
I particularly liked here how we have two heroes who have both dealt with financial issues. In Dusty’s case, he is mostly on solid ground, but he grew up poor and now works as a trash collector for the city. He is supporting himself comfortably, but he never fully feels confident about money. Jason is struggling much more severely, so much so that things take a turn for the worse over the course of the book. I appreciated how this isn’t the rich savior type story that is so common in the genre. Both of these guys are working class and dealing with the realities of low-moderate income life, and I think it was nice to see characters and a storyline that was a bit different from so many books I have read.
I found this one a sweet story with two really likable guys. I enjoyed watching Jason and Dusty fall for one another and grow to believe in their own worth as partners.