Author: Kaje Harper
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages/Word Count: 87 Pages
Rating: 5 Stars
Blurb: Nelson Dunn has a settled routine – an evening security-guard job, days off for his therapy dogs, occasional club sex, and good books. He sometimes dreams about more, but he’s made himself content. So when Hurricane Lauris strands Caleb Robertson at his house, Nelson has mixed feelings about having an attractive guy in his space. Especially when nothing more can possibly happen.
Caleb went to the hospital to get the cast off his broken foot. Instead, he finds himself waiting out the storm with Nelson, his three dogs, and a very wet cat. It’s less of a hardship than he’d have expected.
Review: A good short story leaves you both desperately wanting to visit with its characters again and peacefully sated, knowing you have finished an important chapter in their lives. The final installment in the Storming Love series, Nelson & Caleb, does just that. Well written, intimately drawn, and a delicate love story, this novella delivers a sweet and gentle chapter from two vastly different men’s lives.
Nelson, a former policeman, appears to be the epitome of a gentle giant. He and his dogs walk the children’s wards, bringing comfort and just a bit of happiness to each of them. But his is a solitary life, a series of one-night stands and furtive grabs at stolen moments of the intimacy he craves deep down inside. As he goes back and forth to his night watchmen post, he notices one of the scientists and wonders what it might me like to speak with him, get to know him. Hurricane Lauris actually makes that fantasy come true when Caleb is stranded at the same hospital where Nelson is volunteering. A ride home turns into a stay at Nelson’s house when downed trees and flooding make it impossible to reach Caleb’s apartment.
While instant attraction between these two men seems unlikely, the storm engenders a different idea, and Caleb finds himself receiving a mind-blowing orgasm and then…silence. Nelson’s abrupt departure to another room leaves Caleb wondering what he did wrong or, better yet, what secret Nelson may be hiding. Former abuse at a lover’s hands? Fear of intimacy? All these rocket through Caleb’s mind as he seeks to understand what Nelson seems so afraid of and why he shuts down after every physical encounter by not allowing Caleb to touch him. The storm is slowing and time is running out for these two men. If Caleb cannot learn the key to understanding what Nelson needs, then the secret he is hiding will end their relationship before it even begins.
I began this review by mentioning what a good short story does for a reader. Encapsulating enough plot line and rich characters into a novella is difficult at best. Add to that secondary characters (and yes, those pups of Nelson’s were delightful rascals whom you quickly grew to love) and enough of a setting to give the story some real flesh, and you have a daunting task. For Kaje Harper, who is known for much longer novels, the brief length of this story might have posed a problem. But, no, that was certainly not the case. Once again this author shows her prowess in this genre by giving us men to fall in love with, a story that flows easily with excellent pacing and just enough tension to keep us riveted. Add to that a unique plot twist when Nelson’s secret is revealed, and you have a lovely story of sweet caring and love.
By far my favorite of this series, Nelson & Caleb is one installment in the Storming Love series, you will not want to miss. I highly recommend it to you.
You can buy Storming Love: Nelson & Caleb here: