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Mohan Patel is a rebel and something of a “bad” boy. Born of conservative Indian parents, he bucked tradition and broke ties with his family when he came out to them and declared himself an artist instead of a business man. For the past year he has operated a tattoo parlor in a Las Vegas Casino/Hotel, and during that time he has watched Aaron Chase and has wanted him. Aaron is what Mohan describes as a “suit”, however, and Mohan has had less than satisfactory experiences with his kind in the past. Aaron is high on the corporate ladder at the hotel. While he is not hiding in the closet, he has not advertised the fact that he is gay due to the possible negative impact such news might have on his career. When he finally makes a move to break through Mohan’s layer of intimidating reserve, the two men find a passion made all the greater by the fact that they are opposites of each other.
When Mohan’s lease at the hotel is threatened, Aaron desperately wants to help him save his business, but he knows that Mohan will neither welcome nor appreciate his assistance. When a little serendipitous good publicity falls into Mohan’s lap, he angrily believes that Aaron has orchestrated the event in order to keep him as his “piece” on the side. Mohan refuses to be anybody’s dirty little secret, no matter how they may feel about him. For him it is all or nothing. Can these two find a connection, or will they allow both real and imagined differences to keep them apart?
Inking Aaron by Cheryl Dragon is a story about being true to who you are in spite of other people’s expectations. Mohan is proud of his Indian heritage, but he refuses to allow that to dictate who he is. Aaron hasn’t informed his family that he is gay, but that is more taking the path of least resistance than hiding in the closet for him. Mohan is convinced that Aaron is into what he calls secrets and closet games, while Aaron doesn’t understand why he should allow his personal life to ruin his career. These two men are such opposites, it truly appears that a relationship between them that is anything other than sexual would be doomed to failure. In order to make it work, they each have to give up some measure of control in the relationship. This is overall an enjoyable story, and the scene involving Mehendi – henna tattooing – is both interesting and rather sweet.
Reviewed by: Whitney