Designs of Desire
Title: Designs of Desire
Author: Tempeste O’Riley
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press July 2013
Blurb: Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.
As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.
James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?
Review: When I started this book I had some assumptions about it. I was pretty much wrong about all of them.
Assumption #1: This will be about Seth showing James the road to love and healing.
I’m not saying that Seth didn’t love James or even that he didn’t inspire James, but James was the dominant personality when it came to his own healing. Nothing happened unless James allowed it. Which threw me off because…
Assumption #2: This will be a sweet fluffy bunny romance.
No. This is a BDSM light story. There are moments of beautiful control and Dominance/Submission that I really loved. Every single moment of the story that had elements of D/S were perfect. I loved this twist to the story. The control Seth has in and out of the bedroom is classic Dom, and James discovery of what a healthy submissive relationship looked like was dramatic and engaging.
Assumption #3: The art would set them free.
Nope again. Yes, James’ art and passion was a fun plot element. I wanted to walk into his studio and see the paintings on the wall, flip through his sketch book or attend a gallery show. But James and Seth had to work some basic relationship skills out. We were party to every flib, flop, and fantastic moment.
I was partial to Seth. I felt he was more of an onion character. His layers were many and some of them were unexpected. In fact, half way through the book a plot twist arose that completely threw me off my game. I sat blinking at the screen confused and had to take that new twist and work it into the people I thought I had come to know. I don’t know if it worked for me to be honest. This aspect of Seth’s life felt incredibly unlike him. I wasn’t sure if somehow James and Seth switched personalities without me knowing but I kept at it and in the end it worked.
James was interesting. I liked the stronger James opposed to the broken man. Let’s be clear James life sucked, forever. There was such extreme abuse it felt unrealistic and overboard. I wasn’t able to connect with his tragic life because I didn’t believe it. James the artist, boyfriend, and best friend was fantastic though. I liked the lines he drew in the sand and the fact that he never moved from them.
The secondary characters were as intriguing as the main characters in the story. Chase, James’ best friend was dynamic. I was a Chase fan from the first scene and cheered him on the whole book. There are other characters that brought the story to life that I really enjoyed as well.
The villains felt too evil and got away with an amazing amount with the sheer number of people constantly around James.
The book was more confusing than I expected. There were elements of the story that were over the top, and felt forced. I wanted to like this book more than I was able to.
And I will say that I am a cover junky. This cover was the reason I wanted to read the book. It’s stunning, relevant to the story and completely beautiful. Well done Reese Dante.
Reviewed by Beans
Posted on August 22, 2013, in Beans and tagged a haunting past, Abuse, Artist, Beans, Best Friends, C List, Contemporary, Crazy Family, D/S, DSP, Family, Healing, love triumphs over all, Lust At First Sight, M/M, Overcoming Abuse, romance, Series, Wealthy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.