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Title: Rough Canvas
Author: Joey Hill
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Released: 1st November 2009
Genre: M/M (BDSM)
Rating: 4 Stars
Sixth in the Nature of Desire series.
When his father dies, Thomas is forced to abandon a burgeoning art career in New York. As difficult as it was to give up his lifelong dream, it's nothing next to walking away from the man he loves. Marcus taught him to embrace who he is, a sexual submissive who responds to the touch of only one Master. But why would the sophisticated Marcus need some farm kid from the South?
Then Marcus shows up and offers him a way to continue his art career and help his family. There's only one hitch — he asks Thomas to spend a week with him in the Berkshires. Thomas knows he should refuse. But he's never been able to say no to his Master.
Seriously though, BDSM cherry popping aside, this book was a thoroughly enjoyable read and liked it very much. I loved the characters Marcus and Thomas, both tortured souls in their own right but find the peace and strength they need in each other.
Thomas is an incredibly talented artist, but his commitment to his family after his father dies leaves him the head of the family, He goes back home (North Corolina) and keeps things running, managing the business of their failing hardware store in rural America. This just shows the love and sense of responsibility he has for his family, but he is torn after having to leave NY behind, Marcus and his life as an artist was just getting started. His mother is very out-spoken and misgiving and openly critical of his life style while he was in NY. Elaine first appears to be a right bible thumper and sees her son’s life style as a mortal sin and is always trying to convert him back to the path of the righteous. Geez, talk about pressure. But once again we see this typical mother-son relationship and how it can eat up both parties in a negative way even though the love for each other is still there. His brother Rory is in a wheel chair after an accident and just bemoans his lot in life, rather than getting up of his ass, stop feeling sorry for himself and get on with things, although Elaine unknowingly feeds this attitude further. The only one who has her head screwed on is Thomas’s younger sister Celeste.
We learn about Thomas’s family and their attitudes very early on the book, but then one day Marcus comes into the store from NY and throws Thomas, his mother and the rest of the family for a loop. The first impression I got was your typical hard-nosed, self-centred, arrogant, asshole of a business man. I could hardly work out why someone like Thomas would fall for. However, we soon see the Dom / Sub relationship and it’s clear that Marcus pulls all of Thomas’s strings emotionally. However, through the sales of Thomas’s paintings he hands them a substantial cheque and tries to show them that Thomas’s talents could give them all a more comfortable life-style financially. At this juncture I could have bitched slapped Marcus myself, arrogant prick! The sort of person who is intelligent, but uses his sharp mind and tongue like a weapon. Thomas’s mum has a go at him, she probably reckons he some kind of demon or the devil incarnate for leading her son astray. But you really feel how torn Thomas is and since leaving Marcus his artistic muse has been virtually non-existent and deeply unhappy inside. Basically, his commitment to his family is an emotional slow death for him which manifests itself physically as a stomach ulcer.
After Marcus invites to spend a week with him in the Berkshire’s, relax and maybe find his use once again, he decides to do it flying in the face of his family’s bitter disappointment. Once there Thomas is determined that it’ll only be for a week and then back to North Carolina. The walls break and Thomas finds what he has been missing and that is his Master in Marcus. From here on in it’s hot, no holds barred sex, as if they are both trying to make up for lost time.
This book for me was very much divided into two parts and here we get the hot, erotic BDSM sex. Geez, one week and these guys were at it like rabbits. There wasn’t a twelve hour period in the day where they weren’t at it and not one chapter left out. I got quite worn out just reading about it. BDSM is very physical and Joey brought over the raw emotion and carnal instincts very well in her writing letting you know exactly what and how the MCs were feeling all the way. However, Marcus decides to take Thomas one level further and takes him to a BDSM club ~ Detonation. I must admit this was seriously hot but on the other hand some of the sexcapades in this club did have me wincing as I was reading. The utter devotion and trust that a slave must have to his master is quite something. Thomas trusts Marcus completely and Marcus shows him new levels and heights of BDSM sex that he had only guessed at until now. Well, this was only one week and all good things come to an end and Thomas has to go back. Although torn, his commitment again to his family takes over. This also leaves Marcus inside a wreck, but on the outside never admitting it. This is where we start to learn that Marcus truly loves Thomas, but the fact is that his fear of losing Thomas is expressed as a hard man, don’t –give-a-fuck attitude, although inside he is breaking up. However, Thomas feels he can never really trust someone who will never talk about their past, who they are or where they have come from and keep it all bottled up. Marcus remains absolutely defiant about this point.
In the second half of the book the family drama and more character driven part of the book takes over. What I found totally heartbreaking was learning about Marcus’s experiences in life when he eventually does break down knowing that he will never really be able to spend forever with Thomas unless he opens up to him. This for a Dom leaves him open and vulnerable which for Marcus is unthinkable. Then we see how Marcus is the way he is and oh what a life he has had and what a long journey he has had to get where he is today. He is now ready commit his life to Thomas and asks him to marry him, however Thomas isn’t ready until he clears things up back home with his family.
Now here I loved the way the attitudes shift, especially with Thomas’s mother. After Marcus lets fly verbally at her in the store with his intellect he gets through to her on some level and she opens her eyes and makes her see how she is destroying Thomas unwittingly. I guess this is one of the problems you get when two alpha personalities cross horns.
I loved the writing style in this book, descriptive, powerful, flows beautifully and really allows the reader to engage in the MCs thoughts and emotions. As I said this book for me is definitely one that is in two distinct parts. In the first half of the book we get the real hot, erotic, BDSM sex. Now this was seriously HOT at times, I just personally wished there was a little bit more plot between all the bonking going on though. These guys in this week were insatiable; seriously I was exhausted just reading about it. This made it for me a little hard going (no pun intended) as it just felt the plot was about going from one hot, erotic scene and see how quickly we can get to the next. Brought a whole new meaning to a dirty weekend away, but I reckon that was the intention so it was OK. Don’t get me wrong, I did like it, but sometimes I just felt less is sometimes more.
About The Author
I've always had an aversion to reading, watching or hearing interviews of favorite actors, authors, musicians, etc. because so often the real person doesn't measure up to the beauty of the art they produce. Their politics or religion are distasteful, or they're shallow and self-absorbed, a vacuous mophead without a lick of sense. From then on, though I may appreciate their craft or art, it has somehow been tarnished. Therefore, whenever I'm asked to provide personal information about myself for readers, a ball of anxiety forms in my stomach as I think: "Okay, the next couple of paragraphs can change forever the way someone views my stories." Why on earth does a reader want to know about me? It's the story that's important.
So here it is. I've been given more blessings in my life than any one person has a right to have. Despite that, I'm a Type A, borderline obsessive-compulsive paranoiac who worries I will never live up to expectations. I've got more phobias than anyone (including myself) has patience to read about. I can't stand talking on the phone, I dread social commitments, and the idea of living in monastic solitude with my husband and animals, books and writing is as close an idea to paradise as I can imagine. I love chocolate, but with that deeply ingrained, irrational female belief that weight equals worth, I manage to keep it down to a minor addiction. I adore good movies. I'm told I work too much. Every day is spent trying to get through the never ending "to do" list to snatch a few minutes to write.
This is because, despite all these mediocre and typical qualities, for some miraculous reason, these wonderful characters well up out of my soul with stories to tell. When I manage to find enough time to write, sufficient enough that the precious "stillness" required rises up and calms all the competing voices in my head, I can step into their lives, hear what they are saying, what they're feeling, and put it down on paper. It's a magic beyond description, akin to truly believing my husband loves me, winning the trust of an animal who has known only fear or apathy, making a true connection with someone, or knowing for certain I've given a reader a moment of magic through those written words. It's a magic that reassures me there is Someone, far wiser than myself, who knows the permanent path to that garden of stillness, where there is only love, acceptance and a pen waiting for hours and hours of uninterrupted, blissful use.
If only I could finish that darned "to do" list.
I welcome feedback from readers - actually, I thrive on it like a vampire, whether it's good or bad.
Connect with The Author
Other titles by Joey Hill…….
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