Title ~ Complementary Colours
Author ~ Adrienne Wilder
Published ~ 20th June 2014
Genre ~ M/M Romance
My sister Julia manipulated my life into a prison to keep me silent about our dirty family secret. Her greed made me a slave and circumstance left me with no way to escape.
Trapped, the only way I could silence the nightmares driving me to insanity was to wrap them in color, hold them with shadow, and stitch them to negative space with line.
But no matter how bright the pigments, no one could see my confession.
Except for Roy Callahan.
I thought he was just another nameless one-night stand in a long line of many.
But I was wrong. Roy could see past the façade of my life and through the veil color over the canvas. He could see what the world couldn’t.
With him I’d find the courage to tell the truth about the boy.
The boy who kissed me.
The boy who loved me.
The boy whose name I couldn’t remember.
I know when I read, I always see the story unfolding in my mind but every now and then one comes along that actually makes me feel like I'm inside the book observing from the side-lines. Like a fly on the wall watching the book play out like a film. Complimentary Colours gave me that experience and I absolutely loved it!
Rich and famous abstract artist, Paris Duvoe, is a beautiful, highly sexual, messed up, tortured soul and this becomes evident right at the very start of the book when we first set eyes on him in a scene that's pivotal to the whole story. Right from the word go I was inexplicably drawn to this complex man and whilst at this early point in the story I didn't know anything about him, except that he was obviously sexually promiscuous, I knew that I was totally fascinated by him and because I was so drawn to him I fully understood why the other central character, tough but kind blue collar worker Roy Callahan, behaved as he did. Paris is a Tour De Force and Roy is engulfed and seduced by the sheer sexual energy he exudes, but when what was supposed to be just another anonymous sexual encounter with a stranger started to grow into something deeper, setting off a chain of dramatic events, it became a compulsive, unputdownable read that gripped me from beginning to end.
This is a dark, disturbing story of manipulation, exploitation and mind fuckery and its main instigator has a name:
The twisted, mentally and physically (not sexual) abusive, bitch of a half sister whose years of psychological dominance over her emotionally damaged brother have had Paris submitting to her will in ways that only served to send him further down into a self destructive spiral. This is a woman who couldn't be more despicable or detestable if she tried. A complete opposite to their weaker sister Alice who knows what’s happening but chooses to stay fairly quiet in the background.
"I was a puppet, and Julia held my strings."
But then gentle repairman Roy happens and suddenly Paris has something good in his life he's never had before and a possible reason to fight the psychological hold that Julia has over him....however, Julia is not his only nemesis. There's a demon from his past haunting Paris. One he hides inside his paintings over and over again but no one else recognises the horror within them, they just want the kudos of owning a Paris Duvoe original and Julia takes advantage of that, her greed and deep rooted hatred of her half brother a means to pimp out Paris to any prospective buyer to use sexually any way they want, using drugs and mind games to influence his already dysfunctional behaviour.
Voices and visions taunt him. One small, insistent childlike voice in particular that's only silenced when his brush hits the canvas and he can set down the colours, that hold the awful secret that the boy with no name's voice is trying to get him to remember, onto an open space. The terrible memory he's pushed to the furthest corners of his mind, the one that if he doesn't pour it into a painting, will release the white rabbit from the rabbit hole and the monster from its tenuously held prison.
Paris lives in a sensory world of colour. Something like synaesthesia, that allows him to see them swirl around him, mirroring moods, emotions and even touch; so the canvas becomes his conscience, the colours his guilt.
"Swatches of colour to close the wounds. Lines to tie it down. Layers upon layers, until the sound of their voices formed a hum. I painted to silence them. I painted to tell the truth. I painted to free the boy whose name I couldn't remember."
Roy is a sweet, sweet man. Never having been with a guy before, his encounter with this beautiful sexually charged but emotionally starved man opens his eyes to a side of himself that he's kept at bay for years and he's pulled into Paris' fucked up world. He sees him in a way that no one ever has before, looking past the 'you can fuck me because that's all I'm worthy of ' mask that Paris shows to the men who Julia sells his favours to. He shows him that he is worth a love that isn't bartered for with drugs, sex and dirty money but most importantly of all he truly sees the pain and truth of what Paris is painting into his art. In Roy's arms Paris feels things he's never allowed himself to feel before but he's frightened that what Roy sees in his paintings will disgust him and his years of conditioning make him alternate between pulling Roy in and pushing him away. Roy knows if something isn't done soon to get Paris out of Julia's clutches, it's a tragedy waiting to happen.
"Roy turned his head and caught my mouth. The kiss was brutal, deep, fast. More people were on the street now, more cars, more noise. But none of it could touch us. We'd slipped beyond the real world and hovered where darkness and light made love to create the colours of the universe."
Adrienne teases us throughout the book with glimpses and flashes of the harrowing event in Paris' past that's led him to allow himself to be manipulated and exploited by his heinous sister. She builds up the tension around the past horror in tit bits that she feeds us to the point where you think you've actually worked out the story of the boy whose name Paris can't remember so its just a case of waiting for Paris to see the light, fuck with Julia's head for a change, finally speak the truth of the traumatic event so he can heal and settle into the relationship with Roy that we all know he deserves to have. BUT....complacency isn't a word that fits into this reading experience and what you thought you'd figured out slaps you in the face and you're thrust back into psychological hell again with more secrets coming out of the woodwork that twist the story in directions that you really don't want it to go. I spent the last third of the book dreading what would come next but unable to look away.
Buckle up because Complimentary Colours is a tense, cleverly plotted, fiction noir, and not only that it's also beautifully written with some passages so descriptive and tender that I found myself constantly highlighting throughout the book because of their emotional impact and intensity. So, so good and proof positive why I'm such a fan of Adrienne's wonderful writing skills.
AMAZON GLOBAL LINK
Author’s Note about Complementary Colors charity donation:
Mental illness affects people of all ages, races, religions, and financial status. And millions of those people will die because the only way they think they can escape the pain is to take their own life. Many victims of suicide are Veterans and those in the LGBT community.
Because so many people can benefit from having resources in a time of crisis, a minimum of 10% of sales from each book will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. With every thousand copies sold I will add an additional 1% until I reach 25% of all monies made.
This donation will be done in the memory of all those who have been lost to suicide. Friends.
About the Adrienne
Georgia bred and born, Adrienne Wilder spent most of her childhood exploring fantastical worlds hidden in her own back yard among tall grass, and shadowed kudzu tunnels. When she was not dragon hunting, she spent most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes.
Currently Adrienne lives in Dahlonega, GA where she shares her home with a variety of dogs and one cat. She still spends most of her time, reading, writing, drawing, and digging holes. Although now she calls the reading "research," the drawing "artwork", the writing "books," and the holes "ponds" and "gardens".
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