“Intent reveals desire; action reveals commitment.” ― Steve Maraboli
Author: Kerry Adrienne
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Pages/Word Count: 147 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Every starlet wants master painter Kenon Alavi to do her portrait…and more. But Kenon prefers firm to soft and sates his desires with the boyfriends of the women he paints, enjoying the diversity of many lovers but shunning any attachments.
Wallace Harte’s English degree isn’t helping him and working at a bar is the closest he’s gotten to being the Second Coming of Faulkner. Something’s gotta give soon, or he’ll be out on the street.
Kenon zeroes in on the bartender at an art exhibition, intending to add him to his long list of conquests, but Wally bolts, initiating a heated game of cat and mouse. Kenon delights in the game until he discovers what Wally is writing. Feeling betrayed, Kenon swears off all entanglements until he reads Wally’s story and discovers true love is sometimes between the pages and not the sheets.
Review: Kenon Alavi doesn’t do relationships. To say he’s a temperamental artist might be a bit of an understatement. To say he’s moody and brooding and used to getting his way is not. Those are just simple truths. Kenon plays the game of life by a single rule: assume everyone is out to use him, the objective: use them first. Game over. Kenon thinks he’s got good reason to fear commitment, a failed relationship will do that to a man, but the unfortunate part is he himself might be more the problem than the victim.
That’s all well and good for Kenon until he meets a shy and unassuming bartender one night. Wally Harte looks like the perfect trick: innocent, beautiful, someone who might be a little awestruck by someone like Kenon… easy to say goodbye to when Kenon’s done with him. Which would be great, except for the fact that Wally refuses to play by the rules, and in the end, the artist becomes the subject in this sweet and sexy novel by new-to-me author Kerry Adrienne.
There’s an underlying current to the romantic storyline between the two men, some misperceptions about Wally on Kenon’s part, as well as a business deal with an antagonist who, while not necessarily a fully realized character, did a fair job of causing more than his share of trouble in the burgeoning relationship between the two men, artfully calculating Kenon’s weaknesses and then providing the catalyst for the misunderstanding which drives Kenon to make some assumptions about Wally that are more fear than fact, delivering the story to its climax.
Kerry Adrienne does a great job of bringing the sexual tension between Kenon and Wally to a slow simmer. Voyeurism and lust, a little tinge of jealousy and a whole lot of possessiveness play a big part in the storyline, the artistic visuals lending a sensual element to the attraction between them, and the development of the relationship sketched out well enough that I wanted these two men to work even while wishing we’d got a bit more of them getting to know each other beyond the sizzle of sexual chemistry.
Artist’s Touch is a quick and engaging read, flowing smoothly start to finish, with just the right amount of conflict to keep the cat & mouse game interesting, and to keep the reader wondering who’s the predator and who’s the prey, from one scene to the next.
If you’re looking for a hot little romance that slowly builds the tension to a lovely conclusion, Artist’s Touch has just the right touch.