By Joey W. Hill
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.
Rough Canvas is an intense seduction and an emotional embrace of a lifestyle that few people have the eloquence or courage to share.
This is the story of a journey two men must make in order to realize their dreams. They simultaneously embrace their differences and push each other away because of them. Their hidden passions are untapped and misunderstood while their openness to explore them is at times, joyful, hurtful and cathartic. The yearning is painful to read yet inspires hope for their future. I came away from reading this story exhausted. The highs and lows of their relationship are very real, touching and even scary at times.
Thomas is a talented artist with a farmer’s background. His love of family is stronger than his love and acceptance of himself – a tug-o-war that is tearing him apart. He is afraid on many levels because he’s not one hundred percent sure that the feelings he has for his partner are indeed love, and if it is love, that is it the ever after kind of love. How can it be love when he desires to be dominated in such a complete and utter way? Has he no respect for himself?
Marcus is the Dom who recognized the Sub in Thomas. Marcus has it all, or so everyone thinks. He hides some dramatic history that had shaped the man he’s become. He lets no one in, yet he yearns to let in Thomas. He just doesn’t know how. Marcus is written as one of the most tortured heroes in an emotionally gripping way that you can’t escape feeling a myriad of feelings for. I felt like I was on a see-saw, reading about his side of things. After awhile, I wanted his happiness just as much as he.
Yes, Joey has written the book from both men’s POV’s and you’ll find it a better reading experience because of it. Seeing how these men think individually helped me connect and worry about them. It helped tremendously that I could get into their heads and see the crisis’s in their souls.
Joey doesn’t shy away from touching the sensitive topics that involve two men loving each other. She doesn’t shy away from the religious aspect of it either. The author came across as having a tremendous respect for people’s beliefs in God and his teachings. And yet, she zeroes in on the very basis of that foundation; real selfless love builds successful relationships. This book explores in a very human way how love, true love, seeks to heal, to guide and to encourage emotional growth in those we gift with the caring of our hearts. The ultimate willingness to be vulnerable because you trust that the person you love, trusts and loves you back. It is in that parameter than Joey has her characters explore the extremes of love in a relationship through BDSM.
If you’ve been teased with light or soft BDSM, let me inform you that this story is not for the faint of heart. The scenes can be graphic and intense, however, at no time did I feel it was gratuitous. It was a challenge for me to read, that I can assure you. I’ve read the soft versions but this is the most intense exposure to this alternate lifestyle I’ve ever read. The writing was extremely well done and it painted pictures in my mind that were at times both intriguing and disturbing. The ultimate compliment I can give is that all the scenes worked because throughout all of them, you never lost sight of the emotional connections between Marcus and Thomas. I felt I was there, being seduced at the same time as Thomas into trusting that the Dom, Marcus, would take care of Thomas. Would keep him safe, could be trusted and would treat him with respect and, as hard as it is for me to understand, with love.
Rough Canvas took me on a journey with Thomas as he learned how to be a proper sub to Marcus’ Dom. Every time I felt the story might be taking too long, Joey upped it up a notch so that all the information you read, all the scenes, all the steps the two men make are relevant, important, and move the story forward. At no point did this story spin its wheels in a long drawn out event. Everything Joey wrote made in impact, made a point and kept me, the reader, invested in the outcome. I will also say that this story had some descriptive scenes that will satisfy any desires erotica fans may hold while for me, where plot and substance are key, Rough Canvas delivered a solid story.
This is high powered writing, folks. Rough Canvas is worth the time investment to read.
Reviewed by Xeranth