Title : Designs of Desire Word Count : 60,778
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance
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?
My Review : James Bryant has been used and abused by most of the men in his life. This has left emotional and physical scars that have been indelibly imprinted. Couple his low self esteem with a genetic disorder that doesnt allow his joints to be repaired easily, James is left a little bit broken. He has to use crutches to get around but his disability doesn’t hold him back, it’s his fear of the ghosts of his past that cripples him. Pretty much everyone in his life has dissapointed him in some way or another, except for his best friend Chase. Chase is always looking out for him and he is the one who points out the sexy new client for whom James will be doing design work.
There is just something about Seth, he has a very commanding presence that is very captivating. James can’t help but to abide his instinctual need to submit. There’s only one problem, his mind is often in flight or fight mode due to his previous abusive relationship. As much as James would like to go into full submissive mode, he is hesitant and somewhat resistant because of his circumstances. He often takes the kindness that Seth portrays as an insult, rather than what was intended which is a master taking care of his sub.
When James meets an ex lover of Seth’s, it becomes clearer to him that Seth’s commanding nature is not only a personality trait. James learns that Seth might be more into the BDSM lifestyle than he can handle. Through his private conversations with the ex, James gleaned certain personal information about collars, markings and some allusion to beatings. James misunderstands the premise of the former relationship and he flees out of fear. He fears that he has fallen into the same trap yet again and that his former abusive past will be a part of his present and future once again. James distances himself from Seth for awhile by refusing contact and using Chase as a buffer for their interactions. After, he gets an explanation from Seth that puts his mind at ease and allows him to see that what happened in Seth’s past was entirely consensual. He slowly starts trusting Seth again and allows him to be a part of his life.
When there is a crisis with Seth’s family and there are surprising revelations, James deals with it with aplomb and takes on the role as more of a loving partner. This leads to James making his own revelations, a declaration of love. Their roles become slightly reversed where James is now the rock, the strength of the union that holds it all together while Seth grieves.James opens not only his heart but his home to Seth as well. Their relationship progress nicely and Seth comes home to the savoury smells of James’ culinary skills each day.
Drunken ramblings from Chase leads to misunderstandings , a phone smashed to smithereens and an effusive apology from Seth actually fortified their relationship. Their future is further solidified by Seth’s proclamation of love and a tentative marriage proposal goes a long way in making James the happiest man alive. He is starting to see for himself how much Seth cares for him.
Their blissful life has a dark cloud hanging over it. There is an unknown threat to James that causes Seth to be proactive in hiring a bodyguard. James is really nervous when he has to tell the new strangers in his life, the Sayer brothers about his horrid past. He explains to them how he has been abused and raped by people who he trusted when he was younger. This gives them a better handle as to how best to protect him. James has to face the ghosts of his past, in order for him to claim his future with his new family. Everything is starting to look up for him and it’s all due to the man he loves. Seth finally proposes properly and there is no doubt left in James’ mind. He has learnt that the best family you could ever have are the ones that you choose to open your heart to and they in turn will cherish you just as you are. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.