Rating: 4 stars
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Roland Wilson loves to paint and it’s all he knows and it’s who he is. Yet, it’s been ten years since his last show. His mind is a whirl of self-doubt and he can’t get his hands to paint what his mind wants. Roland’s depression is out of control and his only comfort is yet another bottle of vodka. There is little color in Roland’s world until he sees the vibrant blue eyes of the delivery guy at his door.
Adonis Smith doesn’t feel like he resembles his name at all and he goes by Donny. He’s on the shorter side and considered a twink, but Donny longs to take control. When he meets gorgeous Roland, he knows the man is haunted by past pain, yet Donny is drawn to him just the same.
Donny has reservations about getting involved with Roland, but he can’t seem to stop himself. Donny wants as much of Roland as Roland can give, but Roland has a pack of demons on his back and he may never be able to give Donny all he deserves. Their world is certainly more colorful when they are together, but Roland’s drinking and self-destruction may shut Donny out for good.
It is true that the more issues the MC in a book has and the more a character may struggle, the more I will be attracted to the book. Roland certainly has his issues, and while they definitely consume him, for me this book wasn’t overly dark but depicted someone with depression and mental health issues that were not easy to overcome.
Roland used to be a well-known painter and was successful for years. His art tended to take over and his boyfriends wanted more of his attention and didn’t seem to really understand Roland. After his last break up, which was years ago at this point, Roland spiraled down into self-loathing and self-doubt and hasn’t painted anything he has liked in many years. His only companion is the vodka bottle and his own self-deprecating thoughts. A little color comes back into his life when he meets Donny, but there is certainly a rough road ahead for them.
Donny is just living his life. He has some friends and a sister he is close to, but romance for Donny hasn’t been working out. He’s a smaller guy and finds people don’t take him seriously when he likes to take charge. Roland sees Donny, and Roland wants Donny to take over, but Roland has quite a lot to sort out.
The men enter into a sexual relationship fairly quickly and that is how they communicate best to start. Roland is fairly numb when they meet. He’s depressed and often drunk and can’t find his way out. He does want to get better and takes steps to do that, but it certainly doesn’t happen overnight, he has set backs, and as much as he wants to be with Donny, he’s jealous and volatile when he feels things slipping away. He hasn’t figured out how to talk to Donny and Donny has a limit to how he will let himself be treated.
The guys fall for each other fast, but it works for the intensity of their personalities and their connection. The author brings in Roland’s art and shows how at times it fights against Roland and Donny, but also, ultimately how the colors and the paint enhance them. The book is relationship driven as well as character driven, but mostly on Roland’s side as we don’t get to know Donny nearly as well as Roland. While Roland certainly has many obstacles to overcome, Donny falls for all that Roland is and truly wants Roland to be the best version of himself. Roland’s depression comes through clearly, but I also felt a little removed from these guys as compared to other more visceral books dealing with depression.
This was the first book I have read from this author and I would certainly be open to checking out other books in the future. Catching up Roland and Donny would be a good choice for a relationship driven book that deals with mental illness, but doesn’t go all the way into the darkness. There is also the bonus of Pete, the Siamese kitten, to lighten the mood.
This does sound intriguing. Thanks for your review, Michelle.