After the brilliance that was Tyler and Marguerite’s story in Ice Queen and it’s sequel, Mirror of My Soul, I didn’t expect another couple’s story to affect me as deeply. Maybe even more. This is my first purely m/m book and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was completely blown away. I’m already addicted to Joey W. Hill’s books, have hardly taken a breather since I came across her books… and this book just underscored what I already knew – when it comes to BDSM erotica, Joey W. Hill is in a league of her own.
Rough Canvas is the story of Marcus and Thomas. Marcus, a New York Art Dealer and a Dom. And Thomas, an artist, a farm boy from North Carolina and to Marcus, a submissive. They were together for about 2 years, even lived together, but Thomas never felt like he fit in in New York… and when honest with himself, he never truly felt deserving of Marcus. After two tragedies back at home, he is forced to go back to North Carolina and be the man of the house.
Which leaves Marcus alone. But Marcus is extremely handsome and wealthy… he’ll have another submissive in the blink of an eye… or so Thomas thinks. Up until Marcus goes to North Carolina looking for him. Asks him to spend a week with him in the Berkshires, and since Thomas has lost his muse, this is not only a way to be with Marcus, it’s also a way for him to start painting again. And though he knows he should say no, knows he couldn’t possibly bear to lose Marcus again, he has never been able to say no to his master.
I’m not sure where to begin to express my love for this book. The emotion, the angst… I was in a constant state of heart ache for these two. Two people so meant to be, both hurting so much to be with each other, both trying to suppress their desires.. it was truly heartbreaking.
Thomas, a family man, loyal, honest, giving. Couldn’t turn his back on a family that needs him. Even though his family doesn’t accept him as he is, he’s willing to suppress it all to keep them happy. But it’s an everyday fight… knowing what he’s found with Marcus…
It’s like he’s the one who holds the book of my life, and I’m waiting with all this breathless excitement to see him turn the page.
Marcus on the other hand. So beautiful on the outside. Yet so damaged. Knowing fully well that people see what’s on the outside, love what is on the outside. But only one man has come close to seeing his soul. A soul that he wants to keep hidden. He can’t bear the thought of Thomas realizing his darkness and turning him away.
“It’s because you’re an artist, Thomas. I don’t mean a person who paints or sculpts, though that’s one form your perception takes. You see into the souls of others more easily. It should make me want to close all doors against you, because my soul is the last thing I want anyone to see.
But God, how he loved Thomas…
“I wanted everything for him. I wanted to see him achieve every dream, embrace every desire. I wanted to protect him from anyone who would cause him harm or a moment’s pain, tear them apart with my bare hands. Never let him out of my sight, even as I wanted him to stretch out his wings as far as they could go and soar. And at the bottom, top and middle of it all, I just wanted to stand there, just that way forever. Not disturb him. Just look at him and love him. Do nothing but simply love him for everything he is, a creation too perfect to be anything but God’s gift to the rest of us.”
And how he fought for him. And the beauty of it was, the one who thought himself too damaged, was the one who fought the most. Yes, Marcus fought to be with Thomas. And I understood it all. Will all that darkness inside him, it must be hard to let go of the only light in it. And so he fought.
It was sensual, raw and so so intense. I’ve read books where I know how I’m supposed to feel about a scene. With this one, I hurt so much for them I was a raw nerve from beginning to end. Even the beauty of it hurt. It makes no sense why even the beautiful parts would hurt, right? But of course the author explains it better than I ever could…
Moments too powerful to be contained by the human heart and therefore having a peculiar way of making the soul hurt, as if there was something to mourn in the midst of the happiness. As if happiness itself couldn’t exist without shadows to definite it.
That was Thomas’ way of describing the moment he saw Marcus for the very first time, and for me, my entire experience with the book.
I’m trying to put a name on what it is about Joey W. Hill’s writing that has me so enthralled. I have to actually force myself to pick up another author’s book. I’ve read sensual books, angsty books, erotic books… my favorites have all three… but her writing is different from what I’ve read. It touches me to my core. I think it’s because of the almost spiritual undertones… the good vs evil, Heaven and Hell… the idea that one has seen the pits of hell and gets the beautiful ending he deserves. It’s a fairy tale I want to believe in and she gives it to me.
Amazon Buy Link – Rough Canvas by Joey W. Hill