Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Lynn Kelling
Heroes: Ev Myers/Adam Buchanan
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 363 Pages
Publisher: Fantastic Fiction
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Ev Myers is a former high school football star and Republican State Senator’s son, raised in a strict Southern Baptist household where his only option was to be silent, behave and, no matter how he might be feeling, to put on a happy smile. Desperate to escape the pressure to be the man his family insists he become, Ev has fled Kansas to attend college and is working to find out who he really is beneath the lies and carefully composed public image. But when he applies for a job as a nude model for a life drawing class out of a desire to be seen in a way that shatters all of his family’s taboos, it’s just the first step on a path that leads him away from everything he’s ever known. Handsome and headstrong adjunct arts professor, Adam Buchanan, is the first person to recognize Ev’s potential, and his determination to have Ev realize the importance of truth and stark honesty, as well as the beauty of flawed vulnerability provides the hope Ev needs to escape a world rife with kidnapping, brainwashing and deadly determination cure homosexuality, using whatever means necessary.
Review: Ev is using college as a way to escape from under his parents’ thumbs. In one respect, there is the religion and conversion therapy he has seen evidence of when he is caught kissing a boy, though the boy is the one blamed and sent away. Ev realizes that even though he shared the feelings, he must never act on them. Then there is the political side of things where his family is all about image. Looking to make a little extra money, as well as a way to step outside the box his parents have put him in, he takes a job modeling nude for an art class at school. It is there that he meets Adam, another professor who stops in class when Ev is modeling.
Adam encourages Ev to model for him instead. It doesn’t take long before Ev finds himself reacting to Adam who basically awakens something in Ev that was dormant for many years. Ev is basically blown away by Adam and the feelings he evokes. As they spend more and more time together, Adam shows Ev how to be himself and that it is ok to be his own person, as opposed to the one his parents expect of him. It’s a slow process, understandably, but it was wonderful to watch Ev gradually come out of his shell as he experienced each new situation.
Much of this story is spent with Adam and Ev exploring things and each other as Adam paints, with Ev as his muse. There is an underlying fear of something bad happening with the conversion therapy, but it takes quite a while to get to that point. There were times that the relationship between Adam and Ev felt a little uncomfortable, though I’m not entirely sure of the reason. Ev’s parents are truly awful, and it is terrifying to know these places actually exist or that their practices take place today. I loved how realistic it felt that Ev struggled with what he had been brought up to believe and what he knew was just wrong and that he was able to stay strong through it all and come out the other side in one piece, mentally, as well as physically.
While this has a definite dark theme to it, in the grand scheme of Ms. Kelling’s work, it really was much lighter and sweeter than I originally anticipated. I enjoyed the dynamic of their relationship and the emotional aspects that were understandably present. If you’re looking for a BDSM story that’s a little different, with feels and emotions, be sure to give this one a try.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*