Friday, September 2, 2016

According to Design by Nicole Dennis

Amid turmoil and triumph, two men weave through all the colors of life to find one another.

As construction on the Charm wraps up, multi-media artist Wyatt McBride creates special metal and glass designs to add the finishing touches. When his brother accepts an overseas military duty, he takes in his teenage nephew, Collin. Things are already upside down since he’s lost a dear friend to AIDS, and now he has to deal with teenage angst and losing his heart to a brilliant but shy teacher.

To keep his mind out of the past, Keegan Donaghue comes to Shore Breeze to take a position as a high-school science teacher and part-time forensics detective for the sheriff’s department. A special student connects him to the local artist, but he’s still running from his past. Addiction and abuse remain there, lurking in his mind, along with mild PTSD-induced panic attacks. Cryptic, troubling emails from his ex-boyfriend don’t help the situation either.

Shy of relationships and opening their hearts to trust, these two men learn to weave their lives together during the trials of daily life. Neither one expects everything to go according to fate.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes involving PTSD, as well as the discussion of, and flashbacks to, domestic violence and drug addiction. There is a scene of assault involving homophobic slurs, a scene of violence and attempted kidnap, as well as a very brief reference to rape.

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Book 6
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Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Pride Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The sixth book in the Southern Charm series features Wyatt, an artist, and Keegan, a forensic technician and teacher. The plot will be familiar to fans of the series – Keegan is a new arrival to Shore Breeze and Wyatt happily makes him feel at home in America’s most LGBT friendly community.

This isn’t my favourite story in the Southern Charm series. The sixth book manages to catch up with all the characters from the previous stories, but spending so much time revisiting happy couples from the earlier books doesn’t leave much space for Keegan and Wyatt’s story.

If I’m being generous, the start to Keegan and Wyatt’s relationship is gentle. If I’m being a little more harsh, this could be one of the most uneventful fictional courtships ever. There is no urgency and no real passion between these two men who make the very sensible decision to delay the sexual side of their relationship until they know each other well. Urgh. I don’t read romance for sensible decisions! The single sex scene in this story reads like a shopping list or a litany of things two men can do together in bed. I really never felt a sense of intimacy between these two.

Wyatt is grieving the loss of a friend and Keegan is running from his past, so much of the story involves one man providing comfort for the other. The men took turns collapsing, needing medical help and needing emotional support. The resulting relationship was less than exciting to read about and ended up feeling more than a little bit codependent.

Old plots are tied up in this story but it isn’t until the midway point of this book that any new conflict in introduced. And by the end, even the sheriff admits that Shore Breeze has seen this plot before.

The writing has been clunky in previous books in this series, but the characters and storylines kept my interest. Here, while Wyatt and Keegan both had the potential to be fascinating, complex characters, too much about both of these men was told, skimmed over, or loosely sketched in. I didn’t warm to them as I warmed to some of the characters earlier in the series, though I did love some of the descriptions of Wyatt’s artwork.

Ever the quiet one growing up, Nicole Dennis often slid away from reality and curled up with a book to slip into the worlds of her favorite authors. Over the years, she’s created a personal library full of novels filled with dragons, fairies, vampires, shapeshifters of all kinds and romance. Always she returned to romance. Still, there were these characters in her head, worlds wanting to be built on paper, and stories wanting to be told and she began writing them down whether during or after class. She continues to this day. Only recently has it begun to become fruitful, spreading out to let others read and enter her worlds, meet her characters, and see what she sees. No matter what she writes, her stories of romance with their twists of paranormal, fantasy and erotica will always have their Happily Ever Afters.

She currently works in a quiet office in Central Florida, where she also makes her home, and enjoys the down time to slip into her characters and worlds to escape reality from time to time. At home, she becomes human slave to a semi-demonic tortie calico.

Connect with Nicole

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of According to Design (Southern Charm #6) by Nicole Dennis to read and review.

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