Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bare by Lynn Kelling Blog Tour

Ev Myers was looking for trouble when he signed up to do nude art modeling, but he wasn’t expecting this much trouble. All he’d wanted to do was rebel against the moral limits of his strict religious family and the PR requirements of his father’s senate seat. He saw how much bigger his world could be when Professor Adam Buchanan opened Ev to new passions and new experiences but when Ev's family learned how far he had gone, they decided to resort to kidnapping and brainwashing to save their son from sin and scandal—even if it kills him.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Bare is the first book I’ve read by Lynn Kelling. I readily admit that the stunning cover caught my eye and the blurb had me intrigued, but in the end, neither ensnared me as fully as the story the author penned. Though I’m not sure the blurb does the novel justice because I don’t feel that Ev was really “looking for trouble,” at least not as intentionally or as consciously as the description suggests. Having spent at least part of his life in the public eye as the son of a Conservative Republican politician, being scrutinized by others is not as daunting for Ev as it would be for an introvert like myself. Add in a small exhibitionist streak and, yes, some good old fashioned parental rebellion, and Ev has no problem posing nude for life drawing classes, especially when the pay scale means he can afford his books and incidentals without maxing out his credit card. If anything, Ev seemed to expect to pose nude, get paid for it, and maybe get a little thrill out of doing something he’d never be able to do back home.

What Ev was not expecting was his reaction to Adam, an adjunct professor visiting the class one evening. Nor was he expecting the level of intimacy and vulnerability he felt when posing for Adam privately. But what Ev never expected, never even dreamed would happen, could happen, was to have what began as a job, as a financial arrangement, become the most important relationship in his life. Even though Ev chose to go to college out of state, intending to get a degree that would allow him to start a life well away from his hometown in Kansas, one that wasn’t mapped out by his parents, he never saw Adam coming. Ev’s story had me absolutely enthralled because watching him become who he wanted to be as opposed to who his parents expected him to be was very moving. Kelling does an amazing job of conveying Ev’s excitement, fear, anxiety, shame, attraction, and, ultimately, his acceptance of how Adam makes him feel, how Adam feels right to him, and how Adam makes him feel safe and loved.

While the story is told from Ev’s point of view, the author still manages to make it clear to the reader that Ev’s feelings are not unrequited. Adam is a communicator, both in what he says and what he does. Even as he pushes Ev’s boundaries and comfort level in pursuit of his art, he takes great care with Ev, making it clear that he wants Ev to speak up if something he’s doing or asking makes Ev uncomfortable. But it’s also in the little things that Adam does for Ev that shows how much he cares for Ev; that said, it wasn’t until Ev’s conversation with Oliver much later in the book that I understood the full extent of how Ev affected Adam, and of how much Adam needed Ev. As for the BDSM elements, while there is some bondage involved, the focus is on the actual power exchange between Ev and Adam – the building and earning of trust that takes place on both men’s part – and Kelling has penned a story that insured that by the time I read the final page, I had no doubt that the trust was earned and the love was felt by both Ev and Adam. I’m both surprised, yet not, that the most sensual scenes were those in which Ev was posing for Adam as he painted. Even though I know that some of the most sensual scenes in romances can occur while a couple is fully dressed and not even within arm’s reach of one another, the way in which Kelling brings Adam’s theme of masculine vulnerability to life on the pages made those scenes far more intimate than I would have expected. I also appreciated the way the author presented the scenes regarding conversion therapy – the physical and psychological trauma was realistically horrifying, graphic only when it needed to be, and not drawn out simply to shock and awe the reader. In short, Kelling balanced the elements surrounding the issue in a way that kept it meaningful to the story without letting it take over, instead focusing on the aftermath of the “treatment” and how the incident affected Ev, Adam, and their relationship. While there were a couple of times that I felt as though certain aspects of Ev and Adam’s relationship progressed a little too quickly, they were minor and didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the novel. I loved Bare and look forward to reading more of Kelling’s work.

Lynn Kelling began writing in order to tell stories that weren’t afraid of the dark, didn’t hold anything back and always strived to be memorable, forging lasting attachments between character and reader. Her inspiration comes from taking a closer look at behaviors and ideas lurking at the fringes of life – basically anything that people may hesitate to speak of in mixed company, but everyone wonders about anyway. Her work is driven by the taboo in order to expose the humanity within it. Lynn is an artist, designer and lover of any form of creative self-expression that comes from a place of honesty and emotion, whether it’s body art or opera. She has had multiple novels published, has written over 50 works of erotic fiction of varying lengths, and always has several novels in progress.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Bare by Lynn Kelling to read and review for this tour.

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