Artist's Touch

Kerry Adrienne
Artist's Touch
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Ellora's Cave
Release Date
February 2014

Every starlet wants master painter Kenon Alavi to do her portrait…and more. But Kenon prefers firm to soft and sates his desires with the boyfriends of the women he paints, enjoying the diversity of many lovers but shunning any attachments.

Wallace Harte's English degree isn't helping him find a job and working at a bar is the closest he's gotten to being the Second Coming of Faulkner. Something's gotta give soon or he'll be out on the street.

Kenon zeroes in on the bartender at an art exhibition, intending to add him to his long list of conquests, but Wally bolts, initiating a heated game of cat and mouse. Kenon delights in the game until he discovers what Wally is writing. Feeling betrayed, Kenon swears off all entanglements until he reads Wally's story and discovers true love is sometimes between the pages and not the sheets.

Book Review by Pat Henshaw (author,reviewer)
Jul 11, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
179 people found the following review helpful
Shallow, undefined characters and a thin plot dull this story of an artist colony in New York City.

Flamboyant Kenon Alavi, the portrait painter of the rich and famous, has settled into a rut and needs something or someone to jump start his creativity again. He spies that someone at the art opening where his latest portrait is being unveiled. The target of his lust is the bartender.

Bartender and aspiring writer Wally Harte is stunned when Kenon sidles up to the bar and asks to meet him after the event. Wally, whose muse supposedly has left him, agrees, but runs away before they meet.

So begins a cat and mouse game with Kenon propositioning and then retreating and Wally being pursued. Both feel sparks fly between them, yet except for a kiss or two and Wally's "erotic" writings about Kenon, not much happens.

An unfaithful lover on Kenon's part is alluded to, but never fleshed out. Wally's background is left hazy at best with only the fact that he's a college graduate in creative writing being stated. However, the turgid prose that the sexually frustrated Wally writes after he gets back to his apartment having seen Kenon aren't worthy of a creative writing graduate.

Both Wally and Kenon are cyphers, dancing around each other professing at first passion and finally love, but neither giving concrete details about their pasts other than glancing references.

Kenon is a cynical poseur, who espouses contradictions about the art collective he's built. On the one hand, he says he needs a Russian's money to keep the collective going, yet when the chips are down, Kenon doesn't mind thwarting the Russian.

In his personal life, Kenon is also a contradiction. He's had numerous hookups and the occasional relationship. But when he meets Wally, even though Kenon is knocked back by the connection he feels with the writer, Kenon can't close the deal.

Wally too is a contradiction. Like Kenon, he's experienced in sexual matters, yet he acts like a scared virgin around Kenon. They're both dancing an unnecessary and at times boring dance.

Finally, at the end of the book there's no real reason that either man can claim he loves the other. Neither has found out anything but superficial information about the other, certainly not enough to profess undying, even happily-for-now love.

Even as erotica, the book lacks passion. Most run-of-the-mill gay romances contain more compelling love scenes. But then the ones contained in this story are for the most part written by Wally when he gets back from seeing Kenon. Unfortunately, all they prove is that Wally didn't learn much in the creative writing classes he attended.
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