Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Enticing Journey Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
His head dropped to his hands. This lovesick bullshit truly angered him. How in the world did people function like this? Why would anyone encourage someone to fall in love? This shit sucked, and he honestly had no idea how to make himself feel better. It would be so much easier if he didn't feel at all. His heart physically hurt. At any given moment, a stray thought of Kellus would slip through his mind, sending a razor-sharp pain slicing across his chest. And since he thought about Kellus twenty-four seven, his tortured heart wasn't to be able to handle much more.
Painted on My Heart is my fifth Kindle Alexander read and it's my absolute one so far. My heart clenched painfully in my chest more than once while reading this latest release from an author who's now made their way on my list of go-to authors. There's an aching kind of poignancy to Alexander's writing, a kind of writing that makes you want to wholly immerse yourself in the story and experience the journey the main characters are on alongside them. I've read the author's Nice Guys series as well as the second edition of The Current Between Us, and while I loved those four previous releases, Painted on My Heart is extraordinarily good. It's moving, touching my sometimes cynical heart in a way that very few have done before. I know I've yet to read all of the author's other books, but based on my own personal reading experience with their storytelling, this newest novel is the author at their best.
Having met wealthy hotelier Arik Laney and gifted artist Kellus Hardin in The Current Between Us, I was eagerly anticipating their story here in Painted on My Heart. Arik is used to getting what he wants and he's never been one to from a lack of hookups and bedmates--as long as it isn't his bed they're in. When he gets a glimpse of Kellus, he can't quite get over the fact that the gorgeous man who's snagged his attention also happens to be the artist whose creations speak to him in a way nothing else ever had before. He's persistent and consistent in his pursuit of Kellus, wanting to see where the palpable connection between them could lead. But Kellus is still dealing with his only relationship, one which ended badly, with aftereffects continuing to make their presence felt a year after. Can a man who's been in love only to get his heart broken ever find happiness with the man who's never been in love?
Arik and Kellus's love story is the kind that could never have begun on a blank, untouched canvas. Kellus has a past that refuses to go away and he has no choice but to deal with one particular result of that past for the rest of his life. He's wary and jaded, but Arik knows what he wants and that's Kel. Arik pushes and prods, not really willing to given Kel an inch, especially if he believes that the decisions he makes are what's best for the self-sacrificing and too-nice-for-words artist. I loved the evolution that both characters go through in the story, but Kel's more so than Arik's because he's the one who has so much going on at the same, professionally and personally. Just like the books before it, this 2017 opener from Kindle Alexander puts their characters and readers through the wringer, but trust me when I say that it is so worth the emotional upheavel by the end. Five-plus stars for Painted on My Heart. ♥
Date Read: 06 January 2017
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