Book Reviews

Refraction (Collaboration 1) by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 12-June-2018

Book Blurb

Texas artist Tucker Williams arrives in New York City for a gallery showing of his work and finds the city blanketed in snow. He meets free-spirited underwear model Calvin McIntire on the steps of the Midtown library and is captivated by a wild beauty that manages to compete with the demons that occupy his soul and fuel his work with their lust for blood and erotic imagery.


Unable to deny a new inspiration, Tucker sublets a studio and finds the city’s energy almost as addictive as Calvin.


Tucker is obsessive, barely holding on to sanity as his art consumes him, and Calvin is dealing with demons of his own, trying desperately to protect his soul in a business where only his appearance has value. They each prove to be the perfect remedy for the other’s personal brand of crazy until, in the midst of stress and exhaustion, they discover that a promise Calvin needs is the one thing Tucker can’t give him, and their heaven turns to purgatory.


Can both men find a path toward wholeness in Tucker’s beautiful but chaotic Texas home? In order for them—and their passionate relationship—to thrive, they’ll need to adapt, share their psychoses, and find a true balance between New York City and rural Texas.


Book Review

Two tortured souls, one an artist and one a supermodel, make for a very difficult relationship. Not at first – Texas painter Tucker and New York City model Calvin meet and fall into bed within days. The magnetism between them keeps them coming back for more, but there are underlying issues on both sides that might ruin everything once they begin to consider becoming serious. I could feel their pain as they opened up to each other, but the suffering when they were apart was worse. They have a lot to give and a relationship is clearly what they need, but compromise is never easy and for two men who are each so driven, it is almost impossible. Knowing the authors and their previous work gave me hope though, and, as it turns out, I sorely needed it!

Tucker is a haunted man. He has a real talent for painting, but the things he sees – demons and darkness – would not be considered “normal” by most people. In many ways Tucker is a typical artist: shy, withdrawn, and more about creating images than making friends or spending time with them. Tucker gets lost in his work, sucked into the doom and gloom he paints, and that isn’t easy for Calvin to deal with. But Tucker can’t change what he needs to paint… Personally, it was scarily well described and I wanted to remind Tucker of all the good things in life just as much as Calvin does.

Calvin is a hardworking model with all the issues that ensue. He starves himself before a photoshoot, but doesn’t eat much in between them either, only he doesn’t even see how unhealthy he lives anymore. He is a free spirit, the only thing he can discuss with his family is the weather, and his self-esteem is purely focused on the way he looks to others, all his validation comes from other people’s judgement of how he looks. It’s a tough business to be in, where everyone is focused only on appearances, and Calvin has lost perspective. And when Tucker paints him, Calvin sees things about himself he does not like, but can no longer ignore.

The passion between Tucker and Calvin is incendiary right from the start, and it gives both of them something to hold on to other than their professional “obsessions” that make them each spend a lot of time inside their heads. A calling is good, but these guys take it to extremes! What they need is balance, someone to ground them and pull them back from the extremes that seem so natural to them. Between the craziness that is NYC and Calvin’s needs on one hand, and the chaos of Tucker’s Texas home and what he is driven to paint, compromise is hard to come by. The result is an emotionally draining journey for both of them (and me by proxy), but I think it is very rewarding in the end.

If you like intense romances with lots of issues, if you want to watch two unlikely partners come together once they figure out they can each give the other exactly what he needs, and if you’re looking for a gripping read that is full of passion, hot loving, and some amazing characters and settings, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. Hopefully there will be more books in this series soon!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 260 pages/87329 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-June-2018
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle
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