Title: Artistic Appeal
Series: Bottled Up, Book 6
Author: Andrew Grey
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: October 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
Brian Watson knows close friends Gerald Young and Dieter Krumpf have an ulterior motive when they invite him to their Christmas party. Brian has taken over the case to secure the return of the famous painting called The Woman in Blue to Dieter, but they don’t want Brian to be all work and no play. They intend to set him up with a friend, but he’s not who catches Brian’s eye. Instead, it’s Nicolai, the deaf art restorer caring for the works already returned to Dieter.
But pursuing Nicolai won’t be easy. A year ago Nicolai had to fight to regain his independence after a bad break-up, and he’s reluctant to give up his freedom a second time. Plus, Brian has competition in Justin, Nicolai’s ex, who wants him back badly.
Nicolai’s reluctance isn’t the only roadblock. Brian was married to a woman for almost ten years. Now he has to confess to his mother, his ex-wife, and his young daughter that he loves a man—all while conducting a potentially groundbreaking court case and trying to convince Nicolai that love isn’t about co-dependence, it’s about support.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: Above average MM romance with two likable leads in a well crafted romance.
The Set Up: Brian is an attorney who is working on a case for friends to regain stolen artwork. At a party this single-dad meets Nicolai, a deaf art restorer, and the two immediately click. But Nicolai has been burnt by his former lover who left because being partnered with a deaf man was too difficult for him. And Brian is raising his nine-year old daughter alone while dodging the machinations of his ex-wife. Will Brian and Nicolai find a way through all this to be a couple?
Why I Read this Book: I’ve enjoyed many Andrew Grey books in the past and am working my way through his backlist.
What I Liked: I loved both Brian and Nicolai. The men are honest with each other and themselves as they begin their tentative relationship. Nicolai and Brian’s worries are both believable and don’t feel forced. The men acknowledge to themselves and each other when they’ve screwed up; for instance Brian’s fear of his ex-wife finding out about Nicolai, and the men maturely handle their issues. The sexual and emotional intimacy between Nicolai and Brian progresses naturally and with great impact for readers. I adored the inclusion of Nicolai’s deafness in their lovemaking. Brian’s appreciation for Nicolai’s uniqueness is heartwarming as it was realistic, believable and loving.
What I Also Liked: Brian and Nicolai build a family as well as a relationship in this novel and I enjoyed this a lot. Brian’s friends become their closest confidantes and help form a community to help raise his daughter, Zoe. Zoe is a bit of a plot moppet in her perfection and lovely acceptance of Nicolai and his place in their lives but she’s cute enough while doing so for me to overlook the unrealistic perfection. Brian’s mother and sister also play good roles in this book that I liked a lot.
What I Didn’t Like: I can’t say exactly what I didn’t like without spoiling it a bit but will say that Nicolai’s ex-boyfriend situation gave me a bit of reader whiplash. The set up with Justin, Nicolai’s ex, goes one way and then alters quickly mid-book never to be picked back up. The entire Justin drama seemed contrived to me. The story had enough plot with the art recovery lawsuit that Brian was working on and it didn’t need this silly ex-boyfriend drama, in my opinion.
IMO: I greatly enjoyed this lovely MM romance that balanced sexual and emotional intimacy between two unique leads and recommend it to other MM readers.