Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Haunted Heart by Susan Laine

Haunted Heart
by Susan Laine
Published April 16th 2014 by Dreamspinner Press
Formats Available: mobi, epub, pdf, zip/html

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Duncan Kerr is the art director of Enamored Press, an erotic romance publisher based in Seattle. An open submissions call for new artists yields an imaginative book cover with rich details and bold colors that catches his interest. After a few more samples of work and some e-mails, Duncan is determined to hire the talented young artist on a permanent basis.
But Ruben Winterbottom isn’t an average freelance artist. His agoraphobia leaves him terrified to set foot outside his secluded house in the woods by the Olympic National Park. Living alone, fear is Ruben’s sole companion.
When the two men meet, Ruben has a panic attack and hides away. Although confused, Duncan sees past Ruben’s anxiety to his artistic gifts and beautiful soul. So he sets out to coax the young man out of his shy shell.
Falling in love with a broken boy, however, might be the first draft of heartbreak.

This is a story about an older erotic hero and a young agoraphobic man who meet in the most unusual of ways: online work.

Duncan Kerr takes one look at a cover art submission for an ebook and fell in love. The artists' rendition to the blurb sent over was spot on and the artistry was beautiful. Two combinations he now found to be rare in the book art cover world  for ebook publications. (I wonder what Reese Dante says about this?)

The artist in question is Ruben Winterbottom, an unfortunate name for a highly talented artist. Agoraphobic due to some traumatic events, he is not having the best chances for online work when his clients insist on seeing him in person. When Duncan Kerr sends over an email to request for a meet up, he had no choice but to refuse. When the man insists, he finally allows, but has to go through a whole lot of courage-building exercises. 

Agoraphobia is a debilitating psychological problem that can be very unpredictable. This is what Ruben suffers from so it was sort of problematic for me to see that the relationship between both men started out as easy as this book implies. I know, I know, this is fiction so I have to give it some space for the sake of artistic licence but the psychologist in me protests and overrides the romantic in me.

For the romantic at heart, this is a really heartwarming little story and even if it ends the way it does. It gives the reader that satisfaction for a romance gone right. This is not overly erotic either so that was good. If it had gone overly erotic it would have sent me to the 'upset room' in my mind. This ends on a very good note but an iffy road to recovery for Ruben and that is good as well. For that ending alone, I raised the rating for it was more real for me rather than it going completely HEA fairytale style.

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