Rough Canvas - Joey W. Hill This book in one word: PassionateFrom Merriam Webster's dictionary:Passionate1a : easily aroused to angerb : filled with anger : angry2a :capable of, affected by, or expressing intense feelingb : enthusiastic, ardent3: swayed by or affected with sexual desire Talk about running the gamut of emotions...Marcus and Thomas pulled them all out of me, whether I liked it or not. I can't say that I enjoyed every aspect of this story, but I CAN say that each scene, each word, seems calculated in such a way as to place the reader within the story, to not only observe from the pages but to be present for this journey. Just as a submissive like Thomas is led to accept things that he normally wouldn't because he places himself in the hands of his Master, I felt like I was made to accept things that I normally shy away from. Joey W. Hill writes a very powerful story, and it's not very pretty at times. This is a messy love story, one built on love but then broken. My thoughts are a bit messy as well, but let's face it: some stories just can't be explained. A reader has to take the journey to fully understand this kind of intensity. MY LITTLE BITTY SYNOPSIS: (more of a breakdown, really)Thomas is a simple farmboy, but not simply a farmboy. His passion is painting...and Marcus.Marcus is an art dealer with a discerning eye...both for art, and for men. Over a year ago, he set his eyes on a simple farmboy and his remarkable talent in painting.Thomas and Marcus began an intense and passionate affair in which Thomas realized his desire...no, his need for domination. Those simple midwestern roots can't hold up against the force that is Marcus. In Thomas, Marcus found a man who may seem naïve, but in reality is simply innocent and modest. Their affair is blazing hot, and they find in each other a comfort that neither has known. One man with a past that seems to not even exist, and the other with a past that will ultimately drag him away...and it finally does, when Thomas' conservative roots and family tragedy take him back to his simple life. A life that is now simply existing without Marcus in it.Until, over a year later, Marcus shows up at his door, and Thomas' world comes crashing in on itself. The offer: One week with Marcus, one week of painting, one week that will ultimately pay the multitude of debts that his family has accrued. He can't resist, and they both realize that they simply can't be apart any more.”One week when you'll try to get me back in your bed.”“Oh, there won't be an y trying on that one, Thomas. We both know that's not what's in question.” Marcus' lips curved. Thomas felt his cock respond as if on a chain that Marcus could jerk to atteniton whenever he wished. “You'll be in my bed...”MY THOUGHTS:Let me say: I'm not a hard core reader of BDSM novels. I actually prefer more slap and tickle type stuff than true BDSM with whips and pain...humiliation seems to be my hard limit, and that was in this book in my opinion. I have a feeling that may be arguable for some lovers of this subgenre but it was there for me, and the scene that it is in is the reason I took off a half star. Not necessarily because of the humiliation, but because I felt that there was a broken trust there, and it horrified me, simply horrified me. Plus...maybe it's just because the club was for gay men, but it was so much about the act of sex, the humiliation and titillation, the raunch and loss of sensuality and trust, that it became all about what the Master wants, not what they thrived on as a couple. I don't understand that mentality, AT ALL. I don't see sex as a sport, and that's what the club was about...not to mention what happened in it. This twenty page scene was the only part about this book that I didn't LOVE. That being said, after that scene, after this ultimate breakdown of emotions that I couldn't understand, Marcus and Thomas had this odd sense of peace. It totally boggled my mind. In the few books of this subgenre that I've read, the Master is always right. The Master can do no wrong. The Master doesn't apologize. It's the submissive's heart that is laid bare, the submissive's soul that is flayed, over and over again. SUBMIT to your Master! Give him everything! And I never truly feel as if I connect with the Master at all. I admire from outside the pages of the book, for sure. But that's all I do. Within THIS book, however, Marcus reveals just as much, if not more of himself than Thomas does. In fact, although for most of the book, Thomas' family, their prejudices, his responsibilities, his homosexual hangups, and such take front and center stage, it is Marcus who really and truly has great epiphanies. And that was remarkable to watch.”A true submissive wasn't forced to submit. He was simply shown the right room in his soul. Sometimes when he stepped into it, he wrapped his way around his Master's heart and tugged him in right after him.”For the first time, I truly felt as if there were a M/S relationship that felt balanced. Thomas and Marcus balance each other out, and they understand each other like none other. THIS MAY BE SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH...but I think it could very well convince some hesitant readers to give this a shot.One thing that I loved about this author and this story is how even those “judgmental Christians” weren't constantly viewed as villains. Thomas' Mother in particular says and does some awful things during the course of this story. Being a Christian myself, I get tired of being painted in that light. Every religion has it's good and bad. And I loved that Thomas' family is shown to have true love for him, despite their prejudices. They were raised to believe something one way. How are they at fault for having a hard time changing a belief? That's not wrong. That's character development, that's learning and growing as a person. What they learned, and what I thought Miss Hill was trying to convey here, is that it's not for people to judge. Whether or not Thomas' family wholeheartedly accepted Thomas' homosexuality, whether or not anyone does, it's ultimately between that person and God...not that person and his fellow man. God. I was so, so glad to see God, of whatever religion, painted as a reality and not made out to be some fairy tale. Too many non-believers out there who ridicule my beliefs, and I tend to stop reading if someone preaches tolerance but doesn't practice it. So a big thank you to the author for that one.I was absolutely taken in by the consuming passion that Thomas and Marcus feel for each other. I felt like they were both in this constant state of awe, each time they touched or looked at one another...”You're a masterpiece, Marcus. You never imagine going to the Louvre and getting to take something home like that. Not a kid from a small rural town tat doesn't even register on cosmic radar. ”The thing about these two is that they know that the love that they feel for each other is there...they sort of work backwards on their emotions for the entire book. Through sex, through pain, through devotion and the slow trust that builds, they realize that they really can't live without each other, that theirs is a love so rare, a passion so intimate, that they have to find a way to make it work.”Thomas stood in the manacles, vibrating , overwhelmed with words he couldn't say. Didn't know if he knew how to say them, because they contained all the heartbreak of the world mixed with it's ephemeral joy. Waking to the aroma of breakfast when he was eight. Feeling the heat of the setting sun on his skin while falling asleep on Kate's back at ten. Turning and seeing Marcus for the very first time. Moments too powerful to be contained by the human heart and therefore having a peculiar way of making the soul hurt, as if there was something to mourn in the midst of the happiness. As if happiness itself couldn't exist without shadows to define it... ”And I cried...what utter trust and devotion that Thomas showed Marcus! What pain Marcus had that he kept withholding, and what a miracle that they found each other. If this is how Joey W. Hill writes, I will do my best to harden myself against the crazy and just roll with it, because I can drink her words like wine. ”Then give me your pain, Master. I can bear it as long as I know your lips will touch every mark when you're done, signing it as your work. ”