Well good morning everyone. I’d like to thank Charlie here at The Purple Rose Tea House for hosting me and my debut novel, Designs of Desire.
It takes two to tango, or so the saying goes. In my experience it actually takes a lot more than that to turn a story into a novel. When you add in disabilities that number gets skewed even more, or so it seems.
In Designs of Desire Chase conspires with Seth to help Seth and James find their HEA, but as readers, you are part of the story too. While I was the biographer for the characters, once the book is written and sold, their story becomes yours.
Now, how does hat work when one of the MCs has a disability and you, the reader, may not? Honestly, the disability is not the point of the story, but rather—as James would love for everyone to figure out—it’s about the love they share, the life and family they build, and the future they can now share together.
For the most part James’s disability is genetic (EDS – same as mine). The other part is thanks to a couple of vile exes and the damage done by them and his own family. But where a disability, weakness, or injury comes from has nothing to do with who the person is inside. Too often, in my opinion, the person that isn’t “perfect” gets passed over and ignored both in real life and in romance. I wanted James to find his “prince” and get his HEA, despite what the hate and/or pity of others had taught him about himself and his possibilities for love.
In Designs of Desire James provides Seth with a family to belong to, a purpose for his generosity. Seth provides James with both the devotion and confidence to pursue his own dreams. The genetic disorder James has is important, but it’s not the center of who or what he is.
But, what’s this have to do with the readers? Simple, you bring my characters to life. Your minds create the movies of each story an author pens to paper (or to digi-paper at least, lol). It’s up to you to give life, form, and meaning to the world around you and within the story. It’s also up to you to take the deeper meaning in the story/ies and carry them out into the real world.
I hope James’s journey to self and joy is one that you will savor and take with you, for all people deserve love and happiness. I hope you will take Seth’s compassion and strength and apply them outside the story to help remind you that sometimes, the greatest strength is being more invested in what others need than in your own desires and wants.
James allowed his gaze to wander around the entryway, taking in the welcoming setting. Noticing a worker passing through, he asked, “Excuse me. Do you know where I can find Mr. Burns?”
“Yeah, he’s in the manager’s office over there.” The man was covered in dust. He gestured toward a closed door near a large desk, then continued on his way. James couldn’t help looking around once more to admire the rich wood tones, marble tiled floors, and beautiful crown molding, before he headed off in the right direction.
Before he could knock, the door swung open and a harried looking woman stormed out, slamming it so hard it popped back open. Maybe now isn’t the best time, he thought and started to turn away when Mr. Burns appeared in the doorway.
“James,” he said. “Thank God you’re here. Please tell me you brought some ideas, before Stacey drives me to drink. She wants to start painting but can’t until we have everything settled with the designs.”
The way Seth’s eyes pierced him made James feel both nervous and ten feet tall at the same time. “If you have some place I can set up, sure. I have a few designs for you to look over.” He kept wondering why they had waited so long to employ Skye Designs. Normally you do all the branding much earlier in the project.
Motioning down the hallway, Seth led him into a large room—probably meant to be a conference or reception room, considering the carpet and acoustic tiles in the ceiling. “Come in. What can I do to help?” he asked, watching James settle into a comfortable chair before unloading his pack.
James was nervous. He’d never had such a significant or large account before, but he was excited as well. “We normally have the designs approved before getting to this point, but I’ll do my best to catch up. Give me just a minute to set up, then you can see what I have.”
“We’ll get to that in a few. I want you to finish setting up then come with me.”
James stopped midmotion and looked up, confused. “I thought—” He shook his head. “Never mind. Okay.”
Seth led James out of the room, into a wide hallway with large windows spilling filtered sunlight onto the veined marble floor, and began showing him around. Seth stayed close, so close James occasionally caught a whiff of his intoxicating scent, something bright yet deep—cardamom and cedar with a light musk. He wasn’t sure, but he was beginning to think just being near Seth could become a delicious addiction.
As they exited the elevator on the second floor, James stopped dead in his tracks. His heart beat so fast and loud he felt certain Seth would hear it slamming into his ribs. He stared ahead and prayed he was having a terrible nightmare. Those he could wake up from. Please!
Standing there, looking him up and down, was a phantom from his past. Victor d’Leone was even more powerfully built than the last time he had seen him. He stood in the hall, his arms crossed over his barrel chest, scowling. The sea-foam green eyes James once thought so beautiful and loving now bored holes through him. The ghosts of the last time Vic had been near him shot pain-filled shards of memory through him. Away. Yes, he had to get away.
“I… I… I…,” James stammered. He scrambled back into the elevator and almost fell when his left crutch slipped on the metal edging. He punched the close door button repeatedly while fighting the panic attack threatening to destroy his job and sanity. “No, no, no. Not happening,” he mumbled.
He hadn’t waited for Seth to react, nor had he explained anything; he’d just bolted. James headed toward the exit as soon as the elevator doors opened—forget the damn presentation. He scrambled for the steps, desperate to reach the car before he completely lost it.
Life was never that easy.
Seth appeared out of nowhere, sprinting after him in his expensive Armani suit and custom leather shoes. “James! Stop!” he commanded.
Fighting the panic, James tried to get a hold of himself. Stop? Is he nuts? “I can’t be here. I—I’ll come back later.” With protection!
A powerful hand grasped his right arm. Startled, he stopped. Staring at the hand that bound him to his worst nightmare, he begged, “Please, let me go.”
Try as he might, he couldn’t stop the panic and fear as it suffocated him.
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Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.
As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.
James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?
About the Author:
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.