Life Class by Scarlet Blackwell

Samhain Publishing

Gay Contemporary

ISBN: 978-1-60504-970-0

Reviewed by Cassie

 

   

 

Artist Harley Hayes normally paints landscapes, but he’s looking to start painting nudes.  He hires artists’ model Ryan Morgan, a man rumored to be willing to do more than just model if the price is right.  Harley’s immediately attracted to Ryan, but Ryan’s not gay…is he?

Ryan’s been down on his luck for a long time.  After taking on odd jobs and whatever he can find, he sees a notice for nude models and takes the job.  He soon finds that women are willing to pay for more than just modeling, and before he knows it his life is going out of control.  Meeting Harley only adds more chaos to his life.  Will Ryan figure out his feelings before he destroys everything?

An artist falling for his straight model is a cool idea for a story, so I was really excited to read Life Class.  Unfortunately, while Life Class had an interesting storyline, hot sex scenes, and lots of conflict, I couldn’t get into it.  My problem with the story wasn’t the story or the conflict, but the characters.  Both Harley and Ryan manipulate each other and are cruel to each other many times.  Harley pretends not to be trying to lure Ryan into his bed, when in actuality he is.  At one point, he furthers his seduction with a move so cynical he lost any chance he had of being likeable in my eyes.  Ryan is indecisive and explosive.  He gets angry at Harley and hurts him both physically and emotionally.  By the end, he’s in a position that makes it hard to see if he’s with Harley because he cares or because he has to be.  The happy ending rang false for me because of that.

     

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