Eloreen reviews ‘bare’ by Lynn Kelling. Published by Fantastic Fiction Publishing on November 15th, 2016, 353 pgs.
NOTE: We were provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: Readers last month picked this as the top one for me to read. While not the highest one I wanted to read, the blurb was interesting enough that I would read it.
Ev Myers is a former high school football star and Republican State Senator’s son, raised in a strict Southern Baptist household where his only option was to be silent, behave and, no matter how he might be feeling, to put on a happy smile. Desperate to escape the pressure to be the man his family insists he become, Ev has fled Kansas to attend college and is working to find out who he really is beneath the lies and carefully composed public image. But when he applies for a job as a nude model for a life drawing class out of a desire to be seen in a way that shatters all of his family’s taboos, it’s just the first step on a path that leads him away from everything he’s ever known. Handsome and headstrong adjunct arts professor, Adam Buchanan, is the first person to recognize Ev’s potential, and his determination to have Ev realize the importance of truth and stark honesty, as well as the beauty of flawed vulnerability provides the hope Ev needs to escape a world rife with kidnapping, brainwashing and deadly determination cure homosexuality, using whatever means necessary.
I expected that I would have to deal with some dark issues that would trip some of my triggers with this story considering the blurb talks about kidnapping and brainwashing. The BDSM is something that I’m familiar with, and will read in a certain mindset. While BDSM is not something I’m into much anymore, this story with it’s multiple layers of dark themes and the initial D/s encounters between Ev and Adam combined had me stopping mid-way through to catch my breath.Yet Evelyn– Adam insists on calling Ev his full name– does want it even though there is not explicit consent initially. He gets there eventually, but he’s a scared college guy just starting away from his very conservative family. Add to the things he has seen things while at home prior to college that has made him deny himself in a way that is not healthy and Adam is very good at pushing boundaries without damaging. That’s all you can ask for in this type of situations.
Throughout Ev’s sexual exploration with Adam, and that is hot as ever I have read, his awakening is marred by his fear of the consequences of being gay so much that he’s buried that part of himself. Adam, who is bisexual, is drawn to, and becomes very possessive of Ev from the beginning when he asks for Ev’s consent to pose nude to paint him exclusively. While Adam is a Dominant and Ev turns out to be submissive, it’s not quite the BDSM scenes I’m used to seeing. However, Adam is tender with Ev. The boundaries he does push against in the first half of the story had me stopping in the middle to wrap my brain around everything I’ve read. Once I got past that hum, the story flowed beautifully and I really enjoyed the rest of the journey even with the kidnapping involved.
The journey is dark, and Lynn describes all the things that go on in detail. The dark details got to me, though I love detail regardless of type. Once I got past that, it was an enjoyable read despite controversial themes throughout. The religious-like brainwashing, because those doing the brainwashing truly believe in it, gives Ev strength to do the right thing in the end. Adam sees that and he goes about making sure Evelyn sees it. By the end, Evelyn accepts his name and forgives the people who did him wrong both in his teens and immediate past. It is something you need to read and gives insight to those conversion camps we hear about.
Overall, I give bare a rating of 9 out of 10 pots of gold, equivalent to 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Lynn Kelling began writing in order to tell stories that aren’t afraid of the dark, don’t hold anything back and always strive to be memorable, forging lasting attachments between character and reader. Her inspiration comes from taking a closer look at behaviors and ideas lurking at the fringes of life—basically anything that people may hesitate to speak of in mixed company, but everyone wonders about anyway. Her work is driven by the taboo in order to expose the humanity within it. Lynn is an artist, designer and lover of any form of creative self-expression that comes from a place of honesty and emotion, whether it’s body art or opera. She is an award-winning author who has written over fifty works of erotic fiction of varying lengths, and always has several novels in progress.
- Lynn has six tattoos, including a half-sleeve and two large back pieces
- She comes from a family of professional ballerinas, and was on that track herself until she jumped off at the age of 17
- Lynn is a skilled portrait artist working primarily in graphite
- Unable to stand the taste of beer, she prefers to drink hard alcohol, straight, instead
- She has written lots and lots of fanfiction under the username Blynnk