PAINT THE STARS
Release Date: February 20th, 2017
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.
For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.
As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.
What do you usually do to relax?” I ask him.
“Besides paint?” I nod and he continues, “You really want to know?”
“Nope.” I wink at him and he rolls his eyes.
“Whew.” I tease him. “I thought it was going to be something bad by the way you were acting. Go get it. Let’s light that shit up.” I’ve never been a huge fan of weed. Not that I dislike it, because it can be fun, but it makes me giggle for a little while and pass out. I typically don’t want to just randomly pass out.
“Okay.” He pushes off the counter, sets his coffee down, and disappears down the hallway. There’s some rustling in the other room. A moment later he’s back with a small loaded pipe in his hand. “You can have green,” he says, offering me the first hit.
Our fingers brush when I take the pipe from his hand. He hesitates for a second, then nods at me as though he wants me to go ahead and put the pipe to my lips. I do. Instead of handing me the lighter, Ezra flicks the flame to life and then holds it over the weed. It crackles and pops and burns as I inhale, the smoke stinging my lungs and my throat. He pulls back, and I set the pipe down, and his eyes are burning me the same way the flame just did with the pot. My stomach flips, and he keeps looking, and holy fuck that was hot for some reason.
He takes the pipe back, still watching. He puts it to his lips, still watching. He takes a hit, still watching. There’s something about the way Ezra looks at you. It’s as though he can see something in you no one else can. Like he looks deeper because it’s easier to look inside of someone else than to look inside himself. It makes me feel like he’s seeing things I didn’t know were there. Like he’s asking questions he can’t find the words to ask and like he’s trying to make sense of all of it himself.
“Here,” he says before he hands the pipe back. I put it to my lips, and we continue on that way, him lighting for me and me passing the pipe back to him until the bowl is dusted. His eyes only briefly dart away from me from time to time, otherwise their searing stare is locked with mine. It’s the most intensely he’s looked at me since I met him.
“Wow,” I tell him. “I almost feel like I need a cigarette even though I don’t smoke them. I don’t know how all this works for you, but on my end, that was kind of hot.”
A laugh bursts out of Ezra’s mouth— it’s infectious and happy, and I realize it might be the most honest one I’ve ever heard from him. It makes me decide right then and there to do whatever it takes to make it happen again and again until it becomes a habit for him. That’s what friends are for, right?
I thought that this was a fun and fast paced read. Once I started it, I wasn’t able to put it down. Lee and Dawn make an amazing team, and I look forward to reading more from them in the future. This is the second book that I’ve read in this series and I really enjoyed it. It’s not very long at all, and I read it in simply a couple of hours. If you’re looking for a sweet and sexy romance filled with complicated yet memorable characters, look no further than this one. I’m happy that I was able to read it!
Ezra is an awesome character. I thought that his asexuality was explored in an honest and compelling way. I don’t know a ton about the spectrum’s of asexuality so I can’t really speak to how accurate it is. But based on the research that I have done, this does seem pretty close to it. I thought that Ezra was an honest and intriguing guy from page one. I only the read the first book in the series, but I somewhat remember thinking that he was a cool guy who seemed complicated but interesting. I also felt like he was so creative and I loved how he used his art to channel whatever he’s going through. He was unique, and that’s what I enjoyed about him.
Daevonte was a beautiful character in his own right. He’s a young guy, and he enjoys having sex and one night stands. However, he’s still a pretty romantic guy once you get down to it. He’s just not entirely sure what it is that he wants and he has plenty of time to figure it all out. I found him to be charming and fun. He was a little judgemental and hesitant when he learned about Ezra, but I’m pretty sure that most people would be at first. He becomes a great friend to Ezra and it’s interesting to see them get to know each other better.
As I said, the romance between Daevonte and Ezra is rather slow moving since Ezra needs to know somebody before he has sex with them. But they form a sweet and compelling friendship before anything more actually goes down. Once it is developed, it’s extremely hot and awesome. I thought that this was a fabulous relationship. I definitely cheer for them completely. I think that they just worked really well together. They had such different personalities, but at the end of the day, they had more in common than they first anticipated.
I’m glad that I read this book. There’s no way I’m going to stop reading books from this author team. On their own, I think they are memorable and funny authors, but together, they are somehow even better. It’s hard to believe, but it just works. They are able to create two characters that have such different personalities and backgrounds and make us sympathize with them and love them from page one. I recommend this if you’re looking for a story that doesn’t have a ton of drama, it’s just a nice story filled with lovely characters and a hot romance.
By Keyanna Butler, The Indie Author’s Apprentice
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Nyrae Dawn can almost always be found with a book in her hand or an open document on her laptop. She couldn’t live without books—reading or writing them. Oh, and chocolate. She’s slightly addicted.
She gravitates toward character-driven stories. Whether reading or writing, she loves emotional journeys. It’s icing on the cake when she really feels something, but is able to laugh too. She’s a proud romantic, who has a soft spot for flawed characters, who make mistakes, but also have big hearts.
Whether she’s writing young adult, new adult, or adult you can always count on a healthy dose of romance from her books. She likes to tackle tough subjects, and believes everyone needs to see themselves in the stories they read.
Nyrae is living her very own happily ever after in California with her gorgeous husband (who still makes her swoon) and her two incredibly awesome kids.
*Nyrae also write Adult Gay Romance as Riley Hart: www.rileyhartwrites.com
Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.
Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.
I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristinaLee