Hank even gave it a “woof!” [Hank note: a BIG woof!]
When Paul Richmond asked me to fill out the form for what I envisioned, I attached a bunch of vintage eighties romance novel covers—you know the ones with Fabio and ripped bodices? I explained that I wanted an epic, classic romance novel cover. When Paul first sent his sketch, I almost FREAKED out, I was so excited. I mean, even in the black and white sketch, he NAILED it! LOL
So why did I want a vintage style cover? Well, firstly because, old school covers like this are few and far between. Rarely do you see them in gay romances. But mostly, I felt it really expressed the mood of WRECKED. And like my awesome cover artist Paul Richmond, the hero of Wrecked is also an artist. Take a look:
Blurb from WRECKED:
Off the Key West coast, Rief Lawson works as a wrecker, salvaging ships and their cargo. Exiled to the outskirts of society because of his mysterious gift of sight, Rief’s only respite from his loneliness is painting an unknown blond man. When a merchant ship wrecks during a violent storm, Rief rescues a drowning victim and comes face-to-face with his destiny.
It is the man from his art!
Heir to an English barony, Mathew Weston entered the merchant trade with his greedy father and soon-to-be father-in-law. Dominated by his father and smothered by the people around him—including his sweet but tiresome fianceé—Mathew is terrified to follow his true desires. Marriage and obedience seem safer than a life of secrecy and possible prison.
After the daring rescue, a fire ignites between the two men. Powerless to resist his desire, Mathew learns what it means to be a man in Rief’s arms. With this newfound confidence, Mathew teaches Rief through gentle touch that he deserves the affection he’s long been denied. Yet their affair is doomed from the start. Two desperate men, wrecked in heart and mind, must find a way to salvage the chance at love fate has given them.
I brought along an exclusive excerpt just for Hank’s blog and his readers. Since we are talking about art, I thought I would share the scene where Mathew interrupts Rief in his studio while painting a piece that will play great significance to the plot!
Excerpt for WRECKED:
Naked to the waist, Rief set his palette down and stared at the unfinished work. It still needed some adjustments, a shadow or a highlight here and there. And the background wasn’t quite right either, but he would have to wait for the paint to dry to correct it. Even at this stage, it was a painting both wicked and alluring. The most beautiful thing he had ever done.
How could he think of destroying it?
A painful surge of want hit him, making his eyes sting. He’d been drawing Mathew most of his life, loving his image, and finding comfort therein. Even pleasuring himself to it, he was embarrassed to admit. The countless drawings of Mathew had been the one constant in his life. A bright spot in an otherwise wretched existence.
Yet the moment he met the real man, his own pride had ruined everything!
Knocking on the door startled him.
Probably Uncle Richard again, telling him the Lucky Clipper had returned to port. Or worse—looking for an explanation as to why Rief had skipped the auction and hadn’t been answering the door. The man had been so strange lately, acting as if he had something of great importance to discuss. But Rief had too much on his own mind to bother with what might be on his uncle’s.
“Go away, Richard.”
“Um, it’s Mathew, um—Mr. Weston.”
A long, resonant roll of thunder rumbled in the night, sending a wash of apprehension through Rief. He stared at the paintbrush in his hand, trying to decide if he was imagining things. He’d never considered himself insane, but he had spent the greater part of his life painting a man he’d never met, so having hallucinations was entirely plausible.
“Hello?” Mathew’s tentative voice came again. “You weren’t expecting me, but I brought you that book I mentioned. The White Whale? The one about the mad captain and Moby Dick? And well… it’s raining now. Would you be so kind as to invite me inside, Mr. Lawson?”
Nope, he wouldn’t have hallucinated that.
After making sure the painting remained hidden, he raced to the door, stubbing his toe in his haste. He cursed and fumbled for the handle. Finding it, he threw open the door. A heavy gust of wind blew into the room, the droplets like stinging needles against Rief’s face and bare chest.
“Hello,” Mathew said, fidgeting nervously. Impeccably dressed, he was hunched into a coffee-colored jacket, hand on his top hat and bracing against the winds, a book pressed to his chest. His blue eyes darted behind Rief, then to the wharf below.
Jumping back, he widened the door. “Please, come in.”
Mathew expelled a breath and entered. Rief’s heart raced as he passed him, filling his nostrils with that alluring scent. Something faintly sweet, but underneath, the definite aroma of man.
“Did anyone see you?” Rief asked.
He paused in the middle of brushing water from his coat. “I-I don’t know. I suppose I wasn’t thinking. I just wanted to….” As if their last meeting played out before them, his cheeks turned red. Then he straightened his shoulders and held out the book. “I wanted to bring you this. I found it in my belongings. It didn’t fare as well as I did in the storm, but all the pages are still legible.”
Rief accepted the rain-splattered book, its pages wrinkled and swollen from being submerged. “Thank you.”
“We discussed it, remember?” he said, a flash of insecurity in his face. “Aboard the Mirabella? We were talking about making oil from sharks, and I mentioned Melville, then you said you hadn’t read it, and I—”
“Yes, I remember,” Rief interrupted, stopping his rambling. I remember all of it. Every word you’ve ever said, each look you’ve given me. The way your lips tasted. The way I felt in your arms….
Deanna Wadsworth might be a bestselling erotica author, but she leads a pretty vanilla life in Ohio with her wonderful husband and a couple adorable cocker spaniels. She has been spinning tales and penning stories since childhood, and her first erotic novella was published in 2010. When she isn’t writing books or brainstorming with friends, you can find her making people gorgeous in a beauty salon. She loves music and dancing, and can often be seen hanging out on the sandbar in the muddy Maumee River or chilling with her hubby and a cocktail in their basement bar. In between all that fun, Deanna cherishes the quiet times when she can let her wildly active imagination have the full run of her mind. Her fascination with people and the interworkings of their relationships have always inspired her to write romance with spice and love without boundaries.