Art-Crossed Love Synopsis:
Can love be more than a four-letter word?
Lissa Blanc is a painter on a mission. She filters the world through a lens of color, line, and form and hides her ambition behind a delicate smirk that lets her critics believe life comes easy. To her, art isn’t what she sees. It’s what she feels. Few know that behind the glitz of a prodigious upbringing, she’s driven to emerge from the shadow of painful memories that insist she’ll never be a renowned talent in her own right.
Cole Rathlen is a photographer on the mend. A crippling grief has stifled his once-rising career and compromised his creative instincts. Knowing he can’t stagnate forever, he seeks a twisted absolution in the form of a woman whose paintings give life to the emotions he won’t let himself imagine, let alone feel.
When the two partner for a prestigious project that will pull them from the mountains of Colorado to the palaces of India, Lissa quickly realizes that more than diverging ideals hinder their search for success and salvation. Was Cole’s life upended by a tragic but unavoidable choice or something more sinister? While Lissa can’t delve into the mystery but not the man, Cole can’t resist a tenacious soul that refuses to leave him chained. As the truth closes in on a project finally sprouting wings, will Lissa sacrifice her chance at success to set Cole free? Or will Cole shrug the chains of lingering regrets to prove that those who love the most, love again.
Love Me Later:
★★★★ 1/2 stars
From the moment I read the blurb for this book I wondered how it was going to be possible for Cole and Lissa to find love. I didn't think they were ever going to be able to get past everything and just be together. Cole was seeking absolution and Lissa was looking for validation and both of them were hoping to have things go their way without taking a look at why they needed it.
The forms of expression Cole and Lissa chose to take might have been different, but it was clear their pasts had a huge part in driving them. Cole was tortured by something he thought he'd caused to happen and Lissa just wanted to fit in and have her art appreciated. I didn't find it very hard to like them both or understand why it was they acted around each other they way they did. Cole was sometimes cruel, and he knew it, but it was his defense mechanism and he knew Lissa made him want again. I loved Lissa's attitude. She refused to back down when faced with a challenge, whether it was getting Cole to appreciate her style of painting or looking for answers when things didn't add up.
The chemistry they had was wonderful. Not only did their artistic goals push them, but so did their desire for one another. I loved seeing them spar, but I didn't like it when Lissa was hurt as a result. It was interesting seeing them fight their attraction for one another. I also loved seeing how tight nit and caring the small Rathlen family was. I fell in love with Kent and Trevor, Cole's uncle and brother.
I also enjoyed at how detailed Libby made Lissa and Cole's trip to India. It honestly is like that; a clash between the modern and past with marble buildings alongside shanty towns. She did a great job at showing the contrasts and how beauty and ugliness co-exist side by side. I could feel Lissa's fear as she got onto that train and then the fear they both felt when they were lost. I also felt Lissa's rage and frustration at being taken advantage of. It honestly felt like I was there with them.
While I thought this story was about finding love again, it was also about finding the truth and accepting that not all was as it seemed. This wasn't just about Cole and Lissa, but also Kent, Trevor, Rhea, and Kate. It seemed everyone had a secret or two hidden. There were a number of twists, some of which I hoped wouldn't be true and others that blindsided me. I was reeling by the end of the book. There's no way I can share everything I'd like to without giving away much of the story. This is a book that needs to be experienced. It starts slowly but soon you'll be turning pages quickly while devouring the story. It's raw, passionate, and gripping. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and find out how Libby will surprise her readers.
*Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*
Libby Rice Bio:Before becoming a writer, Libby was first a mechanical engineer in the data acquisition industry (voltmeter anyone?). Preferring writing to technical design, Libby headed to law school and eventually practiced patent law for several enterprising years (patent application covering a voltmeter anyone?). Finally realizing that technology just wasn’t her bag, she traded the voltmeters for alpha heroes and the women who love them.
Today, Libby writes contemporary romances from the foot of the Rocky Mountains, where she lives with her husband, a bona fide rocket scientist (he stuck with the voltmeters!). When not writing, Libby loves good food, even better wine, and traveling the world in search of the next great story.
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