Refraction (Kristin F’s Review)

Title: Refraction (Collaborations #1)
Author: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 160
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


Texas artist Tucker Williams arrives in New York City for a gallery showing of his work and finds the city blanketed in snow. He meets free-spirited underwear model Calvin McIntire on the steps of the Midtown library and is captivated by a wild beauty that manages to compete with the demons that occupy his soul and fuel his work with their lust for blood and erotic imagery.

Unable to deny a new inspiration, Tucker sublets a studio and finds the city’s energy almost as addictive as Calvin.

Tucker is obsessive, barely holding on to sanity as his art consumes him, and Calvin is dealing with demons of his own, trying desperately to protect his soul in a business where only his appearance has value. They each prove to be the perfect remedy for the other’s personal brand of crazy until, in the midst of stress and exhaustion, they discover that a promise Calvin needs is the one thing Tucker can’t give him, and their heaven turns to purgatory.

Can both men find a path toward wholeness in Tucker’s beautiful but chaotic Texas home? In order for them—and their passionate relationship—to thrive, they’ll need to adapt, share their psychoses, and find a true balance between New York City and rural Texas.

Refraction and Syncopation (book #2) can be read as standalone’s. There are some overlapping characters, but the story lines are completely independent.

I love it when a book blurb is spot on – very much so in this case so I won’t rehash the plot. This was a wonderfully languid read that pulled me in and kept the pages turning. There is something about the cadence to the authors collaboration that works well for me. There is humor, there is a perfect amount of angst, there is real life to navigate – yes, the characters have to work their relationship in around their work! I love that touch of realism.

Both gentleman have their problems and while they acknowledge the issues internally, there is some struggle expressing it. Which also works for me because – you know, real life. Calvin diets obsessively for his job and while he’s upfront about it, I don’t think Tucker quite has the full impression.

Tucker struggles with his personal demons and how they are expressed in his art. Calvin doesn’t quite understand Tucker’s need to sketch, to paint, to express those demons and that’s where the conflict comes in. He doesn’t quite understand just how much those demons are a part of Tuckers world.

In my humble opinion, this is some of the most well written misunderstanding/conflict/resolution that I’ve read in a while (exception being Syncopation – also outstanding). The authors nailed it.

My one teeny complaint with the book is, it was a smidge long, and I got a bit antsy the last thirty pages. My quirk.

Ultimately, I greatly enjoyed this story. It has the hustle of New York, and the heat of Texas all mixed into one delightful read. I certainly hope the authors continue their collaboration – I would love to see more from them.

Collaborations Series

Buy LinkAmazon Global Payne’s Link Tortuga’s Link GoodReads More Payne Reviews More Tortuga Reviews

Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Refraction provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


I have been a voracious reader from the time I learned how to read. My Motto: “Never leave home without a book (or two or three).” Though once I learned how to knit that became “Never leave home without a book (or two or three) AND a knitting project.”

A long-time fan of science fiction, I’ve since discovered mystery/suspense/thrillers and m/m romance. I love stories that span the universe, paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery, comedy; stories with veterinarian’s (yay! animals!) or a men in uniform, a splash of BDSM or a threesome can be fun, and of course, happy ever afters. IF that’s not a run-on sentence, I don’t know what is…

I’m not a fan of historical, horror, sports, plots with children, and New Adult/Young Adult.

Thanks for reading my reviews!

No two persons ever read the same book Edmund Wilson

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