A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Designs of Desire by Tempeste O’Reily ~ Audiobook narrated by Max Lehnan

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

designs-of-desire audioDreamspinner Press, book 1 in the Desires Entwined series

James Bryant suffers from a joint disorder and has to use crutches to get around. The crutches aren’t just because of the disorder, though—they are the result of an attack by a former lover. James is an artist, but he’s currently working for a design firm so that he’ll have a safety net income and benefits. As a junior in the firm, he’s surprised when he’s given a prestigious job to design the interior concepts for a hotel catering to LGBTQ couples. And that’s where he meets Seth Burns—the gorgeous, wealthy, CEO of Carrington Enterprises, and unfortunately, also a dominant personality. And the last thing James wants is to get involved with someone like his former lover. Too bad, too, because this one is super hot and apparently very interested in James.

Seth Burns can’t believe his luck when he’s assigned the very talented James Bryant for his project, but he’s quickly on the defensive when he learns what happened to James in the past. Willing to put his need for control on the back burner until he and James get to know one another, he finds that the sweet young man is not only more talented than he originally assumed, he’s also more emotionally fragile. And when James is confronted with his ex-Dom again and further injured, Seth helps James pursue having the man prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

After Seth and James initially become involved, Seth encourages him to pursue his career as an artist and cut back at the design firm. Not long after that Seth learns that the sister of his heart has been killed in an accident, and he’s been named guardian for her daughter, the daughter for whom Seth was the sperm donor. James immediately opens his heart and his home to both Seth and six-year-old Dani, and the journey toward the formation of their new family begins. But the journey is not without multiple bumps along the road, including yet another threat to James’s life—this time from an unexpected source. Will these men ever be able to overcome all the odds against them? It’s difficult, but with the help of the bodyguard Seth hired and James’s BFF, Chase, they manage to overcome the odds against them and find the path to their happiness.

This is my first book from this author and I enjoyed the story, even with all the twists and turns. I liked the characters, both MC and secondary, and I was pleased to see there’s more coming up in this series. My major disappointment was with the audiobook narration of Max Lehnan. The poor narration placed a burden on the story that I found difficult to overcome. His narration was so poor I can only give it one star. However, rather than average that with the four stars I’d give the story, I am going with 3.5 stars overall because I hate to penalize the author’s rating for something like this. I see that there’s a different narrator for the last two books in the series so I’ll definitely be moving to them next. And I recommend the e-book version to MM readers who enjoy stories with family drama, especially those who find happiness with family of the heart.


The cover by Reese Dante is done in a very soft, soothing, watercolor with a faded background headshot of two men about to kiss. In the forefront is a hand holding a paintbrush and with rings on each finger of the hand, signifying the ring splints worn by MC James—the perfect cover for this book.

Audiobook Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 7 pages, 6 hrs 18 mins
Published December 4th 2013 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC (first published July 28th 2013)
Original TitleDesigns of Desire
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesDesires Entwined #1 settingMilwaukee, Wisconsin (United States)

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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