Romance and the MC with a Disability by Tempeste O’Riley
Welcome, Tempeste! Glad to have you today!
Hello and thank you Casea for hosting Designs of Desire, and me, the author, lol. Today I’m going to tackle an oft ignored topic… the disabled MC. It’s a topic that many don’t think about or concern themselves with—almost like if someone has a disability they aren’t a whole sexual being…Seriously!??
Everyone can have a fully enriching life despite physical or mental limitations. That said though, when I sat down to wrote DoD I didn’t say “Oh, I want to write a story where a disabled guy finds love.” No, what I thought about was how frustrated I get about how others perceive me and often treat me because I use forearm crutches and can’t walk much—or stand long without serious pain. The pity, anger, or out right dismissal of my existence. And so, James Bryant was born!
For James part of his disability is genetic (same as mine) and part is thanks to an ex and the damage done by him, but where a disability comes from has nothing to do with who the person is inside. Too often, in my opinion, the person that isn’t “perfect” gets passed over and ignored both in real life and in romance. I wanted James to find his “prince” and get his HEA, despite what the hate and/or pity of others had taught him about himself and his possibilities for love.
I’m not the only one to think this way, though maybe not always from a personal view point. Books such as Andrew Grey’s A Helping of Love or Love Comes Silently; Play It Again, Charlie, by R. Cooper; or Fix This, Sir, by Jaime Samms, do a wonderful job of depicting various disabilities and showing how, even when they don’t fit the masses “ideal of perfection” so many strive for, love and HEA’s are obtainable. And yes, these are fiction, but believe me; it’s just as possible in the real world, if only you open your eyes to the blessing and beauty within others and not just their wrappings.
Designs of Desire
by Tempeste O’Riley
M/M Erotic BDSM/Kink Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 29th 2013
Length: Novel / 200 pages
Artist James Bryant has forearm crutches in every color from rainbow for fun to sleek black for business. He even has a pair with more paint splatters than metal. After his family’s rejection and abuse from a man he thought loved him, James only just gets through the day by painting. He lives in constant fear that he’s not worthy of anything, let alone love.
As CEO of his company, Carrington Enterprises, Seth Burns is a take-charge kind of guy, and he is instantly smitten by the artist helping with his newest project. When he witnesses James suffer a panic attack, a protective instinct he never knew he had kicks in. He truly believes nothing is unobtainable—including James—if he’s willing to put in the time and effort.
James is shy and confused by Seth’s interest in him as a person. With Seth’s support, can he work through his fears to finally find the true love he deserves, or will someone finally land the crushing blow he won’t survive?
667, 668, 669….
A file slapped the desk in front of James, distracting him from his attempt at counting the dots in the ceiling tiles above him.
“I know you’re busy and all,” Brian said, his usual sneer in place. “But do you think you’ll have time to help a new client?” The man just lived to give him a hard time.
James took a deep breath. He desperately hoped his hatred of the man towering over him didn’t show. James Knew open displays of boredom pissed Brian off, but James hadn’t had a prospective or existing client call in two days. He’d finished his purchasing reports, sent the work orders and e-mail. All calls done. What else was he supposed to do?
“Sure, Brian. Let me see what we’ve got, and I’ll head right out,” James replied. He tried to sound upbeat. It wasn’t that he didn’t like his job; he did. But Brian hated him, and he always got the leftovers—usually clients the other designers did not want for one reason or another.
“I’m sure this one’s right up your—” Cough. “—alley,” Brian finished with a snicker.
James never figured out how someone so hateful and narrow-minded as Brian stood working in their field, much less kept his job. In James’s opinion, art, even corporate branding and design, should attract people with a bit more open-mindedness. He had a few ideas on the latter but kept his opinions, and gutter-mind, to himself.
Forcing a smile across his face as he opened the folder in front of him, James called out to Brian’s retreating form, “No worries, boss.”
Brian paused and turned to look over his shoulder and with a nasty smile added, “Oh, and the guy’ll be here in about ten minutes. Don’t screw up.”
Ten minutes? Seriously?
He started to peruse the new client information, pleased that at least the file seemed to be complete—charts, images, budget, etc.—and his phone rang. He answered on the second ring. “Good morning, James Bryant speaking.”
“Ah, Jamie, got the file yet? ’Cuz let me tell you, this one’s something else,” came the disembodied voice of his best friend and co-worker, Chase Manning. “He’s not like most of the scraps Brian-the-dick tosses you.”
“I’m sure I can handle whatever he sends my way. The clients aren’t usually as difficult as Brian and the others make them seem. They just don’t want to deal with high maintenance or quirky. Which, when you consider the job, makes no sense. But—”
“Jamie, dear,” Chase said, cutting him off. “That’s not it at all. This guy’s hot, and I mean H-O-T, hot. He’s waiting for you already and man, I so wish I had your job today,” he practically squealed. “So hurry up and get your sexy ass down here. Now.”
“Shh…. Don’t be so loud. The last thing I need is you to offend a new client. Now, go back to work and let me read over the file, would ya?” He shook his head and clicked off his Bluetooth. James glanced over the information for his new client. Seth Burns? Carl, their senior manager, had been trying to get Mr. Burns of Carrington Enterprises as a client for years. Wonder what he’s looking for and how this project slipped past Brian to me?
Setting it aside, James pulled out his messenger bag and loaded it with the folder. He already had all his staples in there: pens, pencils, a notebook or two, and a couple of sketch pads. He carefully hung it across his neck and shoulder so the bag wouldn’t slip. He preferred his backpack, but his boss frowned on “casual.” James gathered his forearm crutches, the plain black ones he only used for work, and he began the arduous task of getting up before he slipped his arms through the cuffs.
Once satisfied he wasn’t forgetting anything, James slung himself down the hall to the elevator, where he waited. He hated standing there, given Brian’s office faced the hall.
When James reached the main floor, Chase seemed to vibrate as he waited for him. His face reminded James of a child at Disney World instead of the twenty-five-year-old man he actually was.
“Do you want to meet with him down here in one of the conference rooms?” Chase pleaded, batting his eyes for full effect. He knew better than to act like that, but, oh well.
“Relax, Chase,” James said with a smile. Chase, his sometimes assistant and best friend, always worried about James walking too much, but then he never managed to understand the idea of limitations versus inability. James could walk, though he couldn’t walk far or carry much of anything. He simply needed his crutches. Limitations James loathed but had learned to accept.
“I just hate you traipsing up and down the halls. I wish—”
“Don’t,” James snapped harder than he’d meant to. “Sorry. You know I appreciate your concern, but I’m a big boy and can manage fine. Now, go back to your desk and do your job so I can do mine.”
With a huff, Chase flounced back to his desk. “Fine,” he called over his shoulder. “Be that way.”
James ignored him and pushed on, maneuvering himself around to reception to meet his new client.
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.