Two Lips, Indifferent Red
Title : Two Lips, Indifferent Red
Author : Tinnean
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Mystery, Suspense
Length : 327 pages (e-book)
Published : March 8, 2013
Kipp Llewellyn would rather follow his dreams than toe the family line, so instead of the support of his wealthy family, he has estrangement and a part-time job with Hunter, an in-demand interior designer. Hunter opens a new world for Kipp to explore—and not just for his career. It’s through Hunter that Kipp meets and begins what he thinks is a one-sided flirtation with Ham, one of Hunter’s customers.
To Kipp’s astonishment, Ham asks him for a date. Unfortunately for Kipp, a mysterious phone call summons him home, where his father gives him an ultimatum: save the family company by marrying billionaire Hyde Wyndham, in which case all will be overlooked, or never set foot in his home again. But meeting Hyde leaves Kipp stunned and betrayed, because Hyde is actually Ham.
A guarantee of marriage is no excuse for making Kipp feel foolish, and Kipp had enough of the gilded cage in the first twenty-one years of his life. He turns Hyde down, stating that marriage should be about love rather than convenience. If Hyde wants him, he’ll have to court him the old-fashioned way.
Tinnean delivers the classic tale of “silver spoon child who desires to follow his own heart instead of toeing the family line”, to a distinct and enticing new level.
I have to say I love the Shakespearean reference in the title of this book, and I will also say up front that I am definitely a fan of the author’s writing.
Set in 2017, the book reads as part contemporary, part fairy tale, part Victorian. This may sound odd, but it’s how it struck me and it made for a really entertaining read. The story revolves around several prominent families in the city of Martinsburg…or The Families as they are known. I gather the year 2017 was used primarily because marriage between two people of the same gender is put forth as now legal in the entire USA. Although unfortunately, bigotry is alive and well – pertaining to both sexual orientation and race. The author displays a marvelous capability of painting the atmosphere and mood for her story. Every character and location became vivid in my mind.
This is Kipp’s story and is told from his pov for which I am really, really glad. I just love the character and his voice. Kipp is a to-the- manor-born “blue blood” from Martinsburg, in fact the city is named after his mother’s family. Kipp calls his father “Sir”, as per Sir’s directive. Oh isn’t that sweet? Not! Kipp’s mother died shortly after he was born, and he was summarily ignored by his father and was sent off to boarding school as a child. Sir made Kipp return to attend the local high school, for reasons never made clear to Kipp. In high school, Kipp realized he was gay but never told anyone about it, he certainly figured his father would be less than accepting of such a fact. His one date with another man – Daniel, the school golden boy – turned into an embarrassing debacle. Kipp thought without a doubt he would be outed – at school, to his father and the whole city after the date, but there were absolutely zero repercussions. Hmmm……?
The story actually begins with Kipp in his junior year of college in a city away from Martinsburg. His dream is to be a decorator, not to carry on with the family business ventures. Due to this fact he has been estranged from his family (including his older brother, Geoff and his Grandfather) and cut off financially from his trust fund or any financial assistance whatsoever. Kipp comes across as basically confident in pursuing what he wants out of life, yet he has been berated and cast aside by family so he has serious doubts about self-worth. He is not openly gay at college, doesn’t date at all and is a virgin. Kipp has a great sense of humor but is not a smart ass.
Kipp has a job at Georg’s, an upscale furnishing store owned by Hunter, who has become a friend to Kipp as well as an employer. While at work, Kipp encounters a client who introduces himself as Ham. Ham is an older, handsome, sexy, wealthy and somewhat mysterious man. Ham subsequently visits the store again and eventually he and Kipp flirt and end up kissing in the storage room. Oh, good stuff! Kipp keeps one of Ham’s handkerchiefs (sigh!)….and the corker is Ham finally asking Kipp for a date. An “I’ll whisk you off to New York City for dinner in my private jet” type of date. (Swoon!) This is where the story really takes off, as Kipp is called back home by Sir, in no uncertain terms. He must call Ham and postpone the big date.
Upon returning home, Kipp is informed that the family business is in big trouble and must merge with another company. To Kipp’s horror, Sir has arranged for Kipp to marry the head of the other company, a Mr. Hyde Wyndham. When Hyde turns out to be Ham, Kipp doesn’t know what to think, and neither did I!
Hyde presents as being somewhat mysterious, considerably sexy, and extremely in control yet is not controlling or arrogant. I would describe him as being chivalrous while still treating Kipp as absolutely an equal and not some shrinking violet, or inferior. Hyde was a member of one of The Families until some bad dealings went down and he left town at a young age and worked his way back up to being extremely wealthy. He treats everyone fairly and courteously but has no problem delegating to his personal assistant or inviting rock stars to the wedding. 😉
Kipp ends up having very mixed feelings. He had already fallen for Ham, and now Ham is Hyde who apparently wants to marry him, and Hyde claims it is not just a business venture, he really cares for Kipp. Oh, the drama! So Kipp decides to go through with the marriage, provided that Hyde courts him properly. Hyde, despite some of the mysterious air surrounding him, is pretty much an open book regarding his feelings for Kipp. I want to convey that in no way is Kipp written as vapid, or chick with a dick. He simply believes he wants to marry for love and be worthy of that love.
I am purposely not going into detail about the plot after this point, as the story was a journey of discoveries for Kipp and I feel the reader should witness all the events and revelations as Kipp does. How and when did Sir know Kipp was gay? Did Hyde know who Kipp was back at Georg’s? Is Kipp really who he thinks HE is? Is Hyde really in love with Kipp? Is ANYTHING as it seems or as Kipp always thought it was? Hah, you’ll need to read to find out! 😀
The story is not angsty, however there is lots of meddling and fairly loathsome treatment of people going on by some individuals ( who just may “get theirs” in the end). There is very little on page sex (save for some dreams and fantasies of Kipp’s), yet many very sultry kissing scenes. There is also a fade to black scene that we relive through Kipp’s memory. Personally, I liked the romantic flavor of the story, so the lack of on-page sex was in no way a negative. Kipp and Hyde make a great couple and a formidable team.
The lovely cover is very fitting to the book – Kipp’s “Looking for love (will settle for green jelly beans)” t-shirt has a role in the story 😉
I highly recommend this book and this author’s work in general. 🙂
Rated 4.5 stars by Dianne