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Painted Faces

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Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

**Not suitable for younger readers. Contains some strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.**

355 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 14, 2012

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About the author

L.H. Cosway

52 books5,756 followers
L.H. Cosway lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books.

She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LHCosway

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LHCosway

Mailing List: https://lhcoswayauthor.com/newsletter/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lhcosway13/

Website: www.lhcoswayauthor.com

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,473 reviews
88 reviews1,105 followers
July 26, 2016

For all the men who are women....

And the women who are men....

The men who are men and the women who are women....

And those of you who are a little bit of both....

Welcome to this unconventional tale of love!!

So Readers meet with Nicholas---

Jet black hair midway between long and short,ice blue eyes and a classically beautiful face.

His eyes can pull you in,like they hold secrets that can make your boring old life so much more exciting.

Well that's Freda Wilson's first impression of her new neighbour when they meet in the hallway.

"Fred,you can call me Fred."

"Okay Fred,you can call me Vivica."

"Cool,if we become close friends can I call you Viv?"

Nicholas is handsome,funny,charismatic and magnetic.Freda can't help getting pulled towards him.On the very first day they meet,her best friend and room-mate Nora,invites him to dinner.

"So Nicholas,what do you do for a living?"

"I'm a cabaret performer."

Now,what does it entail??

Readers,you are about to find out....

So,let me introduce you to Miss Vivica Blue....

....Androgynous boy-girl with a voice capable of singing like a legend.


Don't be.

"For me, a drag queen dresses as a women purely for performance and that's what I think of myself as being."

Nicholas and Vivica are wildly different but one and the same....

Like two sides of the same coin.

And then Nicholas asks Freda if she would like to become his show assistant.Freda accepts.And soon her entire black and white world gets filled colours.

Well Readers,that is the beauty and mystery of painted faces!!

"We all paint on a face to show the world."

"For some of us, that's quite literal."

Also she gets introduced to the world of secrets in Nicholas's eyes.

So Readers,come and get lost in this unconventional romantic saga!!

No,no.Don't give me this look.Go and get this book right now!!


"You'll always be my friend,won't you Fred?Don't let me fuck this up.I need you in my life now.I need the golden eyed girl who can make me smile."

"So,this is me darling,a complete and total contradiction.A fucking mess." He smiles sadly.

"A beautiful mess," I proclaim.

That's all for now Readers!!


Profile Image for Christy.
3,811 reviews32.4k followers
January 27, 2013
And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind
I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

Painted Faces
You have to get over your hang ups. Human beings don’t always fit into a perfect box the way you want them to.

This story was beautiful, unconventional, magnificent,unique, and just brilliant! I fell in love with the story and the characters. Read it!!!

Nicholas or Vivica Blue
Painted Faces- Nicholas
“Cross dressing is often related to sexual preference. I like to be a man in the bedroom, but a woman on the stage.”

and Freda or Fred
Painted Faces- Fred
I might not have a boyfriend, but I have cupcakes, and those tasty bastards haven’t let me down yet.

Nicholas and Freda meet when Nicholas moves next door to Fred and her roommate Nora. Nicholas is taken with Fred right away, he can just tell when he first meets her that she is special
“You’re a fucking hoot, Fred. I’m officially making you my new best friend. Its quite and honored and sought after position, I’ll have you know.”
I have to start out by saying, yes, Nicholas is a drag queen. He preforms on stage as a woman, Viviaca Blue, but he is all man. Fred notices him right away. She is very attracted to him, but has a hard time believing how much Nicholas wants her. She is a little on the curvy side and a bit insecure with her body. She becomes his assistant. Helping pick out his clothing and makeup etc for shows.
Painted Faces
“You’ll always be my friend, won’t you Fred? Don’t let me fuck this up. I need you in my life now. I need the golden eyed girl who can make me smile.”
As their friendship grows, so does the sexual tension that has been there from the very beginning. The banter between the two of them is hilarious. They really are amazing together.
“I don’t mind at all. The more the merrier, thats what I always say. Except if it’s an orgy; you’ve got to be picky in matters of group sex.”

“Oh, I completely agree. You can never be too careful in a gang bang.”

“Sometimes you end up with too much gang and not enough bang.” says Nicholas.
“I’ve never had a taste for too much gang. I much prefer the latter,” I laugh.
“Ah, we have that in common then.”

Fred is so funny. Loved her sense of humor. She is smart and sassy, and very beautiful, even if she can’t see it for herself. She gets Nicholas. Even though he is not conventional, she is drawn to him. She is comfortable with him, loves him as Nicholas and/or Vivian. She lets him be who he needs to be.

I love him because he makes me laugh when I don’t feel like laughing. I love him because he challenges my view on what a man is. I love him because I know I shouldn’t love him and he’ll break my heart. And I love him because he’s a complete and total anomaly. I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more that I want anything else in the world.

I’m coming to think that his complexity is what I love about him. He has suffered in his life, and it’s created this wonderfully flawed man who I don’t think I could live without.

Painted Faces

You cannot help but to love Nicholas. He is sexy, sensual, complex, sweet, charismatic, flirty, humorous and completely lovable. But he is also a beautiful mess. He has a past. He travels. It gets lonely. He doesn’t really have much of an in between. When he is happy, he is extremely happy, and when he’s not, he’s extremely sad. I loved getting to know Nicholas. He was wonderful. He wasn’t perfect, but he was perfect for Fred.

“I love you Freda,” he breathes. “It feels like nobody in the history of the world has loved another person as I love you. I love you so much it hurts. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me burn.”

“I belong to you. I’ve belonged to you since the beginning, since before I even knew that I did.”

“You colour my world, Freda.”

The secondary characters were wonderful as well, loved Nora(most of the time), Harry, Sean and Phillip. Of course, I especially loved Fred and Nicholas and their relationship together. They had a friendship first, a lot of sexual tension, and then some hot scenes. Just because Nicholas has an unconventional lifestyle, he was still able to have an happy ending.This was truly one of the most beautiful and unique love stories I have ever read. I would recommend it to all!
Profile Image for Alexis *Reality Bites*.
757 reviews3,659 followers
January 11, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Setting: Dublin

In Painted Faces, Fred an outspoken women who thinks herself to be average and Nicholas a handsome man who also happens to be a drag queen find love.
Unconventional? Yes.
Not my normal love story? Nope.
Should you read it? Most definitely?

'I want him so badly it hurts. But I want all of him. Not just the sex. I want his smiles and his teasing, his smouldering looks. His sad eyes when he thinks nobody's watching. Most of all I want his heart.' ~Freda

Freda considers herself to be average in the looks department. She is 25yrs old, the youngest of 4. Her parents had her late in life so her siblings out date her by at least a decade or more. Freda is an outspoken women known for telling you exactly how she feels without batting an eyelash. She is curvy considered on the thick side at a comfortable size14 with curly brown hair. She lives with her best friend and roommate Nora. Nora is pretty in the ideal way she is also thin and always looking for 'the one.'

Nora has her current sights set on the new neighbor Nicholas. Both Freda and Nora will be in for a shock when Nicholas let's his intentions known.

He want's Fred.

"You're very pretty Fred," he says matter of factly. Then he brings hi face closer and traces his lips among my ear. " I'd really like to fuck you."


When Freda met Nicholas she was returning from shopping. Her clothes were sopping wet and she had three grocer bags slung over her shoulder. He was coming out of his apartment as she wrestled to get her key out to enter her's.
He introduced himself as Vivica. She instantly was drawn in to his blue eyes and handsome face. While chatting she noticed some of his mannerism seemed..fey like. But after catching him leering at her D-cups which were visible through her soaking wet shirt she dismissed the thought.

It's at dinner later on that night when Nicholas openly flirts with Freda, much to Nora's dismay; when Freda turns Nicholas down on his proposition to have sex. Inwardly she can't deny that she is attracted to him. The man is gorgeous who wouldn't be?

"Lot's of kinks, lot's of quirks, my sexuality is multifaceted." ~Nicholas

Nicholas invites both Freda and Nora to see his show. Freda agrees to go. They quickly become friends even spending the afternoon together the day of his performance. Freda attends his cabaret performance that night with Nora and two other friends.

While there Freda takes notice early on that they are in a gay bar. Her suspicions begin to arise once more in regards to Nicholas and his sexuality. Nora is still holding out hope and is to busy getting sloshed to pick up on the atmosphere in the bar.

The announcer takes the stage to introduce Nicholas as Vivica Blue.

'He's a Fucking drag queen.' ~Freda



At first Freda feels a bit of discomfort but it quickly dissipates as she becomes enthralled by his performance.

'This is astounding, amazing, so incredibly thrilling. Only today a world traveling cabaret performing drag queen took me out for lunch and named me as his new best friend. The idea plunges my Black and white world into a vibrant techni-colour rainbow.' ~Freda's inner monologue

Freda assumes that Nicholas must be bi because...Well, because he hit on her. After the show Nicholas let's her know that he is a straight man.

"So it's not a fetish for you?"
He smirks "Nope. Cross dressing is often related to sexual preference. I like to be a man in the bedroom. But a woman on stage."


Nicholas offers Freda a job as his assistant. She accepts and is now in the drag queen world of wigs, make-up, sparkly dresses and high heels. Slowly being pulled in by Nicholas, the attraction becomes palpable.
The chemistry between the two is flammable.

"I'd like to see you speechless, breathless, panting..."
~Nicholas to Freda



Freda does her best to keep their relationship platonic. But her desires for Nicholas only increase the closer they get, the more she learns about the man behind the wigs and make up.

'I stare into his eyes for a second and get caught, like a fly in a spiders web. There is deep deep pain in him somewhere underneath the flirty, confidant surface.' ~Freda's inner monologue

Friends to lovers.. This is a romantic tale of two people finding love in a very different way.

My thoughts
Nothing I was expecting. This is far from my normal romance. I found the writing engaging the deeper in to the story I got. The love story is very unique... Makes me wonder where the author came up with the concept.

Dear readers
I recommend this book to romance lovers looking for something different from the norm. Painted Faces meets that standard and then some.
Very beautiful and highly erotic! Check it out!
I consider author L.H. Cosway an Author To Look-out For!

My Ratings
Characters- Lovable and truly one of a kind
Writing Style- Witty, Sensual and Honest
Plot/Storyline- Unique in terms of the romance, also very Savory with lasting characters who are sure to stick with you

Steam Factor- High/Very Steamy
Overall- I enjoyed! Check it out!

Now go forth and read. Then come tell us about it on Goodreads!

For more reviews go to http://realitybites-letsgetlost.blogs...

*Copy kindly provided by the author for a honest review*
Profile Image for Dali.
1,797 reviews455 followers
March 13, 2023
A wonderfully unique love story that’s both poignant and happy. It will cause smiles, laugher and swooning while urging to think out of the box. I felt joyfully stunned after reading Fred and Viv’s tale not just because it had a happy ending, but because I’ve never read anything like it. This is one story that will stay with me forever.
“Human beings don't always fit into a perfect box the way you want them to.”

Before I dive into my review, I’d like to say I’m mostly a traditional reader where alpha boy meets girl and they live happily ever after. Having a drag queen hero was something I had trouble picturing. So I’m both sad and happy that it took me some time to pick this book up. Sad because now that I was exposed to a different perspective, I know I was missing out on a great read. But glad that I dove in because not only did I get to meet these amazing characters, I also got to read the brilliant flip side to this book right on its heels.
“Who would have thought that a drag queen could be my ultimate male fantasy?”

But I’m getting ahead of myself. In Painted Faces we get Freda’s, affectionately known as Fred’s side of how she met, got to know and fell in love with her ridiculously handsome and charismatic next door neighbor.
“With this strangely beautiful man in my life, I have a feeling it will never be the same again.”

Cupcake baking Freda doesn’t fit into the world’s traditional definitions of physically perfect, she often gets overlooked and has a bit of a complex regarding her figure. But true beauty is not skin deep. She’s a good friend and daughter and has humor, wit and snark shielding her insecurities. I loved her inner rants and her tendency to be blunt. I just plain loved her and how real she felt.

Nicholas, or Vivica, is a criminally handsome and addictive, but very broken straight man who seeks solace in dressing and performing as a woman to cope with childhood trauma.
“You're so pretty Viv, it's not fair. How can you be pretty and handsome?” ~ Freda
“I like to be a man in the bedroom, but a woman on the stage.” ~ Nicholas

He’s a “wonderfully flawed man,” with scars hidden by charisma, who suffers from loneliness but is at the same time is cheerful, virile, naughty and completely unrepentant. He’s a contradiction and a very atypical hero. I couldn’t help but love him.
“He is such a complex creature, but I'm coming to think that his complexity is what I love about him.”

When these two meet, sparks fly but there’s also an instant recognition of kindred spirits. As an insatiable womanizer Nicholas wants to seduce Freda, but her caution only lets room for friendship, which Nicholas readily accepts. They banter, tease, get to know one another and have fun while doing so. They experience emotional highs and lows and eventually fall in love.
He looks like a really hot woman. It's unsettling, but also titillating.
“If I was into girls, I'd do you.”
“Psst, I'll let you in on a secret Fred… I actually have a cock. Don't tell anyone, it would ruin my reputation. But feel free to do me any time you want.”

There were times when I would’ve liked to seriously reprimand him regarding his actions towards Freda. But it was clear she meant a great deal to him. More than what he deemed himself to be worthy of. He was electric and magnetic. But there were glimpses of sadness, vulnerability and deep pain underneath the flirty, confident surface.
“But I want all of him. Not just the sex. I want his smiles and his teasing, his smouldering looks. His sad eyes when he thinks nobody's watching. Most of all, I want his heart.”

This tale was amazingly executed. From the way Freda could look past the high heels and painted face to the fractured man with a very masculine vibrancy. To the way Nicholas with his uncharacteristic view of life sees past Freda’s protective shell. I loved how these two brought color, life and meaning to each other.
“You'll always be my friend, won't you Fred? Don't let me fuck this up. I need you in my life now. I need the golden eyed girl who can make me smile.

This is an unconventional love story, but I think the point is that we can find beauty in the most pleasantly unexpected places. It’s so rare to find originality in contemporary romance, and I just love how L.H. does it time and again.
“I love you Freda... It feels like nobody in the history of the world has loved another person as much as I love you. I love you so much it hurts. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me burn.”

If you want the usual and predictable love story, this is not the book for you. If you’re looking for extraordinary and adventurous, I urge you to pick up this book. I can’t wait to start with Killer Queen. Nicholas’ side of this love story.

Get your copy on Amazon -> http://amzn.to/1vOaCSU
Pinterest board -> http://www.pinterest.com/lhcosway13/k...
(The pintrest board says for Killer Queen but its about the same characters)

* I was graciously given an ARC of this book by the author. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,186 followers
May 27, 2016
5 odd and unconventional romance stars!

“We all paint on a face to show the world. For some of us, that's quite literal.”

Wow. Just.... WOW. I have never read another book quite like this one before. It completely blew me away!!! I mean, I never would have thought "straight drag queen" and "romance" would fit in the same category, but I was wrong!!!

Painted Faces is about Freda, a twenty something Irish woman who works odd jobs and has some terrible ex boyfriends. This story begins when Fred has a new neighbor move in and he immediately expresses interest in her. Nicholas is attractive and suave, and despite his advances Fred almost has him pegged as gay. But then she see's his show and realizes he's a drag queen and everything begins to make sense.

Nicholas offers Fred a job working as his assistant and she accepts. As time goes by the attraction between the two of the builds, but Fred is wary of his advances. Nicholas has slept his way across Europe and she isn't sure if he's serious about her, or just looking to shag her.

“I want to ruin you Freda, in the best way possible.”

I honestly didn't know what to expect going into this book. I had read some of Cosway's books before, but a friend had told me to read some of her earlier work as it was a little bit different (I then found out this friend hadn't read this book yet lol). I'm so glad I read this book, and I kind of can't believe I haven't read it before. Why has no one recommended me this book???? Book friends, you are slacking!!! jkjk.

I loved both characters so much. Fred was an amazing heroine, she had insecurities yet she stood up for herself. She was understanding and accepting of ideas new to her. Was she perfect? No. But that's what I liked most about her. Nicholas, oh he's something else. He changed what I thought about masculinity. In a literary world of alpha males and dominance, here came a different kind of romantic hero and his uniqueness shone through the pages.

“I might not have a boyfriend, but I have cupcakes, and those tasty bastards haven't let me down yet.”

This was such the perfect blend of romance and angst for me. I couldn't put the book down, I was reading well into the early hours of the morning when I should have been sleeping. Believe me this book was worth not being able to adult properly the next day. I was so enraptured by this unique and special story, I didn't want it to end.

So as you can tell, I bloody loved this book. I find myself wanting to go back and reread it even as I type just to be near Nicholas and Freda again. I can honestly say this is my favorite Cosway book to date and I probably will be binge-reading the rest of her books sometime real soon.

“It feels like nobody in the history of the world has loved another person as much as I love you. I love you so much it hurts. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me burn.”

December 10, 2021

Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest

How often do you grab books while they're free or discounted on Kindle and then never read them? For me, pretty much all the time. That's why my friends and I have started the Kindle Clean Out club where we BR books that have been sitting in cyberspace, gathering virtual dust. You can read Sarah's review of this book here, and Heather's review of this book here.

This is actually my second book by this author. The first was STILL LIFE WITH STRINGS. I received a copy of the book directly from the author and ended up giving the book two stars because even though I loved the idea of a romance with a sexy violinist (*drools*), the romance felt rushed and unrealistic, the heroine was kind of a judgmental little sh*t, and the two of them had sex without a bloody condom - my #1 erotica pet-peeve.

I leaped at the chance to obtain PAINTED FACES because this sounded like yet another interesting concept - a romance between a baker and a straight drag queen. "Yes, okay, just give it here!" said foolish me. "I'll totally sign up for that!" I began reading the book and was dismayed to find myself with yet another book that also felt rushed and unrealistic, with a judgmental little sh*t of a heroine who has sex without a condom.

Oh. My. God. There is no escape from the madness.

Fred is the worst heroine. She's always making judgments about everyone around her, slut-shaming women, body-shaming women, reverse-slut-shaming women (if you're not actively having sex, you're all dried up). She's snide about a woman with a college degree who became a stay-at-home mom. She makes fun of her friend Anny for having a threesome. She age-shames this woman for having sex with Nicholas (before she and Nicholas are together) because having sex with a younger, attractive man makes you desperate. Her mouth (or at least, her words) is always running to deliver these constant asides that make her seem desperate to relate to you, the reader. Do you enjoy relaxing in sweatpants? Do you like watching people eat the food you cooked? Do you think furry animals are cute? Wow, you do? Oh my God, you're so unique and quirky...JUST LIKE FREDA.

Her relationship with Nicholas starts out with them being friends, but that, too, felt rushed and desperate. I liked how secure Nicholas was with his sexuality, and how he indulged in both stereotypically masculine and feminine activities without making a big fuss over it. Unfortunately, Nicholas is also an alphahole who gets really grabby with the heroine. When they first meet, he presses himself up against her backside while she's cooking (ew, predatory, no). He's constantly grabbing her breasts or talking about her body. He sleeps around with other women and then mocks them - either behind their back or in front of them, to other women (mostly Freda) - and uses them to make other women who want to sleep with him jealous (everyone). He's constantly tearing at her clothes, at one point yanking her dress down so he can molest her in a bathroom (again, before they're together). He employs the heroine with a job that's 100% pretense so he can gauge whether or not she's worthy of him. It's all so sick-making and by the end of the book I despised him. How can you possibly like a hero who tells the heroine that she's pure and clean, while other women are dirty, and after sleeping with another woman, tells the heroine he was imagining her while doing it??

I wanted to like PAINTED FACES, but I didn't. I liked parts of it - the role music had to play, the drag shows and performances, the descriptions of middle class Ireland, baking - but the whole of the book was ruined by the two main characters and the wasted potential. I feel like this book could have stirred up some very interesting dialogues about transphobia, homophobia, sexuality, gender fluidity, sexual abuse, and heteronormative relationships that would have been incredibly relevant and interesting. Instead, it just took the same tired old cliches and tried to gussy them up with sparkly heels and mascara.

It did not work.

1 to 1.5 stars
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
961 reviews143 followers
December 14, 2014
“Love is not about how we appear on the outside, it’s about the soul contained within.” ~ Nicholas

Gosh, I really loved this one. It is such a beautiful and unique story that feeds your soul, your heart and your mind. It was....

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“With this strangely beautiful man in my life, I have a feeling it will never be the same again.” ~ Freda

I’m not going to go into the plot at all. It is just that type of love story that you have to experience yourself. I will say that I absolutely LOVED and ADORED both Freda and Nicholas.

Freda (Fred) was lovely. Whether it was her outlook on life, her acceptance of others or just the fact that she wasn’t that perfectly packaged woman, she was a breath of fresh air.

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Nicholas (Viv) was lovely too. His being touched my soul. I know that might sound a little deep but certain stories do that to me and this is one of them.

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I adored the way that Fred and Viv come together. It is a colorful friends to lovers story. Fred was the color to Viv’s otherwise gray life.

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There were moments that made me laugh and moments that made me cried. I loved how music was used as forms of expression.

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As with anything that is worthy of your heart, it doesn’t come without some pain and heartache. But that's what makes it all worth it in the end. People are messy. Life is messy. Love is messy.

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And finally, one of my favorite parts.

“He looks at me and smiles as he presses down on the final note. I hold his gaze and blow him a kiss.”

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He sings like he’s making a vow. It frightens me….I soak in the words, the truth of them, how special they make me feel….”

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This is only my second book by L.H. Cosway. As with Still Life with Strings, this story was wonderfully beautiful. If you haven't read this one I highly recommend that you do. It might be one of those books that you have to be in a certain mood for but don't miss out on meeting Fred and Viv. :)

Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,857 reviews5,632 followers
October 4, 2013

I absolutely adored this book.

I love books that push boundaries and this book pushed so many boundaries. What is sexy? What is masculine? What is feminine?


Plot summaries aren't really my thing but I have to say that this book gave me something content-wise that I haven't read about before. The author did a brilliant job of playing with gender boundaries and showing the aftereffects of abuse without being trite.

And the way the author ratcheted up the sexual tension between Nicholas and Freda was something else entirely. I was on the edge of my seat quite literally, and was anticipating their every caress like I was witnessing it firsthand. L.H. Cosway didn't just do a fab job with the romance aspect. I also felt totally sucked-in by their stories. These quirky, off-beat characters will really stick with me. Something about their journeys and struggles really resonated with me.

This book totally captivated me tonight and I couldn't put it down. It was a very special reading experience.

Profile Image for Richa.
50 reviews1,176 followers
December 20, 2016
...when in the fast embrace their limbs were knit, they two were two no more, nor man, nor woman – one body then that neither seemed and both.


Welcome to the show, everyone!!

Tonight's show is a tale of unconventional, unrestricted, beautiful, colourful, amazing LOVE.....

Tired? Lost? Happy? Sad? Mad? Angry?.....No matter what...you're all welcome here....

So,just kick back and put up your feet and enjoy!!!

Pour yourselves a drink....it's on the house!

So, let's begin this show.....

Colours....they're so fascinating...aren't they?....So beautiful, so wonderful....what would life be without them?

And People....so different from each other and yet so similar to each other...all across the world....having different and yet same dreams, desires and colours....

So, do you have it in you to accept all the colours and shades of the world....of the people in it...of life??

The story begins with....

WHITE: The colour of INNOCENCE

He was eight years old when his obsession began.

He is a young boy who tries to hold on to his sanity....his happiness...by trying to be like the person he loves.....because the world is too confusing when you're left alone like that....so he tries to find himself in the possessions of a dead woman...

But one day everything's shattered....

Because there are monsters lurking everywhere and when one catches him.....it's clear that...

His beautiful secret, the one that had brought him so much joy, would never be a happy, childish thing again.


But life can never remain monocoloured for long....

Soon a ray of light disperses the white into colours.....so many colours...so many shades...

It begins with a splash of rain....

It begins with FREDA....a girl who's soaked to the bone, fumbling around looking for her apartment keys, the girl with the self deprecating humour..

I'm the picture of a modern woman who doesn't own a car and doesn't possess the forethought to carry an umbrella.

It begins with running into new, gorgeous, fascinating neighbours...

He has jet black hair, sort of midway between long and short, ice blue eyes and a classically beautiful face. His physique is lightly muscled in that kind of athletic way, and when he smiles at me politely his whole face lights up. His eyes are all shines and sparkles.

It begins with NICHOLAS.

It begins with introductions and it begins with...

PINK: the colour of ATTRACTION

His eyes pull me in, like they hold secrets that could make my boring old life so much more exciting. You don't come across men this alluring very often.

“Fred, you can call me Fred,” I tell him...

He laughs, a wonderfully low sound that vibrates through to my toes. “Okay Fred, you can call me Vivica.”

Our eyes connect and we both smile at his joke. It's funny, but not funny enough to solicit a laugh. “Cool, if we become close friends can I call you Viv?” I respond.

She thinks she'll become his best friend who'll give him relationship advices, console him when he's sad....and...

I'd come out with sappy little nuggets of wisdom such as, Nicholas, true love is like a flower, it needs care and sustenance in order to grow. It will be cheesy in the most wonderful way. How sad is it that the idea of playing that kind of a role in his life actually excites me?

But what he wants is poles apart from her daydreams...

“You're very pretty, Fred,” he says, matter of factly. Then he brings his face closer and traces his lips along my ear. “I'd really like to fuck you.”

And her assumptions that he might be gay go down the drain....


When Freda's roommate and friend, Nora, asks him...

“So Nicholas, what do you do for a living?”

“I'm a cabaret performer,” he answers simply...

And they've no idea what it entails till they meet her...


And it's none other than NICHOLAS!!!

This is astounding, amazing, so incredibly thrilling. Only today a world travelling cabaret performing drag queen took me out for lunch and named me as his new best friend. The idea plunges my black and white world into a vibrant techni-colour rainbow.

And then a very valid question arises in her mind....so she asks him about it subtly...(not!)

He levels me with a funny look. “You think I'm gay?.."

"...I don't think I've ever heard of a straight drag queen.”

He smiles wryly before knocking back his shot. He stares up at the ceiling when he mutters, “Yeah well, you're looking at one.”

“You're joking right? You have to be at least bi.”

“Nope. I only have eyes for the ladies,” he states, all of a sudden he seems slightly pissed off.


He likes to be a man in the bedroom and a woman on stage...he definitely has eyes for this particular lady...and makes her aware of it every time they're together!!

But when she declines repeatedly to be his bed partner because..

I want all of him. Not just the sex. I want his smiles and his teasing, his smouldering looks. His sad eyes when he thinks nobody's watching. Most of all, I want his heart.

So, he offers her a position as his assistant...

“Why are you so determined for me to agree?”

“I don't know. There's something about you that comforts me. Perhaps the fact that every second word out of your mouth begins with an F.”

***This part contains spoilers...read at your own risk*** :)

RED: The colour of PASSION...

So, she agrees to it and is plunged into a world she'd never thought of...never imagined could be so beautiful...so different....

And after all, life's all about new experiences....

So, she experiences it all...

They decide to be friends....
"...You're the perfect friend for me Fred, you the drag king and me the drag queen.”

But they can't help dancing around each other....teasing and taunting each other....
I tell him that I drove my tractor through his haystack last night.

I tell him that I threw my pitchfork at his dog to keep quiet.

I tell him that I've got a brand new combine harvester and that I want to give him the key.

I tell him that we'll have twins and triplets because I'm a man built for speed.

I tell him that he's a fine looking woman and that I can't wait to get my hands on his land.

GREEN: The colour of JEALOUSY

She feels jealous, well, you can guess when...

RED, GREY, BLACK....So many colours of pain...

His pain...because he hurts inside...

Her pain...because she just couldn't take it anymore when he said he didn't care...

Their pain...because, well, humans are messed up beings, right?
My heart thumps hard and fast against my ribcage.

“So, this is me darling, a complete and total contradiction. A fucking mess.” He smiles sadly.

“A beautiful mess,” I proclaim.

BLUE: The colour of forgiveness

He drove her away...because sometimes we're cruellest to the ones we care about the most...but he couldn't live without her...she was the only one who made feel clean...


He asks for another chance...and works to make it alright...
“Do you want to know what my favourite part of your body is?” he asks, leaning forward.

“Go on then, enlighten me,” I say, trying to sound bored. It's not like I'm dying to know or anything.

He reaches forward and traces his hand over my stomach. “This part. It's all round and soft. I'd love to fall asleep right here.”

He reaches out across the space between our two sleeping bags. “Give me your hand,” he whispers.

I glance down at his outstretched fingers, then I slowly reach out too and interlock mine with his. He rubs his thumb back and forth over my wrist, and I fall asleep to the calming motion of his touch.


And so, that's how it begins....the happy ever after...because those are the most beautiful beginnings everyone yearns for...

It's the most perfect moment of my life; I want to put it a jar and shelve it, keep it forever.

He asks me what made him behave that way, using words he never says?

He can only think it must be love..

He asks me to kiss him like it's the final meal, kiss him like we'll die tonight..

He says that holy cow he loves my eyes..

That only now he sees the light..

He says to throw the curtains wide, that one day like this a year will see him right..

He pulls back to look down at me. “I love you Freda,” he breathes. “It feels like nobody in the history of the world has loved another person as much as I love you. I love you so much it hurts. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me burn.”

“You colour my world, Freda,” he whispers...

Now he can be a man in a dress, but he isn't lost. He has his golden eyed girl to lead his fractured soul through a world that once seemed dark and empty. In the present there's nothing but bright, wonderful sun light.

He holds her tight, promising himself that he'll never, ever let her go.

And it's the beginning of their life together...

So many colours...

So many faces...

So many facets to every face...

Accept each and everyone...

Embrace it all...

Because we all paint on a face to show the world...

Maybe you're a man..
Maybe you're a woman...
Maybe you're neither
Maybe you're both
But whatever you're..
Whoever you're...
Wherever you're..







And I want you to remember this always..

If anyone tells you differently....then just tell them...

Don't tell me not to live, just sit and putter
Life's candy and the sun's a ball of butter
Don't bring around a cloud to rain on my parade
Don't tell me not to fly, I simply got to
If someone takes a spill, it's me and not you
Who told you you're allowed to rain on my parade
I'll march my band out, I'll beat my drum
And if I'm fanned out, your turn at bat, sir
At least I didn't fake it, hat, sir
I guess I didn't make it
But whether I'm the rose of sheer perfection
A freckle on the nose of life's complexion
The Cinderella or the shine apple of its eye
I gotta fly once, I gotta try once,
Only can die once, right, sir?
Ooh, life is juicy, juicy and you see,
I gotta have my bite, sir.

I'm gonna live and live NOW!
Get what I want, I know how!
One roll for the whole shebang!
One throw that bell will go clang,
Eye on the target and wham,
One shot, one gun shot and bam!

I'll march my band out, I will beat my drum,
And if I'm fanned out, your turn at bat, sir,
At least I didn't fake it, hat, sir,
I guess I didn't make it
Get ready for me love, 'cause I'm a "comer"
I simply gotta march, my heart's a drummer
Nobody, no, nobody, is gonna rain on my parade!

So, to quote L.H. Cosway...

For all the men who are women and the women who are men, the men who are men and the women who are women. And those of you who are a little bit of both. You colour my world.

We hope you enjoyed the show...

Stay beautiful...

Stay colourful...

[image error]

Leaving you with this song....YOUR SONG...

It's a little bit funny, this feeling inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money, but boy if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live

If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a traveling show
I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song, and this one's for you

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss
Well, a few of the verses, well, they've got me quite cross
But the sun's been quite kind while I wrote this song
It's for people like you that keep it turned on

So excuse me forgetting, but these things I do
You see I've forgotten if they're green or they're blue
Anyway the thing is what I really mean
Yours are the sweetest eyes I've ever seen

And you can tell everybody this is your song
It may be quite simple, but now that it's done
I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world

I hope you don't mind, I hope you don't mind that I put down in words
How wonderful life is while you're in the world...

Wish you all the colours in the world...

For a wonderful, unconventional tale of love....come forth with an open mind...to the world of...

[image error]

And lose yourself in this colourful world....


Buh bye!! :))

Profile Image for * Meli Mel *.
856 reviews653 followers
October 12, 2015

♥ ♥ ♥ 4 STARS ♥ ♥ ♥

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

“I want to ruin you Freda, in the best way possible.”

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Freda is a 25 year old woman that doesn't seem to have a filter when it comes to her mouth, but she is a lovable character nonetheless. You can easily relate with her at times. She has a few insecurities concerning her weight. Then she meets her new neighbour, Nicholas, who's sees her as his perfect woman. To him she is all curves in the right places, with a personality that immediately brightens his day. Freda doesn't understand what is going on when Nicholas, who is highly attractive and fit, begins flirting with her.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

“You colour my world, Freda.”

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

Nicholas has had his share of women, but there is something about Freda that just does it for him. So he proposes they have sex and is very disappointed when he is turned down. Freda isn't the one night stand kind of girl, despite her attraction to Nicholas, she just can't do it. They end up becoming flirty friends, and Freda notices something effeminate about him. When he invites her to a bar where he does a show, she agrees. It takes her awhile but she soon realizes it is a gay bar and becomes a bit shocked to see that this is where Nicholas performs in drag as Vivica Blue.

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

‘I want him so badly it hurts. But I want all of him. Not just the sex. I want his smiles and his teasing, his smouldering looks. His sad eyes when he thinks nobody’s watching. Most of all I want his heart.’

●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●  ●

These two characters were such a hoot. I really enjoyed them both. I loved Freda's sense of humour and Nicholas was pretty damn sexy, even in women's clothing. Freda ends up being Nicholas' assistant in getting him ready for his performances. Every time they spend time together, the more closer they become. It was so cute seeing them fall for each other. The sexual tension between them was awesome, and quite hot. Thie story itself was so cute and unique. I loved the humour in this book. But it was also quite emotional, that it broke my heart. Despite me enjoying this book, there were some parts that were slow. I also became frustrated with Nicholas at times. Overall, I enjoyed the originality of the story, I don't think I have ever read a book like this. It was funny, steamy, and sweet. It's definitely worth checking out.

Profile Image for Jennifer Kyle.
2,377 reviews4,625 followers
March 13, 2014
”We all paint on a face to show the world.” Nicholas replies philosophically. “For some of us, that’s quite literal.”

[image error]

I was looking for something different, something with substance, and this story had both in spades! Although I expected it to be much more risqué than what the author gave, I loved this story and have been smiling since I finished.

Have you ever heard of a straight drag queen? Well, Nicholas the sexy new neighbor happens to be one! He performs in gowns, sings show tunes and ballads and falls for Freda from their first interaction in the apartment hallway.

Freda, is a terrific heroine. She is so very witty, she has a few self-image issues and I fell head over heels in love with her and Nicholas friendship/relationship.

”Okay, this is messed up. I’m getting all hot and bothered over a man who’s more comfortable in make up and a pair of heels than I am.”

Let me stress the point that Nicholas is completely straight and his flirting with Freda is pretty hot but don’t expect sex scene after sex scene, their relationship progresses and is hot and beautiful.

”I want him so badly it hurts. But I want all of him. Not just the sex. I want his smiles and his teasing, his smouldering looks. His sad eyes when he thinks nobody is watching. Most of all, I want his heart.”

Together they were one hell of a book couple. They had fun banter, sexual chemistry and that ending just made my heart melt!

”You colour my world, Freda.”
Profile Image for Mo.
1,351 reviews2 followers
October 24, 2013

First off want to say how great it was to read a novel set in Ireland, even if it was Dublin….. !!!! What? I hear you say? Well, I am from the West of Ireland and there is a thing in Ireland about folks outside the Pale and the Dubs …. Especially when it comes to sport. You have your “ABU’s” in the world of footie (that’s soccer to you folks over the pond) and then in Ireland you have your “ABDs”. I’ve lost you haven’t I? An “ABU” is Anyone But United – i.e. those who do not support Manchester United. An “ABD” is Anyone But Dublin – same concept – those non-Dubliners will support any team playing against Dublin even we are not from that County…. Yeah, went off on a tangent there.

Oh, I can talk about sex like it’s my specialized subject on Mastermind, but when it comes down to it I’m not that experienced.

Liked the book a lot but felt it sort of fizzled out and ended on a whimper and not a bang. Not sure why. The turning point came when they returned from Edinburgh… I sort of skimmed through to the end there. Saying that, the author knows her Ireland and all things Irish. I am assuming she is Irish. I know she lives in Dublin. But hey, I live in Belgium and I am not Belgian!!

I’m getting all hot and bothered about a man who is more comfortable in heels than I am.

The concept and theme of the book were original…. A normal, not skinny, ordinary girl and a Drag Queen!

It would not make my TOP TEN for 2013 but it was still a very enjoyable read.

I loved that Fred has body issues and was not a size zero. She hated shopping for clothes. Got you there girl!

I’ve never understood the appeal of sleeping in the nude, but slim people seem to be mad about it. Us heavier types tend to avoid doing anything with our full bodies on show, even if we’re the only ones there to witness it.

Coolock is mainly known for being home to the Cadbury headquarters in Ireland, as well as the Tayto crisps factory

OK, will finish with a joke told to me by a colleague who is originally from Coolock

Two men were standing at a bus stop in Dublin. One of them was from Coolock and the other was from the Southside (think she mentions the difference between the North Side and the South Side in Dublin). The man from Coolock, in the North Side asks the Southsider “What time is the next bus at?” The Southsider replies, in his snooty D4 accent, “Don’t you know you never finish a sentence with a preposition?” The Northsider then says, “What time is the next bus at, Cunt?”

Maybe you had to be there or maybe it was the Dublin accent but it was funny at the time!

I sat within the valley green, I sat me with my true love
My sad heart strove the two between, the old love and the new love
The old for her, the new that made me think on Ireland dearly
While soft the wind blew down the glen and shook the golden barley

'Twas hard the woeful words to frame to break the ties that bound us
But harder still to bear the shame of foreign chains around us
And so I said, "The mountain glen I'll seek at morning early
And join the bold united men, while soft winds shake the barley"

While sad I kissed away her tears, my fond arms round her flinging
The foeman's shot burst on our ears from out the wildwood ringing
A bullet pierced my true love's side in life's young spring so early
And on my breast in blood she died while soft winds shook the barley

But blood for blood without remorse I've taken at Oulart Hollow
And laid my true love's clay cold corpse where I full soon may follow
As round her grave I wander drear, noon, night and morning early
With breaking heart when e'er I hear the wind that shakes the barley

Profile Image for Georgia ♥ .
420 reviews1,118 followers
March 22, 2013
Copy, courtesy of L.H. Cosway in exchange for a honest review!


A controversial and open-minding romance. A story of how two imperfect people can be perfect for each other. I found myself crying and laughing, cheering from the sidelines and cursing. An original tale about a man and a woman where sometimes the "roles" aren't what defines them...

Before continuing with my review, I don't want to lie to you... I didn't immediately go for this story. I know and understand that having the hero depicted as a drag queen is causing some concerns. It bothered me too, it made my stomach twist. But I took a chance and it paid off. It paid me off with a book that goes amongst my favorites and a hero that I'll never forget.
I urge you to give him the benefit of the doubt and let him give you a glimpse behind the facade, to the sobbing boy who is heartbroken and afraid.

“We all paint on a face to show the world,” Nicholas replies philosophically. “For some of us, that's quite literal.”


And let's not forget that female and male, good and bad, darkness and light are balanced because a tiny piece from one is always embedded deep within the other...


Freda aka Fred: Our heroine is the girl next door. She has the knack of blurting out the most inappropriate things and takes no bullshit. She is a little plump and because of this she has a serious case of low self-esteem. But our amazing girl is a snarky bitch who covers for the scared, shy girl inside.

When you're attracted to someone, extreme behaviour can be sort of...appealing. If Edward Cullen had been ugly, I'm sure Bella Swan wouldn't have been quite so smitten with him coming into her bedroom to watch her sleep at night. We females can be strange, shallow creatures when the mood takes us.

Nicholas aka Vivica aka Viv:To put it bluntly, a beautiful mess... Our hero is a cabaret performance. He does it dressed up as a woman. He is scared and scarred. He lost his mother as a boy and to console himself he was dressing up as her. He suffered terrible abuse and addictions. He fights depression and loneliness. But make no mistake, he is all man, unapologetic, protective and blatant. Glorious in and out of his work uniform.
So a drag queen performer... Unusual, yes. Disturbing, at first.
There is no question of his sexuality!!! None at all. Of his sanity... well maybe.

I get that some men want to dress up as woman because they want to be a woman. I don't want to be a woman though, at least not when I'm off the stage. I perform for the catharsis, because it's freeing.

For me, a drag queen dresses as a women purely for performance and that's what I think of myself as being. A transvestite or a cross dresser could be a man who wears women's clothing because it's a fetish.” “So it's not a fetish thing for you?” He smirks. “Nope ”.

They meet and the attraction is instant but how you give all of you to someone when you aren't whole? When there are pieces missing? So, they become best friends. They play, they banter, they have fun and somewhere along the way, they fall in love.


But love isn't a balmy day. Is a hurricane and stirs passions, change minds and fights as a wildcat. And sometimes, really special times, prevails.

I'd come to the realisation that I love Nicholas. All it took was for him to save me from being mangled by a car. But I know that's not the only reason why I love him. I love him because he makes me laugh when I don't feel like laughing. I love him because he challenges my view of what a man is. I love him because I know I shouldn't love him and that he'll break my heart. I love him because he's a complete and total anomaly. I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more than I want anything else in the world. ~ Freda

“I love you Freda,” he breathes. “It feels like nobody in the history of the world has loved another person as much as I love you. I love you so much it hurts. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me burn.” ~ Nicholas


The Irish/Dublin setting is charming and the perfect background for this colourful story. The whole book is in Freda's POV and feels like reading her diary and hearing her innermost thoughts. But the prologue and the epilogue are pure Nicholas. Perfectly imperfect Nicholas in all his ups and lows, all his glory.

that's all that I'll ever be;
And god knows that's alright with me,
'Cause I know there's
No one greater
And everybody's imperfect,
When you trying to live in harmony,
but the song of life
Is out of key;
Just be perfectly imperfect. ♪♫ ~ Imperfect by Mariah Carey

Thank you L.H. Cosway for this amazing read, for suggesting it to me and for trusting me to review it. Also kudos for the best dedication I have read in a while. It set me in the right mood to enjoy your book.

I highly recommend this story! Don't let it disturb you, give it a try and I think you'll agree with me!!!

Profile Image for Lucia.
733 reviews803 followers
February 17, 2014
Amazing! Brilliant! Perfection! I loved this book, one of the most unique stories ever written. Do not make any excuses, just go and read it!

My Freda and Nicholas:

"I'll have to admit that somewhere in the back of my mind I wanted to be special to him, different from all of the other women who've turned his head. Isn't that what every girl wants? To be loved by someone uniquely, to make a man feel something he hasn't yet felt for anyone else."

"He would wear her dresses and jewellery and spend hours putting her make-up on his face. In time his habbit would evolve into a need to entertain; a dessire to express his fascination with female form by impersonating it. But for now, it was all about her. The woman who brought him into the world and died before he had the chance to get to know her."

Freda is 25 years old cupcake baker who lives with her best friend Nora in apartment in Dublin. One day she meets heir new charismatic ans sexy neighbour, womenizer Nicholas. But after couple of their encounters and finding out what he does for a living, Freda is not sure about Nicholas's orientation. Is he gay? Or does his sexual insinuations mean that he is a straight? But as it seems, being a drag queen, did not influenced Nicholas's fondness for female population at all...

I'm very open-minded person but my life can be pretty traditional sometimes. So I have to admit that this book enthralled me, took me to places I would normally did not go and showed me different perspective of our world. And I seriously LOVED it!

Being in Freda's head and see things to develop from her perspective was amazing. Her inner monologues, snarky remarks and basicly everything about her was great. I really liked her honesty and her thinking made me feel connected to her from the very beginning. She was excellent and totally lovable character. Since whole story is written with Freda being narrator (only prologue and epilogue are from Nicholas's POV), the style of writing reminded me my best friend telling me stories. It was descriptive, funny, sarcastic and full of emotions. I really LOVED it!

And Nicholas? His life story brought more thoughtfulness to this otherwise interesting, funny and sexy story. All the good or bad things he had to go through formed him and created one truly amazing person. Together with Freda they have become my new favourite bookish couple and I know for sure that I will be coming back to this story just to be with them again.

Moreover, I really liked the way author included in this book information about Ireland, Irish people, their culture and traditions. Ireland has a very special place in my heart and I enjoyed this side of novel immensely. Overall, I wanted to highlight the whole book, it was that awesome. Just pure literal perfection. Definitely one of the best books I have ever read! This story is unforgettable. It is so special that it stays with you forever.

MORE REVIEWS ON MY BLOG Reading Is My Breathing
Profile Image for Fathima.
642 reviews344 followers
January 4, 2013



Edit : 4/1/2013

“We all paint on a face to show the world,” Nicholas replies philosophically. “For some of us, that's quite literal.”


First book of the year 2013 and I'm gobsmacked , like literally !!!! This pretty much starts off my new year with a bang !!!


What do I say , where do I begin ???!! From the beginning , obviously !

Painted Faces is the story of Nicholas Turner aka Vivica Blue - a androgynous boy-girl


but unlike the general assumptions - he isn't gay

"I like to be a man in the bedroom, but a woman on the stage.”

Painted Faces is also the story of Freda or Fred , a girl with "pathological self-deprecation" ... Basically , she's just not too happy with her weight .


I can relate ... I have those issues too you know ...


So anyway where was I ? Ah , yeah Nicholas and Fred(a) meet and what begins as a sexy friendship with a healthy dose of flirting quickly escalates into ah .. umm .. hmmm ... mmmm


yeah something like that ....

And that 'something' is exactly what Nicholas wants , a good fuck - nothing more . But for Freda , that's not enough . She knows that just sex with him wont satisfy her desires . She would want more , and that will push Nicholas away . Which in turn will ruin their friendship . So what's gonna happen now ? Well , read the book and see for yourself .


Now , maybe I've made the story look like all romance gush fest and all - which it is by the way - but its sooo much more than that . Painted Faces also tells the story of a very fucked up society - our fucked up society ! We set standards for what is right and wrong . We categorize people we meet , depending on their lifestyles and preferences . We give them names , WITHOUT taking into consideration what kind of feelings could such name calling would evoke . We dont have the time to understand and talk to people , but we have all the time to assume and jump into conclusions ! Woah , I deviated from the actual topic here . I need to jump back and stick to the actual thing ! Basically , what I've been trying to say is Painted Faces is a story about two unusual people , a guy who is broken inside-out but paints a happy picture of himself and a girl , who is insecure and has self confidence issues .Its the story of how their paths collide , merge and become one . Its the story of how she becomes his light during his darkest hours . True to its made statement , Painted Faces is an unconventional love story .


Nicholas and Freda were A-MAH-ZING !!! Nicholas maybe a hoity-toity Vivica Blue on stage but the man is a true alpha off-stage . Pretty Very straight forward , persuasive enough , the guy knows what he wants and how he wants it !

“God you're so tight and soft Fred, I want to lick you all over.”
“You're scandalizing me Viv,” I manage to breathe with a smirk. He smirks right back at me.
“I told you I like to corrupt, and you are the perfect candidate with those innocent fucking eyes of yours.”
He watches me as I writhe against him. “What will it take for you to scream my name? Do you need my cock inside you for that?”
“Oh God, shut up!”

[image error]

Damn boy its hot in here !!!!

Freda , she's just funny ! I mean , her thoughts about a lot of things around her reflected mine . The way she says her legs are shapely as an 8-8 as oppose to an eleven is how refer to my legs as ... I just loved her character ! My new BBF I tell ya ! I loved the fact that she saw way past Nicholas's painted face and saw that the man is broken and imperfect but capable of loving ..

"I stare into his eyes for a second and get caught, like a fly in a spider's web. There's deep, deep pain in him somewhere, underneath the flirty, confident surface. Is it strange that I suddenly feel like pulling it all out of him so that I can spread it before me and study the cracks? Like the little broken pieces of a lost relic, you try to put them together to create something that you can understand."

To sum it all up , I'll say that Painted Faces is an unconventional love story with conventional feelings and emotions . A story about two imperfects who make each other perfect . A story that will make a home on your heart and make you see that appearances can be deceiving and that the heart never lies . A story that will make you believe that sometimes you find love in the least expected places and times .

This book is a definite must read , and an absolute Hollywood movie material ! So grab your popcorns and soda cans and get lost in this world within a world where love takes the form of cabaret performances , make up , costumes and cup cakes !
Profile Image for Penny Reid.
Author 108 books20.7k followers
January 11, 2014



First, a note to everyone who hasn't read this book because the blurb (though honest) is off-putting: READ THIS BOOK!!!!

I love (and, I used the L word) this book. It's sexy and challenging and well written and completely captivating. It's one of those books where I wish I could give every romance reader a copy and make it mandatory reading.

Things I loved:
- The voice. This author is funny and smart. Also, the characters felt real to me, like I could touch them. I felt kinship with Fred and wanted to be her friend.
- The story. OMG, the story. Giant yes.
- Who am I kidding, I loved everything.

One final note: I like my guys manly. Yes I do. And Nicholas (aka Viv) is manly like a beast. But, guess what (spoiler alert) he likes to dress in women's clothes. And, guess what again, it only made him more manly like a beast. LH Cosway is astonishing.

Read it!
Profile Image for Elizabeth (Liz).
611 reviews393 followers
January 15, 2013
Review posted at: Swept Away By Romance

5 Incredible Stars! My first 5-Star Favorite of 2013!!

Freda Wilson is hard-working, opinionated, insecure, self-deprecating, and uses a brash personality and a somewhat crude sense of humor to cover for a lack of confidence. Nothing has really lit up her world for quite some time. Until she meets her new neighbor, Nicholas Turner. Nicholas is charming, gorgeous, sexually magnetic, talented, truly emotionally damaged, and completely heterosexual. He is a cabaret performer, new to Dublin, and takes an instant liking to Freda. Surprised, but flattered, by Nicholas's interest in her, Freda is excited to be invited to his opening night at a local club. Curious to see just what, exactly, Nicholas and his show are all about, she is surprised and fascinated when he appears before an adoring audience in drag! A strong friendship begins to grow between Nicholas and Freda, and soon she is working as his assistant. Immersing herself in this new world is thrilling, but Freda finds herself plagued by rapidly escalating feelings for Nicholas. And not all of them are one-sided. There are demons to be faced, emotional minefields to be waded through and ultimately difficult decisions to be made. All to the soundtrack of some of the world's best-known cabaret songs...naturally.

Original. Beautiful. Witty. Charming. Emotional. Sexually-charged. Edgy. My list could go on without stopping, but these are *some* of the words which first sprang to mind upon finishing Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway. Truly, this story is an invigorating breath of fresh air. It is unique from anything else you may be reading in this genre at the moment. I guarantee. Without a doubt, that is one of the things I loved the very most about this story

I feel that I have to begin with a confession. When I first came across Painted Faces on Amazon, completely stumbled upon it by accident, not long after its release, I thoroughly disregarded it after reading the book summary. I'm ashamed to admit that now. I was *not* keeping an open mind. Men in women’s clothing, for whatever reason, have never been a turn-on for me. In fact, in a story that includes it in any sexual way--whether it's between two men or a man and woman--it usually works just the opposite for me. Or, it always has up to this point (cue my look of utter befuddlement). L.H. Cosway…that is a mighty and magical writing pen you have. I cannot fathom that anyone else could have written this same story and changed my mind SO completely! You have zero knowledge how stunned I was to find myself reading a passionate scene between Freda and a still-in-partial-drag Nicholas, thinking, my God, that is one sexy, hot MAN!! In or out of drag, Nicholas did it for me in a BIG way. I bow down to you, Madam Author. You have achieved the impossible!

I want to discuss Nicholas and Freda a little bit more. They are both strong characters, and I quickly became emotionally invested in both of them. Though, I won't lie. Nicholas holds my heart, and I know he'll always have a piece of it no matter who else comes along. But, Freda and Nicholas *together*?! I positively hung on every interaction between these two, from the simplest to the most emotional! I honestly cannot think of one scene between them that is not in some way imbued with emotion of multiple kinds (even if some of those emotions were new, unrecognizable and forced into nonexistence by the characters, in that moment). The conversations between these two, the chemistry they have...all of it makes this story so worth reading. You can see and feel how they brighten each other's world. And, it has to be said, these two, together, brightened *my* world.

I want to make a special point of saying that the really wonderful thing about all of the emotion explored in Painted Faces is that, even at its darkest, it doesn't leave *you* with a permanent scar. For me, the only way I can think to describe it is that there is a lightness and sense of hope to the writing that doesn't allow you to get mired down in the emotional low points. That is a particular blessing as 2012 became known as The Year of The Ugly Cry for me;)

I almost don't know what else to say. There is not one thing I would change about this book. I loved everything. The storytelling is stellar. The writing flows. The story picks you up at page one and carries you along for the ride. I literally read this straight through, without stopping. I could. Not. Put. It. Down. Not even once. And this is not a short story! But, I simply had to know what was going to happen next. You fall into this story as easily as you fall in love with it.

Please don't make the mistake I did for so long, by not reading this, and not even considering it! In all honesty, you will regret it if you do. I speak from experience. Open your mind and your heart, and, not long after, I believe you'll find yourself writing a very similar review:)

**A copy was kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for Jennifer.
374 reviews569 followers
February 13, 2014

We all paint on a face to show the world.

I’m drunk.

I’m drunk on this book.

Book of the month.

Book of the year.

One of my favorite love stories…..EVER.

This author has taken a permanent position in my life.

My Viv:

Nicholas/Viv is a drag queen….that’s right. I just said that. And guess what?! I LOVE HIM!!! I WANT HIM!!! I want a sexy, straight drag queen of my own!!!

Who would have thought that a drag queen could be my ultimate male fantasy?

My Fred:


Fred is freaking awesome! I love her wit. I love her attitude. She’s not your typical heroine, and I love her for it.

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This book is the perfect amount of perfection. Laugh-my-ass-off perfection.

The story is charming and heart-warming. Yes, it is sad at times, but it doesn’t get too depressing. The tears are embedded in the laughter.

He reaches forward and traces his hand over my stomach. “This part. It’s all round and soft. I’d love to fall asleep right here.”

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Tim Gunn recommends this book to everyone!!! LOL!
Profile Image for Mariana Zapata.
Author 17 books45.8k followers
March 8, 2013
I was pretty nervous about reading Painted Faces. I'm a cynical reader unfortunately.

So cynical that I stayed up until six in the morning finishing the freaking story. VIV AND FRED!!! I loved Nicholas' character like I can't begin to explain. Such a complex guy that had me wrapped around his little finger. His dialogue with Freda killed me. I found myself laughing out loud and rooting for them the entire time.

Sure the idea is unconventional and there's a part that made my stomach hurt, but who the hell wants to read about a perfect, normal gentleman anyway? BORING.

Nicholas, I loved you.

L.H. Cosway I love you too for going with this idea.
Profile Image for Karen.
805 reviews1,011 followers
January 31, 2015
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“Who would have thought that a drag queen could be my ultimate male fantasy?”

Ok, ok, ok… now where do I begin… I LOVED this story. And I have to be honest, I had read the book summary several months back and it didn’t excite me. But after reading all of the fantastic reviews coming from my friends, and reading another LH Cosway book, I was ready to take the plunge. And OMG… I was completely entranced by Nicholas as his tortured soul!!!

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One of the things I loved most about this book was it’s daring and unconventional subject matter. But most of all I loved the characters. Cosway has an exceptional talent for capturing these quirky but incredibly witty and appealing characters. Tortured and insecure inside their heads but sarcastic and funny to the rest of the world.

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And sexy… holy hell. Nicholas has that dirty mouth on him, and that in your face way of speaking… I completely fell in love with him. As… YES Mo, I fall in love with nearly EVERY hero I read about!!!

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“You have sex on the brain twenty-four seven Viv. I think you might need therapy."
"Perhaps I do. Don't get me wrong I'm no Russell Brand, but I do have quite an avid interest in shagging.”

I also loved the tipping of the gender barriers here. There are so many stereotypes we live with everyday. It was exciting to push the limits of your own self-inflicted beliefs.

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“I love him because he makes me laugh when I don't feel like laughing. I love him because he challenges my view of what a man is. I love him because I know I shouldn't love him and that he'll break my heart. I love him because he's a complete and total anomaly. I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more than I want anything else in the world.”

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Now I’ve said I loved Nicholas, but I also LOVED Freda just as much!!! She was not your typical girl or your typical heroine.

“I know that a lot of girls like to swallow, well, I am not one of them.”

She was beautiful, but not in the conventional way. And because of that, she had sort of built a wall around her heart. One that she rarely let down. She protected herself with witty comments and prideful distance from others. But when she let you into the fold of her heart… she was so incredibly vulnerable, I can easily see how Nicholas fell for her.

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”You colour my world, Freda,” he whispers into the quiet of the car, just as he parks and cuts the engine.

The one thing about the story that did bother me, was the way Nicholas handled some of events that happened near the end.

“Sometimes we're cruelest to the ones we care about the most.”

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His words lacerate my insides, because they are so heart-wrenchingly honest. I don’t want him to be honest with me. I want him to be a bastard, so that hating him is easier. I’m torn between forgiving him and shouting at him that being afraid isn’t a good enough excuse for what he did. I mean, I was terrified too. Sometimes feeling fear is an indicator that you’re really living life.

I’m really looking forward to reading Nicholas’ point of view in the sequel to this book. Maybe I can forgive him for that faux pas at the end. Which of course I already have.

“I love you so much it hurts. You make me smile, you make me laugh, you make me burn.”

I know I probably give too many 5 star reviews… but honestly I don’t care. If I find myself glued to the pages… I gift it accordingly. I’m not a professional book reviewer, just a lover of books. I’m not a snob either… I don’t discriminate. I read classics, literature, romance and smut… and I LOVE it ALL!!! So Miss Cosway… you’re getting another 5 from me. ❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎❤︎

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“I want to ruin you Freda, in the best way possible.”
Profile Image for Jenny - TotallybookedBlog.
1,804 reviews2,013 followers
July 5, 2015

Unique. Refreshing. Original. Beautiful. Absolutely faaaaabulous!!

There are so many adjectives we could use to describe Painted Faces and they still wouldn’t do this original and heart-warming story justice. This unconventional, beautifully moving and quirky story was positively WONDERFUL!

The prologue pulled us in immediately, the fascinating characters, exquisite writing, wonderfully comical banter and the underlying emotional feel of the story ensured we never rested on our laurels giving us an insatiable need to witness Nicholas’s story unfold. We were held captive throughout.

‘Am I attracted to the man behind the costume? Or do I want the man in the costume? It’s hard to tell.’

LH Cosway has such an expressive, witty and magnetic prose that we found ourselves feeling a part Fred and Viv’s story through the stunning visuals she created courtesy of her engaging storytelling and never once feeling like spectators in their story.

“I want to ruin you Freda, in the best way possible.”

Freda and Nicholas felt so real, to the point where we could imagine ourselves having a drink and a right old lark with them both down the pub. The situations were relatable and as unconventional as these two and their relationship was it was also so perfect, honest and real.

‘Who would have thought that a drag queen could be my ultimate male fantasy?’

Nicholas. Wow! What a fascinating and complex character he was. Beneath the feathers, thrills, magnetism and confidence lay a man with vulnerabilities, darkness and pain that made us ache for him. Whimsical and full of life one minute, plunged into sadness and loneliness the next. Nicholas’s lows could be felt in the sombre tinge LH Cosway brought to the story and it broke our hearts.

“Every woman is different. Some of them make you feel satisfied, others make you feel high, most just make you feel used or dirty, but you Fred, you make me feel cleansed.”

Our Freda, what can we say? This ‘say it like it is’, unapologetic, funny, effervescent young woman owned our hearts. This lady was as real as they come. Sadly lacking self-esteem and seeing herself a something less than, we found her to be positively beautiful inside and out. She shone through every word. Oh she could be cutting every now and then but it was all done with a cheeky deliver that had us grinning from ear to ear.

“I have to admit, for some reason I find you incredibly sexy, Fred.”

The playfulness between Nicholas and Freda, the searing sexual chemistry, feverishly hot sex, gripping emotion and the uniqueness won us over completely and had us wishing it would never end. A true love story in every sense of the word!!

‘I want him so badly it hurts. But I want all of him. Not just the sex. I want his smiles and his teasing, his smouldering looks. His sad eyes when he thinks nobody’s watching. Most of all I want his heart.’

If you’re looking for a romance to sweep you off your feet, something uniquely different, if you want to laugh, love and feel every emotion, then open your hearts, open your minds, and prepare to fall in love with a mouthy Irish beauty and a fabulously divine man and prepare to have your hearts stolen!





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Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,408 reviews970 followers
October 22, 2014
**FREE on Amazon** - http://amzn.to/1pCefWi
10/22 - 10/26/2014

I'm at a lost for words to sum up this book.

Basically, it's an unconventional love story about two unlikely people who develop a friendship/love for each other.

Nicholas' song to Freda at the end of the story was perfect:
Your Song by Elton John

Step out of the box and read this book. :)


20th book of 2013
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,527 followers
December 27, 2012
4 solid stars!!

Book Description:

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

My Thoughts:

I was looking for something different from my usual reads. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut when romance is your genre of choice. So when I got the chance to read this, I was really excited. And I have to admit, a little apprehensive. After all, I’m a huge fan of the rough tough alpha men…you know, the super masculine type. How masculine can a drag queen be? Well, if I learned one thing from reading this book, it was to throw away my expectations and judgments. Though it ended up not being as taboo as I originally thought.

It’s true that Fred is a little awkward and somewhat abrasive. She was shockingly crude at times, and that was a bit of a turn off for me. Though the fact that there could be huge cultural differences may account for some of that. The story takes place entirely in Ireland….which, just so you know, is the one place in the world that I’d love to visit. And I love that the author seemed to leave enough of the people in the story and didn’t Americanize it too much. Sometimes that detracts from the story for me, but in this case, it made it more realistic. Back to Freda, or Fred as her friends call her…Fred isn’t necessarily instantly attracted to the new neighbor. Her best friend and room mate, who is gorgeous and very interested, seems to have a much better chance of attracting the very attractive Nicholas. I love that Fred is so self aware and yet not self deprecating. She’s a tad overweight and has never been one of the hot girls, and she knows and accepts it. So Fred admires from a distance what appears to be a playboy used to getting the girls he wants. She has no expectations and therefore doesn’t put on a show for him. Until he puts on a show for her! Nicholas invites his neighbors to his performance at a new club in town, not letting on the nature of the act.

Naturally, Fred is shocked, her roommate is instantly un-attracted, and Nicholas appears to truly be in his element dressed as a woman amidst a screaming room full of gay men. Fred actually seems to breathe a sigh of relief when she assumes that Nicholas, or Viv onstage, is gay as well. He throws her another curveball when he proves just how un-gay he is.

The sex is hot…and let me set your mind at ease when I say that there is no sex while Nicholas is his girlie half, lol! He’s all man when he gets down and dirty…in fact, he’s right up there on the level of my usual possessive, pushy men. Only he’s extremely attuned to the female body….

I really enjoyed this story more than I thought I would. There’s a depth to Nicholas that isn’t readily apparent. While the author could have taken this in a direction that screams dysfunctional, she didn’t do that. Nicholas is unapologetically Viv…he’s so uber-confident in his masculinity, and THAT was very attractive to me. He’s the epitome of male outside of his performances and his effeminate side only shows up when it’s necessary…on stage. He’s the perfect dichotomy, and it made for such a fabulous story! I learned that I could actually have some book lust for a cross dresser, a drag queen, a man who likes wearing women’s clothes. It still makes me laugh, it still makes me a bit uncomfortable. But it’s true *wink wink*. Though I don’t think the lipstick and heels would ever be a turn on for me. I like masculine just a bit too much.

The book itself isn’t primarily about Nicholas’ other side. It’s actually more of a story of accepting things that you may not understand. It makes you think about how every person you meet has a story behind the façade that they put on. And both their public and private faces are part of who they are. In order to really lay judgment on someone, you’d have to know them very well. Appearances are only skin deep, after all! And when you DO get to know someone well enough, you don’t judge them at all. You accept them, all sides of them.

There were a couple of cringe-worthy crude moments that were not so great. (Who talks to their brand new lover about their pap smear?!) Nicholas showed his player status a little too well…I’m pretty big on the H/h steering clear of other lovers during the entirety of their acquaintance, whether or not they are together. Just a quirk of mine, and I will say that there is absolutely no infidelity that takes place.

Overall, I loved the book! I was impressed with how well put together it was…little to no editing or spelling mistakes, which we all know is the great ruin-er of self pubbed authors recently. I’m looking forward to more from this author who can come up with a completely original way to tell a story of unconventional love.

My thanks to the author, L.H. Cosway, for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Edit to add: I just found out that this author is an editor and proofreader, which is why I wasn't tripping over mistakes constantly....huge plus!
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,955 followers
January 16, 2014
Revisiting my past in 3...2...1...

I love when book characters or experiences take me back in time to moments which make me smile, and I'm not just talking about the shopping cart ride scene in this book.. The male lead of Painted Faces could have easily been one of a few past male friends (If you've never had a male friend who thinks it's peachy to constantly stare at your boobs and ask for sex repeateadly, I almost kind of feel sorry for you in a weirdly backward way.). Oh, well, except for the drag queen part. This isn't to say that I never brushed elbows with some hot guys in drag (I am a northern California native, after all), but I never had one for a BFF. Darn.

Speaking of northern Cali...the mention in this book of one of the characters managing a club in San Francisco had me immediately recalling memories of a club I'd gotten to experience in the city by the bay - Finocchio's - which sadly closed not long after I was old enough to go, but I'm thankful to have gotten a chance to have gone before the legend was put down. *sniff* It was there that I had my first crush on a man in drag. True Story. I could so tell that he was hot under the dress. I would've hit that.

Because of this memory, it was super easy to imagine Nicholas (a male impersonating a female) in my head. I just went back in time and pictured my crush on fake-Madonna (hell, he was way hotter than actual Madonna, who I never found attractive), and then I was able to understand why Freda was able to see through the high heels and corsets to the masculine sexiness underneath. When a person has the confidence to be who they want to be, sometimes that's sexier than any cookie-cutter portrayal of what's perceived as normal.

Even though I was grinning while lost in memories past, this doesn't mean that the story was a light read. There were real moments, emotional moments at that. Both Freda and Nicholas (or Fred & Viv, as their nicknames appeared to switch genders) had internal struggles. Freda was a healthy, beautiful woman who'd been made to feel less than others for being size 14. Nicholas was a straight male who needed the escape of becoming a woman to cope with past trauma. Neither one knew how to let the other in, but they both wanted to connect. In a way, it was so sweetly endearing to watch. Freda's insecurities didn't annoy, but instead showed the true musings of a woman who knew that she should think of herself better, but didn't know how. Her hesitance in this book was one of the few times where I completely got why a person would guard their heart.

Nicholas/Viv was a cad, but still a loveable cad. He had his moments worthy of a slap across the face, but the reader could see plain as day that he did view Freda as someone special, someone he felt unworthy of. Sometimes the stories about damaged people can get tiring, but there is something about watching two people helping each other heal which can be beautiful if pulled off right. This is one of those times where it worked for me.

The mood was dead-perfect for what I'd been wanting to read. Contemporaries rarely resonate with me, but this one did on many levels. Nicholas had these flashes of himself when he'd say or do something which would make me respond emotionally, as if I could imagine what it would be like to be in Freda's place in that exact moment. The scene where he put his hand on her neck was drawn beautifully.

Have you ever read a book and almost wanted to gag over a character internalizing their feelings for another character? On the flip side, have you ever read a book where you witnessed a character internalizing their feelings for another character and had that moment of - OH MY GOD, MY HEART. I GET THESE FEELS.

I had instance number two of those two previous examples happen to me.
I love him because he makes me laugh when I don't feel like laughing.
I love him because he challenges my view of what a man is.
I love him because I know I shouldn't love him and that he'll break my heart.
I love him because he's a complete and total anomaly.
I love him because I want to kill the sadness inside him more than I want anything else in the world.

I don't know if the last sentence actually counts as a reason you'd love someone, but I'm not going to nitpick because the emotion behind it is beautiful. :p

The book cover of Painted Faces states : An Unconventional Tale of Love.

Unconventional, indeed.
Sometimes, unconventional kicks conventional's ass.

Minor complaints : some editing and typo issues, but they were minimal.
Profile Image for Lise *friends don't flag*.
430 reviews170 followers
December 31, 2012
“Okay Fred, you can call me Vivica.”

I loved this book and I love this drag queen and his mouthy Irish assistant!

Fred is Freda an Irish young women a bit on the plump size she works in a charity shop and a bake shop (bakes cupcakes) Vivica is Nicholas from New Zealand an extremely handsome almost pretty man that has traveled the world performing as a cabaret singing drag queen. He now performs in Dublin and lives next door to Freda and her roommate Nora. Yes, not your conventional contemporary romance couple and this is one of the reasons I liked this book so much.
I also adored the banter between Fred and Viv; very sexually suggestive on Viv’s part but with Freda’s snarky sarcastic humor injected. You could tell Viv was into Freda from the get go and it seemed so genuine and no nonsense, however Fred kept her guard until she was able to figure out what Viv was really up to.
“She's just fabulous, isn't she?” Now that was the statement of a gay man if ever I heard one. It's in contention with the look he gives me, his icy blues eating me up. Good God, can somebody please loan me a burqa?

So, Freda, Nora and their gay friend Harry go to the new club, The Glamour Patch to see Nicholas perform. Freda and Nora do not know what type of bar this is, but Harry does.
“You devious mare, you knew this was a gay bar, didn't you!”

Freda is mesmerized once Nicholas takes the stage:
"The name’s Vivica Blue, they call me Blue after my big blue eyes.

"Okay, this is messed up. I'm getting all hot and bothered over a man who's more comfortable in make up and a pair of heels than I am."

Freda believes Nicholas to be gay or at least bi since he has so obviously hit on her. But Nicholas tells Freda: “Nope. I only have eyes for the ladies”
and we find out just how true that is because the sexual tension and encounters Freda and Nicholas do have are smoking hot!

Nicholas has a very dark secret and Freda is shy and insecure, she calls it “pathological self-deprecation”, and has not had a boyfriend in three years. So… their relationship develops over time and of course there are a few bumps and misunderstandings, but along the way we get to really connect with the main characters as well as the wonderful secondary characters.

Some of the scenes of the group of misfit friends cracked me up. I laughed out loud over the dance scene when Nicholas gets Freda to dance with him.
“Yes, I do the bloody robot right there in front of the most beautiful man I've ever met.”
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Nicholas does not let up on his pursuit of Freda and she tells him “You have sex on the brain twenty-four seven Viv. I think you might need therapy.”
He responds by saying “Don't get me wrong I'm no Russell Brand, but I do have quite an avid interest in shagging. I always put a rain coat on the little fella before heading into a storm.”

Okay, I could go on and on quoting my favorite parts but as I am only up to about 1/3 of the book in quoting, I am going to wrap this up and say I loved this book and go read it.
The humor, the setting, depth of characters, and the love story L.H. Cosway created was just the right mix for me to get out of my “book funk slump”


I'll leave you with two of my favorite quotes:

“Life's all about new experiences,”

“I care about you more than I care about myself, Fred.”

Profile Image for Rosalinda *KRASNORADA*.
268 reviews503 followers
November 1, 2013

Painted Faces was a great an original story, I have to agree with you all about that. But I didn't find this story as amazing as some of you mention.Maybe I wasn't in the mood? I dunno...

You guys have already said it all about this book so let's keep this short and nice. Fred is not your typical super hot heroine (I am glad some authors do this for a change, I am so sick of perfectly looking heroines) and Viv (Nicholas) is also not your typical hero. He works as a drag doing performances but he's straight. That was something new for me and pls don't throw the tomatoes my way yet. I seriously have never ever met a straight drag but this is probably me living in boring and classic Spain.

Anyway, I don't care what Nicholas does for a life, I loved him big time.

I found a little bit predictable what happened in the Prologue, I mean, I knew it so I wasn't surprised even though I felt

And then Freda and her insecurities. I get it Fred, I get you never found someone so into you but come on! Stop it because it's so freaking annoying (although I am in the minority here).

So all in all it was an enjoyable read and a VERY WELL WRITTEN story but for some reason this book won't be part of my favourites. Anyway, I'd recommend you guys to check out other reviews because most of friends rated this one with 5 stars so that means something, right?

June 23, 2013
4.5 "Boy, this book didn't DRAG" stars!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Wow, if you're looking for a different kind of read, this book delivers! The unusual love story of drag-queen and a modest, rather inexperienced girl. I know, I know, I can hear you now! Ewe! It is a bit weird on the surface. Have faith, I shall explain.

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Nicholas lost his mother at a very young age. He has only videos reminding of her beauty and stage pretense. She was a singer and was at the tops in her day. His father basically ruined her....dying of a plethora of drug combinations from depression. When Nicholas stumbles upon her dresses and shoes in the basement, he can help but dress up in her clothing, dancing around like she did so many years ago. He can't explain it....he just felt that connection to sing and dance and look pretty. Is he gay? Absolutely not. Although he does suffer from bigotry with people assuming he's bisexual at the very least. Life is not easy for Nicholas.

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Freda runs into her new neighbor one day while coming home from a downpour rain. He's stunningly handsome, dressed to the tee in designer trousers and tailored shirt. This is a nice change from all the dead beat neighbors her and her friend Nora have endured over the years. This neighbor, Nicholas, and she hit it off. She's his new Dublin BFF. He invites her and her friends to watch him sing Cabaret at the local club. Little did "Fred" know Nicholas is also "Vivian." He's stunning as a man and even more beautiful dressed as a woman....and his voice! So much for that love interest, she thinks.

Nicholas is not gay. He proves it time and again in this book. He immediately is drawn to the "heavier" of the two roommates (that part drove me nuts- a size 10 US). Freda was surprised at his choice of work but she never passes judgment and she see's Nicholas as the attractive guy she met on her doorstep that rainy night. Seeing him in drag does nothing to lesson her attraction. She even agrees to be his personal assistant to spend more time with him.

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What an unconventional relationship. Did it throw me? Yes. I actually had kind of a hard time grasping his masculinity. He was hot to hook up with Freda and she saw his noncommittal nature with women so she fought it most of the book. There's tags saying this is erotica. Um, not in the least. In fact "the deed" doesn't even occur until late so if that's your thing, look elsewhere. I loved the story. I loved Nicholas and Freda's sense of humor throughout the book. There are some serious laugh out loud parts in her commentary. Their relationship is about as unusual as it comes. I felt the chemistry however, the whole makeup, knickers, heels and strappy dresses on "Viv" killed that lady boner for sure. So if you're looking for something entertaining and different, this book delivers 100%. If you're looking for a hot guy to swoon over, I hope you like dresses and wigs. Although he does dress completely masculine except on stage. So go forth and read. It was a nice mix up from the day to day romance genre.

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Loved the Dublin-isms! Lady garden? Ha ha ha.

Profile Image for SheReadsALot.
1,838 reviews1,194 followers
October 6, 2013
A Hearts On Fire Review

"Painted Faces" simply is a romance story. At the heart of this story, a girl and boy - they meet, befriend each other, become new best friends, fall in love, have sex (very hot indeed) and fall in love some more. It's a story I feel a lot of romance readers will love because it has the great elements that drives romance readers to want to read, a bumpy, winding road delivering you into the always searched after happily ever after. And it is set in the magical land of Ireland.

That being said, this story is so much more that a 'freak' book or 'drag queen' book. Yes, the hero, Nicholas, works as a drag queen (the divine Vivica Blue) in a cabaret bar but he's so much more. And Freda, the heroine, she's so much more as well.

I adore M/M romance and have been reading it for many, many years, this is straight M/F, darlings. And an erotic one at that.

When Nicholas told Freda:

"I want to ruin you Freda, in the best way possible."

I felt like the cat who got the cream.

How can a drag queen hero be straight, you wonder? Oh Nicholas is remarkably straight without having to be uber-macho. He's delightfully subtle, you won't even notice. He's also remarkably blunt, you want to slap him then lick his face. He's damaged and once you read the prologue, the conclusion you draw from the level of damage he carries will be correct.

"So this is me darling, a complete and total contradiction. A fucking mess." He smiles sadly.

"A beautiful mess," I proclaim.

"But a mess nonetheless," he adds.

Nicholas was beautiful to me before learning all of his flaws. He was so male at times, then he could flip it and just...this man's a star. I adore him flaws and all and his past abuse did not make this a pity liking. He's frigging funny and his feelings were very much lovely.

And Freda? The smart mouth, potty mouth snarky bitch? How can anyone not adore heroines like this? Maybe because I'm a smart/potty mouth with a heavy dose of snark. We broads must stick together. And bonus, she's intrigued with boys who lay with boys... "I'm always strangely intrigued to hear about what two men do together in bed" . She's got a fan in me for life!

Freda and Nicholas together? I enjoyed them and consumed this book in less than a day. It was that good. There's minor typos but the story flowed so well I'm ignoring.

The author did a great job with choice of secondary characters, Nora - Freda's roommate and friend, being the 'everyday person' who automatically assumes a drag queen is gay and can't open her mind to the other possibilities. She was quite rude after she discovered Nicholas's profession. But she sort of opened up towards the end.

L.H. Cosway's book will make you question the possibilities, appreciate the drag/cabaret culture and resonate in this blunt, funny, flawed, delightful love story about a damaged man who covers his face in paint and wears women's clothing and the woman, his best friend and lover, who loves him.

This is most definitely going on my re-read shelf.

ETA 10/5/13: After numerous rereads including today (apologies to my TBR mountain), this book is still tops...for me. It has heart, ladies and gents. This is great love story - Nicholas and Freda. <3

AND it is free until 10/8/13 on Amazon.

Profile Image for ~IreneOust~.
509 reviews784 followers
October 25, 2013

This review, as always, will mostly consist of my feelings about the book and will tell you absolutely nothing (or very little) about the actual book ...

A few weeks ago, I received a rec from several of my GR friends with a link to a FREE download of this title from Amazon site. I got it and a few days later, while in between reads, I decided "Why not?" ...

How much did I enjoy this book?? Enough to delete the FREE version of it from my Amazon account so I can BUY it because I felt it was just too good to enjoy for free.

What a refreshingly different story. L.H. Cosway certainly did break the mold when she wrote these two wonderful characters.

Aside from a very beautiful even though a bit unconventional love story, I couldn't help but focus on another subject matter ...

“I still don't get the whole drag queen bit. He's so bloody handsome, why can't he just be normal?”

If I had a dime for every time I got into a fight with someone over statements similar to the one above, I'd be able to retire by now. What IS "normal"?? And who gets to decide which one of us fall into this "normal" category and which one of us don't??

Preconceived notions that other people have often result in incorrect assumptions about someone and how many times those assumptions are based on one's appearance???

This story made me think of lyrics from Amanda Marshall's Everybody's Got a Story song:

Now who can read the mind
Of the red-headed girl next door
Or the taxi driver who just dropped you off
Or the classmate that you ignore
Don't assume everything on the surface is what you see
'Cause that classmate just lost her mother
And that taxi-driver's got a Ph.D

I'm so tired of the fear that
Weighs us down with wrong assumptions

If you are in the mood for a story that's different and leaves you feeling great in the end, give this book a try ...

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