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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Chase in Shadow (Johnnies #1) [Chase "Chance" & Tommy "Tango"] by Amy Lane

This book was SUCH a ride, an emotional one. I think a year ago (maybe a bit more?) I wouldn't have been able to read it, too many issues would have bugged me enough to put it aside or not even giving it a chance so actually I'm really happy I've broadened my horizons and I'm able to read more genres and concepts I was uncomfortable with in the past. 

The book starts almost at the end point chronically, we get to Chase's breaking point where he realizes he can't keep on living the way he has all his life. We met Chase in the prequel of Donnie and Yandro, and even if you haven't read it (it's not necessary, it gives background information about Donnie and Chase's friendship and the forming of his relationship with Yandro) it's obvious he is so deep in the closet he can't even see there IS a closet. He has a girlfriend he lives with and plans on finishing his engineer degree and provide for her and the family they will build together. When he finds it hard to save money for a house while studying and working low pay jobs he stumbles upon a job in the Gay Porn Industry. "Johnnies" is actually a very nice company, with a great manager, who actually cares about his employees, the guys are also great, they have a lot more going on than doing porn (which will naturally be explored in the next books in the series). "Johnnies" gives Chase (known as "Chance") an opportunity to explore his true wants and needs even if only in the physical aspect. Until he meets Tommy ("Tango")..

Tommy totally "sneaks up" on Chase, the one thing he didn't expect was to fall inlove with a guy, to crave his touch and not only in the sexual sense. For Chase being in Tommy's arms means more than anything so while he doesn't want to cheat on Mercy (his girlfriend) he is also unable to NOT form an emotional connection with Tommy. This would have been a total and absolute "turn off" for me in the past, cheating is one of THE major issues I have a problem reading about, but the torment Chase lives in, how much he is fighting to keep a semblance of inner peace was so heart wrenching all I could feel was a huge ache for the bad choices he felt he HAD to make so he could actually live his life without breaking apart. 

Chase is a private person, one who doesn't confide with anymore, not Donnie his best friend and not Mercy his girlfriend. The only person he starts being able to communicate with is Tommy. There is something between them from the beginning that allows Chase to feel safe even though he only admits to the tip of the iceberg. Chase carries around a huge trauma, when he was a small kid, his mother committed suicide, he was the one who found her, and sat by her, singing and talking to her and somehow all of his life he stayed there, in the tub filled with red water hoping to somehow NOT disappoint his father (which is an impossible challenge and not only because he is gay). The whole story, the fact Chase kept it to himself for YEARS and didn't speak about it to ANYONE was so painful to read. I could get why no one understood the depth of his hurt and why Tommy was so frustrated with him when he saw there is more Chase is NOT saying than actually expressing in words.. 

The whole story is told from Chase's POV but every chapter also begins with a "camera" view of a certain scene (mostly from "Johnnies") which felt a bit weird I must say.. but what true annoyed me (and made me reduce a star from this review) is the whole timing issue. We start the book with a sort of a "cliff-hanger", to be continued only after 70% (!) of the book (returning a whole year prior to explaining how Chase got to that situation). I didn't like that "trick", I would rather start from the beginning without trying to guess what / when / how happened.. also there are times the story line jumps back / forward to explain how a certain event came to happen, even the ending of the book is actually NOT the furthest point in the story (!) with a reference to a future occurring (which WAS great, but would have been better as an Epilogue in my mind..). I hope only this book in the series would feel this way because it's a very much "Chase thing" - how his mind works and how he reacts to life's events

On the first chapter I wasn't impressed with Tommy, but as we come to know him from the beginning I was hoping for HIM that he finds a way to Chase's mind - his heart he had right from the beginning.. Also I wanted him to have a better life as well, some of the choices he made weren't good ones and I'm happy the author dealt with those subjects and mostly that the issues were NOT dealt with only with each others help but with a professional

I had a hard time deciding what genre to put this book and I think it's somewhere between New Adult and Erotica so I'm going to use both tags. It has a lot of sex scenes between the porn stars and naturally the main couple and there is a lot of reference to what happens between the guys on/off set which puts this one in the Erotica genre for sure, and yet, it's more about Chase finding himself and accepting who he is which was beautiful as it was painful to read - it sure was a one hell of an emotional ride and SO worth it :) 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 320 pages, 19-25 February 2016 / On GoodReads

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