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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Black John (Johnnies #4) [John & Galen] by Amy Lane

While I wasn't sure which of the previous ones was my favorite NOW I can finally say THIS one is! I have to say John never made a good impression on me. I mean, it's not about him building a porn company, it's what he did to screw everything up or rather snort it up his nose while forgetting everyone around him including the man he proclaimed to be in love with - Dex. Yet getting his side of the story which is NEVER about diminishing guilt was very enlightening. He had a very long journey to go to become a whole man, seeing himself and his WORTH and not just self accusing of all the things he done wrong or failed to achieve. 

I'm applying my "regular" warning from the previous installments - DO NOT read this one if you haven't read the previous ones. While most of the story actually takes place in a totally different setting, there are still A LOT of spoilers all around concerning all the characters from the previous books (mostly from the 2nd one of Dex and Kane). The time line in most of this book is the same as the other installments though it does end further on. I really enjoyed all books in the series so I ask you to start at the beginning and enjoy ALL of them by order. and since this seems to be the right place to mention technicalities - while the other books in the series felt like New Adult with Erotica content, this one was more like a Contemporary Romance with Erotica content because both MC are older - in their 30s and are dealing with more "mature" problems.

We start this book with John in Rehab - where Dex left him after what happened with Scott. He is nearing his release and yet it's not the time for him to go back to "Johnnies" - he has an unfinished business first in Florida where he grew up. His childhood best friend who was also his first love and lover - Tory - committed suicide and since he had no one else BUT John, it's his job to come and collect his stuff and spread his ashes in the sea. The one person who drove him into drugs was Tory, the guy he loved so much and couldn't say no to.. the guy who repeatedly broke his heart. He and Tory became friends at a small age but it took time before they began to explore their sexuality, they had a lot of fun doing that but once they were discovered and both thrown out of their childhood home things changed for Tory. They lived with John's grandmother who did what she could and thought was right and yet she didn't really intervene with the poor choices they made. Most of the choices were about sex - having sex with others, taking photos and movies of it and later on selling it for money. It would have gone great, like "Johnnies"  does now but Tory kept spending all their money on drugs so on the third rehab attempt John decided to leave. He couldn't be the guy to say "no" to Tory and so it was pretty obvious that their life would stay the same - John losing Tory to drugs and other men. Tory hungry for the world will not finding solace until the one who keeps appeasing him will be gone. 

It was hard on John to "abandon ship", he had two close friends that he also had to leave behind. Yet he did what he could to preserve his sanity. Building "Johnnies", first on his own, then with Dex's help have been what he wanted to achieve with Tory and could never actually do. Yet his heart stayed in Florida somehow even though he and Tory haven't spoken in years. Now he has another man he loves who doesn't return his interest - Dex who recently found love with Kane - though a good guy NOT the kind John would see with a smart guy like Dex.. 

Leaving rehab to go to Florida is the LAST thing he wants to do, but there is no one else to do this job and though he fears he won't be able NOT to use while there, dealing with the painful past he does what he can with Dex's help. 

The key to Tory's apartment is with Galen, Tory's friend from next door. John finds that the charming (in his way..) and funny guy next door wasn't just Tory's friend he is also an addict.. due to a motorcycle accident he lives off painkillers. The LAST thing on John's mind is taking care of ANOTHER addict and yet he and Galen forms a friendship very quickly with attraction both are surprised to discover in the other. John never saw himself as more than average on the looks department (I LOVED redheads I could totally see what Galen saw in him! hehe) and with his past deeds he is NO catch. Galen is scarred and crippled from his accident not to mention his addiction that without mentioning what he used to for a living before.

Both Galen and John have to fight to keep each other and find a way to become a true couple. For that both have to feel worthy of one another. I loved that though it took them very little time to bond, the relationship buildup was actually quite long. There was a lot for both of them to discover about each other as well as about themselves. Unlike the previous installment in this one we only get John's POV. I was totally okay with it because it was very obvious what's on Galen's mind. He wasn't shy about expressing himself

The story was so damn sad and yet it was hopeful in EVERY turn. I just recently finished another "depressing" book and there I just felt so lost and hopeless I found myself struggling to pick it up and read, with this one it was somehow totally opposite. I wanted to read till I drop! It was so engaging because both Galen and John's redemption felt over the corner for both of them. They needed each other, they needed the push the other gave them and yeah they WERE hopeless before they met but the theme of this book is all about making it better, struggling and finally coming on top

The book and the series ended sweetly. I honestly couldn't have asked for more. These books were a bit long (not that much with this one though) and had very complicated life stories to deal with, I guess we could have gotten MORE about the guys at Johnnies but I think I'm satisfied with just the positive note I can feel about the future.

AWESOME book, amazing series - a total and absolute MUST read. 

Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 291 pages, 12-14 March 2016 / On GoodReads

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