Title: Black John
Series: Johnnies, #4
Author: Amy Lane
Narrator: Gomez Pugh
Length: 10 hours and 41 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (03-20-2015)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts (only because I can’t give it 10!)
Blurb: John Carey is just out of rehab and dying inside when he gets word that Tory, the guy who loved him and broke him, has removed himself from the world in the most bitter way possible—and left John to clean up his mess.
Forced back to his hometown in Florida, John’s craving a hit with every memory when he meets Tory’s neighbor. Spacey and judgmental, Galen Henderson has been rotting in his crappy apartment since a motorcycle accident robbed him of his mobility, his looks, and his boyfriend all in one mistake. Galen’s been hiding at the bottom of an oxy bottle, but when John shows up, he feels obligated to help wade through the wreckage of Tory’s life.
The last thing John needs is another relationship with an addict, and the last thing Galen wants is a conscience. Both of them are shocked when they find that their battered souls can learn from and heal one another. It doesn’t hurt that they’re both getting a crash course on how growing up and getting past your worst mistakes sure beats the alternative—and that true love is something to fight to keep if your lover is fighting to love you back.
Review: John Carey came dangerously close to losing both his best friend and his business, snorting it up his nose. Instead, Dex stood by his side, only took a small percentage of Johnnies and shipped John off to rehab. Just when John thinks he has a handle on his addiction, he learns that the man who tore him apart, broke him down and made him the unfeeling bastard he is today is dead. And just like when he was alive, Tory has dropped his baggage at John’s feet.
Galen Henderson was a successful lawyer who had a home, a partner and a job he loved. One mistake left him unemployed, single and forever scarred. His lover of over four years came to visit him in the hospital after the wreck just long enough to tell him he had moved him out of their home and into a shitty apartment, oh, and dumped him before Galen could even get his feet under him again.
Misery loves company so of course Galen became friends with his new neighbor Tory, who was even more messed up than Galen was. When Tory’s old boyfriend John shows up after Tory’s death, Galen is determined to hate the big time porn star that dropped Tory on his ass to go off and make a name for himself. Galen wasn’t prepared for the truth, and he definitely wasn’t prepared to fall in love with John.
The two bond over their addictions, the pain of losing Tory and a mutual attraction that leaves them both sweaty and breathless. And while you would think an addict that is fresh out of recovery would fall right into one of Galen’s pill bottles, John will surprise you. He readily admits the nagging pull he feels to that bottle, that little voice inside his head that is screaming for a fix.
But he doesn’t succumb to it, for reasons beyond John’s comprehension at the start, he feels this need to try to help Galen. As well, Galen is drawn to John’s pain and inserts himself into the red heads life, helping him clean up the mess Tory has left of it.
They try very hard not to love each other, and oddly it is the shared grief over Tory, the disgusting and painful time they spend cleaning out Tory’s apartment, watching the goodbye video he left for John, that sends them over the edge. And once they admit their feelings the hard part begins.
It’s hard to put into words how much I loved this story. It is a cesspool of dark, dank, emotional turmoil that only Amy Lane could write and make you fall in love with these characters that are so broken by their own hand, even root for them to just shut up and love each other.
While the previous books in this series have always had the secondary character of the porn world, the life the guys lead on and off camera, this story replaced that aspect with the seedy world of addiction. And let me assure you that Lane hit that nail on the head. There is a part in the story when Galen winds up in the hospital and he is being treated poorly simply because of his addiction.
This really hit home for me, my sister is a recovering addict who was recently is a bad car wreck and received piss poor care in the ER simply because she was honest with the staff and told them she was recovering. That one five-minute rant from John when he went off on that nurse gave this story an edge of reality that made my skin crawl. Perfection Amy, just perfection!
Now when I first queued up this audio on my I-pod, I was disappointed that Sean Crisden wasn’t continuing his role as narrator, he has been replaced by Gomez Pugh. I didn’t want to like him. Over three books I’d gotten used to Crisden’s tones and inflections for these characters. Well, Pugh quickly wormed his way in there and took control of the story with his cocky, self-assured but slightly broken tones for John. Or his completely country bumpkin portrayal of Galen that had me laughing out loud.
John and Galen are probably the most volatile lovers in the series to date and Pugh truly conveyed those emotions, right down to every little moan, groan and scream. There is a scene where John is making a video for Galen while he is in rehab… God almighty Dayum, that was hot! The perfect merging of Lane’s writing and Pugh’s vocal chops really brought this story to life for me.
I could write a book on how much I loved this book. Well written and narrated, in-depth, dark, emotional, passionate, sometimes quirky and funny. Just go buy a copy so I can stop rambling, kay.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through https://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *