Title: Black John
Author: Amy Lane
My Rating: A+
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Johnnies #4
Main Characters: John and Galen
Release Date: January 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
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.
The Johnnies series has been one of my favorites in the m/m fiction world, but I wasn't sure about this one. John is the owner of the porn company and he's done some pretty awful things, especially to Dex. But like all the guys in this series, John has some serious baggage in his background which makes him pretty broken.
This book centers around John and his childhood friend Tory. They were inseparable since they were 8 years old. They discovered their sexuality together and John's first porn company came from their relationship. They certainly didn't have a normal background and both were very broken souls because of their impossible childhood. John focused his brokenness into his porn business. Tory focused his into self-abuse and drugs. They loved each other, but it wasn't enough. When the book starts, John is in rehab where he learns about Tory's suicide. This book is a journey through the healing that John has to go through because of that. It's a healing he's needed for way too long.
When he goes to Tory's apartment, he finds Galen. Galen is a former successful, good-looking corporate lawyer. He lost everything when a car hit him while he was on his motorcycle. He's incredibly damaged both inside and out and addicted to his prescription pain meds. Galen and John connect. But John just got out of rehab. Galen is a current addict. This is a relationship that is going to end up the same or worse than John's did with Tory.
Amy Lane does emotional incredibly well. And just knowing the set-up for this book, you know it's going to be an emotional wringer. It absolutely was, but wow...I fell in love with these guys....especially Galen. He's awesome...even though he's an addict. You can see glimpses of the man he was. He's still wicked smart and such a good match for Galen...but he has so many of his own issues.
The book was amazingly good. Dex has kept Johnnies afloat despite John and John knows how much he owes his friend. I love their friendship and watching it evolve throughout the book. John was convinced he was in love with Dex, but John really just needed a friend to be there for him. Dex continues to be the incredible guy that he has been through the series...and actively works to get John healthy in this book...despite the fact he should hate the guy.
The book moves back in forth in time so that the reader gets a full feel for what happened between John and Tory. It's a powerful story and I loved reading it. Like all the others in this series, I ordered a print copy for my keeper shelf. I know the porn industry has to be tough, but I hope that somewhere out there, there is a company like Johnnies who cares for its guys, and not just the money they make. Listening to John talk about why porn is important...I loved that and his philosophy on it all.