I love cheap and tasty wine, reading stories about men falling in love and making good food…Here is where I mix all three.
I had three thoughts when I finished this book:
1. I LOVED this book too much, and damn I'm a glutton for angst, because I'm actually giddy.
2. Amy Lane may not be for everyone, but her books ROCK MY WORLD
3. I wonder when the next one is coming out?
Now the story...
The Broken Boy...Self-Destructive Fuckery, thy name is Chase "Chance" Summers
Chase Summers is a young man who has been tampering with the reality of what and who he is his whole life. A horrible childhood, a mother who took her own life, an abusive, bigot father who probably drove her to it. Not nice things to remember. So, he stores the bad stuff in a place in his mind, where he can keep it from touching anyone else in his life. It's killing him sure, every day he's closer to just coming apart. But he sticks to his plan. He has it all worked out, and he has a lot of duct tape.
Chase has a "life" , beautiful fiancee he loves, best friends who are loyal, he's a good athlete, makes a lot of money, and he's in school to be an engineer. From the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Well, it's all built on lies. Doesn't matter though, he has plan for the future all worked out in his head. All with the appropriate figures, girl, boy, babies...It's all a charade. He is not happy. He is not straight.
What he actually is, is a man in the closet, working as a gay porn actor, lying to his fiancee, his friends, being incredibly unfair to his lover. HE IS MISERABLE. We meet Chase at his lowest, when the stitching of all the webs he has woven have begun to come apart. He has come undone.
The Warrior...Tommy "MOTHERFUCKING PERFECTION" Halloran
Tommy "Tango" Halloran, is an actor for Johnnies the same porn studio that Chase works for. From the first moment Chase sees Tommy, he wants him, to know him, talk to him, touch him. He just WANTS. They meet, and they fall in love. In the midst of the clusterfuck that is Chase's life, Tommy and Chase fall in love, and make a home. Chase is selfish with Tommy, demands from him things that he can't give in return. But Tommy gives them anyways, because he may not be broken, but he has cracks, and the only thing that has ever felt like it can fix them is Chase.
And they hurt each other, but they fix each other too, and those really fucking great moments they have of outrageous love, are just amazing. They manage to build something strong, even while Chase is living what sometimes seems like a dozen lives. Tommy doesn't give up on Chase, he knows what Chase needs to do, he has to let the walls down, and that poison that is inside him needs to come out. Tommy doesn't stop pushing and fighting. He knows, HE KNOWS that Chase can be the man he wants to be, he can have that future he has planned, he just needs to adjust it a little.
The Cavalry...Who said the good guys can't be porn stars?
In true Amy Lane fashion there were plenty more characters to fall in love with in this book than I could manage. In this story she gave us a look in to the porn industry that was very benevolent. Healthy work environment, with good guys that were good friends. There was drama of course, but their role was to be Tommy and Chase's support system. It worked well, I think adding more to the crazy stew that was Chase would have been too much. I loved these guys. Dex the responsible one, the leader, Kane the crazy hyper bunny, Ethan the guy that just wants to be loved, John the porn mogul that was a really great guy. They were awesome and added a whole hell of a lot to this story. They are all a bit frayed, but they were also good people.
There were also Chase's childhood friends Donnie and Kevin who were strong and THERE. The therapist, and even the fiancee Mercy ,who was a strange character for me, but ended up being someone really important.
I know this book may not work for everyone. Chase is difficult to figure out. I just didn't understand what he was doing. He was a living contradiction. He didn't even know what he was hiding from. He just wanted to be loved, and he WAS, just not by the right person. It's hard to like a guy who is blatantly duplicitous and hypocritical.
But Chase is so broken, and so exposed it's hard not to care for him. I just wanted him to get better. He couldn't do it on his own though. Tommy, he had to help him. It'll be hard for some readers to stomach the way Tommy just let Chase get away with EVERYTHING. He hurts him bad. But hey, who the fuck am I to judge how a guy that lived with what Chase had to live with dealt with his shit? Chase's story is not pretty, but in all his lying the his tale is honest. He figures it out, he does. It's just ugly, no way a shit storm like the one Chase had been brewing could happen without taking a few towns out in the process.
Apart from that in terms of format, this story is jumpy, we get a lot of glimpses from different times, that kind of go back and forth. Worked for me, but it is different. The opening for every chapter was really different, and for me a cool fucking trick...Felt like an opening scene of a film and we're kind of zoomed into the moment. That was BADASS.
There was an unexpected surprise, which threw me off for like a second, but Tommy and Chase got me back on track almost immediately. There were also some strong similarities in the way things evolved in some parts to another book by Ms. Lane.
It's a big story this one. Like an onion. Layers and layers of drama, angst, lies, deception, grief, frustration, joy, sexyness, outrageously strong love, endurance, bad shit, good outcomes, happiness, redemption, resilience. It's got it all baby.
HAPPY ENDING YOU ASK? Get your hankies ready, because this boys will have you singing HALLELUJAH by the time it's all said and done. I was anyways.
Do I recommend? Three words: It's. AMY. LANE.