Title: Ethan in Gold
Series: Johnnies, #3
Author: Amy Lane
Narrator: Sean Crisden
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 10 hours and 46 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (04-25-14)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5 Hearts
Blurb: Evan Costa learned from a very early age that there was no such thing as unconditional love and that it was better to settle for what you could get instead of expecting the world to give you what you need. As Ethan, porn model for Johnnies, he gets exactly what he wants—comradeship and physical contact on trade—and he is perfectly satisfied with that. He’s sure of it.
Jonah Stevens has spent most of his adult life helping to care for his sister and trying to keep his beleaguered family from fraying at the edges. He’s had very little time to work on his confidence or his body for that matter. When Jonah meets Ethan, he doesn’t see the hurt child or the shamelessly slutty porn star. He sees a funny, sexy, confident man who—against the odds—seems to like Jonah in spite of his very ordinary, but difficult, life.
Sensing a kindred spirit and a common interest, Ethan thinks a platonic friendship with Jonah won’t violate his fair trade rules of sex and touch, but Jonah has different ideas. Ethan’s pretty sure his choice of jobs has stripped away all hope of a real relationship, but Jonah wants the whole package—the sexy man, the vulnerable boy, the charming companion who works so hard to make other people happy.
Jonah wants to prove that underneath the damage Ethan has lived with all his life, he’s still gold with promise and the ability to love.
Product Link: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Ethan-in-Gold-Audiobook/B00JVVWZSO
Review: Evan Costa was a happy little boy with a loving mother, devoted father and way too many cranky sisters. Until a teacher violated his innocence and pushed his mother over the edge. Afraid to touch her own son or let anyone else, Evan became withdrawn and isolated.
As he grew and matured, he sought solace in his therapy sessions, a love of Manga and a group of equally nerdy teenagers at school. Life continues to deal heavy blows to Evan as he navigates his way through bullying, being a gay teenager, a friends attempted suicide and a very unique need that was spawned by his Mother’s lack of empathy.
Johnnies becomes the family that Evan longs for and he transforms himself into Ethan, the big, burly porn star that longs to be touched, and shines like gold when he is. His co-workers become his family and they share a kinship and a camaraderie that he has ached for since he was five years old. But a real life relationship with a real life boy is out of the question as far as Ethan is concerned. He feels he is too damaged and broken to bring anything good to anyone’s life long-term.
Jonah Stevens works a job he can’t see going anywhere and lives a life less ordinary in order to be there for his ailing sister. He meets Ethan at the pet store where he works and is enamored with the big guy’s confidence and swagger. Jonah is a very non-confrontational, laid-back guy, but he finds himself taking chances and taking charge in an effort to turn his friendship with Ethan into something more.
Ethan has dug in his heels, convinced that his past and his internal demons would be too much to ask Jonah to accept, so he continues to push Jonah away. Perseverance is not a trait Jonah thought he had but he quickly learns the only way he is going to win Ethan’s heart is persistence and tenacity.
Ethan may have been with dozens of guys during his tour with Johnnies, but when it comes right down to the mechanics of a relationship, he is just as inexperienced as Jonah is, and they will have to learn how to be a couple and be in love together. The obstacles they have to overcome are many.
Ethan is severely scared mentally from the incident when he was a child and the reaction of his family, mostly his mother, in the aftermath. He doesn’t think he deserves to be loved. And while Jonah knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Evan is what he wants, he will have to come to terms with the life Evan leads and learn how he fits into it.
I swear to Jesus, Amy Lane is going to be the death of me! That woman takes my heart, rips it out, stomps up and down on it, and then hands it back to me all bloody and bruised. This was an intense, emotional story and Lane really made me feel Evan’s pain in the words she used to describe it. It is such an insane journey following his thoughts, seeing how he coped with the madness that is his life on a daily basis.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Jonah either, though he never doubted his parent’s love for him even with the stress of a terminally ill sibling, he had to deal with his own issues of self-worth and loathing. They have to learn how to balance the confusion with confidence and take the good with the bad and find a way to keep moving forward in order to make a life together.
Sean Crisden has narrated all the books in this series thus far, and I hope he continues to lead that charge. His voice has become another one of the brother’s in this motley crew of a family that is Johnnies! It’s all about the tone change, nuances, and subtle inflections he uses from one character to another that gives Lane’s words a voice and makes these characters a reality inside my mind.
This book left me wrung out and exhausted, but it was so worth it in the end. Dramatic, slightly dark, definitely sexy, and just so well written. A must read for fans of Amy Lanes work, as well as those that like gritty romances with an edge.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *