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.
Black John is about forgiveness and atonement. Forgiving yourself for being far less than you wanted to be, for making the most monumental mistakes, and forgiving yourself and others for not being stronger. It's also about atoning for the wrongs committed against those you love and who love you. It's about finally figuring out that you deserve love.
John Carey has been running Johnnies for well over a decade. He built the business originally with his boyfriend Tory, but Tory was broken and couldn't find his way back from his rock-bottom. Still, John never forgave himself for leaving, even though he knew it was the only real choice. And now, fresh out of rehab, John not only has his own demons to fight, he has to face his past and do one last thing for Tory -- clean up Tory's last mess.
Galen Henderson was Tory's neighbor. He used to be a hot-shot corporate lawyer with money and a future, until an accident took it all away. Three years later, he still hasn't recovered and is now nursing an addiction to Oxy, along with his injuries. He's scarred on the outside and scarred on the inside, and he has a hard time even caring. And then, he meets John.
This story kind of wrecked me, in true Amy Lane fashion. It's a story about friendship and family and healing and love. It's not an easy read, for sure. It deals heavily with addiction. John and Galen's relationship is in focus, though, and that made me all kinds of happy. Galen helps John sort through Tory's life and they bond over grief and loss and overcoming addiction.
The tone was more subdued than the other books, and the steam a bit lower, but I loved it. John and Galen both deserve their HEA and I was invested in them through to the end.
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