4.5 stars Actor/Theatre Angst Level artists Author Provided Book Contemporary Dee Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Humor m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Standalone

…And All Shall Fade to Black by Layla Dorine

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Moving into his new apartment, Jax never expected to have to break up a fight between his new neighbors, resulting in a physical altercation and a visit from the cops. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that it would lead to him meeting Danny, the cute theater manager and playwright that lived next door. Unfortunately, his first impression of Danny and the way he’d cowered away in the fight with his ex, wasn’t exactly a favorable one. Jax already has his own issues to deal with, between his past problems with his mother and the chain of men who’ve floated in and out of her life, his new job as a piercer in his sister’s tattoo shop and his struggles with an eating disorder; the last thing he plans to add to it is a relationship. Yet Danny isn’t so easy to ignore and when they find themselves bonding after Danny shows him around town, and more when Jax offers to help with sets for his latest play, it becomes harder and harder for him to ignore the connection forming between them. As Jax’s insecurities and food issues grow more and more out of control, he find himself turning to Danny for help, rather than his longtime friends Callum and Max who lives just downstairs. Danny’s mix of patience, stubbornness and tough love make it harder and harder for Jax to keep his distance, and somewhere in the course of their daily lives, they find themselves moving from being friends, to being more.


I loved these 2 flawed characters. Jax is a good looking, buff, motorcycle-riding tattoo artist, but appearances can be deceptive. Underneath it all, Jax is bookish, handy and has an issue that could be problematic to developing a relationship. Danny is a theatre director who has just gotten out of an abusive relationship and is a little gun shy. Outside of his plays, Danny has no social life.
The story could have been really dark, but both men tried not to let their issues completely run their lives. Also the supporting characters – Herman (Danny’s very funny best friend), Steph (Jax’s supportive sister) and Max and Callum (Jax’s best friends) – were funny, caring and well developed; they added a lot to the story.
This is a rich, slow burn love story, but so well done that it doesn’t matter that they don’t sleep together, (really sleep together), until near the end of the book.
I loved the book and would love to read more by this author.

4.5 stars of 5 stars


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