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.
Evan had an experience early in life that forced his parents to both over-protect him and divorce themselves from him in the physical sense. He became – as a result – touch deprived and sort of manic about it. Starting a job in the porn industry just seemed like a great way to get all that touch he craved.
Jonah is a quiet guy who loves his dying sister. He’s a virgin and really only wants to share that with someone who will be there for the long haul. Though he and Evan are attracted to each other – the odds of them being “the one” for the other seem pretty low
But… they take the time to work on their friendship and explore what could be between them.
This is quite different from the first two and the last book in the Johnnies series. Yes – it’s Amy – there’s angst – but it’s a little more distanced and not nearly so present in this story like it is with the others.
I loved the thought that to Evan giving up porn was a down-side. (in contrast to the others who were so ready to drop it when they found their love.) It gave us the perspective that some people really do CHOOSE this as a their profession for it’s positives. And to Evan it really was all positives.
Evan’s family, Jonah’s family, seeing the other guys and seeing some of the action from a different perspective… these things seemed to fill up most of the story, in my opinion. My biggest complaint (and why this is my least favorite book in the series) is not that I didn’t love the MCs or their stories – quite the opposite. I just felt more distanced from them and their relationship as it got overridden by all the other stuff from all the other people stealing their limelight.
Still in all – of course it’s a wonderful book and a bit lighter to take after the major angst of Chase and Dex- sort of angst-lite if you will and well worth the read/listen.
Again Sean Crisden does another amazing job and I really appreciated that he did all the books so we got all the voices back when we re-visited previous MCs. I never really liked Evan’s voice much – so it got kinda annoying at times, but not really enough to distract from the overall enjoyment.
4.5 of 5 stars for the book and the audio
Purchased for Review