Black & Blühe, by RJ Jones (Out of the Blue, Book Two)
Publisher: Vivid Blue Press (July 31, 2015)
Word Count: approx. 57,000 words
Genre: Bisexual (M/M) Romance/Erotica
Rating: 2 out of 5
Summary: Grayson Black has never forgiven himself for not saving his identical twin brother, Jet, from a savage beating at their father’s hands ten years ago. Jet’s near-death never would have happened if Gray hadn’t been so focused on his boyfriend at the time. He has sworn to take care of his brother ever since. Gray can’t afford a distraction from his self-imposed mission, the type of distraction presented by the gorgeous blond showing up at their gigs.
Kris Larson is a firefighter with the San Francisco Fire Department. Since splitting from his girlfriend, his favorite way to spend nights off is watching the Black Brothers play in the bars of the Bay Area, especially the guitarist. But it’s not until the brothers are left homeless after a fire at their apartment building that Kris has the opportunity to know the real person behind the brooding façade.
My Thoughts: The entire time I was reading this, I kept thinking about that line from Frozen, “You can’t marry a guy you just met!” I’m not a big fan of love-at-first-sight novels; lust-at-first-sight, sure. Being attracted to someone’s physical appearance is normal, but inviting your crush and his brother to live with you after having never once spoken a word to them… not so much.
Once I got over the entire “I don’t know you but I love you anyways” thing (well, pushed it to the back of my mind), I settled in to try and enjoy the plot. Gray and his brother are musicians by night, teachers by day, and have a dark past that they don’t tell anyone about. They legally changed their names to run from a father who beat Jet to near-death in a drunken rage… but more on that later.
Okay, so I tried to enjoy the plot, but the plot was frankly a bit ridiculous. Kris is the “nice guy” to Gray’s “bad guy”; Kris opens up his home, offers up use of his car, feeds the brothers, and is basically the most perfect human being ever, while Gray is super attracted to him and decides that he’s going to fuck him once and walk away, uncaring of Kris’ feelings. In fact, Gray is an asshole, plain and simple, for most of the novel. They’re so black-and-white that they’re cartoonish parodies of characters.
The only interesting part of this novel was actually Jet and Gray’s (probably unhealthy) co-dependence, and their struggle to move past that. I understand that Jet was badly injured and is still suffering from side-effects of the attack, but after ten years it’s strange that Gray hasn’t even begun to move past his own guilt. Still, I enjoyed the interactions between the brothers.
I didn’t understand the pointless side-plots that were introduced throughout the novel. There’s a lurking presence in the background, the shadowy spectre of the abusive father, but nothing comes of it. There’s Jet and Gray’s music, which seems so important at the beginning, but then is never mentioned again (except for one brief interlude with Kris and Mason-the-fake-boyfriend).
I will say that the writing itself is pretty good, and the basic premise was very interesting. But I just couldn’t get past the initial love-at-first-sight plot, and the rest of the novel wasn’t able to raise my interest. If there had been some conflict, other than Gray being a total jerk, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.
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