Rating: 4.5 stars
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In Double Black we reunite with rockers Jett and Goldie, whom we first met in Black Gold. This book picks up several years later with Jett and Goldie living together in California. They have finished their joint tour and are now each working mostly separately, Goldie on a new album and Jett with their production company. Neither man is particularly happy with this situation; they miss being together all the time and are each feeling a bit disconnected from the other. But things are complicated by Goldie’s superstardom. It is hard for him to be out in public, making it difficult for him to accompany Jett to meetings and events. But Goldie is lonely at home by himself and Jett misses his connection to Goldie and to his music. Despite this, neither man quite knows how to share his feelings about what is going on.
Into this is thrown a hurdle neither man expects, when 18-year old Cole shows up at their door claiming that Jett is his father. Cole’s mother has recently died and he learned that the man who raised him wasn’t his biological father. Making things worse, this man has abandoned Cole, leaving him with nowhere to go and no money for college. He resents Jett for what he (wrongly) assumes is his avoidance of his parental duties and has come to California to demand Jett step up. Goldie is immediately sympathetic to Cole and wants to help him no matter his true paternity, but Cole’s hostility toward Jett makes their relationship incredibly difficult. So there is a lot happening for these guys and they find themselves at a real turning point. If they can open up about what they really want, however, they have a chance for an amazing future together.
So I really found this book a pleasant surprise. I really liked Black Gold and I was looking forward to this sequel, but I admit to being a bit wary of the premise. I was worried the whole story would be one long miscommunication as each man recognizes his own unhappiness but won’t talk about it and it would lead to an endless stream of near misses until the last 30 pages when they finally talk to one another. We have all read books like this and it makes me crazy. So I was really happy to see that after setting up the problem, these guys get to spilling their guts by about a third of the way through and then set to the task of solving things. It is not easy, as there are many issues swirling around that they have to deal with. But I loved that we get right into it rather than endless misunderstanding and miscommunication.
The biggest hurdle is the one that I found most fascinating, and that is the nature of Goldie’s celebrity. He is not just famous, he is a global superstar, and the media scrutiny and public attention is intense. He can rarely go out in public for fear of causing a fervor, and a basic trip to the store is a logistical nightmare. Which leaves Goldie at home and frequently alone as Jett handles the public side of the business. Not to mention that the media scrutiny is constant and the men are forever subject to speculation about their relationship, pictures taken out of context, and generally people stirring up trouble.
What I found most interesting is the duality between Goldie the superstar and Billy the man. In his private life, Billy is sweet and somewhat shy, just a regular guy trying to make a life with his partner. But in public he is The Goldie, and he has to turn on another side of himself, to present this public persona. Even as Jett thinks of him mostly as Billy, at times he too falls into the spell, wondering what “The Goldie” could possibly see in him. The book really explores this idea well, this sense of Goldie/Billy as someone with two personas and his need to reconcile these two parts of his life. I loved how it plays out in their personal life, as Goldie begins to become more assertive in the bedroom, to share his needs and to take that stronger side of himself and let it come out. Just really fascinating and well done.
I was also surprised how much I enjoyed the storyline with Cole. I am not always a fan of kids in my books, although he is 18 and essentially grown. At first the relationship between Jett and Cole is mostly fighting and insulting one another, but over time they settle into a real relationship as Jett realizes how much he wants Cole as part of his life, whether he is a biological child or not. I enjoyed seeing how the situation with Cole brings out a new dimension to Jett and Goldie’s relationship, and helps them sort through many of the other issues they are facing.
So I really liked this one and thought it was a great a great sequel to Black Gold. It really developed the next stage of their relationship nicely and felt well rounded. If you enjoyed the first book in the series I’d definitely reccomend picking up this sequel.