Gray and his twin brother Jet make up the musical duo the Black Brothers. Sure Gray has noticed the tall blonde man that comes to see their shows, but he cannot let himself be distracted by a man. The last time that happened he wasn’t there for Jet and he can never forgive himself. Gray’s life now revolves around making sure his brother stays safe and the stakes are getting higher as their father’s release from prison approaches.
Kris is content with his job as a firefighter. His favorite evening activity is watching Gray play guitar, but he can’t figure out how to approach him. When a fire in the brothers’ apartment building leaves them homeless, Kris goes one step beyond the call of duty and invites the men to stay with him.
Gray can’t let his guard down and can’t even thank Kris for his kindness. His attraction to the man is driving him insane but he can’t lose focus and has to keep an eye on Jet. If Gray could just find a way to forgive himself and move on from his past, he may have a future with Kris.
Black and Blühe is set in the same world as Out of the Blue but can be read as a standalone. Kris was introduced in that first book but primarily this is Gray’s story and by extension Jet’s story. This book has a similar somber feel as well.
Gray and Jet have an incredibly close relationship. They are the only family they have and after a devastating attack that left Jet with permanent complications, their bond is fierce and admittedly co-dependent. While they look alike, that is almost where the similarities end. Jet is open and friendly and wants to live life. He especially wants his brother to find love. Gray is closed off and defensive and the guilt he carries over Jet’s injuries are strangling him. Gray tries to be so strong to face the world, but inside he is scared, lonely, and would really like someone to put their arms around him and keep him safe.
Kris is an incredibly good guy. He opens up his home to Gray and Jet and takes all of the crap that Gray sends his way. Even though we met Kris previously and even though we meet his family here, I never felt like I got to know Kris that well. For most of the story he is watching Gray, trying to get over Gray, and then once again waiting for Gray, and I felt somewhat removed from him.
Gray has a lot of deal with. We get the full back story of the brothers but there is no violence on page. Gray’s guilt is palpable and the author does a great job of getting into his head and showing how he has arrived at the place he is. I did feel like he had so much to deal with for so long and, while he was making finally making steps in the right direction, he still had a long way to go with his emotional recovery.
There were a few areas that didn’t work as well for me. Some of the dialog stood out to me and certain words that were used stuck out as not natural to conversation. Also, before Gray knew Kris’ name he referred to him as “Blondie.” While I understood the reason he kept calling him that was to keep his emotional distance, the name was used over 100 times during the course of the book, which became excessive. The pacing also was a little off for me. While I truly appreciated that Gray did not just get over the major issues he had been dealing with for so long, it was a long road getting these guys together with a whole lot of push and pull and there were large portions of time where they were not interacting at all.
The ending, in several areas, was somewhat predictable. But, the story quietly washed over me when the conclusion was reached and it tied itself together well. I particularly liked the characters of Gray and Jet and now if Jones would be so kind as to find Jet his own love story.