This is the 13th book set in the Bluewater Bay world, and they are designed to be enjoyed as standalones. I’ve read ten or so, and while some characters come in and out of many books, each one relates a new love story. Selfie is about a popular movie star’s steep drop into the abyss of grief-ravaged depression, and the hard slog into emotional well-being and second love.
This is what I have learned: Amy Lane doesn’t write books, she writes literary heroin. I must plan an early start when I get her books because I cannot close the book and go on about my day/night without knowing how her characters survive their story. My hubs will attest, I’m a bit of a snappish basket-case while I devour the ups and downs and dangerous plummets into overwhelming feels, despite knowing an HEA will arrive, but only after I’ve survived the terror and exhilaration of riding the roller coaster forward, backward, and unbelted.
Connor and Vinnie were TV/film stars that fell in love fast and kept that hidden for ten years, for the sake of their careers and the fear that Vinnie’s family would cut him out—much like Connor’s family had. Connor set his career and family aspirations aside, time and time again, to care for Vinnie, whose sudden death created a gaping hole in Connor’s life. On the first anniversary of Vinnie’s death, Connor makes a disastrous, drunken, YouTube confession-rant, which (gratefully) had no sound. The shock of it spurs movement from Connor’s agent, Jillian, the only person who knew about their love affair, into action. She lands Connor a part on Wolf’s Landing, the TV show that is set in Bluewater Bay—which brings Connor to the locale and a new life.
Connor’s driver, Noah Dakers, is a young, but tall and built bi-racial First Nations/black man. Noah’s a college graduate, but he works for the Wolf’s Landing people as a driver/gofer, and he’s an out gay man. Connor is stunned to find him attractive, and also in fear of revealing his sexuality. But Jillian is constantly assuring Connor that if he wants to make a dramatic (think: coming-out) statement, he should feel free to do so, and not to worry about his career.
Connor doesn’t know what to do, however. He’s been aimless without Vinnie, and despite his attraction to Noah, he can’t really process his grief and the guilt of going on without his lover. Plus, would Connor’s coming out then “out” Vinnie posthumously? It’s likely, given how close the two men were—they had side-by-side houses, for goodness sakes!—and Connor doesn’t want anything to tarnish Vinnie’s family’s memory of their son.
Noah is a rock, and his constant support is both necessary and aggravating to Connor. Without Noah’s presence, Connor would easily drift into the mental wilderness he inhabited in the year of grief, a year of physical and temporal wasting. Connor still speaks to Vinnie in his head, making choices that he thinks will benefit Vinnie. This preoccupation is disastrous, and leads to several crises, but Noah is able to pull Connor back from the brink each time, thankfully. Their courtship isn’t sensual; it’s liberating and affirming. It gives Connor hope, and replaces the emptiness of his previous relationship. Honestly, his relationship with Vinnie was unhealthy even if Connor does not want to accept that. Being around the kind, loving, affirming members of his new cast—many who are out gay people—and having the support of both Noah and Jillian, Connor is able to face the self-hatred and regrets he buried, just like his secret lover.
I will admit to crying while reading this book. I will also admit to hating Vinnie, to a degree. I cannot count the number of times I wanted to crawl into this book and hug Connor to pieces. Despite the high emotions, there was no descent into melodrama. Connor’s very real and palpable depression is agonizing without being oppressive. And Noah, I just want Noah to be every man in creation. Kind, decent, patient, loving, and resolute—these are the qualities I crave in a character, no matter the sex or sexual orientation. He’s such a great human, and Connor knows he was blessed to find solace, comfort, and love with him.
The book is long, and I will tell you there is not one single untied plot thread to be found. I had my fears, especially where Vinnie’s family was concerned, but the story is absolutely complete, and without a doubt positive, with a happy ending. I only had to survive Connor’s grief/mania/depression alongside him to find it.
Definitely a worthwhile journey.