Jacob Shain has a boring job as an unpaid marketing intern, not much of a love life, and a small apartment he shares with his twin brother, Ethan. Ethan is by far the cooler twin as the part owner of a tattoo shop. When Ethan hires piercer Cody Turner, Jacob finds himself immediately attracted the sexy, gorgeous man. But while Cody is friendly, he is definitely keeping his distance.
The chemistry between the guys is intense, but it is not until Ethan gets into trouble with the law that Cody opens up about his past and opens up about his feelings for Jacob as well. Cody’s life is nothing like the quiet Jacob’s, but he can’t help his attraction to Cody or his desire to help him. As the trouble heats up, Jacob must decide if he is going to play it safe, or if he will shed his good boy reputation and follow the man he is growing to love.
High Contrast is a fun story that has a nice balance of romance and lighthearted adventure. The blurb says it’s the story of “a good boy who wants to be bad, a bad boy who longs to be good” and this describes these guys perfectly. Though Cody isn’t really a bad guy as much as one who has fallen into very hard times, made some mistakes, and is trying to turn his life around. But he is still sweet and kind and beating himself up, but trying to do better. So I’d say “bad boy light” but Cody is definitely more on the fringe on the appearance side, with a host of tattoos and piercings and body mods (so if that is your kink, you will find it here).
I really liked these guys together. They dance around each other for a while, both feeling strong attraction and but both feeling like they should keep their distance. Cody is worried about his past and about dragging Jacob into trouble. And Jacob feels inadequate next to the gorgeous and super hip Cody. Not to mention that he worries about taking advantage of Cody’s vulnerability at times. I kind of loved that everyone around them is like “just fuck already!” as these guys try to figure things out. But when they finally get together, they are super sexy.
Although the story is focused on Cody and Jacob, it is a bit of an ensemble as the guys spend a lot of time with Ethan and the rest of the gang at Evolution Ink, including Jacob’s best friend (and Ethan’s girlfriend), Andi. As the trouble heats up, the group gets themselves involved in all kinds of messes. There is kind of a Scooby Gang quality to it, as these guys have these capers that are totally ill-advised, but somehow (mostly) work out. In real life I’d be calling these guys insane for some of the things they do, but in the story I found them entertaining and I loved the relationships and the banter between them. This is the first book in the Evolution Ink series, so I hope this means we will see more of the gang in future stories.
I had a few small quibbles here. First off, Jacob has some pretty major self worth issues that aren’t totally rooted in the story. Yes, Ethan is the “cooler” brother, but I am not sure why Jacob has so much self doubt and I would have liked to get a better sense of what was driving him. I also felt like some of the adventure end of things was a bit over the top, but for the most part I could go along for the ride for the sheer entertainment value.
This is the first book I have read by Tess Bowry and I really enjoyed it. High Contrast is sexy and fun, with some light adventure and suspense built in. I found it super entertaining and would definitely recommend it.