Dylan Watson is still in college. He doesn’t want to be there and he’s trying to just get finished. It’s been three years since his sister, Ava, died and Dylan finds it impossible to move on. Dylan mourns for his sister, and he mourns for the life she should have been living as a musician with the band, Iodine. Since the band’s lead singer, Kai Delisa, was with Ava when she died, Dylan is convinced that Kai has something to do with her death. When Iodine signs a record deal and is in the spotlight, Dylan can’t stay away from trying to learn the truth. Dylan also can’t stay away from Kai and, even though he wants to hate him, Dylan also wants Kai to be only his.
Life at home isn’t any better for Dylan. His father is a conservative senator who has abused Dylan his entire life and his mother is in a deep depression, not having recovered from Ava’s death. His father has made it clear that being gay will absolutely not be tolerated and Dylan has no idea how to escape the long reach his father has on his life, both publicly and privately.
After an encounter with Kai turns violent, the men realize their chemistry is something to explore and they take tentative steps toward building a relationship. With Kai now being famous and his music a center of controversy, the moments the men can spend together are secretive and fleeting. Kai has his own dark secrets and when being together is the antidote they both crave, Dylan will have to face some hard choices.
New book and new-to-me author alert. Graceless is the newest release from author N.N. Britt and it hit all the right spots for me. The characters have a dark edge to them and are well developed and with Dylan’s first person POV, it was easy to get lost in the pages of this story.
Dylan is angry and depressed and he feels that Kai Delisa is at the root of his problems. The first time he saw Kai, his sister was still alive and he was captivated. It’s now a few years later and Dylan’s interest in Kai has become an obsession. Dylan is so fixated on the fact that the band is becoming successful, and that Kai is still alive when Ava isn’t, and Dylan stalks the band on social media.
There’s a hunger and a recognition when the guys meet, even through the hate that Dylan throws around. The hurt and the depression and how unbalanced Dylan is regarding Ava and Kai comes through spectacularly. Then there is Dylan’s home life, with an abusive father that knows how to make people disappear and Dylan is constantly watching his step. Kai’s life is different, but not any easier. His mental health also suffers and his secrets are dark. His music is edgy and the media has decided to give it a label that causes trouble wherever the band goes and Kai now can’t freely move around. Their lives become so entwined and even though Kai doesn’t have time for a relationship and tells Dylan everything is casual, it’s clear that their emotions run deep and it’s a fantastic slow burn with scorching chemistry between them.
I really would have liked Kai’s POV or even just more from him. For me, there is a line between having a character be mysterious and then not getting enough from them. The book ends sharply with it being a continuing story, but it is a duet and book two will be released 7/14, so you can read Graceless and then go right into Faithful for the conclusion of their story.