Title: Ethan in Gold (Johnnies #3)
Author: Amy Lane and Sean Crisden (Narrator)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Release Date: April 25th 2014
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 10 hrs 46 min
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Evan Costa learned from a very early age that there was no such thing as unconditional love and that it was better to settle for what you could get instead of expecting the world to give you what you need. As Ethan, porn model for Johnnies, he gets exactly what he wants – comradeship and physical contact on trade -and he is perfectly satisfied with that. He’s sure of it.
Jonah Stevens has spent most of his adult life helping to care for his sister and trying to keep his beleaguered family from fraying at the edges. He’s had very little time to work on his confidence or his body for that matter. When Jonah meets Ethan, he doesn’t see the hurt child or the shamelessly slutty porn star. He sees a funny, sexy, confident man who-against the odds-seems to like Jonah in spite of his very ordinary, but difficult, life.
Sensing a kindred spirit and a common interest, Ethan thinks a platonic friendship with Jonah won’t violate his fair trade rules of sex and touch, but Jonah has different ideas. Ethan’s pretty sure his choice of jobs has stripped away all hope of a real relationship, but Jonah wants the whole package-the sexy man, the vulnerable boy, the charming companion who works so hard to make other people happy. Jonah wants to prove that underneath the damage Ethan has lived with all his life, he’s still gold with promise and the ability to love.
Though wonderfully narrated by Sean Crisden, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as I had hoped I would. It’s arguably my least favorite of the series. By far.
The first part of the story focuses on the backstory of skin hungry, touch starved, Evan Costa, and the reasons why he has become as needy as we’ve learned him to be from the previous stories. I loved the first part of the story! So many feels! I felt so much love for Evan and was hoping so hard for his HEA.
The second part of the story is told concurrently with Dex in Blue after Evan has become “Ethan” and working at Johnnies for a couple of years. He’s doing pretty well, especially when compared to a lot of his Johnnies co-stars and friends. Ethan meets Jonah Stevens, who has his own set of difficulties and troubles, after Tommy gets a job at PetsMart. It’s after meeting and getting to know Jonah that it all goes off the rails and we see just how badly Ethan handles this new relationship.
This story includes a lot of loss and heartache; loss of family, innocence, and friends…there’s a lot of loss here. Normally I love a good Hurt/Comfort story, but I honestly didn’t feel like there was a lot of comfort happening. Combined with the timeline feeling like it was forced to occur at the same time as Dex in Blue, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I was hoping.
He caught his breath and stepped closer. “You are unbelievably sexy,” he murmured into Ethan’s ear. “And you could have any guy on the planet. Do you really want me?”
Ethan leaned closer, and Jonah felt the heat from his bare chest and his lips feathering the whorls of his own ear. “More than I want to breathe. More than I want my heart to beat. More than I want to see tomorrow. That’s how bad I want you.”
Other fans of the series may have a significantly different reaction, but for all Ethan worried that he wasn’t good enough for Jonah, I didn’t feel like Jonah was a good match for Ethan. There’s also notably less sex in this installment, and quite a bit of the sex in the story happens off page, which I wouldn’t really mind, but it didn’t feel in keeping with the rest of the series thus far. Finally, I also felt like the ending was rather abrupt, which did not give me enough time with the two as a couple to really root for them.
Bottom line: I enjoyed the narration, but didn’t really enjoy the story.