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Chase in Shadow (Johnnies #1) by Amy Lane

September 26, 2013


Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

My Review:

It’s life, Chase. I’m pretty sure you’ve figured out by now that it’s not always pretty.

 This book!  It. Killed. Me. I am dead. When they find my lifeless body with my Nook clutched to my chest, someone will pick it up, see Chase’s story, read those first words and get sucked in. When they are done, they will die too. Amy Lane’s gorgeous, heartbreaking, soul wrenching, emotionally exhausting and fantastic writing is the gay romance author’s version of the video from The Ring. Read her words and you will die by the last page…just as I did.

“Chase, where are you when you do that?”

“I’m trying to see myself from the outside.”

“Really? Why?”

“To make sure I don’t look too off.”

I have no idea how to review this book. It was that good. The contents of each page are so deep in my soul that I can’t let go. I keep thinking about Chase and as a mother of boys, I just want to hold him, rock him and sing to him to let him know that things will be okay. Is that odd to have such feelings for a book character? If you answer yes, obviously you have never read one of Amy Lane’s boys.

 Yeah. I’d be gay, pretending to be straight, pretending to be gay.

Chase Summers is a good man; he is going to school to be an engineer, works a decent job and has a sweet, loving and beautiful girlfriend but Chase is living a lie. He has been his whole life. Until the moment among friends he learns about a website; a gay for pay website where he can finally get what he needs.

 I can do anything as long as I’m being touched by another man. I could probably fly.

 The dichotomy of Chase’s heart, soul, integrity and morals as we get them through his inner dialogue is what drives this book. Each word italicized gets you so inside this mans head that you start to see the door trying to fly off the hinges and the red water overflowing with him. You feel the want, the want that he has to be who he is, the real Chase and not Chase the boyfriend of Mercy, son of Victor or best friend of Donnie. Not even Chance, the porn star who fucks like a God and who is the closest thing Chase comes to as his true self. The promises he makes in his head, the way he lives with the struggle inside his being…I can’t think straight. Again, how do I review this and not fall apart as bad as I did reading it?

I fell in love with a guy I met on a gay-for-pay porn set, and he cheated on me when we weren’t really a couple, because I had to leave him for my girlfriend.

The journey to one’s true self is such a hard road for Chase. The title is dead on, Chase Summers lives in the shadows of his soul, mind and society. His fight and fear to NOT be that thing, those three words, that little pussy faggot.  Those words that make the horrors real and that door to his soul burst open with the weight of the truth.

Because I am supposed to be straight, I can’t be gay, or stupid, or a failure. If I’m gay or stupid or a fuck-up…Breathe. Shove that door shut again and ignore the cracks around the frame.

When “Chance” meets fellow co-star, “Tango” he begins to see who he could be and what he could have as they strip away the stage names/personalities to become Chase and Tommy. Oh Tommy. Your struggles were not as hidden or as dark as Chase’s were but so many times I wanted to just lay you down and draw imaginary lines from each of your freckles to connect the dots and make you whole.

I was off fucking one guy for money and falling hopelessly in love with another guy for no other reason than that he seems to have the key to the door in my soul.

Chase would not have this story if it weren’t for Tommy. Their love is gorgeous. Their want to be together tore me apart over and over again. I cannot let go of their scenes together, from the first time Chance saw Tango, to Florida when they first shared their real names, to Boston, to the weeks they stole for each other, to…to just them. Living the life of porn stars and putting their work and their private lives into little boxes while dealing with the things that Chase doesn’t say between them? It was full of every emotion possible. This, their story is why male/male romance appeals to me so much.

It was them and they were alive and they were in love, and there was nothing dirty about that.

Chase in Shadow is a brilliantly told story of promises. Promises we keep, promises we can’t keep and those we can’t dare to make to ourselves or anyone else. While it was hard to read and I cried many times and still feel the heavy weight on my chest when I think of so many scenes and as I go over my notes…I am so happy I read it. This story, Chase’s story was dark, inside and out but life is dark, life is hard to live no matter who you are. But there is always a “Chance” that you will find something, find someone who will help tear down the walls, open the doors to find you and help you find yourself.

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating

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