True Blue (Out of the Blue #3)
by RJ Jones
When being true to yourself means denial is no longer an option.
On the heels of a tragedy, Brandon White shaved his hair, adorned his body with tattoos, and concentrated on his attraction to the opposite sex. Fifteen years later, Brandon is a protective son and a loyal and respected member of the San Francisco Fire Department, bedding anything in a skirt that promises not to stick around afterward.
When his past and present collide in his dreams—including his best friend and fellow fireman, Mason—Brandon knows things are never going to be the same again. He starts to recall that fateful day years before, and the long-forgotten feelings that preceded it. The most important thing he remembers—he’s not as straight as he’d thought.
With help, Brandon learns to accept who he was always meant to be. But when tragedy strikes again, Brandon must reconcile his past and present and deal with his grief if he is to ever be true, not only to himself, but to Mason as well.
Mason steered Andy away without so much as a hello, and while I contemplated how much that stung, Kris grabbed my arm, pulling me to the corner near the front door. “What have you done to make Mason ignore you? He’s so pissed, he’s got smoke coming out his ears.”
Could I tell Kris? He was a nice guy, good with a hose. I trusted him with my life when we were on the job, but could I trust him with what I was feeling? He was openly bisexual in a committed gay relationship, so maybe he could help? I had no f*cking idea but I wasn’t a fan of being out of my depth. And I was sinking fast, being pulled down by my concrete boots. Being this close to Mason and Andy was doing a number on my brain, and I could feel the ugly green monster taking over.
Kris eyed me, then glanced at Mason, who was watching us, before turning back to me. “You tried something with Mason, didn’t you?”
Jesus. I guess the decision to tell Kris wasn’t mine to make after all.
I crossed my arms, instantly on the defensive. “How did you…?”
“Chill. I’m not that observant, but Jet is. He mentioned something a few weeks back when he introduced Andy to Mase. He’s a manipulative little sh*t.” Kris’s tone was affectionate. I knew he liked having Jet live with him even though he was dating Jet’s brother, Gray.
I looked over Kris’s shoulder and caught Jet watching us from the kitchen. Jet winked and blew me a kiss. I shook my head. I couldn’t wrap my head around Jet and Mason together, they just didn’t fit. Neither did Andy and Mason for that matter.
I turned my attention back to Kris, rubbing the back of my neck. “Umm… yeah.”
“Wow. I thought Jet was kidding but that little scenario made me think twice. You’ve both been a little weird this week.”
“Yeah,” I repeated. I had no idea what to say. What else was there?
Kris went on, his tone soft and understanding. “I get that you’re going through some sh*t right now. Probably trying to decide what you feel. I’m assuming this is new and probably really f*cking weird. Am I right?”
“You could say that.”
Kris rested a hand on my shoulder. “Wanna hear a story?”
I nodded even though I wasn’t sure I wanted to.
“I figured out I was bi in high school. I dated girls, but even though I was attracted to them, something was missing. I felt the pull to the guys in the locker room and at first, I didn’t know what it was. I kept dating the girls but I had a roving eye for guys. I wanted to kiss a guy, see what it felt like. Then when I did, I wanted more. Men were the missing link for me. I could date girls, even fall in love with them, but they couldn’t give me what a man could.”
That was more than I needed to know and Kris chuckled at my reaction.
“No, you idiot. It’s got nothing to do with sex, although…” Kris glanced at Gray, who was now talking with Cam, and his eyes glazed over. After a second he rolled his shoulders and turned his attention back to me. “Anyway, sex isn’t everything. It’s a big part of it, sure, but it’s more about how Gray makes me feel. He makes me a better person. I feel invincible with him, like I could do anything. He lights up my day, especially after a hard shift, and I couldn’t imagine coming home to anyone else. I would lay down my life for him.” Kris laid a hand on my shoulder, his gaze piercing. “Do you know what I’m saying?”
I took a deep breath and watched Mason as he flirted with Andy. Was it just me, or was he going overboard with the PDAs? Every time my gaze made it his way, it seemed he caressed his boyfriend just that little bit more. My stomach seized and I forced myself not to clutch at it. I kept watching Mason as I spoke. “I need to let go of everything from the past. I need to show him who I really am, not who I thought I was, in the hope he’ll accept me and let me love him as he deserves.”
“Ugh, yeah.” Kris laughed. “That wasn’t what I was going to say, but that works. Just be careful. Mason’s with Andy and he’s a good guy. Maybe not the guy for Mase, but a good guy nonetheless. He doesn’t deserve what Mason is doing, even though Mason isn’t doing it intentionally.”
I didn’t want to think about what that meant. Mason wasn’t an asshole. I looked around the apartment. “Why do I feel like I’m back in high school? I mean, we’re standing near the kitchen talking about boyfriends and girlfriends.” I ran a hand over my scalp. “F*ck it, I need another drink.”
Kris laughed, then yelled over his shoulder, “Hey, Jet! Brandon needs a beer. You can either let him into the kitchen or you can bring him one.”
Jet bounded over with a beer for each of us. He pulled me down and whispered in my ear, “I’m beginning to like you,” before handing over the bottles and swishing off to the kitchen again. Either I never paid attention before or my attraction to men was making me look at guys a little differently. Jet could certainly work those hips.
I smiled at Kris. “I bet he’s a barrel of fun to live with.”
Kris shook his head and laughed. “You have no idea.” He squeezed my shoulder before wandering over to Gray and sliding an arm around his waist. Gray looked at him and smiled, his dark eyes brightening that little bit more in Kris’s presence.
Carra's Review of True Blue
Man, I really am a sucker for a best friends-to-more story. Now add in a man a bit confused about his feelings for that male best friend when he's been...well...straight? It's a recipe for drama and is sure to play emotional havoc with the characters. And after the author kept hinting around in the previous books in the series about Brandon and Mason, getting their story here in True Blue was a real relief!
One thing I've been really happy about with this series is the cast of characters. They are all written with plenty of depth and come across as real people with real issues, and all the real emotions that go along with it. Brandon, our straight-well-maybe-not-quite guy, he's got feelings popping up that he doesn't know what to do with. Thankfully for us readers, he's brave enough to take a chance...and take that chance again and again until his best friend Mason realizes Brandon really is serious.
Most of the angst in this story comes from Brandon's journey of self-discovery and how it affects not just him but Mason as well. I like that he willingly seeks out help and advice from not just family and friends, but also professionally-it speaks to his strength and his commitment to Mason.
I loved the returning cast of characters from the series, I feel so comfortable with all of them now that they all feel like family. They are all so supportive of each other, and continue to add depth to each and every story in the series.
True Blue put a smile on my face, a blush on my cheeks, and in the end had me reaching for my 5-star, top recommendation rating once again. If you are a fan of M/M romance, True Blue and the rest of the books in the series are a definite must for your library. While it could be read as a standalone, I honestly think readers will enjoy the story more by reading it as part of the series--it will give you a better appreciation of the entire cast of characters and really enhance your enjoyment of all the stories. Recommended for those readers 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
Oh, and can we please have Jet's story? Pretty please? He's just too wonderful not to get his own happy!
Here's what I thought about the whole series:
Carra's Review of Into the Blue
Into the Blue is a great introduction to Cam and Jake, the main characters from Out of the Blue. It's a very short, quick read and is a wonderful look at the instant connection that happens between them. It's hot, sexy, and I know for me it totally hooked me for not just Out of the Blue, but the entire series.
If you're planning on reading this series, I'd start with this prequel short story for a fantastically naughty look at how things began for Cam and Jake. It's pure indulgence, and gets 5 stars from me. Recommended for 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
Carra's Review of Out of the Blue
Normally I like my books to start before the main characters get together and watch as they find each other and go through all the becoming-a-couple things. Here in Out of the Blue, Cam and Jake are already many years into their relationship so we start out with the heat and love already established (and going extremely strong). Instead of two people finding each other, we are given a story of two people who have already come together...and then get to see them get slowly torn apart.
Cameron has a high stress job as a firefighter. He loves his job, but there are risks and possible repercussions to what he does. This comes fully to light after one particularly horrible accident his team responds to, and from there we have to watch as the effects put his relationship with Jake under tremendous strain, and it is heartbreaking to watch as everything they have built together begins to fall apart.
There is no denying the love and devotion between the two men, and as things between the two unravelled, I was actually stressing out about what was happening. This story highlights the devastating effect PTSD can have on both the person affected as well as those around them, and emphasizes the importance of communication in any relationship. What we see is how the strength of Cam and Jake's love for each other sees them through-while taking readers through the entire spectrum of emotions.
There's a really strong group of supporting characters in the story, and I can't wait to find out more about them as the series progresses. They provide a strong support system for our main characters, and really add depth to the story.
Out of the Blue gets 5 emotional stars from me, and is one of my top recommendations in the M/M romance genre! Recommended for those 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
Carra's Review of Black and Blühe
You know, after the amazing start to this series with Out of the Blue, I was really excited to jump right in to Black and Blhe...and boy was I thrilled to find that it is just as emotional and fantastic a story!
Now, after the incident that happened with Kris and Cam in Out of the Blue (sorry guys, that's as much as I'm saying...is that a tease?), I wasn't sure if I would be able to get into Kris in this book. I needn't have worried-I found Kris to be a wonderful character who is sweet, kind and trusting, and after getting not too far into this story, I really wanted him to get a happy ending.
Gray does not trust easily and is wary of anyone other than his twin brother, Jet. The two of them together are actually pretty amazing-the strong bond they share, their love for each other as brothers, and the protectiveness they have toward each other all point toward an unbreakable link that is inspiring to read about. But right from the start there's something there between Gray and Kris, even before they officially meet. Gray fights it from the start, putting his brother first before his own happiness. Thank goodness Jet is having none of that! Jet is funny, upbeat and a bit of a scheming guy, and this story would not have been the same if he wasn't written the way he was.
There are things that happened in Gray and Jet's past that make it difficult for Gray to want to get involved with anyone seriously, and this causes problems between him and Kris that add plenty of drama to the story. Gray has his own journey to make to come to terms with what happened in the past, making this story another emotional trip...tempered with the levity that Jet brings to the table.
I loved Black and Blhe, and am becoming addicted to the emotional storytelling RJ Jones is putting out in this series. Another 5-star top recommendation from me...and I can't wait for the rest of this series! Recommended for M/M romance fans 18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
RJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn't until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
RJ's initial thought was if she could write their scene then they'd shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn't shut up. They told her their entire story and she didn't sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn't keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.
Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.
She is surrounded by males.
RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.
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