Title: Bobby Green
Series: Johnnies #5
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Reviewed by Erin
Vern Roberts couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and get the hell out of Dogpatch, California. But city living is expensive, and he’s damned desperate when Dex from Johnnies spots him bussing tables.
As “Bobby,” he's a natural at gay porn. Soon he’s surrounded by hot guys and sex for the taking, but it’s not just his girlfriend back in Dogpatch—or her blackmailing brother—that keeps him from taking it. It's the sweet guy who held the lights for his first solo scene, who showed him decency, kindness, and a smile.
Reg Williams likes to think he's too stupid to realize what a shitty hand life dealt him, but Bobby knows better. What Reg lacks in family, opportunity, education, and money, he makes up for in heart. One fumbling step at a time, they connect, not just in their hearts but in their bodies, where sex that’s not on camera, casual, or meaningless, becomes the most important thing in the world.
But Reg is hampered by an inescapable family burden, and he and Bobby will never fly unless he can find a way to manage it. Can he break the painful link to his unrealized childhood and grow into the love Bobby wants to give?
I don't know about you all, but it seems like we've been waiting FOREVER for Bobby Green by Amy Lane. (I'm not complaining, Amy has given us so much good stuff in the meantime!) The Johnnies series is a favorite of many, and for good reason. Chase, Tommy, Dex, Kane, and the rest of the guys feel like friends and family. We've seen them grow, overcome trauma, get married, become fathers and so much more. Bobby Green is definitely old school Amy Lane though, and those of you who have been reading her since The Locker Room, Chase in Shadow, and Mourning Heaven know what I'm talking about. The angst that just shreds your heart, the emotion that at times feels like it will drown you, the stories that are full of grit and show how ugly people and life can sometimes be. This is NOT a fluffy story, but it is sweet in its own way.
Vern Roberts isn't having an easy time of it. Being blackmailed by your girlfriend's brother kind of does that to a guy not to mention the fact that said girlfriend doesn't quite do it for him. He can't wait to escape his tiny hometown of Dogpatch, California. He's not sure what he's going to do once he gets to the big city, but Vern knows he's got to go. And go he does ... and after a bad experience working construction, finds himself with a business card given to him by none other than Dex. Yes, that Dex from Johnnies. After a brief interview and an audition, Vern becomes Bobby and a gay porn star. It's on the Johnnies set that Bobby meets Reg. Reg is quite a bit older than Bobby and has been doing porn for more than ten years. There's just something about the quiet, affable, big-hearted man that captures Bobby's attention and won't let go.
I've gotta tell you guys that watching Bobby and Reg navigate from friends to lovers about broke my heart. Reg is clueless about most things but trudges along doing his job and taking care of his mentally ill sister. One who gets violent to the point that knives have to be hidden and Reg is afraid to go to sleep at night if she forgets to take her meds. Veronica was horrifying ... but only because she was so real. Amy doesn't shy away from hard stuff, she never has, and the picture she paints of Veronica is tragic and scary and so, so sad but a reality for lots of people. As well as the toll it takes on those around her because let me tell you, Reg is desperate for anything that lightens the burden he carries so when Bobby enters the picture, he's just so thankful. As with the other stories in the Johnnies series, neither man is all that self-aware (though Bobby is moreso than Reg) and try to convince themselves that they're not "really" gay, but it doesn't take overly long before they both know they're only lying to themselves and to everyone around them.
There's the sex you'd expect from any book in the series, and all of your favorites make appearances. Dex is as steadfast and capable as always. Kane is irreverent and awesome (he will always be my favorite!) and Ethan and Jonah as adorable and sweet. Reg and Bobby will definitely steal your heart. Separately and together they're just so flawed but so realistic and genuine. Bobby's heart and Reg's earnestness really got me in the feels and they are so good together. Be ready with the Kleenex as you read, you'll need it, but it's so worth it. Bobby Green is a fabulous addition to the Johnnies series and I can only hope it's not over! I am so not ready to say goodbye to these guys.
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