Black & Blue, Ily Jacks

Black & Blue: A M/M Standalone Romance by [Jacks, Ily]

Such a short story but filled with so much goodness.  A good man, good sexual tension, good flow.  Declan is a grouchy badass biker, Adam is essentially a starved, scraggly, drowned rat.  How these two find a future?  Well, an attempted mugging and a dry, warm place to sleep is what starts it.

After reading the synopsis I was just assuming that there would be Adam in need of a ride somewhere and then Declan would offer.  Well, maybe not as simple and boring as that sounds, but that would be the basic idea, right?  But instead we get a much larger picture of Adam, who he is, what he's desperate for, where he's coming from, and just what kind of situation he finds himself in.  So much better than what I had in mind.  When Declan shows up and places himself in the hero/savior role he becomes so much more than the mysterious biker from the synopsis.

So right away we get a sense that these two men aren't so simple, aren't headed for something codependent and dysfunctional.  Well, not entirely.  There's a whole lot that can go wrong here and the big things are discussed in the story and I'm glad of that.  Adam has a darker past that he's eager to be rid of and away from.  He's a bit like a puppy following after Deacon and any scrap of affection or crumb of attention and this has the potential to be quite unhealthy.  While Deacon is incredibly attracted to Adam and gives in to it pretty quickly he recognizes that it's not the best way for Adam to continue living.  He then does the adult thing and tries his best to teach Adam to stand up for himself, to make decisions, and dream of a future that may or may not include Deacon as a lover.  With those lessons Deacon encourages Adam to be an adult and to mature into a good man.

Adam sees so much goodness in Deacon even though Deacon is hell-bent on denying that any truly exists.  And then there's Maura, Deacon's ex-wife.  Maura is a good woman and loves Deacon as a good friend which allows her to be happy for Adam's presence.  She also takes it upon herself to give Adam a few essential tips to understanding Deacon and moving their romance forward.  Maura and Deacon had two children together and Eric is sweet, accepting, and I really enjoyed the conversation they had about Adam.  All of these point to Deacon being such a good person inside that his gruffness becomes endearing rather than something to be changed or overcome.

I'm not exactly a fan of his club.  I do understand that the dynamic isn't all hugs and rainbows for everyone in or out of the club, but this particular dynamic just didn't work for me here.  Aside from that there was so much to enjoy and so little to turn me off of the story.  The feels were there, the passion was hot, and the conclusion was more than satisfactory.

 Black & Blue, Ily Jacks

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