Bolt-Hole by Amy Lane (3 Stars)

A friends-to-lovers romance between two young men trying to break into their careers.

Terrell Washington is black, gay, and unable to find a job with his college degree in journalism. He is also very bitter because of his lack of employment and events from his childhood. His best friend, coworker, and idol, Colby Meyers, is kind, fun, and seems to have the world on a plate, but he’s white. Terrell must determine if he can accept Colby’s apparent love for him.

This was a sweet, low-angst romance between two friends. The relationship develops while they are working together at a local restaurant. The loving sentiments that Colby expressed repeatedly were heart-warming. Watching Terrell finally believe that somebody could love him was beautiful. The time they spent together having fun and hanging out was also enjoyable.

Unfortunately, most of the humor didn’t make any sense to me. There were also so many exclamation points that it made it feel like the characters were forever yelling excitedly. Terrell’s constant reference to the fact that he was black and Colby was white became downright annoying. This story really needed Colby’s POV to even out the negative mood created by Terrell and his insecurities. Understanding where Terrell came from and how he was raised, was critical to understanding the story, but it was repeated so often that it became the focal point of the story. The murder mystery was interesting as a backdrop to the story until the ending which went over the top and didn’t quite make sense.

Overall, the romance was sweet and the mystery was acceptable as a backdrop to the plot, but the spirit of the story was just a bit too negative.

cover

Originally reviewed for The Romance Reviews. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

BLURB

Terrell Washington’s childhood was a trifecta of suck: being black, gay, and poor in America has no upside. Terrell climbed his way out of the hood only to hit a glass ceiling and stop, frozen, a chain restaurant bartender with a journalism degree. His one bright spot is Colby Meyers, a coworker who has no fear, no inhibitions, and sees no boundaries. Terrell and Colby spend their summers at the river and their breaks on the back dock of Papiano’s. As terrified as Terrell is of coming out, he’s helpless to stay away from Colby’s magnetic smile and contagious laughter.

But Colby is out of college now, and he has grand plans for the future—plans Terrell is sure will leave his scrawny black ass in the Sacramento dust until a breathless moment stolen from the chaos of the restaurant tells Terrell he might be wrong. When the moment is shattered by a mystery and an act of violence, Terrell and Colby are left with two puzzles: who killed their scumbag manager, and how to fit their own lives—the black and the white of them—into a single shining tomorrow.

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