Title: Invitation to the Blues (Small Change #2)
Author: Roan Parrish
Publisher: Monster Press
Release date: March 28, 2018
Length: approx. 81,000 words
Sub-genre: contemporary romance
Content warning: depression, suicide, thoughts of worthlessness, food issues
Eight months ago Jude Lucen fled his partner, his career, and a hospital in Boston after a suicide attempt. Now back in Philadelphia, he feels like a complete failure. Piano has always been his passion and his only escape. Without it, he has nothing. Well, nothing except a pathetic crush on the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.
Faron Locklear came to Philly looking for a fresh start and has thrown himself into tattooing at Small Change. He’s only met Jude a few times, but something about the red-haired man with the haunted eyes calls to him. Faron is blown away by Jude’s talent. What he isn’t expecting is the electricity he feels the first time they kiss—and the way Jude’s needs in bed speak directly to his own deepest desires.
Jude and Faron fall fast and hard, but Jude has spent a lifetime learning that he can’t be what the people he loves need. So when the opportunity arises to renew his career in Boston, he thinks he has to choose: music, or Faron? Only by taking a huge risk—and finally believing he’s worthy of love just as he is—can he have the chance for both.
The Small Change series is set in the Middle of Somewhere universe and features crossover characters from that series. Each book can be read on its own.
Content warning: This book contains explicit discussion of depression, anxiety, attempted suicide, and feelings of worthlessness.
My problem with Faron was that he was stunning.
He was tall and taut, with broad shoulders and an elegant neck. His tawny brown skin was flawless and he had dreamy, gray-brown eyes that always seemed to focus on something in a plane beyond this one. His riot of corkscrew curls was sometimes loose, but today was caught up in a topknot. It had been bleached nearly white when I first met him and was now growing out. His cheekbones were high and broad, casting shadows that made him look like he was candlelit from every angle. His mouth was lush and full, and his rare smiles turned his chiseled beauty to a warmth so engaging that you didn’t ever want him to look away from you.
His beauty was a problem because it made me want him and I hated wanting anything. Desire was the beginning of disappointment.
It wasn’t just his looks, though. I could’ve handled that. I’d known a lot of beautiful people.
No, it was everything.
He was graceful and forceful at the same time. His focus was intense, whether it was on the things that only he saw or on whoever he was listening to. And he made me feel calm—as if he held the whole world in his hands and slowed it down or sped it up to whatever speed I was going.
It was intoxicating: a promise of peace as long as I was in his presence.
And hope was even worse than desire.
I haven’t read the first book in this series, and I’ll admit it’s been a couple of years since I read the Middle of Somewhere books. That being said, I didn’t feel lost with this book at all. It reads as a standalone.
This novel was beautiful. Jude and Faron both have their own problems and issues to deal with, and I loved that them meeting and being a part of each other’s lives wasn’t a fix for everything. Neither was a saviour to the other, but more of a grounding stone to keep the other steady. It was a wonderful relationship. And I loved that they actually talked to each other like mature adults. The communication in this story is amazing.
I could totally relate to Jude. Not to his depression and anxiety so much as his issue with talking. Sometimes Jude simply lacks the energy to talk even though he has something to say. I get that. I get it so much because that’s me about 70% of the time, if not more. It was refreshing to see it in a character like Jude.
Now let’s talk about the sex. I don’t read sex scenes in 99% of the books I read. That’s not why I read. I read for the plot. However, the sex scenes in this novel are incredibly sensuous and so different from many books out there. They didn’t feel like filler, but actually advanced the plot in a beautiful way.
A wonderful novel, with wonderful chemistry between the main characters, a fun cast of side characters, and a happily ever after. Five stars and highly recommended. This is going on my re-read shelf and my best of 2018 shelf!
About the author:
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.