“Touch has a memory.” – John Keats
Touch is a sense memory, an imprint on the mind and on the skin, a physical and emotional imperative that, if denied over an extended period of time, will cause a boy to grow into a man who craves it so desperately he is willing to seek it out in the one place he is all but guaranteed it will always be available.
Evan Costa knows the difference between good touch and bad. The bad kind is the one that strips you of all your power; it’s the kind that strips you of your choices and makes you–not the you on the outside but the you on the inside–invisible to the people who are supposed to love you unconditionally and stand by you and see you and let you cling to them when you feel like you can’t stop yourself from falling. The bad touch strips you of your right to say no and to keep safe the part of you that defines who you are, the part that grows upward and outward from the seed of a helpless boy into a young man who so intensely needs to be touched that he doesn’t realize, or trust in, the difference between a loving touch and a touch of forever.
But Jonah Stevens means to teach Evan, the man who now calls himself Ethan, what it feels like to be touched down to the depths of his very soul. Jonah is Ethan’s paradox: the light to Ethan’s dark, the innocence to his experience, the hope to his distrust, the belief to his doubt. Jonah is the man with the family who loves him without reservation, the contradiction to Ethan’s own dysfunctional family that abandoned him when he needed them the most. The one thing Jonah and Ethan can say they share unequivocally, however, is pain.
If you’ve been following the Johnnies series from Chase and Tommy to Dex and Kane, you know and understand the common threads that tie these broken boys together, and you know and understand the uncommon love that reassembles them again into something wholly new. The one thing Ethan and Jonah don’t share with the other couples, though, is that Jonah intertwines himself in this particular weave as an outsider who has fewer frays in the fabric of his life, which simply means he is more capable of wrapping himself fully around Ethan and becoming the only touch Ethan needs to keep him whole.
Ethan in Gold is quintessential Amy Lane: it is an emotionally tactile story of pain and redemption, of losing and gaining so much more in return, a story of forgiveness and absolution and of loving someone so hard, even when he doesn’t believe he’s loveable, that he can’t help but finally understand it’s not about how much he is worth but about how much he is worthy of that gift.
Fans of this series should move this one to the top of the TBR pile.