Series: Free Fall #3
Published by Self-Published on 02/20/2017
Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.
For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.
As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.
I love the way this series is maturing. Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn have really found their groove as they bring us stories that have a distinct vibe. I love their approach to writing varied characters and topics and Paint the Stars is a great addition to the series.
Ever since Ezra was introduced in book one I’ve been dying to for him to get his own HEA. I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve read a story with a character on the ace spectrum and I’m not disappointed. I loved learning why Ezra engages (or doesn’t) in sexual and emotional relationships. It kept me engaged while his backstory unfolded slowly as the story progressed. I’d say that I was fully invested in Ezra’s character and saw the most growth in him.
Daevonte was also a likable character. I thought his personality was a pleasant contradiction to Ezra’s quiet and broody nature. His lighthearted attitude and spiritual-like outlook brought a much needed lightness to the story especially as conflict arose. However, I did feel Dae’s personal conflict was not as strong leaving him not as memorable as his counterpart.
I did feel some frustration early on. It seemed as though JUST as the crux of plot was being exposed, the chapter would end and the narration would change. Most times the switch between narration did not come within the same scene leaving me feeling unsatisfied. I think this was a stylistic choice to keep readers engaged but I can’t say it’s one I enjoy.
HOWEVER, something just…shifted, somewhere in the middle and I couldn’t put the book down. The banter between Ezra and Dae was really funny. Their budding friendship was enjoyable to experience and their exploration into their sexual attraction had such an incredible slow burn. I was singing praises when they finally got going under the covers and each scene just got hotter and hotter. Their sexual chemistry was delicious and was only heightened by their emotional bond.
I’d say Paint the Stars is the most enjoyable of the series for me. While they each bring their own message I feel this is the most energetic, romantic and relatable. I recommend.