In Between; Love is Love #3
(A standalone within a series)
Publication Date: May 5, 2022
Genre/Tropes: Interracial/Forbidden/New Adult/MMF Romance
Author: Andi Jaxon
Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars
First, I’m trying to remember when a book cover has so appropriately fit a character, but Dylan is matched to a T on the front of In Between. I certainly know better than to judge a book by its cover, but I fell just a little more in love with him while keeping his angsty face front and center because one you meet him and all of his sassy, brokenness those moody eyes on the cover, well Dylan is going to break your heart and then stitch it all back together again.
All three characters are gloriously written, Andi really outdid herself with this book. Mary, Julian, and Dylan all have their own baggage in this MMF story. Alone they all could carry a plot, but mixed together their story has depth and emotional weight that truly pulls at every heartstring and turns the pages chapter after chapter.
I grew up in the “Free to Be You and Me” generation. The mantras of a person’s a person regardless of color or gender, or love one another regardless of what they look like is ingrained in me. I took those words to heart and met every new acquaintance as a friend until they proved otherwise. Yes, I’m an optimist, I’m one of those people that can strike up a conversation with anyone, so basically I’m Mary, just a little bit older. I saw myself in her character over and over again. Not with two hot men sadly…, but Mary is an eternal optimist, and she also gets two boyfriends- score for her-but it isn’t an easy peasy thing and certainly not something she sought out.
Mary doesn’t like to see injustice in the world and she certainly likes helping. I adored that, like her namesake, she was able to fall back on her strong faith foundation and remind others that Jesus wasn’t sitting upon a throne just looking down at those less than. He too was a man who walked upon the earth and spent most of his time with the beggars, thieves and those that had been shunned by society. Mary’s soul and kind spirit gravitated toward those who weren’t all shiny and I loved how she always jumped in to help someone out in need, especially Julian and Dylan. While she struggled at first with the prospect of loving two men, she also thought god wouldn’t give her love if it was bad. Again, I loved how she continually turned to the positive things of religion.
The love in this book covers a little bit of everything. We have the virgin Mary, the irony is not lost on her name. Dylan loves a buffet more or less. Love truly is love for him and he doesn’t succumb to labels. Julian who is straight, until he meets Dylan and well, Julian isn’t sure what label to define himself at this point, except he knows he likes both Mary and his crazy neighbor. The thruples discovery is wonderful and a part I always enjoy.
Dylan was definitely bruised and battered by a system that was broken. His father is the sheriff in town, but within his own home he was a child of domestic violence. He could be dark and mean, but instead Dylan is sassy and sarcastic….tending to irritate a lot of people, like his father and football players, but it made me laugh through most of his chapters. Like a lot of people who use humor during tense times, it was a deflection to getting close to him. Dylan was a master of hiding from his emotions. He was always up for a good time and he did care, in his own way, if something happened to Mary and Julian. He didn’t understand his new found attachment to them, but he wasn’t about to analyze it either. Again he hated emotions, but that beautiful broken boy was the glue between the three of them.
Julian is the silent strength with the biggest obstacles to overcome. He’s a boy who’s recently moved to a small town where he is the minority. Never in his life has he felt so singled out and judged for this color of his skin. Julian tries to keep his head down and just get through the day, but a feisty little cheerleader and his sarcastic neighbor keep ending up in his path and tearing down his walls. Julian comes from a loving extended family and of the three of them, has the best support, a stable life, along with a roof over his head. Mary and Dylan struggled with both and luckily were able to soak up a bit of Julian’s beautiful home life. It’s just the outside world that is cruel and harsh and could hurt all three of them if their secret ever got out.
Julian’s part of the story tugged at my heart and tore at me for different reasons. One, his family life stirred up memories of my youth and the warmth I received at my friends’ homes, those treasured moments when life was both easier and tougher because of my age. A time of nativity when life seemed simpler, but that was perhaps because I didn’t understand just how harsh the world could be.
Unfortunately, Julian was shoved head first in those harsh realities, facing bigotry and hate, which tore through me each and every time slurs were said. I know the world exists in this harsh reality, instead of loving their fellow man, which saddens me. I loved Mary and Dylan even more for loving Julian just for him. Nothing more, nothing less. The three of them had a lot to overcome, but between them, inside their bubble, they just see each other and not the social, religious, racial, or economic views that the world outside would try to tear them apart for.
In Between was wonderfully steamy and sassy, but also beautifully written. I know Andi put a lot of work into this book and it shows.
I’m the preacher’s daughter.
Dylan is the punk son of the bigoted sheriff.
Julian the new kid in town everyone talks about in whispers and avoids like the plague.
Dylan and Julian shouldn’t want each other.
This town won’t accept them and yet I run towards the fire because love deserves a chance.
It’s not just them that’s in danger this time.
They both want me too.
I crave them and all they can offer me.
But I can’t have them.
It’s wrong. Perverted. Immoral. And I’m a good church girl.
At least, that’s what everyone thinks…
Can we hide who we are from a town who’s against us or will we be burned by their hatred?
*This is Mary’s story and can be read as a stand alone but will be best enjoyed after reading Bully King. This is an interracial MMF story and will have triggering language and situations due to racism and homophobia. Please proceed with caution.
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