Book Reviews

Paint It Black (Beneath the Stain 2) by Amy Lane at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 13-August-2019

Book Blurb

Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders’s Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can’t wait to make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.


Blake Manning has been one of Outbreak Monkey’s lead guitarists for ten years. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So hearing that Cheever is blowing through Outbreak Monkey’s hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.


Blake shows up at Cheever’s nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. Childhood abuse and a suicide attempt left Cheever on the edge of survival—a place Blake knows all too well.


Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?


Book Review

‘Paint it Black’ is the long-awaited sequel to ‘Beneath the Stain’, Amy Lane’s angst-ridden, emotionally devastating story about three brothers, their best friends, and the rock band they formed from a desperate need to have something to do in their small town where no one gave a damn. There are four boys in the Sanders family and each has a different father. Growing up in Tyson, California, with a population of ten thousand, they took a lot of heat but Mackey, Jefferson, and Kell, along with Stevie and Grant, made Outbreak Monkey and got the hell out of that small town. Well, all except Grant but if you haven’t read ‘Beneath the Stain’ then I don’t recommend you read this second book until you have. In my opinion, anyway. Regardless, Cheever Sanders was left at home with Mom and even though the home got bigger and nicer as the band became famous, sometimes it sucks when no one can see you.

“Cheever couldn’t seem to remember being hungry or hating his clothes or being crowded into a two-bedroom apartment, like they did. He just remembered his brothers, all around him, until suddenly they weren’t.” ~ Cheever Sanders

Amy Lane did a very sneaky thing with this book. I mean, maybe an argument can be made for interpretation, but when I read the blurb for ‘Paint it Black’ I see the book in one light, when in reality it’s 180-degrees different. In my eyes, anyway. Yes, Cheever has baggage related to his brothers leaving, to the rich kid boarding school he was sent to, and certainly to the abuse he suffered at that school. But Cheever is a Sanders and he’s more like Mackey than even he knows. Because when all is said and done… when Cheever is forced to admit to what happened all those years ago… when he can let go of so many of his own misconceptions regarding his brothers and their life… well, that’s when Cheever sees Blake for who he truly is and nothing is going to stop Cheever from loving him. Not even Blake himself.

“But you’re right. I may have needed Blake when I was at my lowest, but Mackey, he needs me. He needs someone to tell him he’s good inside, someone he will believe.” ~ Cheever Sanders

It’s so hard to realize that even after ten years Blake still doesn’t see himself as anything worthy of Outbreak Monkey or the guys. He knows they love him; he knows he’s useful, he knows they’re his brothers, but deep down inside in the dark places you never talk about, Blake still sees himself as the guy who sold himself on the streets for drugs or a place to sleep. When he looks in the mirror all he sees is the white trash kid who grew up in a trailer park with nothing. Blake is positive that no one is ever going to love him enough to stay. It’s Cheever’s job to change his mind. It’s the toughest job Cheever has ever had but he’s just as stubborn as his brothers and he’s not going to lose this man.

I expected all the feels with this book but I got so much more than that. I got a reunion with my favorite guys. I got to see the family with all of its additions. I got to see Katy, happy and healthy. I got to see Mackey still kicking a** and taking names. I got to see Trav still being the father figure and taking care of his boys. I got to see Cheever when he let his heart out from inside the jar. I got to see Blake feel like number one. I got. Yeah. I got it all.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 330 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-August-2019
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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