Note: This ARC was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
As he watches me, his gaze softens, intense and dazzling, and I realize I no longer want to paint the mural. I want to paint the stars I see in his eyes. The constellations I put there right in this moment. The ones I desperately hope don’t fade—burn out—anytime soon.
I've been waiting for Ezra's story since the guy was introduced in Touch the Sky and was all grumpy gorgeousness in Chase the Sun, but Paint the Stars was so much more than I could have hoped for. I confess that I wasn't sure if the combination of a brooding artist who liked his dark solitude and an effervescent yogi and yoga teacher who attracts everyone around him with his light personality. However, Daevonte won me over within the first chapter, and I knew right off, he would be perfect for my Ezra. Yes, MY Ezra. I'm laying claim over the pretty painter. He's been mine since he and Gabriel were roommates in book one. Dae is the only person I'm willing to share Ezra with.
Twenty-six-year-old artist Ezra Greene prefers being on his own. His parents have never fully accepted his being gay, his Catholic faith taught him that who he is is wrong, and the only boy he's ever loved walked away from him without much of an explanation. He's not alone, though. He's got a small but loyal group of friends who persist on him leaving the confines of his apartment every now and again and his older sister has always had his back. And now he can add to that list the yoga teacher over at the wellness center he's painting a mural for. Daevonte Randall is friendly and flirty and isn't easily swayed by Ezra's lack of social skills his insistence that he would never try yoga.
There's something about enigmatic artist that is Ezra Greene that doesn't just stir Daevonte Randall's curiosity. There's no doubting that Ezra is gorgeous, but Dae finds himself wanting to know more about the man who doesn't really share much about himself with anyone. Even as Ezra explains that he's demisexual, Dae isn't going anywhere. He wants to be the man's friend, accepting that he would probably never be more. But the time they spend together strengthens not just their friendship but the bond that belies something more stirring underneath. Dae may only be twenty-one but he recognizes that he's all in with Ezra...but is Ezra ever going to be all in for Dae?
Gah! I loved these two together. As in, they're officially one of my all-time favorite couples in the world of M/M romance and that's saying something because that list is exclusive for those men who I was fully invested in and still obsess over. Ezra and Dae may be opposites in more ways than one but it's those differences that make them so darn perfect for each other. It's like one fills the gaps within the other, and in the end, they make one another whole, though it's clear that Ezra has more issues than Dae does based on Ezra's past relationship and his upbringing alone. But Ezra is also the one who makes Dae see that he is open to commitment...with the right man.
Now, there was some apprehension on my end when the whole Catholic angle was brought in. I'm a lifelong Catholic--albeit a liberal one--and while I can readily admit that the Church has an antiquated way of thinking on many touchy subjects, it's also been more progressive as of late, thanks to Pope Francis. So, I was wary about it being made into a scapegoat of sorts, but lo and behold, it wasn't. I should have had more faith in the authors because they took it in a pleasantly surprising direction. As an aside, the term "pastor" threw me off since it's one I've never heard used in Catholicism but Google informed me that it is used in the US for parish priests. Go figure.
Three books into this series and I still can't tell who between Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn are writing which parts, and that's a testament to how seamlessly these two seem to work as a duo. Just like the two before it, their third endeavor tugs at your heartstrings when it comes to the personal back stories of the main characters while giving you romance and sex that are super swoon-worthy. But I must say, this is probably them at their best together. The prose was enthralling and the story with a balanced mix of dramatic angst and lighthearted witticisms. Fingers and toes crossed that isn't the end of the Free Fall series yet! Paint the Stars gets five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Free Fall series:
Touch the Sky (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
Chase the Sun (book two) - five stars - My Review
Paint the Stars (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 20 February 2017
Date Read: 19 February 2017