It's probably best to do that before jumping into this one. Could you read 'A Deeper Blue' without reading 'The Blueprint' possibly but I don't think it would be as enjoyable and possibly you'd read it feeling like you missed something...so lets go with no...you need to read 'The Blueprint' first.
Ironically for me one of the things that bothered me the most about 'The Blueprint' is actually dealt with here in 'A Deeper Blue' and that was the ending, as I said in my review for 'The Blueprint'...
Without going into a lot of details there was one thing that totally kept this from being a 5 star read for me and that was the ending. I just didn't understand some of the choices that were made...especially by Kelly and while I would have at least liked a Happy For Now with a strong promise of a happily ever after what I feel like I got was more like a 'this'll probably all be good'. It just felt like after every thing that Blue and Kelly went through and put each other through things should have been more solid.
and mainly it turns out that was because where we were left in 'The Blueprint' wasn't the end...it was more of a pause in the story.
So here's the thing in 'A Deeper Blue' we basically pick up where 'The Blueprint' leaves off and Kelly and Blue are solidly planted in their relationship...no it's not happily ever after time and things aren't perfect but for both of these men...'this is it.'
Other than to say that at times I found things to be moving a little slower than I would have liked there were a lot of things that worked well for me in this one. First off lets talk about the relationship...
The thing that made the strongest connection for me with these two men was their focus in the relationship. For Kelly it wasn't that being with Blue meant being in the closet it was Blue's safety. He got it. He got the fact that Blue having the career he did couldn't just be out and proud. Not that he liked it or was complacent with it but he understood and for Kelly the priority was Blue being safe and he already stressed about the potential injuries that Blue faced ever time he stepped out onto the field without adding the increased potential of being a gay and out football player and the increase risk that it would mean to him...homophobia in sports...sadly, it's still a thing. In Kelly's eyes the risk to Blue outweighed the benefits of him being out about their relationship. It's what you do when you love someone...you put their well being and happiness above the things you want...which leads to Blue...
Blue was probably every bit as miserable as Kelly maybe even more so about keeping their relationship in the closet. But in his heart it wasn't what he wanted. All he wanted was Kelly...yes, he still loves football and wants to play but for Blue his priorities are changing and he's starting to realize that footballs not all he wants and maybe it's not the most important thing that he wants.
The road to happily ever after is neither easy or clear for Kelly or Blue. Both men are going to find that in order to get what they want it's going to take faith, trust, compromise, patience and a lot of determination.
There were some surprises with some of the secondary characters that I liked...like Blue's agent, it turned out he was one of the good guys and then there was Blue's brother. Ian may not have been the perfect supportive brother but his response to finding out about Blue was real and for him it wasn't about understanding or approval but it was about the fact that Blue was his brother...his family and you don't turn your back on family.
Then there was Blue's father...yep, he's still a-bag-o-dicks, sorry but for me this man did not deserve the sons he'd been given and add in a blast from the past that was heading Blue's way and it's only with Kelly's love and support that he's able to man-up and deal with things and as always with these two men there's laughter and smiles.
'A Deeper Blue' was the ending that I needed and was looking for in the first book and that's ok because anything worth having, is worth waiting for.
An ARC of 'A Deeper Blue' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.