Overall rating – 5 silken sheets
If you love someone, set him free. If he steals something of yours, hunt him down and make him sorry.
Alex Bremen is over Chance Ralan. Ever since his high school boyfriend ditched him nine years ago, Alex has barely thought of Chance at all. Sure, Alex attended a concert or two when his ex’s band, Armageddon Showdown, was in the area, but that was more curiosity than anything else. Who wouldn’t want to see firsthand how his once clean-cut boyfriend transformed into a pierced and tattooed heavy metal god?
But when Chance has the nerve to record a love song Alex wrote for him years ago, Alex crosses the country to confront him. Revenge becomes a dish best served sizzling hot. The two men lock horns, but find the chemistry between them has only intensified with time, and occasionally love needs to do some growing up before it can be done right
Hurrah! There’s a new series of rock star books, one of my favourite tropes 🙂
At least, the first book is out, and hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the second.
Alex and Chance were caught in bed together by Alex’s father, resulting in Chance running away and Alex taking the brunt of his father’s disgust and outrage. They reacted in completely different ways, with Alex not only coming out but building up his body in the gym, determined to never be physically intimidated again. Chance meanwhile, buried his gay tendencies under an avalanche of adoring women as he rose to rock stardom.
Alex made the mistake of going to an Armageddon Showdown concerts a few years back, and that had been too close for comfort. He’d seen Chance writhing and thrashing on stage, performing for an adoring crowd. The front man pointed to the hottest women with a sneer and a promising crook of his finger, all the while oblivious to his ex- boyfriend standing beyond the reach of the dazzling lights. Not that Alex ever wanted Chance to see him again. He chose his path, the spineless prick, and now he could live a lie to please the masses. Alex was a million times happier fully out of the closet.
Neither of them forgot their first love, even though they managed to convince themselves they’d moved on. Things only changed when Chance recorded a ballad – a love song – that Alex had written for him back in high school.
It wasn’t like he could throw away his yearbooks, delete his Facebook account, and wipe away all traces of Chance. No. He was constantly bombarded with his image—his voice—on various media outlets. There was no escape. Lucky Chance, he could pick and choose which parts of his past he remembered. Apparently, Alex’s song had made the cut.
Understandably, Alex is angry.
“I wrote the lyrics and the piano piece for that song. I wrote it for him, and he’s making a shitload of cash off the one real thing that ever fucking happened to him, King.” The dog looked up at his name and cocked his head. “I’m not going to let him get away with it. I want my song back.”
While Chance was busy rocking out, Alex had cultivated a career as a film maker, with a speciality in music documentaries. Cliff, the manager of Armageddon Showdown is thrilled at the idea of the band being featured in film, but Chance is horrified.
A chill rocketed down his spine and cold sweat bloomed across his skin at the thought of seeing Alex Bremen again after all this time. This is how people must feel when a ghost passes through them in the movies. But this ghost was real. Chance’s left- behind lover was coming on tour with them to shoot a documentary. I might throw up right here.
Chance had never meant to record the song – their song. He’d been drunk and melancholy one night, and unable to think of anyone but Alex.
Chance hadn’t been able to get the song out of his head. Over and over the notes, the lyrics, cycled through his brain until he thought he might purge it if only he let it out. The piano felt strange under his hands, but he warmed up as he stumbled through the first verse. Alex was always the piano man, not him. Still, Chance had learned their song back in the day. He began in a voice barely above a whisper, but as memories and emotion swirled around him like angry specters, his volume grew with his sadness. He sang to release the demon lodged in his head and his heart, and bitter tears streamed down his face the whole while. It hadn’t worked. He was drained and destitute when he finished, but their song still rang in the air. And Cliff had stood behind him clapping as the final notes waned.
Once Cliff heard the song, there was no way to avoid recording it. After all, it was the crossover ballad that would showcase them to a wider audience and propel them to stardom: the make or break song for his bandmates – his friends. How could he say no?
I was on tenterhooks for their first time together in nearly ten years. It happens in the bathroom:
“Like you need any help with that, Chance. I think your head is fucked well and good, and it’s got nothing to do with me. Besides, you sent me a goddamn bat signal on the airwaves when you used my song!”
“So, you didn’t just show up ’cause you missed this, huh?” He grinned maliciously into the glass while he grabbed his crotch in a mocking gesture. In the harsh lighting, even with his dark makeup ringing his eyes from the concert, and the ebony spiral of a dragon’s body curling around his neck and disappearing into the ripped collar of his shirt, Alex could still see flashes of the boy he once knew.
Chance tries to explain:
“I was drunk one night. I couldn’t get you…that song out of my head. I just thought if I sang it, I could sleep, ya know? Cliff heard me. Said we had to cut it.” Chance shook his head as if to negate his words. “He had the rest of the band pressure me.”
“So, once again, I lose to the band, huh? It’s classic Chance. You fucked me over for your career already! Years later, with an entire country between us, you do it again?”
Of course, finally being in close proximity again, they can’t ignore the simmering attraction any longer:
A shiver of excitement rumbled through Alex’s body. He had come here to yell at him, to make him realize what a self-centered prick he was. Hopefully shame him, at least a little. After that he was going to leave. Instead, he leaned in, and his lips were on Chance’s. And, good lord, he tasted and smelled just the way Alex remembered underneath the burn of booze. Chance’s face was rougher against his chin and cheeks, not like the smooth-faced boy Alex used to steal kisses from. Damn, if the man wasn’t so much hotter.
* sigh * It was a lovely moment 🙂
However, Chance is now more confused than ever. He still wants Alex, but the world thinks he is straight. His fans, his bandmates and his family. Coming out isn’t something he ever planned to do, but he can’t stay away from Alex.
They manage to snatch a night together in a hotel, but are disturbed in the morning :
“He’s in the elevator, but he could come back. You gotta get out of here now. Take the stairs!” Chance grabbed Alex by the wrinkled peach shirt and tugged him toward the door.
“You are unfuckin’-believable, you know that?” Alex’s jaw looked ready to snap it was clenched so tight. Chanced opened the door and was about to push him through, but Alex knocked his hands away and walked out on his own. He stalked toward the stairwell at the end of the hall and disappeared inside without a single witness.
Chance should have breathed a sigh of relief, should have celebrated that his gay status was still on the down low. He turned around and numbly picked his clothes off the floor. The used condom was a forlorn squiggle on the black and gold carpeting. He righted the garbage can, and then flushed the rubber down the toilet. He was only protecting himself, his career. He was justified. Strange how he felt like the world’s biggest dickhead.
“This sucks!” Chance yelled at the bad floral wallpaper. Nothing about this was going to go smoothly, of that he was gut-wrenchingly certain.
This sets the pattern for their next interactions. It frustrates the hell out of them both.
This could have been a predictable hot romance, but Kimber Vale added several layers of believable, heart-aching angst. I totally understood Alex’s anger at the way Chance kept discarding him, and how he kept hoping that his one-time lover would eventually have the courage to accept him again.
The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle was well portrayed too and I really felt as though I was there, behind the scenes, watching the band, and watching Alex as he observed them through the lens of his camera. The secondary characters were strong and well drawn too, from Chance’s bandmates to his manager, and to Alex’s crew – including Miles, his soon-to-be-ex-lover.
I gobbled this story up in two sittings and can’t wait for the next one to come out. If you like M/M, hot rockers and sweet lovin’, this is the book for you 🙂
Overall rating – 5 silken sheets
Sexy rating – 5 lips
Plot – great
Characters – great
Warnings – some hot male/male loving
Genre: Contemporary romance
Published: September 2013; $4.99 (Amazon)
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books