Publication Date: 2/10/15
Summary: Tucker Reynolds is a rising star in country music. The people from his record label tell him he’s destined to be one of the greats—but only if he fits the “good ol’ boy” image country fans expect from him. The trouble is, that’s not the kind of man’s man Tucker really wants to be. Forced into an unsavory relationship with a record executive and frustrated by his regrettably platonic relationship with his best friend and guitarist, Mags Palmer, Tucker turns to kinky sex with male prostitutes for release. Things hit Tucker’s limit when one of Tucker’s bandmates, Jess Grayville, begins to suspect what’s going on, and puts himself in danger to protect Tucker. Desperate for a way out of his troubles, Tucker realizes only honesty, love, and a true song can save himself and the man who stands by him.
Review: What do you get when you mix together an impressionable young man looking for his big break, a power hungry sadistic bastard who’s not beyond making big promises with big payouts for even bigger sacrifices, a best friend who’s a bit of a protector and a little bit oblivious, and a bandmate who’s sweeter than apple pie and more observant than is comfortable? You get a very dark and fairly twisted story with just enough sweetness to keep you from wanting to cry at the loss of innocence to an evil disguised as a pretty face.
A feeling of melancholy is the best way I can describe the primary emotion I experienced while reading this book. My heart was heavy with the weight of Tucker’s loneliness and dark secrets. About 2/3 of the story is about Tucker’s struggle to find a way to survive under the thumb of a man who abuses his power to sadistically torment Tucker for years. It takes this much of the story to unfold before Tucker’s actual love interest becomes apparent and hope starts to bloom.
Dark and gritty is definitely one of my favorite combinations in making a really good story, but I have to say, this one had a strong creepy factor even for me. Along with Tucker, I had these strong vibes of feeling violated and helpless and dirty. For those who have triggers associated with rape and/or suicide, proceed with caution. Be aware that there is also a little female action included early in the book. Despite all the darkness the author was able to conjure up through her words, there was always that thread of hope that kept me riveted until the end. This book won’t be for everyone, but if you can handle the dark and enjoy characters that have to work extra hard to persevere and earn their happy ending, then definitely check this one out!