Review: K.C. Burn – Banded Together

Author: K.C. Burn
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary:

Punk’s not dead, but it’s time to redefine life.

Devlin Waters thought he’d have music forever. But the tragic death of his best friend ended the twenty-year run of his punk band, Negative Impression. Unable to process the loss, Devlin distances himself from everyone and everything that reminds him of the band. But forty-one is too young to curl up and wait for the end. In a search for a second career, he finds himself at university with a bunch of kids young enough to be… his kids. His sexy archeology professor, however, makes Devlin think about life beyond his grief….

Dr. Jack Johnson does not appreciate Devlin’s lack of respect, his inability to be serious, or his chronic lateness. Worse, he hates that he’s attracted to a student. When he realizes Devlin is the rock star he crushed on in his youth, he drops his guard—against his better judgment.

Before they can move forward together, Jack must admit to Devlin that he’s not only an admirer, but he also sings in a cover band. How will Devlin react to his ultimate fanboy when his own music has died?

Review:

Wow! This was a fantastic story that caught my attention early and then hogtied me to my e-book reader by the 50% mark so that I couldn’t escape until I read to the end. I love, love, loved it.

Devlin Waters, 41-year-old returning college student, makes an immediate impression on archeology college prof, Dr. Jack Johnson. Not necessarily a good one at the beginning, but one that grows and evolves to something intriguing. There’s just something about the sexy guy who keeps slouching in his chair and showing his package to best advantage that haunts Jack, and it isn’t until he learns the guy’s name that he makes a connection to a punk rocker named Blade who was the lead singer in the band that Jack grew up worshipping—and with whom Jack had a one-night stand that didn’t end so well. Still, he discounts the name until he happens to notice the tattoo near Devlin’s navel when Devlin is scratching his abs absentmindedly in lab. But rather than being pleased that his hero is in his class, Jack wants to strike out at the man who called him by the wrong name and threw money at him after their night of sex. It was both the hottest and most humiliating night of Jack’s life and the resentment is still burning strong. But he’s the guy’s professor so he has to bite his lip.

Devlin, in the meantime, is totally clueless to Jack’s identity. All he knows is that he wants the hot professor any way he can get him—preferably over his desk—and eventually, after haunting the man during office hours and lunch breaks, he convinces him to at least try friendship. Devlin isn’t one to talk about it, but he’s totally devastated and in deep grief over the loss of his best friend and fellow band member, Trent. The two were friends from early grade school and when Trent died suddenly, Devlin didn’t know how to deal with his grief so he kept it inside and turned away from the other band members and from anyone who would dare to bring up the subject of his music or band.

This sets the stage for much of the misunderstanding that occurs in this story. Usually I’m not a fan of angst and confusion and one character inadvertently hurting another, but in this case, the author cleverly wove a tale that simply captivated me. Both POVs made sense. Both characters were engaging and endearing, and I was rooting for them to finally reach a point where they could clear the air and get on with their undeniable attraction. It was quite evident to readers at that point that they not only cared about each other but they would be good for each other. The author gave us a character devastated by grief and another who was able to relate to those emotions and provide the perfect balance. And the good news? Sex didn’t happen until after the 70% mark, except for a brief flashback of their infamous one-night stand.

I love a slow burn, and I loved these characters so much. As I said, I couldn’t put the book down. Honestly, this is a wonderful romance and those who enjoy older characters or stories of musicians or both are sure to enjoy this one. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

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