Dare gets lost in music only he can hear.
Since childhood, it’s rolled through his mind, drowning out the rest of the world. When he comes back to himself he has the notes and lyrics for the songs his band plays. But he wonders if such talent is worth it, when the rest of his life is such a mess.
All Sionn ever wanted was Dare’s attention.
But that won’t happen as long as Dare has his ‘musical dreams’, so he keeps his attraction a secret. Too bad it’s impossible to keep anything secret when you live with your three best friends. When Sionn’s temper reaches breaking point, he sets Dare on a quest to ‘fix’ himself, in the hopes of gaining the love of the man he adores.
But Fate has a funny way of twisting things.
And ‘normal’ is just a state of mind, isn’t it? While Dare struggles to change, secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested, and the band is offered the chance of a lifetime. Can they pull themselves together fast enough to take advantage of it, or will Dare’s desire to be ‘normal’ unravel all their lives?
Publisher: Encompass Ink
Pairings: M-M, M-M-M
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Best Friend’s Sibling, Friends to Lovers, Hurt / Comfort, Love Triangle, Menage
Word Count: 90000
Setting: House and bar in Chicago
Languages Available: English
Dare closed his eyes for a moment and shivered again, realizing that he was tired and hadn’t had a meal all day. He climbed to his feet, his guitar clutched in one hand and the other gripping the railing as he swayed. Damn, he thought as he waited for the dizziness to pass. It had to be pretty late if he was feeling this dizzy and weak. With a tired sigh he shuffled inside, tucked his guitar back into its case, and wandered into the kitchen to see that the clock read a quarter to five. Holy shit. No wonder he was starving and ready to drop; he’d been on that damned porch all fucking day. He vaguely remembered heading out there at ten, with a cup of coffee, his cigarettes, and his guitar. He checked his pocket and found the pack, happy he hadn’t burned through too many. Sometimes he smoked them all without realizing it. A waste really, or at least that’s the way he saw it. If he was smoking something, he wanted to at least remember the taste of it.
His hands shook as he poured himself a glass of milk. Then he sat at the table, drinking the milk and eating an apple. It would have to do until he could get dinner cooked. He knew the others would be home soon, and hungry. Not that they really wanted him messing with the stove. His dreams were unpredictable, and twice he’d started unintentional fires, staring off into space while the pan beside him burned. Today, though, he figured it would be fine, easy really, to cut up an onion, brown some beef, and toss soup into the pot on top of it to make a meal. He tried hard not to hum as he worked. He tried not to think of music at all. Instead, he wrote out a grocery list while the meat browned, stirring it occasionally so it didn’t burn. He forced himself to focus on what they needed and not the soft rhythm pulsing in the corner of his mind.
It helped to think of the last time he’d burned a meal and Sionn’s disgusted reaction as he’d stood with the fire extinguisher in hand, red faced, and screaming about how Dare couldn’t manage to go thirty goddamned minutes without drifting away to dreamland and how he could have burned the whole place down goddammit all to bloody hell! Dare focused on how ashamed he’d felt over the mess he’d made and how angry he’d made Sionn, and he finished cooking the meal without incident. He checked the time. They’d all be out of work by now, unless one or more had been asked to work overtime, in which case, they’d all be late, coming home in the car they shared. Dare sat at the table listening to the tick of the clock and idly drumming his fingers against the wood.
While he waited, he let the music take over. He lay his head down on the table and stared at the counter, his eyes glazing over as he entered the waking dream. He was oblivious to the roar of the Charger’s engine as it pulled up to the house, the slamming of doors, and the chatter of voices as the other members of the band came in.COLLAPSE
Mari Cardenas on Goodreads/Bayou Book Junkie wrote:
It's difficult to put into words how much I loved this amazing book. I don't want to give too much away and I don't usually rehash the storyline however this time I think a little recap wouldn't hurt.
Dare is front man for the rock band Desolation Angel. He is an extremely gifted musician and an all round sweet guy. He lives in a house with the other members of the band - his brother, Tommy, Tommy's boyfriends Mark and Paul, and the gruff Scotsman Sionn. Sionn has been attracted to Dare for a long time, and the feeling is mutual. the only problem is that Dare is certain Sionn hates him.
Dare has episodes when he literally gets lost in music. His body switches off as his mind is absorbed with music and it is at these times he writes his amazing music. This has never been a problem for Dare or his band family, but it is a problem for Sionn who gets scared when Dare drifts off while cooking and sets the kitchen alight.
Dare overhears Sionn arguing with the other members of the band about Dare being unable to have a normal life, and gets the idea that Sions hated him because of what he begins to see as a disability, (which he never has before).
Because of this, Dare decides to get rid of the music whatever the cost.
It was heartbreaking to read Dare's struggle to become 'normal' and I loved the psychiatrist's attitude in trying to persuade Dare to accept himself for what he is and define his own normality. Dare steadfastly refuses to listen and is single minded even after Sionn declares his love and regrets his harsh words.
The characters are well drawn with highly individual 'voices' especially Sionn who has a strong Scottish brogue. There were times I wondered whether he was the right person for Dare because they spark off each other at times. However, there were times when they completely click and it was clear they were made for each other.
Music is woven through the story as a haunting refrain; at times a blessing and at others a curse. It is lovely to see how the band members are so protective of Dare and understanding of how important his music is to him, and how much his episodes feed into that. Dare without his music is a sorry creature indeed.
I know that a review should be like a sandwich with criticism cushioned between compliments, but I honestly struggle to find a criticism of this book. There are a few editing slips, but I've rarely read a book where there are none. Perhaps there could have been a little more detail about the music. Perhaps Sionn's accent might be less blatant, but none of it really detracted from the story.
I was enchanted with Dare from the first page to the last. He could have come a cross as a caricature, a little too perfect; a little too stubborn, but he's definitely not. He's true to character in everything he does, and his struggle (internal and external) is quite clear, without being overboard.
This is the kind of book that takes you on a journey with characters you can't help but get invested in. It's a page turner from beginning to end. I can't recommend it too highly.
I've been reading a lot lately, and I can honestly say this book has really stood out for the quality and smoothness of the writing, the strength of the characters and the haunting nature of the story. (less)
Carol Pedroso on Goodreads wrote:
Dare has lost himself in dreams of music since he was a little kid, to the point where he was unable to finish school, drive a car or hold a job. His brother and two of his bandmates, Paul and Mark, don't see a problem in this. Especially since Dare creates wonderful music that they can all play together. Sionn, their last bandmate, though, isn't as happy about that and he's pretty vocal regarding what he thinks of Dare's dreams.
Considering Dare has been crushing on Sionn, it makes him resolute to be 'normal' and convinces his brother to take him to a psychologist. However, normal might be highly overrated and Dare might lose his music to it.
I knew this story would be heartbreaking from the start and it was, but it was definitely worth it. I wasn't too sure about Sionn at first. He was kind of a jerk to Dare and the rest of his bandmates and friends because he couldn't admit his feelings. I warmed up to him as the book advanced, though and ended up liking him just about as much as I liked Tommy, Paul and Mark. Now Dare, I loved! He had to face such difficult things. Had to learn to love himself, to accept that different could be good, that even if there were some things he couldn't do, there were a whole lot more that he could. I loved Doctor Horzan, too, the way he dealt with it all was so compassionate and always trying to find the best solution for Dare.
This book has romance, suspense, a bit of violence and a whole lot of heart! A must read for certain! You won't regret picking up this fantastic, heartfelt, eye-opening book!
Rating: 5 Stars!!!
Apr 03, 2016
Carol Pedroso rated it
it was amazing
Shelves: given-for-honest-review, mm-romance
I loved this story. It had me laughing and crying in equal measures all the way through.
I fell in love with Dare right from the off. The music he hears almost constantly is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is it helps him to write the music that makes the band he’s in famous. The down side is it impacts on his life.
The story follows how he learns to cope and his budding relationship with a fellow band member. It takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions and events, before arriving at the wonderfully happy ending.
My favorite part had to be when Dare calls Charlie about the demo tape. He really plays it well and backs Charlie into a really tight corner. I won’t tell you what’s said but trust me you have to read that part.
Lastly the story is well written and a credit to its author.
Characters in this story belong to the same universe as ones in Gypsy's Rogue, Tripping Over the Edge of Night, Guitars and Cages, and Halfway to Someday.