Size: 6.00 x 8.00 in
Sometimes the music of love skips a beat….
Paralegal by day, musician by night, Julian has an expiration date stamped on his forehead when it comes to love. No relationship has made it past a year, so Julian avoids romance like the plague and concentrates on his music instead.
Which works fine until gorgeous, smart, and funny Zachary joins Julian’s firm. One look at the man and Julian knows he’s dangerous. No matter what, he can’t fall for Zachary. He has to spare Zachary the pain of dumping Julian at the one-year mark. His brilliant plan? Ask a straight friend to pose as his significant other to keep Zachary away. Not surprisingly, his scheme does little to dampen the attraction—on either side.
When Zachary gives Julian a second chance despite his deception, Julian thinks his curse might be broken. But then he’s faced with the impossible choice between a life with Zachary and living his dream of touring with the band….
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 5
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Office / Workplace Romance, Queer Wedding, True Love
Word Count: 70870
Setting: Washington, DC, USA
Languages Available: English
The girls in the office took Julian in hand. Even the usually formidable Rhonda took time off from her power-driven mode to partake in wedding fever. Julian decided it was like a disease among women. Some sort of strange psychic illness that robbed them of their senses. He kept having to explain that there would be no wedding dress, given that they were both, you know, men. They’d look at him with a sad, glazed expression and say, “Oh. Right.”
But then he’d find them later, still pouring over wedding magazines that mysteriously were sprouting all over the office, oohing and ahhing over the gowns no one would wear. Zachary took it with his usual exuberant puppiness.
Zachary cornered Julian in the coffee pantry early, waving a magazine in front of him. “See this one?”
Julian frowned. “For the hundredth time, I am not wearing a wedding dress!”READ MORE
Zachary had the audacity to laugh at him. “No. Not that one. The tux. Think it would look good on me?”
That sleek black ensemble? It was easy to picture on Zachary’s regal physique. Truth was Zachary looked good wearing anything. Hell, Zachary looked best wearing nothing, but he didn’t realize he said that out loud.
“Yeah? Hmm. A nudist wedding.” Zachary struck a considering pose, gripping his chin. “I’d have to fight everyone off you, but it might be fun.”
“Shut up, you freak.” He smirked. “’Sides, nobody would notice my skinny white ass with your honeyed muscles on parade.”
Zachary grabbed his butt. “Not skinny. Just right. Fits in my hands just so… see?”
Julian jumped away. “Zach! Not here.”
Zachary looked around. “It’s 7:00 a.m. Nobody’s here yet. Only reason I’m here is because you make so much goddamn noise every morning primping, I might as well get up and ride in with you.”
Julian’s lips pursed into a twist. “I do not primp.”
He was met with laughter. “You would only hear that part.” Zachary’s face turned serious.
“Jules, you’re here at seven every day. You leave well past nine most nights. Except for the metro ride in, I feel like I hardly see you anymore.”
“We see each other all the time. We live together. We work together.”
“I guess, yeah, I see you here. But I didn’t mean only that. And I know it’s not just you. I mean I have my classes and we’re both always so busy. We haven’t really made any wedding plans….”
Julian swallowed down another strong gulp of coffee and felt his head start to solidify with every sip. “I wish I had more time too. Don’t you think I get frustrated? There hasn’t been time for anything. This is the first time I’m managing the office through a big case. Stuart’s coming to a head soon. Harrison himself is riding my ass.”
“Glad someone is.”
“Nothing. Jules, I’m sorry. Never mind. You’re right.” Zachary turned and created a bunny fold on the page with the tuxedo he liked, before handing the magazine to Julian. “Think about the tux?”
Julian took it and held it absently against his side, already thinking of the million details ahead of him that day. “Sure,” he said quickly.
That afternoon, during five minutes when no one needed his attention, Julian picked up the magazine and looked at the bookmarked page again. Zachary would look magnificent in the tux. For the briefest moment, a tiny bit of the melody he’d heard looking into Zachary’s eyes in Texas flitted before him.
Brian bellowed out his name. And it was gone.COLLAPSE
The Music of Love is as fun as it is frustrating. Complex main characters, wide assortment of secondary characters, and told from Julien’s point of view, there are many great aspects and a few not-so-great, but all in all, I enjoyed this read!
I was sucked in from the very beginning, which is a scene that I won’t even begin to describe, but which made me laugh heartily at the sheer realism of the situation. Julien is a character with the ability to see music when looking at objects, and this grants him some incredible insight to apply to his songwriting. Zachary is a man with a plan, his life laid out in five year increments that keep him driving forward toward his objectives. This plan, however, does not hinder his enjoyment of the now, and I loved that aspect, the freeness that brought fresh air into so many scenes.
The storyline is very nicely put together, and I loved so many pieces and parts that led to the whole of it. There is one aspect, however, that I could have done with significantly less of: Julien’s angst. It is a critical piece in progressing the tale, but I spent a goodly amount of time wanting to slap him upside the head and tell him to grow up already! His self-doubts are understandable, but his inability to move forward by separating them and only taking those parts that are necessary to his growth made him come off almost like a middle school drama-ridden early teen.
The multitude of secondary characters each added great things to the whole. From Gabe’s and Marc’s loyalty to and protectiveness of their best friends Julien and Zachary, respectively, to the office staff and one quirky drummer that allowed the truly wonderful Randy to enter the story, I enjoyed each and every one of them and their interactions within the story.
In the end, I’m rating this at three stars. This is really a good debut novel from an up and coming writer, I look forward to watching her continued growth in the literary world! If you like angst (which I certainly do, within reason), give this a read. If you are a music lover, definitely give this a read for the awesome perspectives of Julien’s music! If you’re looking for a new author, I definitely suggest Sandine Tomas!