Reviewed by Kini
Favorite Quote: “His sentences were short and clipped. He broke eye contact and ran his hands through his hair. “I didn’t know where to go,” he said to the pavement, his voice small in a way Jesse never wanted to hear again. It unstuck Jesse. He reached out and pulled Hunter over the threshold and into his arms. “You come here. That’s where you come. You come here.”
Every time I read a book by Jenny Holiday, I remember how much I like her writing and want more books by her. As is typical for her this story had two great main characters who are each flawed, yet perfect for each other. Recently there was some conversation on Twitter about “cinnamon roll heroes” ie- heroes that are kind and loving and all those gooey descriptors and I would say that both heroes in this book fit all of the above.
When the book first opens Jesse is a mid level rock star in Canada but he and his band are trying to move up in the world. He is traveling from Montreal to Toronto via train and opts to sit next to a “baby silver fox” on the train. Up to this point in Jesse’s life, he’s been living the life of a typical rocker- drinking, drugging, and sexing. During the train ride Jesse finds out a gossip mag got a photo of him kissing someone who was not his girlfriend and so his life is imploding. He gets dropped by his manager and after a night of drunkeness gets a new manager and gets his life back on track
The baby silver fox turns out to be Dr. Hunter Wyatt who is traveling back to his home in Toronto after visiting his ex-boyfriend after their dog passed away. Hunter was in a relationship for over eight years with a man who was not openly gay. He vows to never again be someone’s hidden love.
Hunter and Jesse have a great conversation on the train and get a little tipsy. Nothing more than a little mutual attraction though. Jesse does give Hunter his email though. The story then flash forwards two years. Hunter is a pediatrician and one of his patients loves Jesse, who is now a big name rock star, so he digs up the email address and contacts him. And thus begins a beautiful love story.
Jesse is bisexual, the person he was seen kissing in that photo years ago was a man. But no one but Jesse, the man, and Jesse’s manager know this. The manager has instructed Jesse that being on brand is being straight. Jesse abides by this. Until over the course of a year or so he falls in love with Hunter. It starts as a friendship. They become best friends. Spending time together, having dinner, Jesse invites Hunter to his cabin to hang out with the band. They fall asleep under the stars. They share a kiss, but Jesse keeps his feelings and desires locked down. Y’all know I love me a tortured hero.
Hunter is infatuated with Jesse. But he knows nothing of Jesse being bisexual. Even after they cuddle under the stars and share a kiss, Hunter is willing to pass it off as one-offs. Hunter does a little dating, because he is a healthy man who is looking for a partner and obviously Jesse would never be interested in him, right? Oh Hunter, you were so very wrong.
This book was sweet and wonderful and I adored Jesse and Hunter as individuals and together. They are both lovely men, Seeing them tortured just enough by being apart and when they finally come together was wonderful. I loved watching Jesse fall in love with Hunter. And felt so deeply for Hunter when he was so clearly in love with Jesse, but also knew that he deserved to be loved fully.
“I just want someone awesome to love me— publicly.” Hunter snorted, sounding like he was disgusted with himself. “Is that too much to ask?” “No,” Jesse said softly. He swallowed against a lump that had suddenly materialized in his throat. “No. That’s not too much to ask.”
The biggest conflict was the promise Jesse made to his manager and band to stay on brand. And that conflict was a little iffy for me, the whole thought that a rock star in 2017 can’t be gay isn’t something that I am not sure that I buy. But I also recognize that I am an optimist forever wearing rose-colored glasses and may not be looking at it from an insider’s view. But I did not let that distract me from my enjoyment of the story. I liked how the conflict was resolved. I felt so very deeply when they were apart. My favorite quote at the beginning is when they find their way back to each other.
I loved the side characters, especially Jesse’s band mates. They were awesome and very accepting of Jesse and Hunter. Jesse has a sister and a nephew who were both kind of moppety, but because I loved so much about this book, I shall let that moppetry go. But it would be nice to see the sister get a story and the chance to be fleshed out as a person.
Overall, I really liked this book. Two men that find each other in an unlikely way, build a great friendship and then a solid love between them. They have some stumbles along the way. There is a grand gesture that I loved. I loved the first book in this series, but I liked this one better.