Buy Link: With the Band
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Loose Id
Length: Novel

Rating: 4.25

Aaron McClure has returned to Seattle after the break up of his band and his relationship.  His brother and sister’s band Schadenfraude needs a new male singer and Aaron is hoping to fill that spot.  He is looking forward to seeing drummer Andre Koehler, his brother’s long-time friend and Aaron’s childhood crush.  But he is unprepared for the immediate desire he feels when he sees Andre’s brother, bass guitarist Bastian, who is now all grown up and incredibly gorgeous.

Aaron is fiercely attracted to Bastian right from the start. He tries to keep it under control, both for the sake of the band and the fact that he assumes Bastian is straight given that he just broke up with a long-time girlfriend. However, the heat between the men is palpable, and when Bastian initiates things between them, they are soon engaged in some hot and heavy passion.

Both men know a relationship between them is not the best idea.  First, neither man is out, even to his family, let alone to the public and their fans (the only exception being Aaron has told his sister Elena).  And even if their siblings knew they were gay, they would completely freak at the idea of two bandmates dating.  Fall out from the bad end of a relationship is what tore apart Aaron’s other band, and they know Schadenfreude’s other members would be furious if they found out Aaron and Bastian are involved.

Yet despite this, the guys can’t stay away from each other.  They continue sneaking around as the relationship gets more intense and they fall in love.  Aaron and Bastian know they must come clean with their families and the rest of the band, but as Schadenfreude’s star starts to rise, they worry the announcement will cause to much disruption.  Yet secrets can’t be kept forever and Aaron and Bastian have to hope that they can still make things work when the truth comes out.

Ok, so let me start with the things I really liked here.  First off, Bastian and Aaron burn up the page.  Witt writes such great scenes of sexual tension, and the early days of their relationship when they both want each other are crazy intense.  And when the men do get together it is just explosive.  They are totally hot and needy together (like splash the cold water on them hot).  I have a thing for those guys who get all growly during sex and growling in German?  Whew, hello Bastian!

I also really liked the interplay among the band members.  As two sets of siblings together in a band, it made for great relationship dynamics.  Many bands operate as a family, but in this case they had the added challenges of actually being family, and all the issues that come with spending so much time with your siblings. There are a lot of characters to handle and I think Witt does a great job of giving them all unique personalities and making the side characters more than just window dressing.

So the primary issue I had with the story is that I felt things got a bit stuck in a loop.  Aaron and Sebastian have a lot of discussion about why they shouldn’t be together, the fact that they want to be together anyway, and when/how they will tell their bandmates. I think these are all important issues and I am glad they are discussed, but there were times when I felt like the same topics came up over and over but nothing really moved forward or changed.

In addition to the issues the men face with their relationship, there are also lingering problems in the form of Denise, Bastian’s ex-fiance.  She isn’t able to accept that things are over between them and is constantly showing up and hanging all over him.  Denise is the clear villain in the story, and her inability to let go is definitely a problem, but I just wished she had been fleshed out a bit more.  Denise and Bastian were together for six years and had just recently broken up.  So it is not that odd to me that she would have trouble moving past things.  Towards the end of the book we get more detail on the problems in their relationship and we see Denise act out in a really terrible way.  But I wish things were developed with her a bit more so we understood the backstory and she wasn’t so much of a flat “bad guy” character.

Overall I enjoyed With the Band, especially because the characters are so likeable.  I loved hanging with the band and watching them all interact.  And Bastian and Aaron are incredibly hot together and  they just steam up the page. I had a few issues with the book, but I also thought it was a great story that I enjoyed reading.

P.S. Witt has generously donated a copy of With the Band for our Rock Star Week giveaway, so be sure to stop by the Rock Star Week Giveaways post for a chance to win this and other great books.