Title: Moonlight Becomes You
Authors: Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Loose Id
Buy Links: Amazon ARe
Ok, before I start, this is a hard review to write because there is some super spoilerific potential here. I think I have done a good job avoiding them and have made good use of the spoiler tag. However, if you are reading through a feedreader (and I believe through email as well) the spoiler tags may not work. So if you want to avoid them, I suggest reading this review on the site itself where they do work.
Shane Ventura is a successful rock star living what should be the ultimate rocker life. He has endless opportunities for sex, parties, drugs, and alcohol, and his band Luck is quite successful. Yet he is unsatisfied and weary with the wild life, knowing something is missing but not sure how to fix it.
Things look up for Shane when Luck is set to team up with another super hot band, Moonlight. Moonlight’s lead singer Kayden Berlin is a fabulous performer, and gorgeous as well. Shane can’t wait to meet him and for their bands to begin touring together. When the bands get together, Kayden is charming and friendly to everyone. However, he turns cold and aloof immediately upon meeting Shane and his brother Nick.
Shane has no idea what he has done to offend Kayden or to make him hate Shane so much. He tries repeatedly to reach out to the man, only to be rebuffed over and over. As the weeks go on, Shane finds himself more and more drawn to Kayden, who is so lovely with everyone else. But Kayden makes it clear that he thinks Shane is just a rock star cliche, wasting his life with his rotating bed partners and wild parties. Shane finds himself surprisingly hurt, truly caring what Kayden thinks of him. But during his unguarded moments, it is clear that Kayden has feelings for Shane as well, although he is fighting them and refusing to give in. Shane just wants Kayden to give him a chance and really get to know him, but he is not sure he will ever get past the icy wall Kayden has placed between them.
While we follow the story with Kayden and Shane, we also flash back to Shane’s past and his relationship with his first and only real boyfriend, Jesse Seider. Jesse and Shane met in high school when Jesse was assigned to tutor Shane. Jesse was a pudgy, geeky kid who didn’t fit in, while Shane was a bit of punk, dealing with an abusive, alcoholic father and trying to help care for his brother Nick. The guys bonded over their love of music and became best friends. Jesse joined Luck as their lead singer and the band started playing small gigs, just getting their start. Shane was surprised when he found himself falling for Jesse. They were so different in looks and personality, but Shane soon realized he had feelings for Jesse and the two begin dating and falling in love.
Yet just as Jesse and Shane were getting their start, something happened that destroyed their relationship and Jesse’s part in the band. Shane regrets the role he played in the situation every day, hating the pain he caused Jesse and the loss of their friendship. He knows part of the reason he has never found real happiness has been the hole in his heart from Jesse. But now Shane is finding himself drawn to Kayden, and he hopes that he can finally build a relationship again, if only Kayden will allow him to get close.
As I mentioned, this book has some big surprises, which sadly I was spoiled to from reading a review on Goodreads. However, despite that, I really enjoyed this story and loved getting to meet Shane and Kayden. Shane for me is a really interesting character. We meet him when he is at a crossroads, realizing that the way he has been living is just not working for him, but not really sure what to do about it. His past is still haunting him and he is incredibly remorseful over the way things ended with Jesse. And at the same time, he is trying to look forward, and move toward a happiness that he thinks he can find with Kayden.
I couldn’t help but feel for Shane. Although his role in what happened with Jesse was a terrible thing, he was a young guy at the time, just trying to make it. His mother abandoned him and Nick to life with his horrible father who was drunk and abusive. Music was the way out, both for him and Nick whom he felt bound to try to protect. So even though his actions were cruel and hurtful, part of me understands why he made those decisions in his past. And certainly he has regretted them ever since.
Kayden was a bit harder for me to know. We get only Shane’s POV in the story and, although it is clear that Kayden doesn’t like Shane (or at least doesn’t WANT to like him), we don’t learn as much about him or his past. We do get some moments where Kayden lets down his guard, both with others and occasionally with Shane. And during those times we see the sweet, lovely man that he is. But because the two struggle a lot to make things work, I had a bit of a hard time really getting a good sense of him, or of the two guys together.
Ok, here is the spoiler stuff so remember, if you are reading on a feedreader or email, the tags may not work….[spoiler]So the thing I think I had the most trouble with is how awful Kayden is to Shane, and how he has sex with Shane while still keeping his secret, especially when Shane is so sincere at that point. I totally understand why Kayden is upset, and I even understand his desire to get back at Shane. But it feels like he took it too far. Especially because I guess part of me understood why Shane did what he did. And Shane was a young man, while Kayden is certainly old enough to know better. So I had a harder time warming to Kayden.
I think the other issue for me is that we see clearly how good things were with Jesse, and understand that he was Shane’s true love. It is obvious that those feelings never left for either of them, so I see why they quickly get back together when they work things out. But we see so little of Shane and Kayden in a good relationship, that it was hard for me to make the jump to them suddenly together and happy, even knowing it was really Jesse.[/spoiler]
Ok, that’s it. You are safe. So the edited version of what I said behind the spoiler tags is that I wish we got some more time to really appreciate Kayden and Shane together and happy. When things finally work out, I felt like it was a bit rushed.
I really enjoyed this story though, and found Shane especially really likeable. I love rocker stories and found the details about the band and the touring especially interesting. And when the guys get together, they are super hot. I especially liked the parts of the story that focused on Jesse and Shane. I first was introduced to them through the Lucky Moon series free shorts More Than Moonlight, which I totally loved (see review). Moonlight Becomes You gives some highlights of their history together, but I found I liked having the more detailed background from the shorts when reading this book, so personally I would recommend grabbing that one first, although you can easily follow along without it. I also really liked the introduction to Shane’s brother Nick, as I know he is the hero of the second book in the series, The Luckiest. He is definitely a bit of a jerk here, so I am really excited to see how things shape up for him when we get his story. (I’ll be reviewing that later today) So I am really enjoying this series and definitely looking forward to more.
Beyond Moonlight is a set of free short stories that fit between the events of Moonlight Becomes You and the sequel, The Luckiest. The first two stories focus on the heroes from Moonlight Becomes You and almost serve as an epilogue. As a result, I can’t give too much detail without spoiling this story, but I really liked catching up with the guys. We see them enjoying a bit of their Happily Ever After, mostly in the form of some super hot sex, as well as some tender moments between them.
In the third story, we move to Shane’s brother Nick, one of the main characters in The Luckiest. Here we see Nick is pretty much continuing his hard living ways with drugs, alcohol, and anonymous sex. He at first appears irritated and bitter about his brother’s new relationship, but it is clear by the end of the story that there is a piece of him that is sort of moved by it and perhaps a little jealous as well. It provides a nice lead in to the next book and I am really eager how things develop for Nick.
Beyond Moonlight is a great set of stories that I would definitely recommend, but be sure to wait until after you have read Moonlight Becomes You since it reveals that story’s spoilers. You can download a free copy of Beyond Moonlight at Goodreads.