Rating: 3.75 stars
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Surya Patel is the drummer in the rock band Moonlight. Moonlight toured the previous year with another popular band, Luck, and now the label wants the two bands to do a collaborative album. Everyone else is all for it. The lead singers of the two bands are married and the guys are all close friends. But as much as he likes the group and thinks they could make a great album, Surya is wary of all the time he’d have to spend in close company with Luck manager Emmanuel Cortez. After a hot one night stand the previous year, followed by Surya running out in the middle of the night, Surya worries that the tension between he and Em will be too much to bear. Especially because he is still incredibly attracted to Em and worried about being able to hide his feelings.
He shouldn’t have been concerned because it seems that all Em wants is business when the guys meet again. But being around Em just reinforces Surya’s feelings and the two share a hot night together in London, this time with Em casually breezing out the next day and dashing Surya’s hopes that maybe more could come of things this time. When the bands get together in New York to being making the album, things are polite but distant between Surya and Em. They are both still intensely attracted to one another, but Em is too scared about getting hurt like he did when Surya walked out on him, and Surya thinks Em no longer is interested after their night in London.
Finally though Surya convinces Em to at least give friendship a try between them. And soon they once more rekindle that close and flirtatious relationship they had so long ago before things ever got physcial between them. They are so close that the press is even reporting on their “bromance” and the sexual tension continues to build until the men finally admit their feelings for one another. But even once they begin dating, things are still complicated as Surya is not ready to be out and he knows his family will disapprove. The couple have struggled to find their way together, and the pressure of Surya’s family and coming out may be more than their new relationship can bear.
Moonstruck is the third book in Vaughn and O’Shea’s Lucky Moon series and I have really enjoyed the other books, especially the most recent, The Luckiest. This story reunites us with many of the key players in the other stories, including Jesse and Shane, Luka and Nick, and the other band members. We saw the flirtation develop between Surya and Em in the previous book, but as Surya was seemingly straight it didn’t look like things would go any further. However, when Moonstruck opens it is clear that there is more going on, especially when we flash back to an intimate encounter that took place during the bands’ joint tour. We learn that Em had been in love with Surya for a while before anything physical happened, and see how hurt he was when Surya walked out on him, ruining the chances for their fledgling romance. What wasn’t clear to me throughout the book, however, was really why Surya left Em. In fact, Surya himself admits he is not really sure why. So I found myself frustrated with him and annoyed on Em’s behalf. Then Em turns around and hurts Surya in return, although at least his motives for self protection are a little clearer. Still, this set up with both guys behaving badly and at odds with each other made it hard for me to really warm up to them. By the time this story starts, they are already in conflict and their relationship is already rocky. We never see that happy flirtiness that defined their relationship in the earlier book. Instead, both men are hurt, disappointed, frustrated, and fairly distant with one another for probably the first third of the book, making it hard for me to connect with them as a couple or to even really understand what they see in one another.
Once the guys decide to renew their friendship, we begin to get a better sense of them as a couple and are reminded why they work together. They begin spending more time together, soon becoming almost inseparable, and eventually opening up their relationship to their close friends. So things got a little smoother for me at this point as I could see their feelings develop and how well they worked together. However, I still found myself frustrated that these guys just couldn’t seem to get out of their own way. Both men continue to make mistakes, neither man can ever seem to forgive the other, and things that should be worked out fairly easily seem to just smolder between ignored texts and unreturned phone calls. I think it just made the story feel a little flat to me because I started off having trouble connecting with them, and just as things start to go somewhere, they once again are finding ways to mess up and not to forgive one another.
What I really enjoyed most about the story was reuniting with the bands and seeing the friendship and camaraderie among the group. I adore Luka and loved seeing him play a big role here as a close friend to Em, and liked catching back up with everyone. I wish we had more time with them as that was really the highlight of the story for me.
I think if you enjoyed the rest of this series you will likely enjoy continuing on with this one, especially if you are already familiar with Surya and Em and their flirty friendship from previous stories. If you haven’t read the series, I think this would stand alone just fine, but I’d suggest starting at the beginning as the series is quite good and watching the relationships develop is worthwhile. So overall, I wished for more of a connection, both with these guys individually and with them as a couple. I really wanted to root for them but I just didn’t connect with them quite enough. So nothing really bad here and there are many things to like, I just didn’t find it as engaging as the previous stories in the series.