Rating: 5 stars
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Jeremy Jameson is Hollywood royalty, born to a famous family and now one of the top rock stars in the world. As much as Jeremy loves making music, everything else involved with his career is draining and dispiriting. He faces constant media scrutiny, endless hours doing interviews and appearances, and has no one he can trust to care about him instead of his brand. Jeremy is lonely and isolated and tired of being The Jeremy Jameson all of the time.
When a rare escape from the spotlight finds Jeremy in a bar in a tiny town in Arizona, he strikes up a conversation with bartender Reg Moore. For the first time he can remember, Jeremy has someone who talks to and treats him like a regular person. After an evening hanging out at the bar, and then some more time back at Reg’s house, Jeremy realizes just how much he values Reg’s company and invites Reg to come along on his upcoming world tour. The only catch is that Reg will need to pretend to be Jeremy’s boyfriend.
None of this is any hardship for Reg. He has dreamed of traveling the world and doing it in the company of a famous rock star is too good to be true. Not to mention that he genuinely likes Jeremy and enjoys his company. As the months pass, the men grow to be the best of friends. Reg is a natural caretaker and he helps ease the burdens and pressures Jeremy faces. He treats Jeremy like a regular person and the two have fun spending time together. For Reg, the feelings of friendship begin to grow into more. And it doesn’t take long before it is clear to Reg that Jeremy has feelings for him as well, but having always thought himself straight, Jeremy doesn’t recognize them. Reg has signed on for the role of “pretend boyfriend” but as the two men grow increasingly close, they slowly begin to realize that the feelings they have for each are quite real.
Sigh. This was so yummy and romantic and sexy, I just loved it. Cardeno C has created such a wonderful friends to lovers story here in Perfect Imperfections. I loved these guys together from the very beginning. They are such a perfect match for one another. Jeremy is a man who has grown up in the spotlight and never known anything different. He is used to being a commodity, someone people always want or need something from. While he loves his music, everything else associated with it just drains him. The endless interviews and appearances and business issues make him cranky and frustrated and exhausted. Not only does Reg treat Jeremy like a regular guy (complete with calling him on it when Jeremy gets too entitled or grumpy), but he also takes care of Jeremy in a way no one ever has. Reg runs interference when people are being too demanding, he eases Jeremy’s frustration when he is too impatient with his staff, and he smooths the way so that Jeremy can focus on his music.
Jeremy is also so painfully lonely your heart just breaks for him, and the worst part is that he doesn’t even really realize it or expect he deserves anything more. The people in his life work for him or want what his fame can bring them, even is his past girlfriends. Reg is the first person who just cares about Jeremy the person, not Jeremy the rock star. Reg and Jeremy spend just about every minute together, and slowly become the closest of friends. Reg recognizes how badly Jeremy needs to be touched and held and how he craves intimacy, something he has never had with anyone. Reg loves to do nothing more than take care of Jeremy, to ease his burdens and make Jeremy happy. The conflict comes when Reg recognizes not only his own growing romantic feelings, but also Jeremy’s. But Jeremy has always seen himself as straight and despite the incredible personal intimacy the men share, takes a long time to realize the attraction he has for Reg.
This story follows the two men very closely. They are together in virtually every scene in the book, and even their interaction with others is very limited. Almost the whole book focuses on the two men developing their friendship and ultimately their romantic relationship within the very close confines of their travel together. This works so well with the story as the reader is just drawn right in to the intimacy these men have created. They are together almost constantly, causing their relationship to grow quickly and intensely, and as readers we are right there beside them. I could just feel the bond between them and loved watching these men interact.
I will point out that this book is very low on conflict and is mostly the happy story of two men falling in love. The major issue they face is Jeremy recognizing his feelings for Reg, but they get together with a good bit of the book left and we really get to see the romantic and sexy stuff as they revel in their love for one another. Some side conflicts also arise surrounding the media on the tour and how invasive they are into Jeremy’s privacy. Again, while this is an issue that carries through most of the book, there is not much intensity to it and it is resolved in a fairly simple manner. Sometimes when a book doesn’t have a strong conflict, it can feel kind of flat, or as if everything resolves too neatly, but Cardeno C really manages to avoid that here. For me, this all worked just perfectly. The book really delves so deeply into the growth of their friendship and relationship that I didn’t need anything else dramatic happening.
One last note here is that for this book to work for you, you really need a bit of a suspension of disbelief on the whole premise that Reg must pretend to be Jeremy’s boyfriend. Someone with Jeremy’s extreme wealth, fame, and power would likely travel with a huge entourage, especially on a tour of this size. I am not sure why they couldn’t have just as easily said Reg was a friend or an assistant. It would seem much simpler and less likely to be discovered than a man who is straight suddenly claiming to have a boyfriend. That said, the situation does give us a chance to see that Jeremy couldn’t care less if people think he is gay and has no worries about his public image. But for this book to work for you, you just kind of have to go with the pretend boyfriend thing. For me, I’ll admit to a teensy bit of an mental eye roll and then I moved on with no problems at all.
So this was another big hit from Cardeno C for me. I absolutely adored Reg and Jeremy completely. They are such a wonderful couple together and meet each other’s needs so perfectly. I really loved watching both their comfortable friendship and their romantic relationship grow over the course of the book. Wonderful story and highly recommended.
P.S. Cardeno is giving away a copy of Perfect Imperfections. Check out the giveaway post for more details!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.