Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Sawyer Knight and Jake Reed were best friends for years. When they were 17, Jake told Sawyer his family was relocating to Australia. The day before Jake left, he pressed Sawyer up against a building, told Sawyer he had been in love with him for three years, and kissed him. Freaking out that his body was responding to Jake, Sawyer pushed him away and told him to fuck off. That was the last thing Sawyer said to Jake.
Ten years later, Sawyer is the lead singer, guitarist, and one of the most sought after rock stars with his band Souls of the Knight. He is living the life most men would dream of. He has music, wealth, fame, and women willing to give him whatever he wants. Yet, he is tired, lonely, unhappy, and on edge all of the time. He spends his days on display for the world, going where his manager tells him, and being who his religious mother wants him to be. He fights internally against who he is and has gotten pretty used to pretending. His view of himself can be summed up as his internal thoughts are, “I’m not gay. I can’t be. I refuse to be!”
Jake has never forgotten Sawyer and has never gotten over him. Jake is now part of a large security firm providing protection to celebrities and has been hired as Sawyer’s new head of security. Jake has come back to take what is his. He has always known what he wants and what he wants is Sawyer Knight. He just has to get Sawyer to admit he feels the same.
Jake has followed Sawyer’s career in almost an obsessive manner. He studies Sawyer’s interviews, TV appearances, and even went to one of his concerts. He studies his body language, sees the lack of sparkle in his eyes, and his discomfort as he squirms in interviews. Jake comes on strong from their first meeting, telling Sawyer he will not let him go a second time. Their next meeting, Jake drops to his knees, unbuttons Sawyer’s pants, and when Sawyer does not protest much, he takes what he wants. It was all just a bit forceful, a bit fast, because what came next for Sawyer was regret and denial.
A little background on Sawyer is that he really cares about what people think of him in his personal and public life. Someone saw Sawyer and Jake they day they kissed, there were physical repercussions for Sawyer, and he lives with a sense of self loathing. During his teen years, Sawyer thought about men, but chalked it up to haywire teenage hormones. He even had a few guys suck him off, but he realized that if he closed his eyes, it did not matter if the mouth belonged to a man or a woman, so he stuck with women. After his encounter with Jake, he takes a woman to bed, with Jake on security detail outside the door, to prove to himself once again that he is straight. He realizes that he has failed epically, as he thinks of Jake to stay aroused. Sawyer and Jake then start a relationship, and become much closer physically and emotionally, but Sawyer tells Jake, in no uncertain terms, that it will stay strictly between the two of them.
Woven through the story is that Sawyer is receiving death threats. First, a dead cat is found in Sawyer’s dressing room and then an attempt is made on his life. When Jake races to find Sawyer amidst the chaos, Sawyer pulls away from Jake because he does not want anyone to see Jake touch him. It is an ongoing struggle for Sawyer to come to terms with his true identity and allow himself to fully love Jake.
The scenes with Sawyer and Jake were pivotal and quite hot, as we see Sawyer coming on line with really touching a man for the first time and coming to terms that he has always been in love with Jake. We also see Jake being in love with Sawyer and wanting to take care of him every way he can, but his forcefulness early on was a complete flip side to this caring side of his personality.
This was not the book I was racing through to finish. The culprit making the death threats was pretty easy to see between the lines. Also, we talk about the elusive chemistry between characters and readers. Sawyer and Jake had chemistry in bed and those were some of the best scenes in the book, as they really connected with each other and with me. But, there was just that bit of intangible quality that was lacking overall with my connection to them at times. The scenes with Sawyer and Jake together really pulled me in. But separately, Sawyer was so overwhelmed and really not nice to anyone, and Jake was so focused on Sawyer. The band rounds out the cast with somewhat of a stereotypical feel, as one band mate is Sawyer’s best friend and one is a womanizing, constant partying rocker.
The POV in the book shifts almost every chapter, between Sawyer and Jake. Having different perspectives from the MCs, at times, is one of my favorite things, as I really like hearing all sides of a story. While each chapter is clearly labeled as to whose voice we are listening to, the shifting view points was just a bit harder to follow at times. When Sawyer and Jake are together, as they are in a lot of the scenes, as I got into the chapter, it was easy a few times to lose track of whose head we were in. And, once during Sawyer’s chapter, he said that he saw Sawyer get out of the car. I had to backtrack to the beginning of the chapter to confirm whose head I was in, to find that it was an error in the book.
There were just a few overall, general observations that are worth mentioning. The font changes often in the book, at times by paragraph, and at times within the same paragraph. Also, in the second half of the book, the font is much lighter, which makes it harder to see. Lastly, the characters, as well as the author, are from England. The characters stay true to their dialect, as it absolutely should be. There were a few phrases used in their casual conversation that were not as much a part of my everyday vocabulary, entirely due to geography. Most of them I was familiar with enough. There were only a few that were newer to me, but within the confines of the sentence, it is fairly easy to figure out. None of this is a reason, by any means, not to read the book, just observations.
While parts of the book were transparent, this is a worthwhile read of some of the downsides to fame, and of a man coming to terms with who he is and owning up to it. So, when he is asked what’s it like Being Sawyer Knight, although he will offer the same answer he’s been trained to give, he can finally mean it.
Note: We meet Ryder, who is a part time stylist assistant, part time porn star. His story, Taming Ryder, is coming up next, Summer 2014.