Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
The rules have been laid out for Michael and Jamie. They can’t touch, they can’t collaborate on music, they can’t share a room, and they can’t even look at each other. So of course the band is suffering, the music is suffering, and Michael and Jamie, they are suffering. The electric chemistry between them that ignited the band has been extinguished by force, yet they are expected to perform as usual.
When an idea forms for a cover up where the guys can potentially hide behind groupie Sapphire, Michael is left devastated and Jamie is in over his head. Added to that are a wrist injury leaving Michael unable to play bass, a new musician being brought in, and cameras following them day and night, leaving Michael and Jamie only brief moments to sneak off together. The life of a rock star on tour means going after one dream without the one person they want to share it with.
The Road Taken picks up shortly after Just Playing, which is the first book in this series. The first book was impressive. I was completely drawn into the writing style and the story of Michael and Jamie and my expectations here were high. The Road Taken gives us all of the angst of first book but in a way that keeps Michael and Jamie apart for most of the story. The thoughts are there, the looks are there, the longing is there, but they cannot be together. However, I found myself reading through the book wanting to get to the part where they could just be together. Michael and Jamie know they should be together, but follow along with the record executives’ demands and fight their feelings with everything they have for the sake of their careers. But with each stolen touch they know “there is no such thing as just once. For every touch, they tangled their souls tighter. For every stolen kiss, living without it would become more unbearable.”
It’s the passages where Michael and Jamie are together and the descriptions of how they see each other and feel for each other that again make the entire book for me, as it did its predecessor. There are just fewer scenes of the two of them really together in this book and the overall impact was compromised for me as a result.
The story goes off in a few different directions. There is a cover up with a relationship with Sapphire that backfires all around them. Jamie thinks he is doing it for Michael and to have the attention from the record company ease off of them, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. There is the issue with Michael being injured and bass player Zoltan being brought in, and there is band mate Cal. For as well developed and visual as Michael and Jamie are, the lack of development of the secondary characters is a stark contrast.
Michael and Jamie’s entire relationship is so difficult and sad, they hurt and devastate each other without meaning to, and there is little relief throughout the entire story for them (or for us as a reader). The era of the 70s still does not come through well and the idea of what era the story is in gets lost. The passage of time in the story is fluid, which allows for the feel of the hectic tour schedule, but at times it was not clear how far apart things were happening.
There is a ray of light, and it’s not giving anything away, that the guys do wind up in a good place at the end and all of us certainly deserve it. Michael and Jamie belong to Bohm and she just shares them with us and so their story lives with her. The Road Taken had less of an impact on me then the first book because the chemistry of Michael and Jamie being together was missing for me and even given the era they were living in they remained just a bit too far apart for most of the story. The writing overall and the characters themselves, still a fan, and I am absolutely looking forward to the third book in the series.