Henri is the lead singer for the wildly popular band, Hookers and Cocaine. He has fans, money, and a gold record. He also has an overly controlling manager who is only interested in dollar signs, disloyal band mates, and a crazed fan who is getting closer and closer. When the fallout from a dangerous incident allows Henri to break free from his contract, he grabs his chance to make it on his own terms. But life in L.A. is not the most conducive for recuperating and writing new songs. When Henri’s new manager, Lucas, arranges a month of vocal coaching in the secluded mountains of Colorado, Henri is totally on board.
The sound of Sebastian Unger’s smooth tenor inspires more than musical thoughts for Henri. Sebastian is the complete opposite of Henri. He is classically trained and treats his body and voice as an instrument as he nurtures and cares for it. Finding common ground between their conflicting personalities, Sebastian teaches Henri to care for his voice and give his all to his music. Henri shows Sebastian that life does not have to be so scheduled and rigid. One month goes quickly and L.A. and the promise of a new band is pulling Henri back home. Sebastian has to continue on the opera circuit where his mysterious patron holds way too much power over him. While Henri is gaining back control of his life, Sebastian’s life continues to be out of his control, and one manipulating patron and one crazed stalker may just keep the men separated forever.
Henri is at the top of the charts, but he is miserable. It does not take much to figure out why. His manager (omg-really!), his family, and his band only want to ride his coat tails to the bank. A crazed fan puts things a bit in perspective for Henri and he finds a way out of his band and his life for a little while.
Rock star, opera star, secluded mountain cabin. This should have been a great read. At first it’s not completely clear why Sebastian is offering to help Henri. Sebastian is being paid for his time, which is not made known up front, but why he agrees to having Henri move into his home is not clear. I could not really feel the connection between these guys. The vocal lessons start out sort of unstructured, which is counter to Sebastian’s very structured life. His exercises, his classes, his diet, his movements, are all very regimented. The guys work on each other with Sebastian showing Henri how to hone his craft and Henri working to lighten Sebastian up a bit. They are both very alone. Henri’s family is a mess and Sebastian’s parents have died. The only one Sebastian has is a controlling patron that he does not want to discuss. And, the question is certainly there that if the patron is in complete control, how is Henri able to spend a month with Sebastian in the first place? While the first part of the story shows Henri and Sebastian meeting and starting a relationship, the next part shows Henri auditioning new band members. While the audition scenes go a long way to showing Henri taking control of his life, it did slow things down quite a bit.
The stalker issue and the patron issue are where the story derailed for me. Henri is put in serious danger and everyone knows there is a stalker out there who already had direct access to Henri. Yet, Lucas, his new manager, just tells him to be careful. Then, during a show, Henri seemingly has one security guard, just one. He is left extremely accessible all of the time. When Henri is then in danger, he is composing songs in his head (which he has a habit of doing), but it is difficult to fully acknowledge the danger when he is running through song lyrics. When the story behind Sebastian’s patron is brought to light, it takes on some heavy issues that did not have enough time to fully evolve. Sebastian, who is unraveling, is then left on his own. Henri has to take care of the band and Lucas, who has a vested interest as well, leave Sebastian all alone. Unfortunately, I became frustrated with the actions of the characters.
I liked the rock star, opera singer component and the theme of reinventing yourself and taking a stand. But ultimately, there were too many issues for me to overcome to fully enjoy the story as a whole.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.