Many things are often not as they seem and such is the case with Asher Beauregard. He’s on the rise as the hottest rock star and about to embark on a sold-out tour. But Asher continues to live in the shadows when he comes off of the stage. His manager is his enabler and Asher doesn’t know how to say no and doesn’t think that he is even allowed to. After fleeing his childhood home on a Louisiana bayou, Asher lived on the streets barely surviving. His musical ability, as well as his looks, got him out, but now his life is for the taking as the media scrutinizes his every move.
Leo saw Asher on stage and something within him changed. He quit school, left his girl, and is now the front man for a band that is opening for Asher. He did all of this so he could meet Asher. He had a need to save Asher, but from what he didn’t even know and the fantasy Leo had in his mind is certainly not the reality. One look at the blue haired Leo and Asher is so far gone. Asher, who doesn’t know how to have a relationship, Asher, who knows all anybody wants is the persona they see onstage. Why would anyone love him, especially sweet, straight Leo? Asher has made sure no one gets too close to his past and they all think he doesn’t give a damn. That’s because no one really knows Asher.
From the first word it is easy to be a fan of Asher. From his attitude, to his musical choices, to his French Creole accent, there is a lot to like here. The story is told solely from Asher’s point of view and at times it is hard, brutal, and punishing. His life has always been a struggle, from adults that took advantage of him, to his mother and first love inflicting violence. Now, his manager puts him in all kinds of situations and Asher is so lost most of the time.
When Asher meets Leo he is instantly attracted to him. As the men are put into close quarters, Leo becomes the only one that can ground Asher and in many ways he becomes Asher’s lifeline. Leo comes on strong at first and it was hard to imagine that he had never entertained the idea of being with a man. Asher excites and arouses him, but mostly Asher confuses him as they develop a close and co-dependent friendship. This is not a traditional romance if that is what you may be looking for, as for most of the book Asher gives and Leo takes.
The author did an amazing job of getting into Asher’s head and living life directly through his eyes. He drinks, takes drugs, is unstable, and loses time. It is all displayed and life for Asher is difficult and mostly he is so lonely and isolated. At times, I questioned as a narrator how reliable he could be. But this is life the way he sees it and the effect of living life as Asher is remarkably well done, as is his sexy accent.
It took me a while to embrace that there is nothing offered from Leo. This was the one area that made the overall story difficult. Leo gives us almost nothing and he gives Asher almost nothing verbally, yet Asher keeps coming back for more. It was difficult to watch and became frustrating as we are not privy to any of Leo’s thoughts. Leo comes off as self absorbed and clueless as he keeps hurting Asher. There is not even a conversation anywhere to show Leo’s decision making process or growth. We just have to accept the progression of their relationship and something more from Leo would have added another layer and additional depth to the story.
The ending is hard won and it remains primarily Asher’s story. As dark and gritty as Asher’s life is, he is also filled with song lyrics and poetry that speak to a yearning for a better life filled with somebody to love. A recommended read for a journey into the life and mind of Asher Beauregard.