Country SoulRating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Jackson Rawlings is a musician at the top of his career when he confesses that he is gay and is dropped by his label after a successful world tour. He decides to walk away, broken hearted that he will never again be able to create the music he loves.

Marques Lopez is a music executive with a competing record label who thinks Jackson got a raw deal. He’s determined to bring the man and his music back to the top, if he can put Jackson back together again.

This story starts right off with Jackson’s fall from grace as he plays his last concert in front of a packed arena. Having come out as a gay man, his record label dropped him like a hot potato, despite the fact they were still making millions off him and his music. Heading back to his farm to figure out what he will do next with his life, Jackson finds himself looking into the bottom of a bottle. Marques, in the meantime, can’t believe that a record company would drop their money-maker just because he came out of the closet, especially since Jackson’s announcement didn’t stop the fans from buying tickets or albums. Deciding to recruit Jackson to his record label, Marques heads to the one horse town where Jackson’s farm is located. What he isn’t expecting is to find that despite the relatively short time between his career ending and Marques’ arrival, Jackson has sunken into a deep depression. Determined to bring him out of it, Marques isn’t expecting to fall in love with the man.

Yes, this is an instant-love storyline intermixed with the hurt-comfort. While ordinarily I am not a fan of instant love, for some reason this story worked for me. I loved how Marques basically wasn’t going to take NO for an answer when it came to Jackson playing music again. I also loved how Jackson, who couldn’t seem to write anything, no matter how hard he tried, suddenly found the words again as his and Marques’ relationship heated up.

I have a couple of issues with this book. The first was the sex scenes. While ordinarily I would have found them to be hot, I found myself cringing at the lack of condoms and lube. Here you have two men in a brand spanking new relationship, hopping into bed with each other and not using a condom. I don’t care that Jackson hasn’t been with anyone for three years – safe sex, please!

The second issue I had was I was expecting Jackson to be more broken than he was after reading the blurb on the back of the cover. I was also expecting that the time difference between Jackson leaving the record company and Marques arriving to be much longer than two weeks – again, I was expecting there to be an extended period of time, sufficient for Jackson to become a broken man.

Third, the story seemed too short. I know, it was an instant-love storyline so it doesn’t need a whole lot of pages to go from falling for each other to falling in bed, I just wanted there to be something more. Maybe more angst between the two characters, maybe a few bumps in the road with Jackson coming back into the music business. For me, it was just too sweet.

The final thing that bothered me is that the author really didn’t address the interracial relationship between these two as much as I would have liked. Here we have this hot Hispanic record company owner, whose music tends to be anything but country, begging a country music star to join his label and his life. I just would have liked to have seen some of the real Marques shine through, because besides the name and the occasional reference to him being Hispanic, I wasn’t seeing it.

Overall, this was a fairly good story without a lot of angst. If you are a fan of instant-love stories where everything is tied up nicely by the end with no cliff hanger or wondering where they go from here, this is a good choice.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

Wendy sig

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