Tim Chalmers lives his life by the music, especially the drums. Growing up with an alcoholic father, an overly religious mother, and a drug-addicted sister, has left him feeling anything but calm. But, Tim can find the beat in the drums and it helps calm his mind. He needs lots of calm lately as his band, Spiral, has hit the big time. It’s almost everything Tim has ever wanted, but living his life in the public eye is not where he wanted to be. He has no choice when a vindictive ex-girlfriend spreads rumors and the press is all over him. Seeking a night away from all of the pressures, Tim finds himself in a dive bar picking up a gorgeous stranger.
Carter Hamilton-Temple is brilliant. He owns a successful financial company and he has lots of money and lots of charisma. He can’t seem to get his love life to work out as well as he’s always falling for the wrong man. He’s not looking for a relationship, but the sight of a tattooed rocker has the men enjoying one hot night together. The men think they will never see each other again, but when an unexpected connection has them meeting up, they decide a low profile friends-with-benefits relationship will work for them just fine. Neither man expected their heart to get involved and when that’s exactly what happens, Tim isn’t so sure he’s ready to be completely out in front of his family, let alone the entire world. But when cameras are everywhere and gossip sells, Tim has to embrace being honest or lose Carter for good.
This book brings us to book three in the A Kind of Stories series. Carter was introduced in the previous book as Zeke’s best friend and Tim is the band mate to Rand from book one. Mostly it works as a standalone, but since the previous characters do appear, if you like to know all of the connections then it would be suggested to read the series in order. This series has been a fairly solid read for me with interesting characters. With this installment, Hayes again crafts two characters that had my attention and complement each other well.
Tim had a difficult childhood and then was betrayed. While his band knows he’s bisexual, his family doesn’t and since he hasn’t had any lengthy relationships with men, he’s fine not owning it in public. Carter has a name that goes back generations as well as old money. He’s smart, successful, and gorgeous, but is a bit of a loner. He’s seems to always pick the wrong men and he’s not up for having his heart stomped on one more time.
When the guys meet, it’s an instant hook up and then a week later they’re shocked to find themselves at the same party as they have mutual friends. The chemistry between them is intense and since they decide to have a relationship based on sex, there are many scenes of the men exploring each other.
For as much as I liked the characters, the overall storyline and general narrative wasn’t as strong for me. The word choices here felt carefully scripted with words and phrases that stood out such as “turgid,” and “brooked no argument,” which were used repetitively and then lost the feel of casual conversation. Hayes weaves in several details on Carter’s life that while possible, ran more to the improbable side. Hayes also often writes female characters that don’t want to let go and are vindictive, as well as issues with mothers, and those elements were again present here. It then had an overly similar feel to her previous work as well as being similar to a lot of other books out there. Tim became irritating to me toward the end. He wouldn’t take a stand for anything, got pushed around a lot, and then was apologizing to several of the secondary characters for their own shortcomings without those characters seemingly taking any responsibility of their own. This all then caused the ending to be predictable as well as anticlimactic.
I mostly liked the main characters on this one, but not so much with all that was going on around them. While this one wasn’t my favorite of the series or the author, I will continue to be interested in this series overall.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.