When Justin realizes that he and his struggling band have only been asked to perform as a way to stir up the gossip already surrounding his last breakup, he makes a hasty decision—something he’s known for and often tends to regret. It seems the bar owner wanted their ragtag band to be the lead in for Justin’s ex, Xena, but Justin has other ideas and goes on solo. After finishing his gig and attempting to beat a hasty retreat, Justin’s confronted by the same guy that he got caught with and that caused he and Xena to call it quits. In another moment of unwise decision making, Justin refers to a perfect stranger as his boyfriend in order to escape the awkward moment. Little does Justin realize just who he has drawn into his crazy life.
Gray was unwillingly made to attend the concert at a local bar. After hearing the guy butcher his guitar playing but sing like an angel, Gray nips outside to light up a smoke and get some air before leaving altogether. When said angel appears and calls him boyfriend, Gray knows he is going to need to find out more about the young singer. After a torrid and magical night with Justin where little to nothing is discussed about who Gray really is, he gives Justin his phone number and tries to put him and their one night stand out of his mind. But he can’t. Justin is under his skin and Gray is falling fast. Now if only both of them can put their past behind them and give the idea of romance a real shot.
I want to find some sort of flaw to bring up about Lane Haye’s latest release, Starting from Zero. I want to be careful and not just gush about how incredibly lovely this story is and how much I loved both of these characters. I want to tell you that this slow burning romance, which features an age gap that never seemed to be obvious or detract from these two men learning about each other and gradually falling in love, isn’t the most lyrical and poetic novel I have read in quite some time. But then, the author wrote things like this:
“In an artistic sense, he wasn’t inspiration for a song; he was the silence in between the words. A gorgeous note followed by a poignant pause.”
That was Gray musing about Justin—Justin who was a whirling dervish, an ADHD genius with words who understood his disability and made no bones about being truthful about it and apologizing for it. Who writes things like that? Lane Hayes does and this novel was beautiful from beginning to end. I loved Gray and Justin. I loved their almost two decade age gap, I loved the way they talked more than they made love and yet there was plenty of that—electric and sexy and always placed just at the right moment in the action of the story. I loved every moment of this book and will reread it over and over again because not only is it very well written, but it is spellbinding in the way in which it allows the reader to go on a journey with these two wounded men and be an observer in their quest for a happy ever after.
Justin may be much younger than Gray, but his maturity, mixed with his tendency to be just a little impetuous, makes him a natural partner for the older man. Justin is determined to have his band succeed on his terms and it’s this fierce desire to do what is good for everyone that makes him so loveable. Gray is captivated and rightfully so, for Justin is really quite special. Gray, himself, is a gentle spirit—one who has made compromises along the way that has left scars and sadness behind. Justin is like a breath of fresh air for Gray—a mesmerizing dervish of emotions and ideas that make Gray smile. The two are a match made in heaven.
Starting from Zero is the first in a new series by Lane Hayes and I couldn’t be more thrilled. This author just gets better and better at her craft and this novel is a solid five-star read for me and one I highly recommend.