Drake Keys is a guitarist for an up-and-coming rock band. Though out as bisexual, his manager has always pushed Drake to have public relationships only with women, though Drake has naturally gravitated toward men. At the end of his most recent tour, and after suffering a humiliating break up with his girlfriend, Drake is fired by his manager for “appearing” to want male partners. Reeling, Drake latches onto the kernel of an idea: escape his sorrows by hunting down his boyhood crush and an avid follower on Instagram, Olympic gold medalist ice skater, Blaze Parker.
Blaze isn’t training for gold at the moment, but he’s a really private dude. Well, ever since an ex released an “anonymous” sex tape of him in his late teens. As a result, Blaze has only ever had anonymous relations with hook-ups he controls. Finding Drake, the sexy rock god whose music meshes so well with Blaze’s bad boy ice persona, at an exhibition in his hometown is wild. And weird. Is Drake a stalker? Blaze recognizes a bit of a kindred spirit, so, when Drake ends up uber-high after eating laced-brownies from one of Blaze’s fans, Blaze feels obligated to take him home to sleep it off. It’s way outside of Blaze’s usual behavior, yet he can’t abandon Drake who seems to have driven hundreds of miles just to see him.
Drake pulls himself together and talks Blaze into a date—something Blaze has never done. Between training and his ice-cold fear of falling for another man, Blaze has walled himself off from connecting with anyone but his elder brother and his trainer. Their date is a success, and Blaze wants to have sex and walk away, but Drake isn’t in a rush to separate. He’s coy and puts Blaze off—giving them time to build the sexual tension along with a budding friendship.
For both men, it’s a step into the unknown. Drake’s restarting his life and he wants Blaze in it. Blaze is at a crossroads as well, not really working toward a specific goal for the first time in more than a decade. Drake strikes on a path that intrigues Blaze: to be a partner on a journey of exploration. Blaze had pretty much sacrificed his youth for training and missed many experiences of childhood as a result. Drake begins to plan make-up experiences, and Blaze is enchanted with Drake’s attentiveness. Their bond grows the more time they spend, and it’s sweet to witness their tenderness with one another. Blaze soon finds that Drake isn’t the one-tine fling he expected, and he’s soon nervous to lose his heart to the crooner who’d begun their relationship by sleeping on his couch.
I liked the characters and even the diverse secondary characters of this one. Drake’s a sexy and confident musician, but he struggles to find love. Meanwhile, Blaze is brash and suffers no fools, but still aches from the loss of his parents and the betrayal of the first boy he loved. Drake’s best friend is a trans man, and his advice is always funny. Also, the few glimpses of the band that we get show them to be strong allies, for the most part. Blaze’s brother is a sweetheart, too, and an excellent guardian-turned-confidante. There are a couple stinkers, though, including a childhood nemesis who inexplicably makes it into Drake’s band and continues to reappear in his life. This guy was plain out irritating, and there were a few convenient plot coincidences regarding him that had me rolling my eyes. I have a feeling this is was a bit of a set-up in the event this book becomes the first in a series, but it made for predictable conflict.
Blaze and Drake are really adorable together and I loved how they supported one another. They have a yummy chemistry that I was happy to explore. Expect a SLOW burn, for this one, because Drake makes it his mission to slow the pace of Blaze’s desire, hoping to build a raging bonfire with their mutual spark. Blaze’s childhood trauma has been “avenged” so to speak, but never managed. It takes the love of Drake, so giving and so compelling, for Blaze to really share himself—heart and body—for the first time in years.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.