Charlie could be described as being a bit rough around the edges…well, perhaps a bit more than rough. He can be a lot to take in and his habit of putting his foot in his mouth is legendary, along with his out and proud lifestyle and his uncompromising stance about the idea that somehow life should be fair. But no one could fault Charlie for being loyal and, as Zero’s manager, he has their best interest in heart. He loves the band and the fact that one of the members is dating his second Dad has nothing to do with it. No, Charlie is like the best of bulldogs, a capricious whirlwind who will fight tooth and nail for those he loves. So why is it that one particular member of the band consistently gets under his skin more than anyone else? Yes, Ky is gorgeous and talented, but is was also straight, which means Charlie should not be entertaining any fantasies about the guy whatsoever. Besides, Charlie is sure Ky’s time with the band is temporary—after all the guy’s demeanor and appearance practically scream disinterest at times, so if Charlie can make Ky go away faster before the band takes off and shoots to real fame, then so be it.
Ky knows one thing for sure—the band is where he wants to be and his mates are the guys he wants to spend time with when he chooses to be around people. Ky doesn’t care about the fame or money, he just wants to play bass and belong—something he has never really felt before. He loves getting under Charlie’s skin; there is just something about the guy that makes Ky want to grab him and…well, you get the picture. Ky doesn’t like labels, but if anyone had asked, he would tell them he is bisexual, but it has been a long time since he’s been with a guy and never anyone like Charlie. Why oh why is he attracted to the gorgeous little fireball and why does Charlie feel like the home Ky has been chasing all his life?
Starting from Scratch is the second book in Lane Hayes’ Starting From series that focuses on various members of an indie band called Zero. Picking up pretty much where the first novel left off, we get to know Ky, the bassist for the band, and their new manager, Charlie. I have to tell you that I loved Charlie from the start. His straightforward approach to just about everything was refreshing and often humorous. But it was the dynamic between him and Ky that made this book really hum. They were a perfect foil for each other and I enjoyed watching Ky painfully admit to himself that most of his life he had been running from everything—especially commitment. From the very beginning, Charlie calls out Ky’s tendencies to avoid things by disappearing and tells him flat out that if Ky is going to leave the band high and dry, to do it now to save them all the grief later. Ky assures Charlie that he’s no longer the guy who dumps things and leaves and that moment marks the beginning of a mutual attraction that flairs to life and sizzles with heat.
There was so much to enjoy about this novel, from the relationship between Ky and Charlie that really moved at a wonderful pace and felt so realistic, to the side characters who enriched the story overall. However, for the first time, I must say that I really wish there had been no epilogue in a story. If the novel had stopped without it, then I would be telling you that this was a really great read. But when the author decided that a few things needed to be tied up in a neat package, Ky’s problems, in particular, felt cheapened as a result. Sometimes its ok not to make every single thing in the life of a character a happy ever after—Ky and Charlie certainly deserved that and, in all honesty, that would have been enough for me. It may be a small thing, but it felt as though the epilogue was an afterthought and I thought diminished the main conflict in the novel to a mere side note. Honestly, that was the only flaw I could find in an otherwise highly entertaining story.
Starting from Scratch is a good novel—a lovely continuation of a series that I do enjoy. I look forward to the next story about this motley crew of musicians.