After nearly mowing a man down with his car, the last thing Ian expected was for that man to show him any kindness. But that is exactly what Trent gives Ian—unerring kindness and generosity. And when Trent learns that Ian has driven all the way from Florida to Canada, the least Trent can do is offer some hospitality. The biggest challenge will be keeping his hands to himself, because Ian ticks every one of Trent’s boxes when it comes to desirable traits in a lover: taller than Trent’s own sizable frame, a leader in bed, and not afraid to go after what he wants. For one blissful weekend, Trent can forget his string of one-night stands and enjoy the feeling of giving himself up to his lover. Or he can until he accidentally discovers who Ian really is.
Ian has never felt so connected to another person, let alone so quickly. But after a series of suggestive comments from Trent, the two men soon realize that their chemistry is off the charts. Off the charts also describes Ian’s anger when he assumes Trent’s main goal was bedding someone famous. Frustrated at being seen as a status symbol yet again, Ian storms out. But neither man can forget the other. When Trent’s best friend orchestrates a meeting for Trent and Ian, there is hope of a second chance. But it can only work if both Trent and Ian can both adjust their ideals when it comes to expectations of their lover.
The Drumbeat of His Heart is a contemporary get-together offering from M.C. Roth starring an IT guy from Canada who almost gets run over by a drummer in an American band. In addition to the instalove theme, there is a hefty amount of melodrama on offer, and a bit of opposites attract courtesy of the wildly different lifestyles Trent and Ian lead. For melodrama, there are two scenes where first Ian and later Trent jump to and reacts upon the wrongest conclusion without so much as the thought of giving the “offender” a chance to explain. Cue the angst at being thoroughly shutout, but not actually being in the wrong. The two MCs’ jobs also lead into a touch of wealthy hero, though the disparity in income doesn’t really feature in their interactions until pretty late in the story. There are also glimpses of sexual openness, like how Trent and best friend shared a threesome once and how Ian and Trent give her an x-rated show at a hotel.
The biggest initial gimmick in the book is Trent’s obliviousness to Ian being in a band. For me, it was hard to accept that the fictional band was never given a name, nor was their apparent fame ever really clarified. The limits being in a band placed on Ian’s ability to be emotionally available to Trent resonated with me pretty well, it was just hard to gauge how much of a big deal it was for Ian to make time for Trent. That said, their initial sex-filled weekend at Trent’s house (waiting for the small local garage to fix Ian’s sporty car) has a dream-like quality where both characters just fall into a pattern of interaction that demonstrates just how compatible they are. And it makes Ian’s blow-up at the end that much more angsty. Readers get treated to several intimate scenes between the two, but the entire weekend isn’t spelled out on page. Still, there is enough interaction in and out of bed to give the impression that lust isn’t the only thing drawing them together. Also the idea that they started falling in love also began during this first weekend is reinforced later in the book.
The way Ian and Trent experience instalove works pretty well with the absolute melodrama that ensures after Trent finally figures out who, exactly, Ian is. I have two issues with that drama bomb. First, it’s not really made clear just how famous Ian is supposed to be and why fears that Trent is a “groupie”. Second, given that these two make an intense physical and decent emotional connection, it felt a little disingenuous that Ian flips all the way out at learning Trent has a copy of a CD from Ian’s band. That sets the stage for Trent and Ian to begin engaging in behavior that, taken together, seems like it demonstrates emotional immaturity from them. The first blow-up also carves out a neat little space for Trent’s best friend, Candace, to make her debut.
Candace was a great supporting character. I really enjoyed how she felt rough-around-the-edges, was unapologetically gay, and was very comfortable with sex and sexuality. Crucially, she also enables Trent’s desire to pursue Ian even after Ian storms off. Her plan includes going to see Ian’s band play live when they swing through Canada and to have Trent wear sexy underwear while they enjoy the show (bonus: she got them matching sexy underwear because solidarity is a good thing). The one “huh?” moment I had regarding Candace is the way it felt like she was introduced as an annoying coworker who constantly needed Trent’s IT expertise to fix her work computer, but in reality she is Trent’s best friend.
I wanted to like these characters, but it was hard when I felt like they were behaving in ways that weren’t conducive to building a strong foundation for a relationship. The way Ian wholly writes Trent off for the absolute travesty of owning a CD from Ian’s band is one example. Another is when Ian and Trent have been trying to make a long-distance relationship work, Ian will tell his bandmates he’s talking to “nobody” or hang up on Trent whenever Trent’s spicy pillow talk gives Ian an erection. Naturally, the two of them go through a rough patch that Ian tries to fix, again still by phone. But as Ian is explaining, Trent just sets the phone down and walks away. I can just imagine actual people acting this petty or being this hurt or oblivious. It’s just a bit much when it seems like the whole Ian/Trent relationship is built around mind-bendingly good sex that gets undermined at every turn by the characters making bad decisions at every opportunity.
Overall, I thought this was an okay read. It’s very spicy, so if you’re into a lot of on-page intimacy then you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. Fans of happily ever after endings will enjoy this; I personally liked how Ian and Trent found a way to compromise without giving up their careers. Of course, if you like a constant stream of high drama, then this is sure to be a page-turner for you, too. I was a little put off by how much drama there was and a little bit by Ian’s personality, but at least it’s supported by a sort of rock’n’roll lifestyle.