Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Greg Boudreaux
Length: 6 hours, 45 minutes
Gage Kingston is minutes away from getting married when he realizes just how bad an idea it is. He runs from the wedding, puts on a ridiculous disguise, and tries to lose himself in a crowd. But as luck would have it, the crowd happens to be surrounding an interview with famous rocker Jett Stevens, lead singer for the wildly popular band Queen’s Heart. Who also just happens to be Gage’s ex-boyfriend.
Jett is following in his father’s footsteps, trying to keep the man’s legacy alive. He left his own music career to front the band after his father’s death. And though Jett loves making music and loves the guys in the band, he’s stifled and struggling trying to fill his father’s role. He needs something to change when Gage literally crashes back into his life. Jett is shocked to see Gage, and though he has no right after the way Jett left Gage, Jett seizes the opportunity. He convinces Gage to pretend to be his boyfriend while Queen’s Heart does a short local tour. It’s the perfect solution to both their problems, even if Jett’s uncle and band manager, Bas, hates the idea.
The bond between the two men picks up right where they left off. They understand each other, even if the way things ended before wasn’t good. With Gage there to support Jett, he finds joy again. As they settle into their relationship, things turn anything but fake. But with the end of the tour and their agreement looming, they both have to make a choice. Can they figure out how to stay together, or will Jett’s life once again separate them?
Aisle Be There is the first installment of Charlie Cochet’s Runaway Grooms series and it is a fun romp filled with chemistry, heart, and some ridiculous antics. Gage is the kind of character Cochet writes so well; he’s a little accident prone, a little wild, and has a huge heart. The chemistry between the MCs is huge from the moment they meet again, and it’s clear from the start that they are meant to be together. You can’t help rooting for them both to find their happily ever after.
Jett is a bit broken. The death of his father really impacted him, and not just because the man was a wonderful and loving presence in his life. Jett immediately felt the pressure to honor his father’s legacy and keep it alive. Bas, Jett’s uncle and the manager of the band, is a big part of that with the pressure he puts on Jett and the way he manipulates him. It was clear to me that Bas had ulterior motives and, when they came to light, I was not surprised and I was glad for the resolution there. Gage immediately spots a problem, though he doesn’t quite know the lengths it goes to, and he instantly steps in to support Jett. I loved watching him figure out how to help Jett and the interesting ways they acted and reacted were lovely to see. As I said, the chemistry between them is off the charts and it shows in their every interaction.
The whole situation offers a new start for Gage as well. He got caught up in things and now that he’s taken a step outside his life, he’s able to really reevaluate. I thought Gage, in particular, had some really nice moments of introspection in this book and his growth was evident. He got to really lean on his strengths and watching him fix things was really nice. I will say, though, for all that he’s a “fix it” person, very little comes of his running away from the wedding. Not only does he not really attempt to do any damage control, but the whole thing is a bit contrived and doesn’t really go anywhere. While the antics of him running away were amusing, it was a small part of the overall story that didn’t have any repercussions. But I love the way Gage loves Jett, and what he’s willing to do for the man he loves. He has his flaws, for sure, and definitely second guesses things at times, but it really showcases him as a human.
While I really enjoyed the romance storyline, and it was the predominant plot throughout the book, I had some issues with the secondary storyline. For me, it was clear what Bas was up to from the start, and while I was happy with the ultimate resolution, I found myself a bit disappointed in the execution. Gage clearly had Bas’ number, but yet he listened to what the man said even after Bas showed he could not be trusted. For me, this made the black moment feel less impactful, as I was sad Gage wouldn’t just go talk to Jett. It put a bit of a damper on things for me.
Listening to this book was a real treat though. Boudreaux handles the storytelling so well. Not only is it an easy listen, with the narrator’s dulcet tones making it easy on the ear, but Boudreaux really handles the performance side of things well. With Jett being raised in both America and Britain, the narrator nails a mixed accent that fits Jett perfectly. Each character is distinct, well done, and perfect for the character. On top of that, the action and emotion are wonderfully done and come through so clearly in the narration. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoyed this book even more than I might have by listening to it.
With both the fun, sweet, and romantic storyline, plus the wonderful narration, this book is an easy recommendation from me. If you’re looking for second chances, a rockstar in need of help, a happily ever after, with a good dose of humor thrown in, this book is for you.