Casper and Reed became stepbrothers when their parents married, and they formed a close bond. The men are now in a successful band and, when they are on the road, they are together. But as soon as they come back home, Casper shuts himself off from Reed, even though it’s the last thing he wants to do. Reed loves his music, but he would give it all up if could be with Casper all of the time. When they are not together, Reed is depressed and unhappy and, while it’s been years of being hurt by Casper, Reed can’t give him up.
Their world shifts when they meet Elic. Elic has been living on the streets for years and is in rough shape. As Elic lives in Reed’s home and begins to heal, he realizes that both men care about him. Reed and Casper have a lot to figure out between them and adding in Elic to their already precarious relationship will test them all, as their truth is revealed and they look toward a future together.
Notes of Unspoken Words is a spin off from Dare’s previous Three Ties series. There have been glimpses of the band in those books and some of the former MCs show up here, but overall this book works on its own. I like the premise of these books that all center around three men building a relationship and, with this one, I was intrigued with the band aspect, as well as Reed and Casper having stepbrother ties.
When the book opens, the band is heading home for a break. Reed always gets depressed and despondent when they go home because when they are on the road, he and Casper are together, but at home, Casper distances himself from Reed and Reed has been in anguish for years. The set up initially worked for me, but then the execution faltered.
The men see Elic on the road, and he is homeless and in trouble, and they invite him onto their tour bus and into their lives and home. Elic has lived an abusive life since his mother died and he has no idea how to make anything better and never thinks anything will improve. He doesn’t understand that both Reed and Casper can be attracted to him and he has a lot to work through and heal from.
Neither the character nor the relationship development was strong enough for me. Elic starts to heal quickly given that he now has the support of Reed and Casper, and Elic is the bond that Reed and Casper need to solidify their relationship, but there is little work being done on these relationships. It all has a bit of a “magic fix” scenario in many places. There is little discussion of how a relationship will work long term between them and a lot of the story was too on the surface for me. They all have a lot of issues to work through, but the primary solution is just to be together and every other thing will be fine. There are also additional side stories from other band members worked in here as well, and I would have preferred the main story to be expanded rather than the set up for the next book laid out as much as it was.
I like the characters and the overall story here, but it was the lack of detailed development that made the book a weaker read for me.