Dear Ms. Vaughn and Ms. O’Shea:
I have a soft spot for rock star heroes. I don’t know why, but I do. (Someone needs to write an ex-con rock star hero who now hooks or strips, or an ex-con, ex-stripper rock star, or something, and I’ll be ALL set.) So TWO rockstar heroes utterly intrigued me and the excerpt at Loose Id looked fantastic. This book had almost everything I like: angst and trauma and deep longing…and then the main hero turned into a whiny, blaming jerk at the end and I hated him.
Shane Ventura is in a band with his brother and two other guys and they’re rock stars. Their band Luck is touring with a British band Moonlight because the bands mesh well and both have albums coming out around the same time. But when Shane meets Kayden Berlin, the lead of Moonlight, Kayden insults and then ignores him. Shane’s pissed because Kayden is the hottest thing to walk the earth and Shane wants him to fill in the void his life has become.
The back story, though, is that Shane’s life is pointless and horrible — too much sex, drugs, alcohol, all in an attempt to drag Shane through the pointless days ::whinewhinewhine:: — because back when the band first signed with a record label, the label made them kick off their lead singer and song writer Jesse, because he was ugly and dumpy and didn’t look like a rock star. Shane and Jesse were in love, but not only did Shane agree to this betrayal, he was the one who had to tell Jesse. And Shane’s regretted it ever since because he misses Jesse so much and he’s never felt that connection with anyone since. Except Kayden. And Kayden hates him except when he kisses him…
So, spoilerificness here:
[spoiler]Kayden is, of course, Jesse, after a nose and chin job, losing 50 lbs, dying his hair (this is the one that gets to me: as someone who has bleached her hair like Kayden does, the roots show THE NEXT DAY! — he’d have to do constant upkeep!), and wearing contacts. He’s set up the whole joint tour thing to rub his success into Shane’s face, to show Shane that Shane is just a washed-up rock musician, while he, Kayden/Jesse, is the hottest thing ever, to show Shane what he’s missing and what he’ll never ever get back.
So, okay, I get that. Shane destroyed Jesse, Kayden’s back to get revenge and gets it good. But Shane fell in love with Kayden, so he’s pissed at Kayden’s betrayal and he’s pissed at Jesse too (confusing, I know) because the Jesse he knew would never do anything like this to him. Dude: you abandoned Jesse, pushing him out of your life, your relationship, your BAND that went on to be huge. And you’re whining about how Kayden/Jesse could do this to you?! You abandon the tour to hide in your apartment because you’re so pissed and betrayed?! When Kayden/Jesse comes to beg you to take him back (?!?!), you listen to him but then throw him out because you need more time to get over your anger and betrayal?! WHO is the aggrieved party here? Just a hint: not you.
Look, I like angst. I love that swirly hot feeling in my stomach from reading well-written mental anguish and suffering in a relationship. And Shane was properly guilt-ridden and yearning throughout the book up until the big reveal. But then Shane was just pure whiny, self-indulgent, selfish, blind asshole at the end of the book, so much so that I wanted Kayden to say “Fuck you too” and walk away and find himself some groupie who would appreciate him. Even the rainbows and fluffy bunnies of mutual adoration in the epilogue wasn’t enough for me, because Shane never said he was sorry, never said he understood the devastation he’d wrought. It was all about him.
So…yeah. Great writing, characters I was invested in, and then the wrong guy ends up groveling, which just destroyed everything. But I’d be interested in reading more of your work, hoping for less assholishness.