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The Replacement Guitarist by Lori Toland

I always love a great romance with a backdrop of the rock world. There’s just something about the musicians – doesn’t matter if it is a guitarist, a drummer, a singer or keyboardist or anything else – and the lives they lead that is so appealing for a story. There’s the lifestyle and the lure of fame and all the temptation that goes along with it. So I was excited to start this series…..

The Replacement Guitarist Series

  • The Replacement Guitarist (book #1) – in this review
  • Home for the Holidays (book #2)

The Replacement Guitarist (The Replacement Guitarist, #1)The Replacement Guitarist by Lori Toland

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The blurb…

Blaze Shinozuka, a hot talent who auditions as a replacement guitarist for world famous pop star Cassie, is thrilled when he draws the attention of celebrity manager Jason Stockton—and not only because it could make his career. His instant attraction to Jason sends his world careening off its axis and drives him to make a move. But Jason reacts by trying to put distance between them, and Blaze finds himself thrust into the gritty world of rock ‘n’ roll while falling for a man he shouldn’t touch, let alone love.

Straight-laced Jason Stockton is always professional and never dips his pen in the company ink. But there’s something about Blaze that leaves him wanting what he shouldn’t, and the guitarist’s exotic beauty and compelling innocence turn out to be the temptation Jason can’t resist. But just one lie in the national media sets off a chain of events that pushes Jason and Blaze apart. Can they find a way to be together in the cutthroat, jealous world of rock ‘n’ roll even after the music stops?

So what did I think?

A musician,  the rock world….. I was excited to start this story, particularly as it was about an inexperienced guitarist (Blaze) and the band manager (Jason). I liked the idea that the story wasn’t involving the lead singer or another band member. I liked the idea that it wasn’t all about a relationship being conducted under the eye of the paparazzi. However the book didn’t quite live up to expectations for me.

For me the strength of the story was in the character of Blaze. He is young and inexperienced. He is a highly skilled guitarist and this is his first tour and he has been thrown straight into the deep end, touring with the latest pop sensation. He is also very inexperienced sexually. He is bisexual but has been with neither a women or a man.

Over the course of the book, Blaze needs to find the courage to push things with Jason, the man he is attracted to (we’re talking the first hard-on appearing on page 3 of the book!) and comes to have feelings for. He also needs courage to come out to his family.

I found Jason’s character to be a bit conflicted. One minute he is all tough and a business man in control, all about not playing around with employees. The next minute he can’t resist Blaze and is all over him.

The weakness of the story for me was in a couple of areas.

Firstly, the relationship between Jason and Blaze seemed very much based on sex. There was a lot of sex, good sex mind you (apart from overuse of the word cockhead), but a lot of it. I wanted them to go out on a date, maybe dinner, to talk more and build a real relationship based on more than the physical. I wanted them to get to know each other properly. They just seemed to hang out in the office and have sex. They spoke of developing feelings but it was hard to see what these feelings were based on so it made it unbelievable. Plus I was a bit annoyed that they thought it was a good idea for Blaze to have his first full sexual experience on the couch in the office just before they he had to rush back to rehearsal. “Too bad we aren’t at the hotel right now. It would be nice to just hold you right now.” Duh!

Secondly, and maybe this is a bit picky but at the start of the book there is talk of both men being bisexual. Based on Blaze’s physical reaction, Jason says “Blaze had confirmed he was definitely bisexual.” I didn’t understand how he came to this conclusion (even though it was correct) when Blaze hadn’t indicated any interest in women. Maybe I missed it?

The tension in the story is largely driven by a few doubts over why each man started the relationship and what they were looking to get out of it. Plus Blaze has some family issues relating to both his career choice and sexuality. Pop star Cassie also acts like a typical diva bitch, interfering and causing a bit of trouble. Sexual attraction to women also comes into play.
[I hated Jason propositioning Blaze with the idea of a threesome but was impressed with Blaze’s response – although he is attracted to women, as proven by his own fantasy about his friend, he knows he doesn’t want to share Jason or need anything more than him – yay! (hide spoiler)]

So, while I did find a few niggling points with this story, overall it was an enjoyable way to spend an hour or two. I haven’t read the sequel yet and hope this spends a little more time on the relationship side of the story.

3 Stars

To find out more about Lori Toland and her books visit her website.

View all my reviews

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