Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Nine years ago Alex Bremen was very much in love with Chance Ralan. The high school boys were inseparable until Alex’s dad caught them together. The events from that traumatic night tore them apart. The breakup permanently separated them and left Alex forever bitter at Chance’s betrayal. Now Alex is a successful director and producer of independent documentaries at his own production firm. And Chance? Chance went on to rock god status when he turned his high school rock band into the famous Armageddon Showdown. Over the years, Alex had got a concert or two…just out of curiosity of course but never attempted to contact him. And he never again heard from Chance.
Then Alex happens to hear the song he wrote for Chance all those years ago played on the radio. Stunned and enraged, he listens as his song is credited to Chance Ralan and its Armageddon Showdown’s latest hit! The song “Forever is Now” was Alex’s love song to Chance. It was always meant to be a private things between them and now Chance has not only stolen it but claimed to have written it as well.
Determined to take his revenge and take back his song, Alex travels across country with his production team to meet up with Armageddon Showdown and Chance Ralan. At first Chance has no idea that the company that is to film their tour is also bringing with it someone from their past hellbent on making Chance pay for his actions once and for all. But Love is a quixotic thing and as the men tangle, old passions and feelings that never completely went away start to rise again. In the end, what will win out? Love or revenge? Does time really heal all wounds or let them fester, so all hope of love is lost?
Parted young lovers, a troubled rock star and a spurned nice guy set on revenge. Yep, I’m in. Kimber Vale takes those ingredients and turns them into a highly readable and engaging tale of love, betrayal, and a rocker’s redemption. I love rockers! All the drama, glitz and glamor that surrounds them often hides a wealth of problems and hard work. They make for perfect main characters and Kimber Vale’s Chance Ralan is another wonderful rock god character readers will love to embrace. Haunted by his actions and betrayal of the one person who loved him all those years ago, Alex is wading in a mire of his own making. The pierced, tattoed rock god is a far cry from the scared kid who only wanted to play music but Vale does a great job of showing how Chance’s insecurities and regrets are now playing out through drunken binges, denial, and depression. You should dislike Chance but he is so miserable and increasingly out of control that it is hard not to feel compassion for the guy, especially when Alex shows up to confront him.
Ah, Alex…..gorgeous, in control, out and now spitting mad Alex. The story’s pov switches back and forth between our two protagonists but the Prologue and first chapters belong to Alex. We see the events happen from his eyes and pick up 9 years later where it is clear he has never gotten over neither his resentment and bitterness nor his love of Chance. Alex is a easy character to love. He confronted his demons then made the tough, right choices in his life. He became successful without sacrificing those personality traits that makes him accessible to the reader. Plus he has a great sister he adores. You start off understanding Alex, then you like him and finally, you fall in love with him as deeply as Chance already is.
Alex’s love life is as stalled as his affections as his latest lover just happens to resemble a young Chance. As Vale heads her characters towards a combustible reunion and a confrontation, it is clear that both men need this to go forward in their lives. The author has created a wonderful atmosphere of suspense and anticipation for the reader leading up to this moment and she never quite gives in to the impulse to make it explosive, keeping us on the edge as we continue into the narration. I loved that aspect of this story. It totally works in keeping us engaged and in the moment.
There is quite a cast of secondary characters here that have important roles to play. There are the Armageddon Showdown band members of varying degrees of maturity and congeniality, and Cliff the manager who is smarmy from the ground up. Alex’ production company, Real Reels, is represented by Jools and Miles, the mistake and Alex’s ex lover who unfortunately is still circling around Alex like a hopeful bee. I like that no one character felt extraneous here and that each was as well crafted as the next.
Kimber Vale does seriously address Chance’s drinking and drug habits. When we start the story Chance is already an alcoholic in denial who also uses drugs as casually as he does booze. Without going too deeply into the steps necessary for recovery and rehab, the author makes it plain that this self destructive behavior is hurting him on all fronts. And that only Chance himself holds the key that will make him realize how high the cost will be if changes aren’t made. Vale keeps it realistic without being clinical, especially given the length of the story.
There are places where the story slows down, but that only happens occasionally. The narrative picks up speed as it heads towards the end, and even though most will be able to tell who the villains of the story are and what possibly their roles might be as the plot unfolds, the pleasure you get from these characters and the drama of their situation will have you glued to the page until the very end.
Need a great little fix for your rockers in love addiction? Start here with Forever is Now and Chance and Alex. Kimber Vale continues the series with Giovanni Savale of Deaf Blind Mice in Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2). Giovanni Savale has a small mention here as his band plays along side Armageddon Showdown. I will meet up with you there! Happy Reading!
Cover Art by Unknown Artist who did a good job with the characters and cover design.
Books in the Series to Date include:
Forever is Now(Shooting Stars #1)
Double Takes (Shooting Stars #2)
ebook, 101 pages
Published September 9th 2013 by Liquid Silver Books
seriesShooting Stars #1