Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Acclaimed musician Hollis Lee is a little bit rock, a little bit country, and a lot in need of some TLC to mend the years of hardcore partying that threatens to ruin his career. Hollis’s manager, Charlie, has the perfect solution in mind.
Personal trainer Jeremy is even-keeled and nothing if not professional—which means doing his job, getting Hollis back to his fighting weight, and ignoring his fierce attraction to the rock star.
Turns out Hollis has a harder time resisting Jeremy than giving up sausage biscuits and cheeseburgers, but succumbing to temptation could end both of their careers. While Hollis is on tour, no one questions Jeremy’s presence, and that means plenty of time to sneak away for some steamy fun on the tour bus. But when an accident separates them, how will they sustain the relationship that’s starting to mean so much?
In Living in Fast Forward, BA Tortuga combines a staple of hers, the troubled country rocker character with a California personal trainer and comes up with a sweet, heartwarming hurt/comfort story that’s pretty realistic for the times. I say that because this is a re-release and unfortunately it feels so true for the current political climate than I would have thought even a couple of years ago.
Hollis Lee is a man on a downward spiral. He’s drinking too much, and if you are what you eat, then he’s turning into a combo of Big Mac and KFC washed down by booze. And its not helping his image or his music. His management has had enough and made drastic changes.
B.A. Tortuga does drunk so well, especially country drunk. I mean, that’s a talent! Because you could so dislike someone like Hollis, stumbling about his touring bus:
He tried to get up, staggered, and fell on the bed with a thud that rattled his brain.
“What? Hollis? You okay?”
“‘M fine.’ He frowned down at his legs, telling them sternly to work. ‘I just needed to get through the night. I mean, what were you thinking? Fashion Forward, for Chrisp wt’s sake. Am I a fashion icon? Fuck, no.”
He was a fucking redneck who happened to look good in jeans and sing good old-fashioned rockabilly.
“I was thinking you could clean up your image,’ Charlie said. ‘After that arrest in Tampa?.”
“Which came to nothing, as I was so not guilty.’ Scratching his belly, Hollis squinted at the ceiling, which was spinning slowly but getting faster. “Damn, Sam.”
“Name’s Charlie’. You’re in big trouble, boy.”
“Uh-huh. Sure. Look, Charlie, I gotta go. I’m gonna go puke.’ He hung up the phone and tossed it off into the ether, needing quiet and either more JD or less… maybe more.
In the end he decided just to stay where he was and sleep.
There should be no spinning involved in that.
But you don’t dislike him. Yes, he’s gotten self indulgent, but he’s also overworked and lacking a support group. It’s clearly not his manager who’s solely in it for the money. So you sort of get him, and the deeper you dive into the story and watch the changes that the author builds into him as a result of having a stable relationship and love, well, it makes the larger picture of what happens on the road, the stress…the hiding…even clearer. Suddenly, a drunken Hollis, misbehavin’ can be a tragedy waiting to happen instead of a rich jerk on the way down. All a matter of perspective and nobody makes that perspective more intimate that B.A. Tortuga.
Jeremy is even cuter, someone in control, a trainer with a mission who accidentally falls in love with his subject. We see all the pitfalls, the why’s this shouldn’t happen, especially in country music. I’m afraid these are even more believable now, even with Chely Wright and Ty Herdon coming out, it’s still a very conservative music arena. I loved Jeremy, and although it might seem that their connection is a bit instalove, I think all that time on the tour bus and constant togetherness promotes that sort of relationship. So I get that too.
There’s a shocking turn of events and it’s Hollis’s manager, Charlie’s actions and Hollis’s, well, lack of fire towards Charlie, that puzzled me. Liability alone and a threat of lawyers should have driven his manager to very different action plus Hollis acted far to laid back for my tastes. That’s the only part that logically didn’t sit right. All the rest, well, yes, I understood. Some readers may not have liked it, but I felt the story felt more authentic that way.
So Living in Fast Forward (Radio and the Road) by B.A. Tortuga is a surprisingly current contemporary romance, given the political climate these days. There is a HEA but with certain limitations. Does it leave your heart a little bruised? Perhaps, but I think we need that dose of reality every now and again. Let’s us remember those that can’t be totally free to hold hands with the ones they love…not yet, not if they want to keep their career.
Someday I hope that won’t be true. It’s just not today. Not everywhere. Bless B.A. Tortuga for reminding us that there’s still love waiting to come out in the open and find acceptance where there’s still none to be found in every arena…music, arts, sports…life.
Yes, I absolutely recommend it.
Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza. Love the cover. It sparkles the way a cowboy star should and that model is perfect!
ebook, 2nd Edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 6th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 1st 2006)
Original Title Living in Fast Forward
Series Radio and the Road