Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Jaxon Powers is a rock star who has it all: fame, fortune, gold records and awards, and plenty of money. He agrees to travel to Vasnytsia with Reid Stanfill as his pseudo personal assistant after the state department pleads for his cooperation. The dictator in this small country is a fan. He may be the only fan since he doesn’t allow his people Internet access, and they only see state-run television, so no other access to the world outside their borders. The citizens will be allowed to attend the concert and Talmirov will be seen as a benevolent man.
Once there, they do one concert for the president and then have to wait several days for the big public concert, but Jaxon finds out all is not as it seemed, and Reid is actually a secret agent working to help the resistance in Vasnytsia to overcome tyranny. He also learns that there’s an underground movement of men and women who do get access to his music. He has fans in this country—brave men and women who are not only fans but are willing to help him and Reid escape when their plans go downhill. When the plot is found out and there’s an attempt on Reid’s life, he separates himself from Jaxon so the young man can get home, but even that doesn’t go according to plan and they end up together fighting for their lives.
I’m not giving a lot of detail in this review because this story deserves to be read. It’s not just a love story. It’s the story of unsung heroes—the commoners who rise up to make their country a better place. And it’s the story of Jaxon reaching deep inside and showing who he really is—a young man willing to go out on a limb to help so many people in their struggle for freedom. There’s quiet moments and times for introspection for the young man who was born in Nebraska and left at eighteen to make his way in the world. And there’s time to learn a bit about Reid and his sense of responsibility and perfectionism. There’s not a lot of sex in this story, just enough to secure the romance, so to speak, but it really wasn’t needed to make this story outstanding.
I loved all the secondary characters the author created. Even with the language barrier, they were believable, brave, strong, and certainly interested in their freedom. Looking back, I realize that I feel like these are real people and I wonder how they are doing today. Jaxon was a terrific character with so much to like about him. He owned his faults and tried to live up to his hopes and dreams and when push came to shove, he showed the world a strength of character many wouldn’t have known he had. Reid, however, was difficult for me to like. He was quite cold and standoffish at first. In fact, he was so in denial about the possibility that he deserved happiness and a future with a partner who loved him that it took forever for him to get there. On one hand, that was spot-on for his character, but on the other, it made him more difficult to love. I’m sure it’s a quandary for authors who need to find the perfect balance.
I definitely recommend this story to those who enjoy stories of intrigue and revolution, those who love rock stars, and those who are just looking for a high quality MM romance that has a lot of substance and isn’t bogged down by gratuitous sex scenes.
The cover by Bree Archer shows an excellent representation of Jaxon Powers with his curly red hair and slightly unshaven face. It’s a close-up wearing the clothing he dons while escaping Vasnytsia and it’s set against the background of the plain cement block apartment buildings where the impoverished citizens live. Perfect for this story.
ebook, Dreamspun Desires #67, 200 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1641080558 (ISBN13: 9781641080552)
Edition Language English
Series Stars from Peril #1