Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Theo Decker is a rock star—his dream come true. But he hates it. Give him his music and he’s happy, but give him paparazzi, crowds of fans, and no privacy and he’s immobilized with fear. He’s even socially awkward around his bandmates. Riven was a three-person band looking for a lead singer who could compose music when they happened to connect—a match made in heaven, or at least in rock star heaven. But they were all friends before Theo joined them so he continually finds himself on the outside looking in. Uncomfortable is almost too mild a word to describe how he feels both on and off stage when he’s on tour with them.
Caleb Blake Whitman is a formerly famous brilliant musician and a currently recovering drug addict. His fear of relapsing again (his fourth time) is so huge that he’s secluded himself at a cabin in the woods and spends most of his time alone and in his vegetable garden. A former bandmate and lover, Rhys, visits frequently and supports him wholeheartedly. He also has support from his sponsor, Huey, an old codger who says little, but knows much about life.
When the two meet, it’s like the stars collide. Theo is over-the-top excited to meet someone like Caleb and Caleb is in awe of Theo’s talent. As their relationship moves from friends to friends-with-benefits to more, however, Caleb is frightened of the thought of relapse. And he knows it will happen if he allows himself to enter Theo’s world. After all, each time he tried to stay clean in the past, it was something related to touring with his band that triggered him into relapse, and though he wants this time to be different, he’s deathly afraid it won’t be.
What happens along the way makes for a complex and beautiful love story. The author’s treatment of addiction, recovery, triggers, and the need for a sponsor and an outlet for the fears is spot-on. Her portrayal of Theo as a young, insecure musical genius was totally different from what I expected and absolutely perfect for this story. Caleb and Theo belong together and readers should enjoy their journey. It’s not an easy one but there is an HEA and for that I was most thankful.
I highly recommend this story to lovers of MM romance, especially to those who love a story featuring musicians, age gap, hurt-comfort, addiction recovery, and just plain love.
A note about the cover: This is a stunning cover – the best I’ve seen in a long time, unfortunately the cover artist is not listed in the ARC. Most of the cover is solid black with a view of the MC, Theo Decker, through the thick lettering of the title: RIVEN. The author’s name appears below in thin white lettering. This cover is unique and extremely well done.
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 235 pages
Expected publication: May 29th 2018 by Loveswept