Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Kyrie Li is 23 and soon to graduate Boston College with a degree in theatre arts. Greg Dwyer is 30 and a lawyer in a prestigious law firm in Boston. What they have in common is Kyrie’s sister, Grey Dwyer’s ex-wife. What else do they have in common? The fact that each man is deeply and secretly in love with the other.
Kyrie thinks his best friend Greg is straight and still in love with his sister. Greg believes that Kyrie would never be interested in “dull old” him or that Greg would be accepted if he came out to either his own family or Kyrie’s who Greg is close to.
But one drunken nights changes everything. A kiss between Greg and Kyrie leads to a wonderful night of passion but misunderstandings in the morning’s light leads Kyrie to pretend he doesn’t remember and Greg to flee from Kyrie’s friendship and family. Only a threat from Kyrie’s past pulls them back together. Can they patch up their misunderstandings and shattered relationship in time for Greg to save Kyrie and maybe find their own HEA?
Hard Act To Follow is the third story in the Shooting Stars series from Kimber Vale. The first two stories revolved around the romance of two rock stars from different bands. In the second story, Double Takes, we first meet Kyrie and Greg when Kyrie is hired to play the part of Gio Savale’s boyfriend on a reality tv series. Kyrie and Greg appear in largely secondary roles but already Greg is jealous of the fake relationship Kyrie and Gio have. They were almost my favorite thing about that story so I was happy to see that Kimber Vale was getting ready to write a story for them.
Kyrie is adorably irrepressible. He blurts out whatever he is thinking and up to now, has had awful taste in men. He is charming, artistic, with a slight build. Just a lovely character. Greg is his exact opposite in physical stature and emotional makeup. Greg is substantial, physically, materially, and emotionally. Just the sort of anchor someone like Kyrie wants and needs. Kimber Vale’s characters balance each other out in a way that makes a romance between them logical and perfect.
What holds them apart is Kyrie’s sister who also happens to be Greg’s ex-wife. Kyrie believes, wrongly, that Greg still has feelings for her and wants to get back together. Kyrie wants that too. Why? Because he is afraid that if Greg moves on to someone else romantically, he will lose him. Kyrie also thinks Greg is straight (obviously) The last thing Greg wants to do is get back with his ex-wife however much he loves Kyrie and Kyrie’s family. The connection between Greg and Jasmine as ex spouses feels real but I never got a solid emotional basis for their marriage in the first place. That missing foundation between Greg and Jasmine was one of the weakest elements here.
Misconceptions and misunderstandings multiply between Grey and Kyrie as their feelings for each other deepen. The lack of communication between Greg and Kyrie is frustrating but given their age difference and emotional makeup it also seems completely realistic as well.
Another aspect I liked here was the ease of the interracial romance. Kyrie’s parents are Black and Korean. That interracial quality to the family and siblings is not highlighted but rather just a gentle side note. And its the warmth and acceptance that Greg finds in the Li household that he is missing from his own. Another lovely touch. Both Boston and New York City are well represented here, especially the boxes that go for apartments in the walkups in NYC.
I was so happy to find that Kyrie and Greg got their HEA. Gio Savales even made a last minute appearance at Kyrie’s graduation. There is drama and some danger for Kyrie but all ends happily for this couple. If you are a fan of Kimber Vale and her romance series, if you love bubbly actors in search of their forever love, pick up Hard Act To Follow and enjoy. I don’t think you will need to read the other stories to get into this one as I think Hard Act To Follow can be read as a stand alone. Rockers, actors, or both. Your choice! The fun is always in the journey.
Cover art is uncredited.
ebook, 66,000 words
Published August 18th 2014 by Liquid Silver Books
Books in the Shooting Stars series include (but don’t have to be read in order)