Title: Off Stage: In The Wings
Author: Jaime Samms
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
Lenny Stevens was the lead guitarist of the up-and-coming grunge band Firefly until he crossed the line with the band’s lead singer. Now he’s faced with the impossible task of rebuilding his life without the music that had kept him together. Struggling with his fear and rage, he creates the same damaging patterns in his relationship with his lover, Vance Ashcroft.
Vance knows that Lenny is the submissive meant for him. He is convinced he can save Lenny from his demons and puts faith in his ability. But when Len’s temper leads to him physically hurting Vance and destroying property, both men realize Len’s issues are too big for them to work through alone.
Seeking the help of the people who know Len best, Vance invites his former bandmates to the ranch for Len’s belated birthday party. Together, they try to create a safe haven for Len to come apart and, hopefully, rearrange himself into a man who can live with his past and create a future worth having.
I have been giving less and less 5 Star ratings for books for recently. I read and review so many books at the moment that it has to be something pretty special to get the top rating. I read some great books every week for Prism and I am always looking for the one that has something a bit different or a bit special, a book that touches me and leaves me wanting more immediately.
This was one of those books. Not because it was about hot, raunchy rock stars. Not because it contains BDSM. Not because it was a sequel to a book I had previously loved. Not because, as usual, Jaime Samms writing was fantastic. All of these things helped to make the story what it was and they are also elements that I really enjoy in a story…..who doesn’t like Rockers and BDSM? No, the thing that sold this story to me was simple. It was the Relationship Dynamic. Nothing more and nothing less.
Let me explain…….
I love a good BDSM book. I love a good D/s relationship. I am becoming more and more wary though of it being a quick fix to a broken sub with an abusive past. It is something that personally doesn’t sit well with me. There isn’t a quick fix or easy answer to someone who has suffered years of abuse and I feel sometimes that we undermine a persons hurt and anguish by implying there is.
If you have read Book 1 (which you should!) you will remember just how damaged and volatile Lenny is. His previous relationship with Ace left him nearly dead and the consequences of that, among other things, led to the damage and abuse that he inflicted on his best friend and fellow band member Damian. At the end of Book 1 Vance steps in and removes Lenny from his band, his friends and his destructive lifestyle, and takes him to live at his ranch.
Book 2 is the start of his healing.
Vance has got his head screwed on. He has a successful career and is pretty comfortable with who he is. It wasn’t always like that though. A recovering alcoholic he still has to fight his own demons and remind himself that the answers are not in the bottle. He is a Dom and when he first met Lenny he was convinced the broken and struggling man was the perfect Sub for him. The thing that really strikes you with Vance is his lack of arrogance and self importance. He is only too aware that he doesn’t have all the answers and isn’t too proud to ask for help when he feels he is losing control.
Lenny has been losing himself to inner turmoil since he was a small child. He is volatile and angry and in a really bad place when he first arrives at the Ranch. He struggles to talk to his therapist and Vance about his past abuse. It is a vicious circle of pain and anger until he finally breaks when the band visits for his birthday. At this point a lot of the ‘ugly’ comes out and for the first time there seems to be a chance that he can move forward.
What I loved most about this pair is they were both out of their depth at times and that was ok. As I said before there was no quick fix and the issues were very real and not swept under the carpet. It was a battle that was sometimes nasty and neither one of the men had the answers but nor could they just walk away. As much as Lance needed to be dominant in the relationship and Lenny craved to submit it was never pushed and felt natural to their relationship. The main emphasis was trust and this was something that Lenny struggled with throughout the story. His nightmares and flashbacks were very real and very violent.
At the end of the story Lenny is strong enough to slowly start facing his past and begin making amends in his relationships but he is nowhere near as strong as he could be. I would love for there to be another chapter of this story where we see both Lenny and Damian or moving on with their lives and perhaps getting to a point where they could once again be friends and leave the damage and anger behind.
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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