Author: L.A. Witt
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 08/31/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Drama, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate.
Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow.
Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?
I’ve only recently discovered a fondness for rock star stories after years of avoiding them because they all seemed so similar. I’m glad I gave the sub-genre another chance because Running with Scissors is a fantastic story that goes beyond the musician trope.
There are some truly fascinating characters here who are anything but one-dimensional. And not just Jude Colburn and A.J. Palmer, the main couple. All the members of the band are also fully fleshed out and interesting. I’ve heard the author has plans for a sequel and I’m hoping for stories for at least two of the characters in the band.
The plot revolves around Jude coming back to the band he helped to found. He had been a drummer but left after his relationship with lead singer Connor ended in a spectacularly bad way. He’s regretted it ever since so when he gets the chance to rejoin the group as bassist he jumps at the chance. Things are tense with everyone because of what he did in the past, but one of the rules is that no one on the band can get involved with each other.
Jude’s fine with that, even when he finds himself attracted to A.J., the drummer. It gets even worse when he sees A.J. play the drums. The magnetism between Jude and A.J. is definitely not one-sided and soon they are going at it like rabbits. They try to keep it secret but soon the shit hits the fans and that’s when Jude and A.J. have to figure out their feelings.
Witt provides some truly amazing descriptions of the characters. My favorite is this one of A.J.
The kid definitely took the “I’m a fucking rock star” look seriously. His bleached blond spikes with “I don’t give a fuck” dark roots and the nose ring. Jude was willing to bet money this kid never went onstage without eyeliner, and that that thought…
I also loved this scene of A.J. on the drums.
Beneath the blinding spotlight, A.J. was lost in the intense drum solo, his hands and drumsticks blurring as they beat and tapped and crashed. Droplets of perspiration flew. The percussion line reverberated through Jude’s bones. It was like he was looking at a whole new person. Drenched in sweat, with muddy smears of eyeliner emphasizing his blue eyes, his skin flushed and his shirt gone, A.J. wasn’t the shy kid who’d waited beside Kristy back in Nebraska, or who’d blended in with the upholstery on the tour bus, or who’d nearly disappeared into his own hoodie while they ate last night.
The energy between A.J. and Jude both before and after they admit their attraction is palpable. Witt perfectly shows how well these men perform together both on stage and off, both in the bedroom and out. The sex is incredible but there is more to Jude and A.J.’s relationship than just messing up the sheets.
There’s a lot of details regarding the band and their music. Usually this type of thing bores me and is when I start skimming, but that didn’t happen here. Witt is a master at using every single scene to advance the plot and there wasn’t any filler here. The book is longer than I usually like to read by a hundred or so pages but I couldn’t put it down.
There’s some great conflict when the truth about Jude and A.J.’s relationship comes out. In fact there’s more than one just a single source of tension. When there’s discussion of having to cut one of the men from the band, Jude stands up for A.J. and insists he should be the one to leave if it comes to that. That, ladies and gentleman, is true love—when you’re willing to put the needs of the person you love above your own.
I cheered when Jude encouraged A.J. to stand up for himself and refuse to be treated like a welcome mat. Seeing A.J. find his back bone was awesome.
The resolution here involved not just the romantic relationship between Jude and A.J. but also the tension between former lovers Jude and Connor. The story wouldn’t have been complete if these two men hadn’t dealt with their past.
If you love L.A. Witt’s books this is another great one. If you haven’t read her before Running with Scissors is a great book to start with.
I would like to thank the publisher 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.
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