Release Date: June 11, 2018
Received From: Review copy from the author
Singing about love is one thing. Finding it is another.
Teague Martell has been License to Game’s bassist for over a decade, and he’s played Casanova for just as long, sleeping with almost everyone in his path. But unbeknownst to even his bandmates, it’s always felt like going through the motions.
His best friend and LtG drummer Christian Vogel has secrets of his own. Like that he’s had a crush on Teague for as long as he’s had crushes. And while LtG’s lead singer may have made his solo plans public and sent the band into a tailspin, Christian’s got a side gig as well—one he’s been keeping under wraps.
A nude photoshoot for a charity calendar has Teague seeing Christian in a different light—suddenly he knows what it is to want. But disagreements about the future of the band could impact their future as a couple. Christian and Teague have to decide whether their differences of opinion create a sweet harmony or if there’s too much discord in the duet they’re finally playing.
**Please note: Thrown Off Track appeared originally in the Exposed anthology. This version includes a bonus scene.**
SEXUALITY: demisexual, bisexual, homosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic, homoromantic
TROPES: coworkers to lovers, bandmates to lovers, friends to lovers, height difference
TAGS: adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters
WARNINGS: ableism, anti-native language (“savage”), cheating mention, toxic masculinity (MC has had sex for years without any actual desire to do so because of societal expectations)
This short story was really fun and an enjoyable read, and it featured a lot of aspects that I love.
I absolutely adored the friends to lovers arc. That is one of my favorite tropes, and Parker did a really amazing job of depicting these two friends–Christian, who’s been in love with his best friend for forever, and Teague, who just discovers his attraction and love within the story. She did a fabulous job of showing both the ease and the complexities that come with falling in love with your best friend. On the one hand, they already know each other pretty intimately on multiple levels, so they are able to build on the friendship they already have and intertwine a romantic relationship within. But on the other, the potential for a breakup is very real and Parker did a great job of showing how their separation affected both them, and how it could affect the band that they’re both part of. Ultimately, there’s a happy ending, but there’s layer upon layer interwoven in this romance.
Also, I just adored both the characters, in general. Teague is a big guy, and I really appreciated the way he was so conscious of the fact that his size could be intimidating to people smaller than him and he needed to respect boundaries and not push. It’s something that I have rarely seen, and I loved reading his stream of consciousness regarding it, as well as the fact that Christian calls him out the one time Teague does manhandle him, and Teague makes a point not to do it again. And Christian…oh man, he is such a good character. He’s so loyal to his friends, and his love and devotion to Teague is so lovely to read. Also, he’s so passionate about the music he loves, and makes outside of his and Teague’s band, and I loved getting to see him interact with that in multiple different forms.
Additionally, I really, really loved the demisexual representation. Until he realizes his genuine attraction to Christian, Teague has never truly wanted to have sex. He has had it, and a lot of it, but he explicitly states that he has to imagine a scenario with a fictional character (the first person he was ever actually attracted to) in order to go through with it. And then with Christian, he realizes what sexual desire actually means for him, and it begins a bit of a journey of self-discovery, where the two of them talk about Teague identifying as demisexual. It’s not only great to have that rep on page for demi readers, but it’s just done so well. Parker allows to Teague to actually process the information and learn about himself, and what he desires, before rushing him, and them, into anything. There is a lot of kissing, which is written so well that I enjoyed it more than several sex scenes I’ve previously read, and there’s an extended scene where Christian allows Teague to explore his body without the pressure of requiring sex acts. The scenes are so deeply intimate and clearly cherished by both characters, that I found myself smiling during them.
This novella was so lovely to read, and I cannot wait to see more from this series and this author.
Also, check out this wonderful review from my friend Corey, where they gush about the book and what it meant to them.
Tamsen Parker is a stay-at-home mom by day, erotic romance writer by naptime. She lives with her family outside of Boston, where she tweets too much, sleeps too little and is always in the middle of a book. Aside from good food, sweet rieslings and gin cocktails, she has a fondness for monograms and subway maps. She should really start drinking coffee.
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