Title: The Beat
Author: D.J. Manly
Length: 13,000 words
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
The beat of love doesn’t always move every drummer in the same way…
The members of Frenzied Water, an up-and-coming rock band, can’t believe their luck when Frank Harold, former drummer for Heirloom, the most famous group on the planet, enters the studio and offers to be their new percussionist. And Johnny, Frenzied Water’s front man, never expects that his feelings for Frank will grow to the point where he needs to know the reason Frank left Heirloom for a less popular group.
One night, after a few drinks with Johnny, Frank finally confesses the reason he left Heirloom—a love affair-gone-wrong with his former vocalist. With the truth out, Johnny believes he has a chance with the sexy drummer if only he can convince Frank to leave the past behind and give their blossoming love a try.
Then a miracle happens, one that Johnny suspects may be more calculated than it appears. His band is invited to be the opening act on Heirloom’s American tour. It’s a dream for a rock group struggling for recognition, but a personal nightmare for Johnny, who wishes Frank as far away from his former lead singer as possible.
But Johnny is not the only one dreading this tour, and when a snowstorm in Denver traps Johnny, Frank, and two members of Heirloom together in a cabin, there will be no escape…
Johnny’s been in love with the drummer in his band for a long time and tried many times to seduce Frank into his bed. After a night of pot and drink, he finally succeeds only to have Frank claim it was a mistake. Frank had been a member of a famous band, Heirloom, and left after his relationship with the lead singer broke down and so refuses to make the same mistake with Johnny. When Heirloom specifically ask for Johnny’s band to support them on tour, Frank is forced to confront his past and Johnny hopes this will help him put aside his past for good.
There was a lot happening in this story. There’s the relationship between Frank and Johnny, Frank’s past relationship with the lead singer of heirloom, the band stuff involving two bands, a snowstorm, a four way sex scene and another romantic sub-plot. At this word count it was a lot to fit in and I’m afraid it didn’t work too well for me. The story seems to careen from one thing to the next whilst never fully exploring anything and so everything seems superficial and shallow. We never really get to know the characters and as such I didn’t feel too involved in them or their romance. The end is rushed and felt forced so I was left feeling that the story would have benefitted from having more added to it to make a novel, rather than limiting the story to a short.
It wasn’t all bad though. I thought the story had a good grasp of the workings of a band and I liked the way it showed an up and coming band getting a leg up on the fame ladder. The story begins well and I enjoyed seeing Johnny’s desperate attempts to snag Frank for himself and how pleased he is when he manages to get Frank into bed.
If you like stories about rock stars or bands then you may well like this one too. I liked some of it but felt that it could have been better with more detail and greater character development.