His world was water and rhythm. Hard work and drive kept Royal O’Connell one step ahead of his competition. His spot on the swim team, keeping his scholarship, was the only plan that mattered.
His world was ebony and ivory. Natural talent and ambition set Camden Morgan apart from the other music majors. His dedication scoring him a full ride.
Normally, their paths would have never crossed….
But when Royal meets his best friend’s new roommate, his big plan and Camden’s controlled environment faces a variable that could destroy it all.
The world they live in had no room for error. That undeniable pull between them was dangerous and neither one of them could’ve prepared for the choice they’d have to make.
Love isn’t always an easy road and, when everything they’ve worked for is on the line, they’ll have to decide if being together is worth the risk.
*This is not a traditional duet*
*Not A Cliff Hanger*
5 of 5 Stars
So…this book surprised me, for several reasons which I hope to explain (or ramble about as is probably the case) before getting into my thoughts on the book.
I do not read any reviews before reading a book – for a couple of reasons: 1) I find I can’t always trust them and 2) the opinions of others can unfairly and prematurely taint my opinion of the story before I’ve even read a word and that’s not fair to anyone. This sometimes means I’m caught unaware of a book being a spin-off or mid-series and not truly able to be read as a standalone as the author states.
As it turns out, this is a spin-off from the Avenues Ink series which I have not read. In fact, I have not read anything by this author. However, that series revolved around the previous generation of the main characters in this story and having read that series is NOT a prerequisite for reading this book (for which I am thankful as that is a pet peeve of mine). And as much as I liked the characters from that series we meet in this book I have no desire to go back and read their books (which has probably more to do with me than anything else – I don’t like going backward in a series or story arc).
I was also surprised to learn that this is and probably will be the only MM book in the original series and this duet, so this may be lost on those readers that strictly read only MM books. As much as I’m currently leaning more toward MM books, I will be reading the second book in the duet with the hope that it’s as well written as this book (and because I really liked the characters about whom the story is being told). I do think this book is geared more toward the fans of the author who read her MF books and as such the sex scenes between the boys were not detailed or graphic (they’re not off page or fade to black but are not descriptive in any way).
The last thing I’ll mention before heading into my actual review of the book is I have limited my NA reading as I get older because my kids are nearing that age and reading sex scenes involving kids that age is starting to not work for me. I know there are quite a few folks that are like me and won’t read NA books for the same reason, but I’m glad I didn’t let that stop me from reading this book…the story is truly amazing, and I would have missed out on that had I let their ages stop me.
Now that I’ve blathered so much I’ll share my thoughts on the book/story. This is a very well written coming of age, self-discovery book with remarkable characters. The writing is prose-like at times and being a first-time reader of the author, I can’t tell you if that is typical or done just because it fits these characters. I love the relationship between Royal and Indie (and their nicknames for each other). Royal’s discovery about his sexuality is written perfectly with just the right amount of confusion but without the over the top drama sometimes included in NA stories. Camden’s mind, and how it works with his music, is phenomenal. I adored how Royal was able to slowly bring Camden out of his shell and the development of their relationship first as friends then as lovers, soulmates really.
Camden’s parents are awful, and Ms. Johnson highlighted just how bad they are not with overly dramatic scenes but by contrasting them with Royal’s parents and their unconditional love for their children. Camden learned what he should have had, what he deserved by being around the O’Connell’s…by seeing a true family firsthand. My heart broke for Camden each time he was crushed under the weight of his parents’ cruelty.
These guys get what I would consider an HFN…I suppose the story could end where it is for them, but it doesn’t feel finished. The main characters for book two in the duet were major characters in this book so I would assume we’ll see Royal and Camden in the next book with hopefully more of their story. As I stated earlier, I will definitely be reading book two and look forward to the conclusion of the duet.
Amanda lives in Utah with her family where she moonlights as a nurse on the weekends. If she’s not busy with her three munchkins, you’ll find her buried in a book or behind the keyboard where she explores the human experience through the written word.
She’s obsessed with all things Austen and Oreos, and loves to connect with readers!
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