PLAY IT BY EAR
REPLAY SERIES, BOOK 2
RELEASE DATE: 07.02.18
My muse is gone, and I haven’t written a word of music in over a year. Every time I close my eyes, all I can see is Dawson. Nine years ago, just before Downward Spiral’s first major tour, I met my soulmate and then I walked away. Now that I’ve finally tracked him down again, things have changed. I’ll have to make him fall for me all over again. But is it possible I put our single weekend together on a pedestal or could Dawson really be The One?
A traumatic brain injury nine years ago left me deaf and with spotty memory of the first twenty years of my life. When one of the biggest rock stars in the world shows up and seems to know me, I’m not sure what to believe. Is it possible he’s telling the truth when he says he’s been in love with me for nine years, even if I can’t remember ever meeting him?
***Play it by Ear is the second book in the Replay series. Each book in the series will focus on a different band member getting a second chance at love. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.
Cryselle's review:The blank pages taunt me cruelly. No matter how many times I put the tip of my pencil to the paper, it remains blank. Have you ever felt like your entire life depended on your ability to do something that you suddenly couldn’t do? Not that I’m going to die if I can’t write. But if I can’t do this, the band will be dead, and I might as well die along with it.
My goodness, Downward Spiral has some life complications. I reviewed the first book, which was Linc's story, where Lando and the others were secondary characters, and only glimmers of their lives shone through. Now we've got Lando, and his road hasn't been an easy one.
One magic weekend with Dawson, nine years ago won Lando's heart, and then... nothing. Dawson dropped off the map, leaving Lando wondering and yearning, writing songs that Dawson surely ought to hear, pouring out of every radio. Dawson's own trauma seems to put him beyond a musician's reach, and his patchy memories only leave him obsessed with a band he can't hear, and a bass player he can't quite remember.
The entire book is an exploration of "who am I? And who am I to you?" Dawson has no real memories to work with, and memories of a man who changed profoundly are all Lando has. The author teases out things that are past, hope for the future, and understanding of the present in a way that made this a read with depth.
A nickname issue that marred the first book resurfaces here, not quite as badly but still, no, please, stop that. I was hoping for more on page with Lando's songwriting, as lyrics are what Dawson can experience most fully. Lando did find another way to pull Dawson into the the music, and that will bring a smile.
This is shaping up into a complex, angsty rock star series with something a little extra. We got more glimpses of the other bandmates and Archer, their manager and miracle worker, and I expect their stories will be just as riveting.
“Just write,” I command myself, putting the tip of the pencil to the paper once more. “It can’t be that difficult. You’ve written three dozen songs, if not more. Just put one word in front of the other until you have enough words to fill three minutes or so.”
I drill the tip of the pencil into the paper, but still no words come.
“Goddammit,” I roar, snapping the pencil in my fist and throwing the pieces to the ground. “Dammit, dammit, dammit.”
A familiar resentment simmers in my chest. If Lincoln wasn’t such a mess, I wouldn’t be in this position. When we signed our first contract with Epic Records a decade ago, Lincoln and I agreed we’d share the responsibility of writing music. How many songs has Lincoln written? Two. Two fucking songs in ten years while I sit here with an ulcer over needing to get a whole album written in the next few weeks.
“Fuck you, Lincoln, and fuck me, too,” I mutter, heaving myself off the couch and heading to my kitchen to grab another beer.
How’s this for the wild Friday night in a rock star’s life? Drinking beer and berating myself in my deathly quiet penthouse.
I wander over to the window that takes up the entire east wall. City lights twinkle like stars all around, but when I tilt my head to see the actual stars, there’s nothing but hazy light polluting the sky.
I lift the bottle of beer to my lips and gulp down half of it in one go. None of this was how it was supposed to be. When we started this band, we were nothing more than best friends sharing a love of music. When we were signed by Epic, we were all so sure this was going to change our lives. We weren’t wrong. A decade later we have seven albums, three of which went platinum, we’re a household name, our songs—my songs—are on every radio station. We’re living the dream. So why does it feel so empty?
I rest my palm against the frigid glass of the window and wonder for the millionth time what the point of all this is.
The shrill sound of my phone ringing makes me jump. I reach into my pocket and see Archer’s name on the screen. There’s only one reason our band manager would be calling me after midnight on a random Friday.
“Is he okay?” I ask as soon as I answer. My voice sounds flat to my own ears, and I wonder if Archer notices it. I feel wrung out physically and emotionally. I’m a battery with only ten percent life left and no charger in sight.
“He’s in the hospital,” Archer replies, sounding just as exhausted as I am.
“How bad is it?”
“Not sure yet. They’re pumping his stomach. It looks like he drank a liter of whiskey. I found him asleep on his balcony, damn near frozen.”
“On his balcony?” I put my hand back on the freezing glass and shiver. “It’s like twelve degrees outside.”
“Yeah,” Archer agrees.
“What do you need me to do?”
“Nothing tonight. I just wanted to let you know, and I was hoping I could swing by to talk after he’s out of the hospital. Maybe tomorrow evening?”
“Yeah, any time,” I agree. “Do you want me to call Benji and Jude?”
“It’s okay; I need something to do to distract myself while I wait. Thanks though.”
“No problem. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I hang up and gulp down the rest of my beer. Sometimes it feels like these aren’t the lives we were meant to live. We all got off track somewhere. I can pinpoint exactly where my life split into a before and after. I’ve written a dozen songs about him. I’ve stayed up nights thinking about him. I’ve gotten drunk and cried over him. I hardly know him, but in nine years, I haven’t been able to shake him. What I wouldn’t give to go back and do something differently. Maybe I’d never leave him. Maybe I’d beg him to come with me. I don’t know what I’d do, but it wouldn’t be this.
I toss the empty bottle in the recycling and amble to my bedroom, stripping out of my clothes as I go. Maybe I’ll dream some damn lyrics and save my own ass. More likely I’ll dream of him.
I'm an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.