Off Stage : Right
Title : Off Stage : Right
Author : Jaime Samms
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary, BDSMkink
Length : 350 pages (e-book)
Published : April 22, 2013
Damian Learner and his grunge band, Firefly, are on a meteoric rise to success. If they get the right break, fame awaits. Seeking more professional management, Damian independently strikes a bargain with the best agent in the business, Stanley Krane. Unable to afford the penalty for breaking old contracts, Damian agrees when Stan’s best friend, country and Western megastar Vance Ashcroft, offers to buy him out of his old contract.
Overwhelmed by a crippling loan, secretive guilt, Stanley’s expectations, and a volatile relationship with Lenny, Firefly’s lead guitarist, Damian disintegrates. Bad habits of too much sex, booze, and drugs create a rift in the band. Finally Vance, with his understanding of Dominant/submissive behavior, sees that submissives Damian and Lenny are falling into chaos, clinging to each other to try to avoid the inevitable crash.
When the pressure to perform becomes too much and the unthinkable happens, Damian and Lenny have to decide: accept that they need something they can’t get from each other, or burn out and take Firefly with them. Vance is ready to claim Lenny, but even Stan’s hesitant agreement to give Damian the direction he needs might not be enough for Damian—or the band—if he loses Lenny.
For the most part I try to choose books to review I have a shot at enjoying. I doubt I’ll ever be a person willing to read and review anything put in front of me. There are just some things I know I won’t enjoy and don’t feel it’s fair to penalize what may be a well written book because I dislike the subject. Unfortunately, Off Stage: Right by Jaime Samms, was a well written book that simply isn’t my cup of tea. Damian and Lenny are in a terrible relationship. Damian is a drug user and Lenny is a domestic abuser. No one suspects that of Lenny as he was himself a victim or domestic violence. Seriously, people need to look at stats of how frequently abuse victims become abusers. That was very well written. The co-dependency runs both ways and it doesn’t help that these two also work together as they’re in the same band, Firefly. From the outside looking in everyone sees Damian slowly destroying Lenny with his personal self destruction. Enter Stanley and Vance. They are also in a relationship. It’s kind of a casual friends who have sex type of thing. Stanley is a talent manager and wants to sign Firefly. Vance is a country star and one of Stanley’s biggest clients. Amidst much drama Firefly signs a contract with Stanley. Things go both uphill and downhill from there.
While on a successful tour the band stops in Boston for a break. Damian has troubles with Boston. He goes out for drugs and sex and finds himself being attacked, violently, by Lenny. The injuries are enough to leave significant, easily visible scarring. Vance steps in to stop the mayhem. He recognizes Damian and Lenny are both submissive and floundering waiting for someone to take control of their out of control lives. It’s the perfect opportunity for Stanley and Vance! Okay, honestly, it doesn’t come across that cheesy in the book. Vance gives Lenny a choice to stay in the band, or get out, get help, and break the spiral he and Damian are in. He chooses Vance and a shot at mental health. In a band meeting Lenny admits everything that happened and his plans to leave. The members of Firefly make it clear they may not want him back. I liked that. Predictably, Damian loses his shit. Stanley rescues him. Stanley likes rescuing him and Damian really needs it. That works out well. After some family time, and some big explanations, the tour goes on without Lenny. Stanley and Damian don’t really make rapid relationship progress, either. Damian really needs to learn the hard way Stanley will happily control his life. Stanley needs to learn to meet the needs of someone whose life he wants to control. All of them.
So, having already said this book wasn’t my cup of tea I’m not going to really harp on the points I didn’t like. Those are more a me issue than the book issue. I’ll say I found it to be melodramatic whereas some people would find it to be deliciously angsty. Some things were done really well. At no point were the submissive tendencies of Lenny and Damian linked to their personal mental health or substance abuse issues. Lenny wasn’t submissive because of his past traumas. Vance never made the mistake of thinking the only thing Lenny needed was a good Dom. Lenny certainly did need a good Dom and lots and lots of psychotherapy. I also like when both subs and Doms make relationship mistakes.
All in all I’d have to give this book three stars. Yeah, I said the issues I had with the book were mine, but I still didn’t really like it. I feel like I’ll never clean all the melodrama off the screen of my new reader. Ugh. This book was primarily about Damian and Stanley’s journey. There was plenty of set up for a possible sequel centered on Lenny and Vance.
Rated 3 stars by Faye