Book: Off Stage Set One & Two
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: February 22, 2017
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Length: 614 pages
Reviewed by Erin
The grunge band Firefly was Trevor “Damian” Learner and Lenny Stevens’s dream since they were boys growing up in rural Ontario. They found the right people to live the dream with them, even landed the best representation in the business, but the higher their star rose, the harder it became to ignore their issues.
Now, needing guidance beyond what each other and their bandmates can offer, Damian and Lenny must let go of a relationship that’s hurting everyone around them and accept support from men who know what they need better than they do. Two submissives will never make each other happy without the dominance they both crave but can’t find in each other.
First Damian needs to get his life on the right path and accept the rules Stan sets forth for him. Then Lenny will have to step into the wings, leave the spotlight, and concentrate on his own well-being—and Vance’s guiding hand—before they can help the band reach its potential.
Anyone who knows me is well aware of the fact that I absolutely adore Jaime Samms. To me, her books have the perfect balance of emotion, angst, and romance with characters who are unforgettable and story lines that never fail to suck me in and not let go. I know when I pick up one of her books, I'm going to cry and swoon and more than likely, be angry more than a few times. All of this and more is true for her new box set of the Off Stage series. I read these books back in 2014 and I can tell you, I enjoyed them more the second time around. Really, I forgot just how incredible the story of Damian, Stan, Lenny, and Vance was and omg, I'm so thrilled I got the opportunity to enjoy them again and fall in love with them all even more.
The books center around Trevor "Damian" Learner and Lenny Stevens and their rock band, Firefly. They're an up and coming band led by the troubled and charismatic Damian. When uber music producer Stanley Kane takes an interest in them, Firefly's rise to fame begins ... and the path to destruction begins. Damian is Trevor's on stage persona and as such is spiraling out of control. Drugs, unprotected sex, emotional outbursts, and nights of hard partying have led Damian on a collision course of self-destruction. No matter how much Lenny begs, no matter how many times his bandmates complain, nothing is getting through to Damian. Until Stan steps in. The relationship between Damian and his band is crumbling and and they're on the brink of collapsing before they can even enjoy the fame and fortune. After and incident between Damian and Lenny turns violent, Stan and mega country music star Vance Ashcroft step in and take the drastic step of separating Damian and Lenny from one another. A friendship that has been solid for most of the lives is now toxic and the only way to salvage anything is for Lenny and Damian to spend some time apart.
Off Stage: Right and In the Wings follow each man, Trevor and Lenny, as they work on repairing the damage done to themselves and each other. It's often painful and difficult. There are harsh words and heartbreak and sometimes one step forward means there's ten steps backward, especially in the case of Lenny, who I think is MUCH more damaged than Trevor. The pain that Lenny and Trevor inflict on themselves and each other is gut wrenching. When things finally come to a head and Stan and Vance step in, the healing is definitely on it's way to beginning. The way Samms has set these two books up, you can't read one without the other. And for me personally, it was SO much more engrossing to go from one book right into the next because, really, I was so into the story, I didn't want to stop. When the BDSM element is brought up, it added an even more intense element to an already enthralling plot.
If you're looking for sex that includes whips and handcuffs and lots of kneeling ... you won't find that here. There is some VERY intense play, but it's focused way more on the emotional aspect than the physical. That's one of the areas Jaime Samms excels at. Her take on BDSM shows how trust is the most important part of the relationship, not how long until you have an orgasm or how many times you get flogged. In both Trevor's and Lenny's case, this journey to the level of trust necessary to have a successful partnership with Stan and Vance is anything but easy. Trevor, as Damian, is the quintessential rocker bad boy. Pierced, tattooed, with his mohawk and makeup, he's all attitude. He's snarly and combative and his walls are reinforced steel. The toxic friendship with Lenny has really crumbled his self-confidence and to be honest, he's a freaking mess. Stan's firm and relentless hand centers him like nothing else and Trevor to finally begin to heal. Lenny, on the other hand, is even MORE of a mess. He's recently come out of a very abusive relationship and his past proves difficult to overcome. Of the two, Lenny's road to happiness is much rougher than Trevor's, though both will make you want to hug them and keep them in your pocket.
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