Thursday, July 5, 2018

Release Blitz: Play It By Ear by K.M. Neuhold (Reviews+Excerpt)

Release Blitz: Play It By Ear by K.M. Neuhold (Excerpt)
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RELEASE DATE: 07.02.18
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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.

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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.

“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.

4.25 Stars!

Play It By Ear is the second book in the Replay series and while it can be read as a standalone, which is what I did, I strongly suspect the experience would've been better had I read it in order after book 1. As it is, I'll certainly be playing catch-up at some point to read Lincoln and Jace's story.

Lando and Dawson met on a plane 9 years before and after spending a passionate weekend together and exchanging phone numbers and promises to stay on touch, Dawson disappeared on Lando. Unable to forget Dawson and needing a break from the band he's a bassist on, Spiral Downward, Lando take off back to Miami to see if he could find Dawson again. What he doesn't know is that Dawson suffered an accident the day they said goodbye at the airport and lost his memories of their magical time together, along with his hearing.

I am the first to admit that I'm not overly fond of going back and forth between past and present, I find it frustrating and I think it interrupts the flow of the story. I know some people enjoy it, it's just not for me, no matter how well it's written, which is why I enjoyed the last 65% of the story better than the first portion, because there were fewer trips back to the past and the action remained on the present, for the most part.

I really liked Lando and Dawson, the first part of their relationship was very instalovish on both their parts, but it worked due to the circumstances. And later, when they met again, they took things slower, since Dawson was more cautious after his accident and losing so much of himself. I loved that Lando was so patient with him and tried not to be as pushy as he wanted to be and I adored that Dawson finally took a chance in their love, even if he had his reservations over belonging in Lando's world. They had fantastic chemistry and Ms. Neuhold certainly knows how to write intense sex scenes that are filled with passion and love.

I'm very intrigued about Lando's bandmates, Lincoln, Jude and Benji and their agent, Archer, who was refreshingly nice and I'll be looking forward to their stories. I loved Royal's cameo, too, since I loved him in the Heathens Ink series.

Overall, this was a really good, low-angst, sexy read that left me wanting to know more about Spiral Downward and I definitely have no trouble recommending it.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

3.5 Stars 

Sometimes you read a book to get away and just enjoy yourself. This is that book. It is sweet and there’s nothing to not like about the MCs as they are super kind and endearing. There’s no angst, no tension, and just enough heat to make it fairly interesting.

Truly a second chance love story, with some hard luck during the interim for both MCs, this story makes you want to believe in fate and love at first sight. 

After a quick weekend fling where both MCs fell hard for the other, tragedy struck and they spend nearly a decade apart. One pining for the other, one having to seemingly forgotten the other due to an accident but clearly missing him subconsciously. This was a cute story of both MCs falling in love with the other again after years apart and they’re both extremely different people.

I found this to be a quick, refreshing read. This is a continuation of the Replay series and I have to say the hints at the other bandmates’ and manager’s relationships were more intriguing than the story in this entry. I really want to know more about Archer, Jude and Ben or what is up with Benji??? I was sooooo happy to see the crossover with the Heathens Ink characters (I loved them all, especially Royal).

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.
  KM Neuhold Logo 2
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.


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