Song of the Lonesome Cowboy (The Society of Masters) Lynn Kelling
Publisher: Forbidden Fiction
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Country Band, Closeted MC, Hurt/Comfort, Edgy, Psychological **Trigger Warning – Self Harm, Non-Con, Dub-Con, Abuse, Sadism, Further Tags on Forbidden Fiction (**see before ‘my review’)
Length: 103,070 Words
Reviewer: Kazza K
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, BDSM, Gay
Tucker Reynolds is a humble singer/songwriter both blessed and burdened by his success in the country music industry. Stalked by a predator from his past and struggling with guilt over his secret lust for his childhood best friend and guitarist, Magnusson ‘Mags’ Palmer, Tucker’s carefully crafted lies are his main means of self-defense, but they slowly begin to unravel. Kinky sex with prostitutes hastens a downward spiral that he searches to escape from. At the end of a successful tour, before heading home to Nashville, Tucker seeks solitude in order to come to terms with the guilt over things he has done to which he has never confessed. Only Tucker’s devoted, less-assuming band mate, Jess Grayville, suspects the truth about the nightmare Tucker is privately battling. Jess attempts to protect Tucker from those who would do him harm, even when the person putting him in the most danger isn’t reckless Mags, but Tucker, himself. Realizing that the best way out of the dark of his past and into the light of forgiveness is by finally admitting to the truth, Tucker strives to listen to his heart and write a song that he knows could save him. (M/M – For content labels and excerpt, see details on publisher’s site.)
** I did not tag this book as a BDSM book because I don’t consider it to be one, that is my opinion, but it is in the tags from the publisher, so I’m just putting it out there.
Tucker Reynolds is a twenty seven year old closeted country singer and guitarist. Closeted for several reasons, mostly because it won’t do to have a gay country singer – women want to fantasise about being with Tucker, the sexy boy next door, and men like to think the music playing in their pick-ups is from a heterosexual male. He also doesn’t like being gay and associates it with a lot of bad feelings, some for good reason. His fame came six years ago, and built, after being signed by a label that knew their mark – handsome, talented, an easy, submissive young man. He pays a high price for a recording contract and to have his school friend, Magnusson ‘Mags’ Palmer, signed with him. Along the way they collect another band member, Gray – aka Jess Grayville. And right on the periphery is Jovie, a soulful vocalist.
Mags is a wild child, has been since school, but he’s always stood up for Tucker and Tucker feels a sense of gratitude and obligation, a hero-worship, in return. Because Mags comes from a poor family, the best way Tuck knows how to pay him back is to have him in their band making good money, with none of the ugly…contractual arrangements that Tuck has been through to get them there.
While Mags likes to party hard, and live the music-star lifestyle, Tuck is not so keen on the way he does it. But Tuck lusts after, loves, Mags – even if that means threesomes with girls. Anything that gets him to see Mags naked and in the throes of sexual bliss means Tuck has wanted to be in. But he’s finding Mags and his behaviour more self-absorbed and annoying lately. Can’t Mags see that his best friend is hurting? Can’t he stop using these women? Can’t he want Tuck? Friends should notice when something is obviously wrong. Friends should notice you’re in love with them. But if there’s one thing Tucker knows, it’s how to keep a secret or two. Meanwhile, Jess – the pianist/violinist – is noticing that there’s tension between Tuck and Mags. He also notices things are off-balance with Tucker, and he wants Tuck to know he can talk to him about it any time.
“When you’re ready to talk, I’m here. Okay? Any time. No matter what it is you’d like to talk about. I don’t scare away easily, believe me.”
You should be scared, I wanted to say. There’s plenty to be scared of.
Tuck can’t talk to Jess, he is so nice, so decent…so normal. He’s the guy that resonates with the blue collar followers of the band. His wedding band represents everything Tucker would like to be, but isn’t. Tucker cannot let his southern façade down, not for a minute, not at all, because ugly, soul-destroying cracks will open. He’ll leach his dangerous toxicity onto him.
That ring did catch my eye on a regular basis, though, shining there like proof of how pure and normal Jess was. It set him above the likes of me and my slutty guitarist, who seemed to be constantly down in the dirt doing shameful things while Jess was a good, loyal, humble husband.
However, Tuck has even more than the initially mysterious N. Briant – who sends him flowers and champagne, and creepy cards, no matter where he is – on his mind. And he is most definitely on his mind. Always. He pays for sex from an establishment called The Company. He likes sex with certain guys/people, as his whim takes him, and he likes it to be private. They can cater to those needs and he can deal with the fallout around how he feels about that later. Anything that hurts Tucker and makes him feel more guilt, Tucker is into. It’s what he understands at a core level. It fuels the negativity and the state he’s in to the point where he takes off for a while on his own; where he’s at his most creative, but most dangerous.
There’s a whole lot of something lurking in this book. I do suggest you have a look at the tags at the bottom of the Forbidden Fiction page. If you are bothered by this, there is also sex with females in this book, it’s predominantly in the first part, not drawn out, and always takes place within a ménage with another male, like Ken or Mags…
She was moaning softly, rocking slightly back and forward on his fingers, her big pierced breasts bouncing. It was him I watched, though, the way he knew just how to thrust his fingers inside her, and the way his bare ass clenched up with each downward stoke of his dark, thick shaft. He’d always had the prettiest cock I’d ever seen.
The antagonist is so slimy and made my skin crawl with his sickly-sweet ‘good old boy’ voice and manner masking a whole lot of nasty. There are triggers – non-con, torture and more – a quasi-necrophiliac antagonist who likes to fuck and torture when his prey is completely knocked out. And I will never look at a pen the same way again.
I can’t go into a lot of detail about Song of the Lonesome Cowboy because it needs to be read. I believe the review gives any potential reader enough to know if the book is for them or not. I’ll reiterate that it hits some dark and deeply perverse and twisted notes. If you have certain triggers – like non-con – it could be an issue. There are some interesting relationship dynamics in the book and they kept me turning the pages. There’s no denying the underlying edgy tome of the book, but it also had some romantic moments which gave me a seesawing of emotions throughout (which I like) as the tension built. It does have a HEA, that I will say, but the characters concerned have to work for it. Last year this author’s fabulous Arctic Absolution was my Book of the Year and I am so happy with Song of the Lonesome Cowboy as a follow-up book, it has totally cemented Lynn Kelling as a must-read author for me from here on in. 4.5 Stars!
Song for the book : Sia, Elastic Heart: http://youtu.be/0JsKlm4Fbac
ARC supplied by the author in return for an honest review.