Title: Beneath the Stain
Author: Amy Lane
My Rating: A++
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Main Characters: Mackey and Trav
Release Date: April 2015
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers-- and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams--made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.
Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help--but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey.
Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.
(I would give this story straight 10's if I could!)
I've had this book on my kindle for a long time, but I wasn't too sure about reading it. But when I saw that it was also available on audiobook, I decided to try it that way. A lot of the time I can ease myself into an audio easier than I can when reading the actual book.
OMG, why did I let this sit unread for so long? This book was so freaking good, but I have to admit I'm so glad I listened to it on audio because Nick J. Russo is the best narrator I think I've ever heard. He nailed the inflections and voices to such perfection. I don't even plan on deleting the file off my iPod like I normally do because I fully plan to revisit this book and listen to it again.
So I guess you'd like an actual review. Let me see if I can come up with a way to review this book without simply gushing. Although, if you want to save time, you can stop reading now and know YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK! Either in audio, print, or ebook...personally, I have all three versions, now. I ADORED THIS BOOK.
This is a book that is really about Mackey. He's the third of four boys and is the true driving force between Outbreak Monkey. He writes and sings the songs and he's the one who organized the band way early in the boys lives...two of his brothers, one of their friends, and Grant. The family is from a very small, close-minded town and as a result, Mackey remained in the closet. But that was okay, his lover (and his brother, Kell's, best friend), Grant was in there with him too. They were lovers from the time Mackey was 14. If I remember right, Grant was 17. They stayed this way...loving in secret for years. But just as Outbreak Monkey got a music contract, Grant's girlfriend got pregnant. Oh yeah, this guy was seriously in the closet. So he did the right thing, dropped out of the band, and broke Mackey's heart.
Mackey is a true artist. He feels and experiences the music to his very soul, but he was lost without Grant to anchor him. The band replaced Grant with Blake and began to spiral into fame and for Mackey into drugs with the help from his manager, Jerry. Fourteen months later, Jerry died of an overdose and Mackey and the boys are the ones who found him. As a result, Trav is given the band to manage with instructions to straighten them all out. By this time, they are all still very young, but they're in their 20's. Trav is blown away by their talent and just the epic possibilities, but first he has to get them straightened out. And all that begins with Mackey, because although he is the youngest in the group, he is undeniably their leader.
There are so many epic feels in this book. Mackey is lost and trying and tortured and heartbroken and just so brilliantly talented. But he's lost...until Trav. Trav is exactly what Mackey needs. He sees Mackey...not only his musical talent, but his human heart and needs. The two of them are brilliant together, despite Trav's worries about their age difference. But that doesn't mean this is an easy road. It's definitely not and Amy Lane did an amazingly gorgeous job showing Mackey's pains and doubts and hurts as he goes through rehab and learning to live without Grant. He's been taught that being gay is wrong and it takes Trav to show him that it can be beautiful and just so perfectly right.
There is an amazing cast of characters in this book. They are rich and varied and I loved every single one of them for different reasons. Of course, Trav and Mackey are a given. But eventually, I even loved Kell. I loved that he comes across as a bit shallow and dumb, but he's not. And despite everything he loves Mackey and his Outbreak Monkey family. This band is truly a family in every sense of the word, not just the brothers, and the ties that bind them are wonderful to read. But there's also the triad of Jefferson, Stevie, and Sheila I loved them in just that what they are doing isn't the norm, but they simply don't care. It's perfect for them and that's all that matters. Blake...aw, my heart hurt for him. He's brought into the band to replace Grant and Mackey just can't accept that or him...until rehab. Wow, they had some amazing scenes together. She didn't show up until the very end of the book, but wow, I really did love Briony and loved the romance that resulted there. And then there's Grant...tear my heart out and shred it. *sob* The story was perfect and beautiful and I literally felt my heart shattering over and over through this aspect of the story.
The book is amazing and beautiful and so emotionally filled. I challenge you to read it and not be moved. I guarantee you that these guys will break your heart, but they are also so filled with life and music and beauty. It was a gorgeous book, a perfect narration, and it's definitely earned a favorite spot in my heart for books that I LOVE and ADORE!
Three words...READ THIS ONE! (you won't regret it)