Title: Black Heart Down (Conquest #5)
Author: S. J. Frost
Publisher: MLR Press
Characters: Kyler Christenson, Robbie Russo
POV: 3rd person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Rating: 4
For Robbie Russo, only one man has ever owned his heart, Kyler Christenson. The years at each other’s sides never diminished his love for him, but with the rise to fame in their rock band, Black Heart Down, more than a few challenges hindered their relationship. Now, he’s reached a crossroads, either he’ll have all of Kyler, or he’ll walk away from everything they’ve built together.
Kyler may be fearless on stage, but if there’s one thing to send his heart crashing down, it’s losing Robbie. When Robbie delivers his ultimatum, Kyler’s willing to do what it takes for things to work. But change doesn’t happen quickly, and when he makes a terrible mistake, all their history together might not be enough to save their future.
Those sexy men of rock ‘n roll are back in action, but this time around it’s the men from the group Black Heart Down who take center stage and steal the spotlight in this, the fifth book in S.J. Frost’s Conquest series, a series that began with the introduction of Evan Arden and Jesse Alexander, the über-power couple of the music industry, as Conquest rose to fame and Evan and Jesse rode their bond straight to the altar.
When it comes to success, the group Black Heart Down has always played a secondary role to Conquest, a fact that ignites BHD front man Kyler Christenson’s ire as much as his dislike of Evan does. Band guitarist Robbie Russo’s relationship with Kyler has always been a source of question and curiosity, a push-me/pull-you, do they/don’t they, back-and-forth puzzle over whether the men share more than just a close friendship. Well, their bond is revealed in Black Heart Down, and it is definitely not one without its fair share of complications.
Kyler has done a very good job of cultivating his public image as a bad boy, paparazzi magnet, and it’s that public persona that is the very source of the private conflict between Kyler and Robbie, as their relationship behind closed doors entirely contradicts that which Kyler projects to the world. The two men love each other deeply, and have since high school, but they’ve fallen into a pattern of mistakes and missteps that keep them from being able to truly commit to each other. Kyler is a flirt and a player whose past has left him terrified to acknowledge his sexuality, both to himself and to the world. The consequences of Kyler’s public behavior are complicated by Robbie’s tendency to run away from their problems rather than to stand and face them, leaving a wake of unresolved issues behind. But their habit of breaking up and making up has finally run its course, when Kyler makes one mistake too many, and Robbie turns away from him and their relationship for the final time, leaving both Kyler and Black Heart Down behind.
Going on the road with Conquest, Robbie turns to Jesse, who is reliably there to dispense his sage wisdom and advice on all things related to love, as he and Evan set the standard to which all the other men want to aspire. During his separation from Kyler, Robbie and Kyler each learn some harsh truths about themselves and about their culpability in the failure of their romance. The question is whether or not their love is enough to pull them through, as well as what compromises each is willing to make for the other in order to bring them to a place where they can move forward and put the past to rest.
With her trademark blend of humor and romance, S.J. Frost writes a story that will sneak up on you, sighing and smiling one moment, then suddenly bringing a lump to your throat the next, with the sweet sentimentality of the loving words her characters are always inclined to express. These men are poets and musicians, after all, and they tend to speak and sing from the heart.
These books, in spite of the conflicts within their pages, are always guaranteed to leave a smile on the face of the reader; in the end. Black Hawk Down is no different. And it has lain the foundation for what I’m hoping will be the next book in the series—perhaps one that will find Brad and Remmy doing a little lovin’, touchin’, and squeezin’.
Reviewed By: Lisa