Title: Catch My Breath
Author: M.J. O’Shea
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Danny Bright, Elliot Price
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Danny Bright was born to entertain. He just needs his big break. So when he hears that Blue Horizon Records is holding auditions looking for the next big thing, Danny jumps at the chance. It doesn’t turn out exactly as he imagined, though. Instead of getting solo contracts, Danny and four other guys are put into a boy band.
Innocent, idealistic Elliot Price thinks he’s headed for college. An impulsive decision to sing in the local talent search changes all that. A bigwig producer happens to see him, hands him a business card, and turns Elliot’s life upside down.
Elliot and Danny are close from the beginning. They love all the guys, but it’s different with each other. Soon their friendship turns into feelings more intense than either of them can ignore. The other three boys only want Danny and Elliot to be happy, but when their management team and record label discover two of their biggest tween heartthrobs are in a relationship, they’re less than pleased. Danny and Elliot find themselves in the middle of a circle of lies and cover-ups, all with one bottom line—money. They have to stay strong and stick together if they don’t want to lose themselves… and each other.
Danny auditions for a solo vocal artist—only to find himself a part of a boy band. And one of the other five guys, Elliot, makes his blood boil and his heart sing. The two young men are made for each other. Unfortunately, there’s a whole host of obstacles stacked against them. One, Danny has a girlfriend. Two, Elliot is a virgin. Three, their band, Static, is about to become big news—and four, the managers of Blue Horizon Records demand all members appear straight and single. In fact, they have it written on their contract. When Danny and Elliot literally can’t keep their hands to themselves they learn just how ruthless and greedy the music industry really is.
The realism here is strong, the warm, sympathetic characters pulling you into the story from the first lines. The plot arc consists of nearly two years, showing just how difficult it is for people in the spotlight to be allowed to be themselves. All five Static guys start out naïve and enthusiastic, and those things are stolen from them, bit by bit. It was heartbreaking. For the music industry to really believe that certain stereotypes must be maintained in order to fill financial quotas and to attract the adoration of teenage girls, well, it just shows how idiotic the people running the show are.
As a result of the above, the angst level here rises to alarming rates. I was so sad and happy and angry etc. over everything. Danny, Elliot, and their friends just want to sing and make music. But that’s not what the managers want, and they go about squashing all freedoms of the artists with a duplicitous cruelty. I was seething mad at some points. Danny and Elliot have to struggle through so much to get the chance to be together, from vicious rumors to fake girlfriends. Yet, whenever the two guys finally manage to steal a few precious, loving moments together, it’s so sweet, tender, and hot that I literally had a grin on my face and tears in my eyes. I only wanted them to be happy. And they sure had a kind of patience and restraint that I wouldn’t have been able to show, not for two seconds! As this story expands over several years, you’ll have to learn patience too.
So, another wonderful story by M.J. O’Shea. The writing is catchy and witty, funny and warm. The use of Tweets, for example, was rather creative. In short, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this story. Danny and Elliot balance each other so well. Due to the madness around them, when one is weak, the other is strong, and their love for each other is a power to rival the sun. This story is way easy to recommend.
Reviewed By: Susan