In all honesty, as soon as I saw this gorgeous cover I knew I needed to read the blurb. Then when I read the blurb I knew I needed to read.
Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.
Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.
Riven is a rock star romance featuring two heroes. One is a reluctant rock star and the other a musician on the road to recovery from a heroin and booze addiction. They meet by chance one evening in a smoky bar and after a long walk and an easy conversation, share a sexy, sweaty night together. But when Theo wakes up, Caleb is gone. They reconnect several months later when Theo seeks Caleb out and surprises him at home. Neither have been able to get the other off their mind and they quickly pick up where they left off.
There were so many things I enjoyed about this romance. It’s angsty, but not so angsty that I felt like I needed to take a break in order to catch my breath. Told in alternating 1st person POVs, readers get to know each of them as they fall in love with each other and overcome their fears together. I think the portrayal of Caleb’s addiction and his anxiety about the future are realistically portrayed. Theo was easy to relate to with his love of music, but dislike of celebrity. Their chemistry is off the charts, and even though there are an abundance of love scenes, each one felt like they made sense within the story line.
There is so much going on with this couple. Caleb is a little older and has just left rehab for the fourth time. He is in a self-imposed exile on a family owned farm. He doesn’t have much to do with the music scene any longer because he can’t separate his addictions from his song writing and performing. For years they have been intertwined and he fears falling back into one will mean falling back into the other. He’s messed up everything good in his life, including a relationship with his family and a great career. He has two touchstones… his NA sponsor, Huey, and his once lover now turned best friend, Rhys. He and Theo have an instant attraction, but they are also able to communicate through music, which is really the lens each of them views the world through. Those things may bring them together, but as their relationship grows and evolves Caleb steps back repeatedly afraid to move forward with his new lover. And it all felt completely realistic to me.
Theo is looking for that connection, he’s always been looking for that connection. He didn’t have it with his family. He doesn’t have it with any of his band members. In fact, he really has no close friends and no one who really understands him. That is until Caleb comes into his life. They have chemistry, but there is a whole lot of complications to get through in order to connect on a stable and positive level. Fears to overcome, boundaries to set and respect, and an understanding of what kind of future they each envision. As vulnerable as Theo was at the beginning of the book, his character does develop into a man with a lot more confidence and determination by the end.
Roan Parrish is an author that has been on my radar for a while. I’ve seen many a Twitter and Goodreads friend recommend her books, in fact I have some of her backlist sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to dive in. I’m not sure why I haven’t made the time before, because her writing is beautiful. I love her descriptions.
Here’s an example:
There is this moment, before the first note left my mouth, when everything changed. There was the before and the after; the quiet and the noise; the off and the on. It was the moment when I felt like I appeared, pushing everything that I was out of myself like the notes I sang were a strong-currented river, able to disgorge me.
I could almost feel this moment with Theo as he took the stage and let the music over take his soul.
Here’s another quote that I loved. This is during an intimate moment when Caleb is watching and appreciating his lover.
He moved like silk and water over me, creating a rhythm, then changing it. I lay there and watched him, marveling at how the fuck it was possible that I was here, right now, in this bed, with this man, when by all rights I should be dead. The gratitude welled up in my chest and I pulled Theo down to me, kissing his mouth desperately.
Seriously, this is such good stuff. Not only do I plan on putting the next book in this series on my TBR list, even though I have no idea what it is about, but I plan on making time to read this author’s backlist. Riven was an emotional, sweet, sexy, beautiful romance and I can’t recommend it enough. Final Grade-B+
I opened my arms, threw my head back, and shattered myself to pieces for them, until there was nothing left.