Book Reviews

Off Stage: Right by Jaime Samms at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / BDSM / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 14-May-2013

Book Blurb

Damian Learner and his grunge band, Firefly, are on a meteoric rise to success. If they get the right break, fame awaits. Seeking more professional management, Damian independently strikes a bargain with the best agent in the business, Stanley Krane. Unable to afford the penalty for breaking old contracts, Damian agrees when Stan’s best friend, country and Western megastar Vance Ashcroft, offers to buy him out of his old contract.

Overwhelmed by a crippling loan, secretive guilt, Stanley’s expectations, and a volatile relationship with Lenny, Firefly’s lead guitarist, Damian disintegrates. Bad habits of too much sex, booze, and drugs create a rift in the band. Finally Vance, with his understanding of Dominant/submissive behavior, sees that submissives Damian and Lenny are falling into chaos, clinging to each other to try to avoid the inevitable crash.

When the pressure to perform becomes too much and the unthinkable happens, Damian and Lenny have to decide: accept that they need something they can’t get from each other, or burn out and take Firefly with them. Vance is ready to claim Lenny, but even Stan’s hesitant agreement to give Damian the direction he needs might not be enough for Damian—or the band—if he loses Lenny.


Book Review

Guilt is such a useless emotion, yet many of us carry it around like some obscene trophy, using it as an excuse to endlessly punish ourselves for either real or imagined transgressions. Damian Learner of 'Off Stage Right' by Jaime Samms, could be the poster child for what can go wrong when we let our guilt run unchecked. Damian practically destroys himself with drinking, whoring, and a destructive, co-dependent, love-hate relationship with his best friend, Lenny. Unless someone intervenes, they will surely destroy each other.

As reckless and irresponsible as Damian seems, he's the lesser of two evils between him and Lenny. I felt a lot of sympathy for him although I wished he'd get a grip and was appalled with his lack of self-preservation. He and Lenny are both miserable, but their history keeps them together. Damian and Lenny are destroying each other, which is the last thing they'd intentionally do. They do love each other, but neither one knows what's wrong with their relationship, much less how to fix it. Both want the other to take control, but neither is capable of doing it; they continue destroying themselves and each other. Disaster looms over them like a train wreck about to happen. They can't live with each other and neither think they can live without the other.

The other tragedy waiting to happen is that if they continue, they will also destroy Firefly, their band which has the capability of being quite successful unless Damian and Lenny implode taking the other band members with them. Their band mates know something is very wrong between Damian and Lenny, but they don't know what it is or how to fix it either. They miss a lot of the obvious clues that, in retrospect, seem obvious. Their friends just keep hoping things will change and they can continue toward the stardom that awaits them. In the meantime, they are all miserable as well. It takes someone with more objectivity, namely Vance, to see the problems and their destructive potential. He, in turn, explains it to Stanley and offers a solution which involves separating Damian and Lenny, Damian with Stanley and Lenny with Vance, and taking them firmly in hand.

There are actually several story lines going on in this book, i.e., Stanley and Vance's relationship, Lenny and Damian's attempted self-destruction, Vance and Lenny's association, and Stanley and Damian's. Jaimie does a fabulous job of developing each character and their relationships to each other, then expertly weaving them together. It's not a light love story about a rock band and their trials. It's a deep, dark, hard look at what can happen when situations get badly out of hand mostly due to denial and unwillingness to change. There was a great deal of character growth involved as each person had to face their demons and begin to do battle with them and it's not an easy trip. Jaime takes us up down and sideways emotionally but at least Stanley and Damian find their balance and are happy and willing to work hard to make it successful. Vance and Lenny are still struggling, but there is hope for the future. They just have a lot farther to go than they first though as we will see in the next book which will focus on their story.

I'd recommend this book to all Jaime's current fans, and to new readers who enjoy their romances on the more realistic, challenging side, but also still enjoy a happy ending. Thanks, Jaime, for the thought-provoking, realistic, and extremely emotional tale.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 350 pages/111359 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 22-April-2013
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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