The Jetsetters – David-Matthew Barnes (Bold Strokes Books)

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Buy it direct from Bold Strokes Books

The course of true love never runs smooth—that’s key in the
romance genre—but how kinked that course gets and how it unravels depends on
the author telling the tale. Many are straightforward and reliable, others are
quirky. Some, like David-Matthew Barnes, strike a balance between the two,
giving us our HEA but making his characters work for it, as with The
Jetsetters
.

Justin Holt is a barista and student, working a shift at the
coffee shop when he meets Diego Delgado, lead guitarist for a band called
Broken Corners. Justin is okay with the music, but immediately falls in love
with Delgado—who immediately has to leave for a tour. Their love blooms despite
Delgado’s frequent absences, then changes in the band thrust Delgado into an
unwanted spotlight. Will love be enough to help Holt cope with Delgado’s
success?

Barnes avoids answering that question long enough to
maintain some great tension, but just when things start getting predictable, he
changes the focus and gives you some marvelous bit you never expected. For me,
it was Justin’s relationship with Delgado’s mother, Dolores.

Dolores is unable to get past her grief for Diego’s father,
killed in the war, and for Diego’s departure. Justin, in an effort to be closer
to Diego, seeks out her company for the Thanksgiving holiday while Diego is on
a European tour. The outcome of this night is a fantastic left hook that Barnes
delivers with the punch of a professional; perfectly nuanced and well-placed.

Another of Barnes’ gifts is his dialogue, which always
sounds spoken instead of written. I fully believe and am drawn into Justin’s
whirlwind relationship with Diego, watching him grow as he leaves a relatively
secure life behind to willingly follow behind a rock star. And the decisions he
makes feel absolutely natural. So, while we all know where this is going to end
up, Barnes takes us through some tricky turns to get there and does so with
grace and sharp prose that adds to but doesn’t distract from the details.

A perfect book for a cool winter’s afternoon and a nice
fire.

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©, 2012, Jerry Wheeler

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