Double Time: Sinners on Tour

Double Time - Olivia Cunning Warning: this review contains minor spoilers for the first two books in the series.The most intense scene in Backstage Pass, for me: Myrna realizing, during her hot threesome with her boyfriend Brian and his best friend Trey, that Trey is hopelessly in love with Brian. The self-assured, seductive Trey can get anyone he wants -- except the one person he really wants. So heartbreaking.In the next book Trey faced another huge challenge: an injury that stopped him from playing guitar, and a consequent addiction to pain pills. I think just about everyone who's read the first two books in this series has been panting for Trey to find true love to make up for all his suffering. And since he suffered so much… it's only fair he should find true love times two.As this opens, time has passed (two more books worth of stuff has happened, though disconcertingly, they haven't been published yet) and Trey is apparently no longer at all affected by his injury or addiction, lucky guy. But he's still in love with Brian. However, Brian has just become a new dad and it's a turning point for Trey: he has to accept that Brian has a new life and family and will never be his. Trey decides to go whole hog and give up men completely. (I found this out of character for him, since he's always seemed so comfortable with his bisexuality.) At just the right time, he runs into Reagan, who's won a contest to play guitar with his brother's band for a year. (Heavy sequel-baiting with the gorgeous boys in this band!) She even plays guitar just like Brian, how weirdly perfect is that? But though he quickly develops feelings for Reagan, Trey can't help feeling something is missing. Luckily, Reagan has her gorgeous ex-lover, now roommate Ethan on hand...At first, as I read this, I was missing the crazy "anything could happen" feel of Backstage Pass -- that was so endearingly wild and raunchy and over the top. The "Sinners" have all settled down now, more or less, and the mood here was more somber. But I started to get into the story and be really interested in how these two -- and then three -- were going to work things out. From the beginning, it's clear that Trey is not as happy with Reagan as he's trying to force himself to be. His thoughts during a blow-job:"She was pretty good at this... for a woman. He watched her, forcing his mind to focus on her. Only her. She didn't deserve to be compared to anyone else."This is uncomfortable reading for a romantic, and I was afraid the love would never gel for me. I do think Cunning pulled it off in the end though. I may not have been convinced that Trey and Reagan and Ethan would unfailingly all love each other til the end of time, but I think they have a good shot at happiness.One gripe: the story really perpetuates the myth that bisexual people can't be monogamous. On the plus side, there's no "gay for you" -- both Trey and Ethan identify as bisexual from the start. I also really liked the portrayal of kinky play in the story, which comes with some realistic hesitation and defining of limits. For example, Trey likes to be submissive at times, but is very clear that he doesn't like pain -- he doesn't put up with being hurt. The characters sometimes willingly go beyond their comfort zones, but don't get magically transformed into perfect doms or subs.Aside from the sex/romance, other plot issues include Reagan adjusting to being the only woman in a big name band, with pressure to change her personal style and be more of a sex symbol, Brian's stress over being on the road instead of with his wife and son, a small suspense element of someone targeting Reagan with hate mail, and Trey finally resolving his feelings for Brian. I loved that this took time and needed some closure.Although the Sinners have calmed down some, it was fun to see them all again. I'm not usually that into seeing the former hero of another book become the devoted husband and father, but I enjoyed it here, because it was so exactly what you'd expect of Brian. And while the others in the band are all happily settled now, but they're all happy in different ways. Not all are getting married and not all plan to have kids. They still remain their endearingly offbeat, raunchy selves. (reviewed from e-arc provided by netGalley)