A guest review by Lily
A big city rock star, a small town sheriff, a dog with an attitude and cute babies all combine into a nice and entertaining story.
Johnny Rayne has had enough – enough of being at the top of the rock music industry for the last decade, enough of constant touring and recording. He wants something more — just something very different. Moving to a farm in West Virginia, Johnny meets Sheriff Virgil Grissom on his first morning in the mountains.
The sheriff challenges Johnny in a multitude of ways – with overt machismo, disdain for Johnny’s musician past, and all-around know-it-all-ness. The two men clash continually, and Johnny resists succumbing to the sheriff’s brash charm until Grissom forces him to admit some very basic truths. One: Johnny’s definitely attracted to men. Two: Johnny’s definitely attracted to Grissom. And three: Johnny’s definitely going to enjoy every moment of it.
Tired of his rock star life and looking for a way to live life on his own terms Johnny Rayne quits his world famous band and moves to West Virginia. At thirty-six he’s tired of being alone and longs to find someone to love. In the meantime he’s decided to adopt a child and live as normal a life as he can manage. On his first day in his new home he meets Virgil Grissom, the town sheriff, and Johnny’s life will never be the same. Grissom forces Johnny to really look at himself and finally come to terms with who he really is, a gay man. After so many years of living in denial will he be able to accept himself and find love and happiness with super sexy Sheriff Grissom.
A Change of Tune is the first story I’ve read by this new to me author. The writing is solid and despite a few niggles with it I really enjoyed it. The plot is interesting if a bit predictable but it’s the cast of characters that really made this a fun, easy to read book.
Johnny is a rock star who’s tired of the life. He’d like to find love with a special someone so he decides to chuck it all and move to the country, specifically rural West Virginia. He’s been thinking a lot about adopting a child and when he finds what he thinks would be the perfect home to raise his child in he buys it, quits the band and moves. When he meets the sheriff he’s overwhelmed by the big, sexy, domineering man but he has a hard time accepting his feelings. Even though he’s thought about being with men throughout his life he’s never acted on it and has an extremely hard time accepting the fact that he’s gay. But Grissom is determined to make him see that they’d be great for each other and so wages a campaign to get Johnny in his bed, and his life, permanently.
I really liked both protagonists as well as the varied cast of supporting characters. Neither man is perfect, far from it in fact, but I felt they fit well together. Johnny, due to his years in the limelight, wants to be as private as he can be and even after acknowledging to himself that being with Grissom is what makes him happy he still has a very hard time being ‘out’. It takes a lot of effort on his part and love and support from Grissom to figure out that what’s important isn’t always what others think about him.
Despite what it may seem like the story is very low on angst and conflict. The men meet and are attracted to each other right away. Johnny does take a while to figure things out but they get together quickly and for the most part work on their relationship together. The sex scenes are very hot but there are also sweet, caring moments throughout, it’s not all sex all the time.
As for Johnny’s decision to have a child that was taken care of in a sad but convenient way. Instead of one baby he ends up with a baby and a toddler and while it worked for the storyline I felt it was very unrealistic. Johnny’s a single man, just moved to the state and applied to be placed on the adoptions list. As unlikely as it sounds he is awarded custody of two small children mainly on the strength of his lover’s reputation and personal connection to the judge. Johnny’s family, friends and in fact most of the small town rallies around him, Grissom and the kids. There’s also his three canine pets that he adopted early on in the book and they add a lot of fun and humor to the story.
Overall I was surprisingly entertained by A Change of Tune. It’s nicely written with engaging characters and an interesting, if somewhat predictable, storyline. I did roll my eyes quite a bit while reading Johnny’s story but with a bit of suspension of disbelief I finished it and found it to be well worth reading. Another thing that gave me a hard time was the sheriff’s name, Virgil Grissom. I couldn’t help but think of Gil Grissom from CSI whenever I saw the name and especially during the first part of the story it was distracting. But that’s a purely personal reaction and not something that would necessarily affect everyone. Although it may not work for all readers I do recommend A Change of Tune. I look forward to reading more stories by JM Cartwright in the future.