Title: Syncopation (Twisted Wishes #1)
Author: Anna Zabo
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: April 9th 2018
Page Count: 295
Reviewed by: Parvathy
There’s no resisting the thrum of temptation in this male/male rock-star romance from genre-favorite author Anna Zabo!
Twisted Wishes front man Ray Van Zeller is in one hell of a tight spot. After a heated confrontation with his bandmate goes viral, Ray is hit with a PR nightmare the fledgling band so doesn’t need. But his problems only multiply when they snag a talented new drummer—insufferably sexy Zavier Demos, the high school crush Ray barely survived.
Zavier’s kept a casual eye on Twisted Wishes for years, and lately, he likes what he sees. What he doesn’t like is how out of control Ray seems—something Zavier’s aching to correct after their first pulse-pounding encounter. If Ray’s up for the challenge.
Despite the prospect of a glorious sexual encore, Ray is reluctant to trust Zavier with his band—or his heart. And Zavier has always had big dreams; this gig was supposed to be temporary. But touring together has opened their eyes to new passions and new possibilities, making them rethink their commitments, both to the band and to each other.
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Ray stood in the space, swaying with the bus, and staring at the couch on which they’d taken so much pleasure. “I had to ditch the bracelet. It was pretty disgusting by the time the concert was over.”
“That’s fine.” Zavier swept a hand over Ray’s back. He felt the shudder when he cupped Ray’s neck. “Figured that might happen.”
“Hence string and not leather?” Ray met his gaze. There was a hunger there, a deep, deep hunger. But none of the other signs that meant Ray was a live wire of lust.
“Exactly.” He let his hand fall away. “Is there something you want?”
Ray nodded slowly. “It’s—not sex, though. I’m beat.”
“But my mind won’t stop. I—god. Do you ever get music and words and everything just—tangled up in there?”
“No, but other things, yes.” He pulled Ray toward the couch. “Tell me about it.”
Ray sat and dropped his hands into his head. “The words are easy to get out. I write them down, even if they’re shitty. But the music—the colors and the shapes and the lines—I can’t stop seeing them. Feeling them in my blood.” He lifted his head. “I bet that makes no sense. I’ve tried to tell Mish and Dom, but they don’t get it.”
“Don’t worry about it making sense to me.” Zavier focused on Ray, whose gaze shifted from object to object in the room. “Tell me anyway. I want to know.”
“I…see music, Zav. Like see it. Shapes and colors and…” He shrugged. “Been that way forever. I put hues and forms together on the guitar until they look right.”
Fuck, Ray really had been a musical prodigy. Hell. Someone should have noticed. “Synesthesia,” he said.
Ray nodded. “Yeah. I found out there was a name for it on the internet.” He laughed. “Was kind of a relief.”
One Zavier knew well, for different reasons.
“I do note things down with colored pens and stuff. But sometimes my brain gets so fucking full.” Ray sighed and collapsed against the back of the couch. “Would it be weird if I—knelt at your feet? Like the first time? Not for sex. Not even to submit or whatever it is I do when I get all out of my head to obey you—but just to be here? With you?”
The worry there. Warmth spread through Zavier, and his chest ached. “Ray, you can always kneel like that if you need to. Or we can sit. Whatever you need from me.” He dropped his hand on Ray’s knee. Kept it there.
Ray relaxed under his touch. “Told you I was a burden. Just ask Dom.”
“Shush. I bet Dom would disagree.”
“Oh, he would, just to spite me.” Ray rolled his head and met Zavier’s gaze. “He’s put up with my antics for years, but we’re not like this.” He gestured between the two of them. “He’s not touchy-feely. You like touching me.”
“Like I said, not entirely altruistic on my part.”
Ray laughed. “But it’s not always sexual.”
That was true, too. He pulled Ray’s head down into his lap. “This okay, or do you really want to kneel on the floor with your forehead on my shoes?”
“Wanna do both. But this is fine.” Ray’s words were soft, and his body relaxed.
Zavier stroked his hair. “Tell me what you see.”
“I’m calling it ‘Dare to Be.’” Then Ray whispered words and colors. Shapes. Sometimes he spoke so low, Zavier couldn’t hear. He also tapped out a beat on Zavier’s thigh, one Zavier echoed and improvised with on his back, until Ray was humming and singing and then slipping into sleep. A continuation of the song Ray’d been working on before. And now Zavier had the name—one even Mish and Dom didn’t know. He held on to that like a talisman.
How many years had it been since he’d had a friend like Ray? One he could sit and be with? He couldn’t remember. Once sex came into the picture, everyone had always expected more from him. Some great romantic connection. Dinners and presents and declarations. But Ray didn’t seem to need that and it was a fucking miracle.
He fell asleep at some point, too, and woke when Mish pulled back the privacy curtain. She smiled at them and pointed to the bathroom.
Zavier waved his hand. He could stay like his forever, but Ray would probably be more comfortable in his bunk. He stroked his fingers through Ray’s hair. “Hey…”
Ray stirred. “Fuck—uh. What time is it?”
“No idea. Mish needed the bathroom and that woke me up.”
Ray gripped Zavier’s knee. “Guess we should sleep in real beds, huh?”
“That’s not until Utah. But you’re gonna get a huge knot in your neck if you sleep on me all night.”
Ray moaned and sat up. “Yeah. Probably.”
When Mish cleared the bathroom, they all headed up and crawled into their respective berths.
“Zav?” Ray’s voice filtered down from above.
“Thank you for listening.”
Yeah, there was that warm content feeling again. Like sitting in the sun or lying on a beach. A perfect moment. “Always.”
Nothing more, just the rumble of the bus and the soft sounds of his bandmates falling asleep.
More from Anna
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.
Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.Twitter Facebook Website GoodReads NewsLetter Instagram Facebook Group