Title: You. Forever. Always.(The Underdogs #3)
Author: K.A. Merikan
Release Date: December 29th 2018
Page Count: 144
Reviewed by: Ele
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
—Years of loving in secret. Now the secret’s out.—
Mage. Reasonable. Mature. In love with his best friend’s little brother.
Dawn. Painfully shy. Crazy talented. An anxious cinnamon roll in need of protection.
Mage has always been Dawn’s hero. He’s been there for him when Dawn was bullied, when Dawn came out, and when he joined The Underdogs. He’s also been Dawn’s first and only love—painfully unrequited, since Mage is straight. But that’s only for the better, because they’re bandmates, and Dawn’s brother is Mage’s best friend.
It would all be too intense, too complicated, too real.
But then one drunken kiss proves Mage might not be as straight as he seemed, and their whole world turns upside down. Even though Dawn craves Mage’s love so much his heart could burst, his shyness stands in the way of any future they could share.
While they have to keep their budding relationship under wraps and they prepare to sign a major record deal, Dawn’s anxiety gets out of control. Mage will have to choose between the success he’s always craved and the love of his life.
Themes: rock band, bandmates romance, older brother’s best friend, coming out, bisexuality, first love, anxiety, compromise, music, secret love
Genre: Contemporary M/M Rocker Romance
Heat level: sweet, explicit scenes
Length: ~50,000 words (Can be read as standalone, HEA)
I honestly think that You. Forever. Always is one of the sweetest and most romantic books I have ever read. Probably the sweetest by these authors. It’s disconcerting considering that in one my recent K.A.Merikan reads the MCs reunited over a man’s dead body…thinks back fondly. Good times!
This whole series might be on the fluffy side (for Merikan standards) but it includes a lot of stuff. Book one was about a hook up that turned out to be true love, book two had some pretty intense BDSM and book three is a very sweet friends to lovers story.
I knew from the previous books that Dawn was a very sweet and gentle character, and somewhat socially awkward. In this book we learn that the mastermind behind The Underdogs is actually struggling a lot with his social anxiety which affects his self esteem, his relationship with his band mates and his general well being a lot. It even affects his health a great deal.
Through all this, Mage is Dawn’s protector and trusted friend. Ever since he saved him from bullies in high school, Mage became Dawn’s guardian angel. But it’s not only friendship that binds these two. Mage has been in love with Dawn since forever but there are things that hold him back.
I liked that the issue was treated with respect but very realistically as well. Mage is always there for Dawn but he doesn’t always handle things right. He’s human too so there is frustration and hurt feelings and things left unsaid for a while there.
The conflict in this story is minimal. It’s always been love for Mage and Dawn, so from the moment they approach each other as something other than friends, it’s a serious, committed relationship.
There is not a lot of steam. It’s mostly a gentle romance and the steamy bits follow that pace. Dawn needs to take things slow and Mage is happy to oblige. In the beginning it’s mostly kisses and make up sessions until they ‘re ready for more. I found this very natural and important
The HEA is all rainbows and sunshine. I mean…-riding unicorns, swirling in glitter- happy! So much cuteness. Again…disconcerting coming from Kat and Agnes….
My favorite parts of the book are those that include the whole band. Dusk and Lolly can be pretty obnoxious but their book is still my favorite, and seeing Sid and Asher again was great. I love how the guys interact and how they stick with each other despite being so different.
It’s no secret that K.A.Merikan’s dark reads are my favorites. The grittiest it is, the more I want to read it. But there’s just something about this series that called to me. Recommended for all MM readers.