Title ~ Perfect Imperfections
Author ~ Cardeno C
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Genre ~ M/M Romance
Published ~ 5th May 2014
Hollywood royalty Jeremy Jameson has lived a sheltered life with music as his sole focus and only friend. Before embarking on yet another international concert tour, he wanders into a bar in what he considers the middle of nowhere and meets a man who wins him over with his friendly smile and easy-going nature. Accountant slash bartender slash adventure-seeker Reg Moore has fun talking and drinking with The Jeremy Jameson and can’t say no when the supposedly straight rock star makes him a once in a lifetime offer: keep him company on his tour by playing the part of his boyfriend.
Listening to music, traveling the world, and jumping off cliffs is fun. Falling in love is even better. But to stay with Jeremy after the stage lights dim, Reg will need to help him realize there’s nothing pretend about their relationship.
" A rock star walks into a bar..."
It sounds like the start of a joke but what it actually is, is the basic premise of yet another great story from Cardeno C and the start of a really enjoyably sweet yet hot romance between another pair of his (always) endearing characters.
Oh and before I go any further...have you guys seen that cover! Does the word "Rawr" come to mind? Okay I digress but...HOT DAMN!!
All righty then, back to JJ & Reg. What a brilliant combination of opposites. A regular small town barman and a bone fide superstar rock god who comes with all the trimmings and entourage you'd expect. The insistent manager, pushy publicity team, roadies, groupies and of course the pain in the arse paparazzi who are never far away if they can sniff out a good story. I love it when they pair an ordinary Joe with someone famous because it does give you that fairytale style romance that everyone seems to love because it transports you out of the banal and into the realms of "What if?"
And let's be honest we've all daydreamed in that realm at one time or another.
What I loved about Cardeno's version of this type of fantasy romance though, at the start of the story when an incognito Jeremy Jameson walks into Reggie Moores bar in Munds Park, Arizona, was that for a good part of the story we just see these two guys actually getting to know each other as friends. No instant lust or love with these two. That slowly filters into the plot as the book rolls along, which was refreshingly cool because my first thoughts, when I read the blurb and saw that this was going to be a "be my fake boyfriend" storyline, had me musing about those old Mills & Boon (Harlequin) style romances that always put the main couple in situations where of course they just had to kiss passionately and put on a hot-blooded show every time they came into contact with the world, his mother, his wife and his dog...or nobody would believe their 'pretend' story, leading to many lust filled moments of not so believable love/hate passion and heaving chests!
Well rest easy guys, because that tired and over used trope gets a much needed makeover in the hands of this author and what he did with it worked perfectly for me. The yummy sexual tension is still there, but its paced out brilliantly across the book, getting stronger and more steamily sexy as the initial easy friendship between the MC's starts to turn into something deeper and more realistic as they spend their time together. The banter and conversation between JJ and Reg showed the depth of their chemistry together at each stage of the relationship. Some of the funnier stuff when they're in the early part of the friendship had me smiling and giggling, especially when they're just starting to get to know each other.
' ...." All right I have a serious question."
"What?" Jeremy's forehead crinkled.
"What do you like on your pizza? Because if we're not compatible there, there's no way we can be pretend compatible anywhere else."
"That's a lot of pressure." Jeremy licked his lips and tried to look serious. "What if I get this wrong? Does this mean we're done pretend fucking?"
"Yup. Which would totally suck for you because I am awesome in pretend bed...." '
Reg is gay, JJ isn't, you'll find out for yourselves how this factors into the story and the false boyfriend scenario, but as readers of m/m will know, there's always more to that dynamic than meets the eye and again I loved the slow pace of realisation for Jeremy that perhaps he isn't as straight as he thinks and loved how Reggie, never pushing...just let JJ come to that conclusion in his own time, until the inevitable happens and their faux relationship isn't so fake anymore. When that time arrives in the book, the heat level rockets and those love scenes that you've waited patiently for will definitely get you all hot and bothered and wanting to cool off in a cold shower! OMG!! If anyone is the go to guy for sizzling, sexaay scenes with a side order of true romance...its Mr C! Oh and we have some seriously smokin' toy action too ...and I don't mean toys from that place with the giant Giraffe! **snort**'
This could have oozed cheese but it never did...at least I never thought so. Our gorgeous barman takes no shit from his sexy, high maintenance, diva-esque at times superstar and keeps him grounded in a way that no one has ever been able to do before. He's caring, a voice of reason and so protective of Jeremy; even before love enters the frame, which had me all gooey (I sighed more than once) and this allows JJ to finally be himself, in ways he and his friends or family never expected. You know that he's just been waiting for the right person to make him feel fulfilled and as it turns out, that person is a man, not the woman everyone expected...and that man is Reg!
' Jeremy wasn't naive; he knew relationships rarely lasted long in his world. But he also knew he'd never felt more whole, more safe, more at peace than he had since Reg had come into his life. And he knew how rare and precious that was.'
There's some conflict and a touch of angst thrown in here and there but ultimately this is just a really endearing love story that makes you feel good and gives you the warm and fuzzies. Perfect for coming down from a darker heavier read read and one I think most of us would come back to again when that craving for something sweet, but definitely never sickly, is needed.
For all the Cardeno fans out there, and all the new ones waiting in the wings. Get comfy and enjoy! Gets two big thumbs up from me and 5 rocking stars!
Perfect Imperfections by Cardeno C
Arching his eyebrows and twisting his lips in amusement, Reg said, “You’re saying you chose your musical instrument based on sex, which you don’t even like all that much?”
“That’s only one part of what I said. And besides, it was more the idea of sex. I started playing guitar when I was I middle school. It’s not like I’d done the deed at that point.”
“Okay, fine.” Reg rolled his eyes. “You chose to play guitar for a living because of theoretical sex and fame?”
“Yeah.” Jeremy nodded. “That’s about right.”
Sighing, Reg shook his head. “You can hear yourself, right?”
Jeremy wriggled around until he was comfortable and then lay on his side, facing Reg. “It’s not a weird answer, believe it or not. I bet most guitar players have the same two reasons, along with, ‘Because it looks cool.’ The only difference is they won’t admit it. I’m not screaming it from the rooftops either; usually I give some spiel about being inspired by my father. But you asked me for the truth, and you’re my pretend boyfriend, so I gave it to you.”
With a chuckle, Reg said, “Are you always 100 percent honest in your pretend relationships?”
“This is my first one, so, yeah.”
“Fair enough. How about in your real relationships? Are you always completely honest?”
It didn’t take long for Jeremy to come up with several examples of situations when he’d been less than honest with his ex-girlfriends. “No. I haven’t always been honest.”
After giving it some thought, Jeremy realized the fundamental reason was always the same. “It’s easier that way.”
“How do you mean?”
“I told you how it is with people in this industry. They’re not with me because of me, and even if they are, it’s a small part. Mostly, it’s the mystique of dating a musician or someone famous, or a hope that they’ll elevate their own careers. With people like that, there’s inevitable disappointment because what they came into the relationship wanting and what they end up getting aren’t the same thing. The last thing I need to do is add to that frustration and resentment and guarantee some tell-all exposé. So instead of being brutally honest, I spew the garbage they want to hear.”
Reg cleared his throat and licked his lips. “Uh, JJ, I don’t think what you’re describing is a real relationship.”
“What do you mean? Sure they are. Some people stick it out longer than others, but usually we stay together for close to a year at least. That’s a decent length of time for a relationship.”
“I know. But like with my brother and his wife, they fight and stuff, but they’re in it together. It’s not about what they can get from each other. Even my parents, before my dad died, they were like a team. Do you get what I’m saying?”
In theory, Jeremy knew, but that wasn’t his reality. “It’s not like that when you live your life in the spotlight.”
“I’m sorry,” Reg said, and he looked sad as he said it. “That must be really hard and lonely.”
“It’s fine.” Jeremy shrugged. “It’s all I know.”
Reg squared his shoulders and narrowed his eyes. It was his determined stance. Jeremy had seen it whenever the man was about to embark on a challenge nobody else would dare try. He had seen Reg dive off a bridge against the advice of the bungee-jump operator because his cord was so long that most of his body dipped into the lake underneath, face included. His expression had looked exactly the same when he had jumped off, and when he had bounced back, he had been smiling from ear to ear.
“Not anymore,” Reg said.
“What do you mean?” Jeremy asked.
“You’re with me now, so that won’t be all you know.” “Uh, I don’t under—”
“I’m going to show you what it means to have a real relationship,
JJ.” Reg paused and grinned. “Even if it is pretend.”
About Cardeno C
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset. Cardeno feels that characters write their own stories and just hopes to find enough time to get those stories on the page.
Cardeno will be gifting one lucky reader an eBook of Perfect Imperfections… all you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.