The Replacement Guitarist Series
by Lori Toland
An M/M Contemporary Romance Series
Blaze Shinozuka has two goals: get a job as a guitarist and lose his virginity. At an audition for a famous pop star, he draws the attention of celebrity manager Jason Stockton—and their instant attraction sends his world careening off its axis just as he is thrust into the gritty world of rock ‘n’ roll.
Straight-laced music manager Jason Stockton is always professional and never dips his pen in the company ink. But there is something about Blaze that leaves him wanting what he shouldn’t. The guitarist’s exotic beauty and compelling innocence is a temptation Jason can’t resist.
After one lie in the national media pushes them apart, Blaze must decide whether he will trust Jason, a man he shouldn’t touch, let alone love. The cutthroat, jealous world of rock ‘n’ roll, has chewed up and spit out the toughest musicians, and Blaze vows he will be the last man standing, even after the music stops.
Jason Stockton and Blaze Shinozuka are looking forward to escaping their hectic rock and roll lifestyle for a relaxing holiday. Their plan seems promising, and the passion between them burns hotter than ever as they keep each other warm despite the icy temperatures.
When a surprise Stockton family get-together threatens to reveal what Jason would rather keep hidden, their budding relationship is put to the test and an impromptu trip to Hawaii makes the differences between them more obvious than ever.
Thanks to two chaotic family holidays and a lot of painful secrets, Christmas could end up being more than their new found love can endure.
And *NEW* The Journey Onward…
Getting back from paradise and being alone is exactly what Jason and Blaze need to build their relationship and break down the barriers between them but nothing is ever that simple. Being in LA means back to work for Jason and Blaze gets a sample of what life will be like as Jason’s partner.
Can loving each other be enough to keep them together? Blaze is finding out how much work goes into keeping a relationship alive and in their darkest hour, they will have to stand united as partners to weather a storm that could devastate their future.
When Blaze got his dream job, he never imagined within a year he would be fired. After a botched performance with Cassie, he’s kicked off the tour — and so is his boyfriend Jason — but Blaze is determined to live his dream again and he may have found the perfect band to do it with.
He will stop at nothing to be back on stage, though the costs of stardom may bring an end to his romance with Jason. Can Blaze have it all? Or will Blaze have to leave his first love behind to follow his destiny?
Blaze Shinozuka is a bonafide rockstar with his band, Razor’s Edge. After his romance with music manager Jason Stockton crashed and burned, Blaze is free to live and love. It’s been a wild and heady year that’s been blissfully drama free until the one man he’s been avoiding comes careening back in to wreak havoc on his heart once again.
Jason Stockton has become the superstar he never wanted to be. When his music reality show becomes an overnight success, he’s thrust into the limelight against his will. He’s coping with intrusions into his private life but then a chance encounter sends him right into the arms of the man he loved…and lost.
Their time apart has changed them, except the passion between them burns brighter than ever. With the media hounding them in the midst of multiple scandals, they find they can only depend on one person — each other. Will they learn to trust that their love is enough to see them through it all? Or will this be their final dance before calling it quits, this time for good?
Blaze is pursuing his dream and goes to audition as a guitarist for Cassie’s Tour. His audition is to be witnessed by non other than Jason Stockton, the handsome owner of his own management business and part of Hollywood royalty. Blaze is immediately attracted to Jason which doesn’t help his nerves before or after the audition. Thankfully, his training kicked him and he delivered an impressing performance that lands him the job.
Meanwhile, Jason is struck dumb by the man with the guitar. Young, innocent-looking and talented as hell, Blaze is everything he wants but the very thing he is afraid to pursue. Having been burned by love before, Jason is in no place to pursue a relationship. But the heated looks thrown his way prove too difficult to resist and soon enough Blaze and Jason find themselves deeply involved.
I liked this series a lot, but I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t until the Into the Fire that I actually became emotionally invested in Blase and Jason’s relationship.
In The Replacement Guitarist we get to know both Blaze and Jason–what drives them, their fears, their needs and their desires. We see Blaze accepting his sexuality and embracing his relationship with Jason. We also see Jason struggling to come to terms with the emotions Blaze brings out of him. Although open in his sexuality, his one struggle is in lowering his walls and letting Blaze fully into his heart.
I have to say that this was quite a hard read for me simply because there was soooooo much sex in it. I love my sex scenes just as much as the next gal, but I prefer them to add something to the story. Don’t get me wrong, Lori Toland has mastered that element particularly well. The scenes were hot–full of passion and need with the ocassional emotion thrown in to round it up.
In Home for the Holidays we get to meet Jason’s family which was nice and entertaining. Meeting them helped me to better understand some of Jason’s behavior and reluctance to put himself ‘out there’. We also get to see a bit more of Blaze’s family which we had met in the previous installment. It was a treat to see how committed Blaze and Jason were to each other when the time came to stand up for their relationship. For me this story cemented the fact that they were more than a passing thing.
Yes, there was as much sexual encounters as in the previous book but it somehow came to mean more. I could actually feel how strong their need for one another was and how much they treasured what they had. Some were of the hard and fast kind while others were slow and tender, but they were all hot!
Like I mentioned before it was while reading Into the Fire that I truly became invested in Blase and Jason’s relationship. In this story Blaze and Jason are still getting used to the idea that they have been fired by Cassie. Jason is not happy with her decision but harbors no malice towards her. However, Blaze is just a tad happy to not have to work with her any more. Yes, he is disappointed that his first professional gig is over but he can’t see the good in Cassie–not like Jason does.
Thankfully, Blaze gets a new gig and his professional life gets back on track. However, as with any new relationship, the blissful honeymoon days come to an end. Jason retreats into himself more and more. He continues to struggle with his fear of being abandoned which results in shutting out Blaze instead of letting him in.
Then there’s Blaze who feels he’s not enough for Jason. His fear lies in that Jason will soon realize he could do better than Blaze which would ultimately break Blaze’s heart. Both men are scared of being hurt but neither one voices that fear to the other, which makes for some heated arguments and a lot of intense emotions.
And that right there is what I loved about this story–the range of emotions Jason and Blaze let themselves feel. From frustration over their situation to desolation whenever one man walked away all the way through to the fear of being hurt and the pain at realizing that their love for each other can’t be enough to keep them together. Jason and Blaze felt deeply and their emotions only served to make me cheer for them to C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E. Gah! I wanted to smacked them upside their heads just as much as I wanted to throw them in a room and let them screw their issues out! *sighs*
And of course, Lori Toland had to go and throw that little twist and end the book on THAT note! I’m so glad that I had the next book handy or I would’ve gone crazy waiting for it.
So on we go to Encore where we find Blaze enjoying his rockstar and bachelor status. But just when he thinks his life is void of drama in comes Jason once again to wreck havoc on his libido and his emotions.
What a ride!!!!
Rampant Emotions. Forgiveness. Unleashed Passion. Trust.
What I enjoyed the most about this story was seeing the growth Blaze and Jason had done during their time apart and how this helped them to grow as a couple. They still had their issues and their whiplash inducing break-ups and hook-ups almost had me giving up on them, but through it all I could see how differently they were dealing with it. Where Jason would have shut down and retreat, he tried to make his fears known and express his emotions. Likewise, Blaze had found the confidence he needed to stick to fighting for what he wanted–Jason.
I’m sad to see the series come to an end, but glad that Jason and Blaze finally got their issues sorted out. All in all, a great love story that will take you on a hot and emotional roller coaster of a ride.
*I received copies of these books in exchange of my honest opinion.
“Shouldn’t you be out with your band mates?” Jason asked as he unfolded his menu.
Blaze didn’t answer right away. Instead, he pressed his full lips together into a thin line as Jason remembered kissing him while tasting his sweet, hot tongue. He bit back a groan just as Blaze answered. “They weren’t going anywhere I liked.”
“So are you sitting over here sulking for not getting your way?” The barb flew out so naturally, Jason didn’t even have time to think about it and instantly regretted his words.
Blaze recoiled for a moment but then held up his beer. “Does it look like I’m sulking?”
“Actually, it does. I figured you’d be out fucking the first available hole by now.”
Blaze’s mouth dropped open. “Sounds like you’re bitter that you can’t get a piece of me.”
“No. Just reminiscing. I knew you when you were a one hit wonder,” Jason said.
“I knew you back when you were being truthful about your sexuality.” Blaze threw out a barb of his own just to see if Jason would lose his cool.
Jason narrowed his eyes. “Well, flaunting it in everyone’s face only works well for you.”
The bright red spots on Blaze’s cheeks reminded Jason of when they used to make love, though now they were dark crimson from anger. Jason’s cock didn’t recognize the difference as it lengthened and pressed against his zipper.
As their waiter came toward them, Jason adjusted himself discreetly and moved in his chair to hide his erection. He stopped to take Jason’s order, which blocked him from seeing Blaze for a moment but when he left, those unforgettable aqua eyes were full of fire again.
CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.
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