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Phoenix by Melanie Tushmore

Phoenix (Death Rose #1) - Melanie Tushmore

In order to cheer him up, his friends give Alex Tatton, of 'Phoenix' by Melanie Tushmore, a tape of a popular rock band. Alex thinks he is only switching the style of music he enjoys, from Classical to Hard Rock, but he is also changing the course of his life. His new taste in music sets him in the path of Danny Death, a guitarist in the band which quickly becomes his favorite. Alex's heart’s desire is to be a famous artist, sharing his interpretation of the world through painting. Alex first meets his rock star heartthrob in person at a concert where he gives him a gift, a painting Alex created of Danny.  From that time on, Alex and Danny are linked, even if they don't yet realize how deeply.

Alex is an intelligent and gifted young man who has known he is gay for a long time. He's an orphan whose parents died in a car accident when he was young, consequently leaving him a large inheritance. This gives him more freedom than most people his age have. Being independently wealthy means he doesn't have to work and is still able to do almost anything he desires. Alex is also different from most young men in that he's not interested in drinking or drugs or sleeping around. He's also a virgin and in no hurry to lose that status. He's waiting for the right man to come along. Phoenix, a popular rock band, gives him inspiration, especially one member called Danny Death. His heart's desire is to be with Danny, but he also realizes that it's a near impossible dream. Alex knows how the world of drugs, sex, and rock ‘n’ roll works and knows that he'd never have a chance with someone like Danny. Yet, he continues his hero worship of the man. He works for weeks on a portrait of Danny, the painting makes a big impression on Danny, and earns him a big thank you and a hug. Alex is elated, but then Danny is gone. Months later they met again and finally have sex. It's the fulfillment of Alex's wildest dreams, but he's also overwhelmed. When Danny declares his love for Alex, instead of being elated, he's terrified. It's too much too fast. As soon as Danny leaves his room, Alex has a full-fledged anxiety attack. He impulsively leaves without telling Danny. He goes home confused and completely lost, figuring if he ever had a chance, he'd completely blown it now.

Danny is my favorite character in this story. He is not like other rock stars. When he isn't onstage, he's quiet and private. He doesn't go in for all the glitz and glamor associated with his profession. He's friendly, but reserved, usually not giving in to the numerous advances of men and women alike. When he meets Alex, he's touched by this young man who doesn't act like a fan; Alex is someone who is considerate enough to make him something special, without wanting anything in return. Danny wants a lot more out of life than what he has and if he didn't love to play and perform so much, he, most likely would have chosen another profession. Danny remembers Alex fondly and knows his feelings are growing. After a few more meetings, Danny gets the opportunity to get closer to him, Danny takes it. He invites Alex to a German music festival and is delighted when he actually shows up. Still, he goes slowly and considers Alex's feelings the whole time. Even with all the care Danny takes Alex flees. Danny is hurt, but doesn't give up.

This is the beginning of, what I believe, is going to be a very enjoyable series. The main characters are not stereotyped, yet the ambiance of the rock star world still whorls around them. The thrill of performing on stage, the wild clothes, parties, interviews, paparazzi, fan girls and boys, and more are expected in a story about the rock scene; yet, Alex and Danny still have intimacy that rises beyond these elements. It's a good balance; one that allows them to do normal couple things without the bells and whistles and intrusion which comes with Danny's profession. I recommend this story to those who like rock music, performers and all the chaos and excitement surrounding them, with a sweet, well-paced love story mixed in. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series to see where the guys go from here Thanks, Melanie. You rock!