'Steady Stroke' is book 2 in A.M. Arthur's new series 'Off Beat" and it's Lincoln's story. We met him in the first book and at the end of 'Body Rocks' Lincoln was not in the best of places and I really liked him. He's best friend and brother by choice to Dominic Bounds one of the MCs from 'Body Rocks' and even in that book I got the sense that his feelings for Dom were a little stronger than a best friends should be but he never let this deter him from being a true friend and that made me like him a lot because it takes a truly good and strong person to put the happiness of the people they care about above their own.
In 'Steady Stroke' we watch as Lincoln strives to regain control of his life by taking that first step and heading out to Off Beat the place that a year ago was the beginning of dreams coming true for the members of Off Beat the bar's namesake band. Lincoln's only looking for a night out and maybe a quick hook-up instead what he gets is a one night stand that goes horribly wrong, a new friend named Melody, a chance to play music again and his first glimpse at the man he'll want to spend forever with. Going back to the place where things started for Lincoln and his friends really felt like the right place for this second chance story to begin.
So much of 'Steady Stroke' was about second chances for Lincoln, for Emmett, Melody, Adrian and ultimately even the band, 'Off Beat', gets a second chance to have that moment in time that all performers want...that moment when their star gets to shine the brightest.
It just takes Lincoln one look at Off Beat's sexy, shy busboy who seems to be as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to know he want to get closer and find out more but Emmett, the object of his attention, has problems of his own and suffers severe social anxiety disorder and it's this knowledge that makes Lincoln decide that going slow and maybe just being friends is what will work best for both him and Emmett, but he's not going to be deterred by this and remains determined to spend time with Emmett, the only person who's looked at him in a long time and made him feel like he wants to live again.
As Emmett and Lincoln get to know each other and explore their mutual attraction the real question becomes whether or not these two men can handle the obstacle course that life seems to want to put in their way and will they still be together at the end of it.
I really enjoyed LIncoln and Emmett's story. Yes it was a bit of insta-love but in spite of the fact that while they both acknowledged the strong attraction they didn't just fall into the relationship. They started out determined to be a friend to the other. So while the attraction was instant, acting on it not so much.
There was a lot of angst and a laundry list of bad things happening to good people and maybe it was a bit over the top, who knows? I tend to expect it with this author and in a way for me it's a bit of book crack. So sue me I enjoy the angst and drama of it all, but I have to admit there was one thing this time that for me didn't work and it's probably what kept this from being a 4 star or more read. It was "the big secret", for me it just didn't work, but in spite of that Lincoln and Emmett did. I liked them for so many reasons and I loved having characters from the first book show up as well as the addition of new ones. The Bounds family. Beatrice, the owner of Off Beat and we got to meet her son, Adrian. Van, one of Off Beat's bartenders was back with much more on page presence and do I like Van...oh,hell yeah. I'm crossing my fingers that we get his story soon? Lincoln's new friend Melody, I really like her and yes, it's another story that I'd love to have.
So while I didn't love this one quite as much as I'd hoped for I definitely enjoyed it and plan on being there to read what comes next. Like a few other authors A.M. Arthur is book crack for me and I look forward to my next fix.
A copy of 'Steady Stroke' was graciously provided by the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.