Friday, October 2, 2020

Starting From Here by Lane Hayes Release Blitz

Starting From Here by Lane Hayes. Two bands, one goal, and a second chance…

Two bands, one goal, and a second chance…


Everything is finally going well. I have a new band, a new label, and a debut album coming out. And then my drummer breaks his wrists. Just my luck. I need a quick replacement to record one more song, but my options are limited, and of course, the obvious candidate hates my guts. Okay, so I may have given him a few reasons over the years, but isn’t there an expiration date on holding a grudge?


I don’t trust Declan McNamara. Sure, he’s talented, smart, and has more sex appeal than any one person should be allowed. And yeah, he may be a rock star in the making, but beware—he’s trouble. However, our new record label’s survival may depend on a truce and extreme measures… of the fake boyfriend variety. If it’s our best shot at the big time, I’m willing to set the past aside and start over… here and now.

Starting From Here is a MM, bisexual romance rock and roll style… rival bands, fake boyfriends, and a second chance at a new love story. Each book in the Starting From series can be read as a standalone.

Don’t miss our reviews of the rest of the Starting From series!
For book one, Starting from Zero, click HERE.
For book two, Starting from Scratch, click HERE.


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Starting From Here by Lane Hayes

Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~


The sound of cheerful squealing rang in the background before she hung up. I stared into space for a minute or two, feeling very… alone. I didn’t want to slip into teenage levels of self-pity. There was really nothing lamer than a privileged grown-ass adult whining about mommy issues. I flipped through television channels, pausing on a special about great white sharks. Then I tossed the controller aside and picked up my cell again.

Would you ever swim with sharks?

My phone buzzed immediately. I smiled when Tegan’s name lit the screen. Are you high?

I wish. Swimming with sharks is a thing. People get in cages and film themselves being surrounded by predators… for fun.

People are fucking crazy.


What are you watching?

National Geographic. I was hoping for a sex in the wild segment, but I got sharks instead.

Shark sex?

I grinned. Nope. I don’t think I’m ready for that.

It’s not exciting. Fish sex is seriously unhot.


My chuckled morphed into a belly laugh as I sank deeper into the cushion. I shared a quick story about the saucy squirrels who were getting it on outside my window last spring. Tegan teased me for being a rodent voyeur, then recommended a few human porn sites I might appreciate instead.

Btw, it’s officially midnight. Congrats.

I stared at the screen for a moment. I typed and erased two or three thank-yous that seemed a little too effusive. I didn’t want to come across as too excited or too grateful and somehow clingy, so I gave up and pressed Call.


“Are you really fucking calling me?”

I chuckled. “Yeah. I am. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. But it’s midnight, and I hate talking on the phone, so good ni—”

“Don’t hang up.”

“What’s wrong?”

I stared at the TV unseeing. “Nothing. I just… I’m keyed up and I need someone to talk to. What was your first release like? I know Zero’s record is still doing well. But… what was like in the beginning? How’d you feel?”


“You want the truth?”


“It was anticlimactic.”

“Oh. That’s kind of depressing.”

“No, it’s just life. Nothing ever happens as fast as you want it to. You’ve got to be patient and keep doing your thing,” he advised. “We came home from our summer tour thinking we made it. What didn’t turn into superstars, but we made progress. And every day it gets better. But who knows what will happen? Maybe you’ll wake up at number one. Just stay positive and… stop torturing yourself.”

I smiled when Tegan’s uplifting advice gave way to exasperation. It was cute.

“It’s what I do. I excel at the art of self-sabotage. Ask my mom. If I bomb, you can be sure she’ll be the first one to say ‘I told you so.’ She’ll choose her words carefully, though. She’ll be kind-ish before she gently suggests that it’s time to throw in the towel and join the family firm. Fuck my life.”

“But it’s your life. The honor of making mistakes or kicking ass is all yours. You wrote those songs to be heard. Not everyone will love what you do, but plenty of people will. You just gotta be right in your own head. Ask yourself if you gave your best. Did you?”

“Of course.”

“You’ll do just fine, then. If you sell a million copies, great. If not, you’ll still learn something.”


“Thanks. I needed that,” I said softly.

“You’re welcome. Now go to sleep.”

“I’m an almost rock star, and it’s midnight. My night is just beginning,” I lied, stifling a yawn. “Have fun, rock god,” he snorted.

“I’m kidding. I’m channel surfing.”

“You mean porn surfing?”

I barked a quick laugh. “No, I get my porn on the internet like everyone else. I was watching that show about hoarders. It made me feel better somehow.”

“You’re a freak. Get your computer and jack off. You’ll feel better, and you’ll sleep better,” he advised sagely.

“Thanks, Dr. Monroe. I’ll report back in the morning.”

“Not necessary. Especially if there’re boobs involved.”

“I watch more dick porn than chick porn. I watched a great locker room scene last night. The coach and the quarterback. Sexy as fuck.”

“Are you really sharing a spank-bank story?”

“Yeah, you want the link?”




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is the third book in the series, and I would most definitely recommend that you read them in order. I have to admit that the second was by far my favourite of the three, possibly because it circumvents the whole Justin/Tegan/Xena/Declan drama – which I am still not entirely sure I can understand... how did Declan get the blame? In the interest of him getting a well-deserved happily ever after, I was happy to park it, although we did get some more snippets of Xena which gave an impression might blow up, but overall I felt that part of the story was thankfully done.

Tegan and Declan had been very close friends from early childhood, and even each other's first kiss. Declan's ambitious single mum then married well, and he moved away – and in early teens, at a time when keeping contact was too difficult. I did feel that the timing between these two guys had always been just slightly off... until now. And we are left in no doubt at all, really none at all, as to the explosive chemistry between them. It is truly incendiary, and as the story progresses, ever more so!

I liked that Declan could finally be honest about who he is, how he feels, and the intensity of his passion for music, and especially for Tegan. The scenes between him and Tegan's mum are really precious. In fact, I really loved the whole story, maybe with the small exception of Justin's attitude... but I did promise I would set that aside.

I am a huge fan of the rock star genre, and this series has been well crafted and does not follow a well-worn path, giving interesting insight and side issues to widen the plot and engage the reader. Enjoy!

Starting From Here is the third installment in the Starting From series. I recommend reading in series order, not as a standalone, as not only are all the characters connected via Scratch, there is a conflict plot woven through.

In the previous two novels, the readers are taken on an angsty ride, featuring Tegan and Declan, all the way to a band that no longer exists, when both are in separate bands now yet contracted with the same record label.

In a mix of love-hate, second-chance romance, and friends-to-lovers, Tegan and Declan take readers on an angsty journey, especially when you toss in a fake boyfriend for publicity trope.

Tegan is holding a grudge over Declan leaving their previous band and going off to attempt with another member, along with the bad press that sprung up from it. To be honest, I wish I had reread the first two again, because I was still struggling to figure out why Tegan was holding a grudge when it was his actions that put it all into place. Yes, the villainess, Xena, pitted them against one another, but no one forced him to mess around with Justin. So Justin and Tegan need to get off their high horses and admit their part in all of this. You can't set someone up if they aren't willing to participate in a behavior that would upset the other party. Just saying. That annoyed me to no end, in previous novels and in this one. The grudge was unfounded, the hate was unnecessary. Admit culpability, cut the true toxicity out of your life, and move on.

Declan is frustrated and hurt. He's not quite sure why Tegan hates him. Walking in on Tegan and Justin, then walking away, while keeping his mouth shut, he feels like the injured party here but is treated like a social pariah. Not only did he lose his bandmate, he lost his best friend.

I was at a loss myself. Wasn't Justin dating Xena? So even if he was set up, he was still a cheater, right? So the sanctimonious bs Justin kept laying on Declan seemed ridiculous. Who would want to be in a band with a bunch of shiftless members who would betray you at any turn, just saying. Leave that band and all the toxicity in the past and admit responsibility for its failure.

In my review of Starting From Zero, I commented on how the breakup and scandal was talked around yet such a huge focal point. Yet again, the same thing happened. Talked around yet a huge focal point of contention. So I guess rereading the first two wouldn't resolve this issue for me.

Am I correct about these events? Xena and Justin were dating, Justin and Tegan were caught fooling around by Xena and Declan. Xena and Declan broke from the group to start on something else. Xena used this to her advantage in the media. Even set up, why wouldn't they leave? Why wouldn't Xena be angry enough to smear them? Why assume Declan set it up? He wasn't dating either one of them. No one forced them to fool around. So I'm STILL confused on how Justin and Tegan blame Declan for ANY of this, and I thought that when reading the first novel.

This ongoing conflict seems to have some major flaws, while not fully explained. Tegan and Declan talked around it, sharing two or three broken sentences, and the inner monologue never explained events either, only how they each felt they were the victim. This conflict doesn't seem major enough, unless you were the one cheated on, which was Xena, who we are to see as an evil character.

As you can see Justin's nonstop warnings and animosity, maybe he ought to look back in the mirror and examine the situation. This made me feel as if all the growth Justin experienced during his novel was for nothing.

Declan was a sweet character, supportive and sensitive. He was diplomatic, even to Xena and his mother, both were overbearing and manipulative. Declan spent an entire novel trying to get his best friend back, trying to get his life on track, while being dragged back by not only his mother's unsupportive advice, Xena's coercion, but also Justin's gaslighting. Declan rolled with anything Charlie suggested, willing to take any crumbs Tegan would give him.

Deep down, I think Tegan was a strong character. I felt Justin behaved similar to Xena and Declan's mother, whispering toxicity in Tegan's ear. That's why I said Justin backslid. It was jealousy, not the worry and fear of a friend, at least that's how I perceived it.

Both men were being held back by the most important people in their lives. The sweetness of first love, the bitterness of first heartbreak, the love-hate of two hurt hearts attempting to rebuild what was previously broken. The romance was the slow-burn of friends shifting into lovers but the lust was intense.

When no one else was involved, when the guys forgot about the recent past and only lived in the present, with hope for the future, and with fondness of their childhoods, it was amazingly heartwarming and realistic.

A major con for me, women are either the worst of the worst or ready for sainthood, with no in between. Yes, I realize women like that exist in the world, and that a person can attract them due to their personality. But Declan's mom and Xena are one-dimensional.

Highly recommend to fans of the author, series, and MM Romance, particularly the rock star subgenre. I am looking forward to more in the series, whatever else the author writes next. I have a strong desire to reread the first two novels to see if my impression changes or not.

He leaned against a pillar and fixed me with a lazy grin. I told myself I wanted to punch him, but truthfully, I wanted things I couldn’t believe I had to remind myself I should never in a million years want with Declan McNamara.

Author Bio



Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate, and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

Connect with Lane

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Temptation is a wicked thing, though. It draws you in and pulls you under. One moment you’re standing on the outside looking in behind a carefully constructed barrier, and the next…


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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Starting from Here (Starting from #3) by Lane Hayes to read and review for this tour.

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