Friday, March 12, 2021

Starting From the Top by Lane Hayes Release Blitz

Starting From the Top by Lane Hayes Release Blitz. The guitarist, the dad, and a band on the rise…

The guitarist, the dad, and a band on the rise…


A quiet place to live and some time to recharge before my band heads out on the road again sounds amazing. I wouldn’t mind a distraction too, but my new neighbor is off-limits. There are rules about not getting involved with your bandmate’s ex, right? And Sean isn’t my type anyway. He’s too bossy, too commanding, and he has way too much baggage. I’ve learned that it’s best to let go of the heavy stuff. So why am I so drawn to him?


Coming out later in life has taught me to protect my privacy at all costs. And while juggling a handful of businesses and two kids isn’t easy, I excel at the art of multitasking and keeping everything separate. But Johnny blurs those lines. He’s easy-going, sweet-natured, and cool. In short, he’s everything I’m not. I want to know all about him… starting from the top.

Starting From the Top is a MM, bisexual romance with some rock and roll, an age gap, and a little family fun! 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.
For book three, Starting From Here, click HERE.
For book four, Starting From Somewhere, click HERE.


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Starting From the Top by Lane Hayes

Book 5
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Audiobook (US)  ~  Paperback (US)
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




The cheery sound of family fun drifted through the house… the dog barking, cupboards closing, and a girlish squeal of delight. And more dog barking.

I chuckled at the chaotic homey cacophony. I would never have envisioned this was Sean’s life. He’d always seemed like a badass boss to me—not a man who’d wear an apron to bake cupcakes with his daughter while his son had a guitar lesson. His chocolate mussed hair and concerned parental frown made him look goofy and yet very… endearing. In a hot dad way.

Okay. Definitely time to go. I reached for the knob just as Sean did.

“I’ll walk you out,” he insisted, holding the door open.

I stepped onto the porch and blinked against the bright afternoon sun at the hilltop view of the city. “Wow. This is nice.”

“Yeah,” he agreed absently. “How was he?”

“Amazing. The next Chuck Berry.”

Sean sighed grumpily. “Less sarcasm, please.”

“Sorry, Dad.” I snickered. “He was great. I mean, he sucked, but I think he had fun. I told him to keep the guitar and practice on his own. If you want me to come back, I will.”

“Really? That’s good.” He stared at the horizon for a moment before glancing my way. “I wanted to—why are you smiling at me?”

“You’re fuckin’ covered in chocolate. It’s in your ear.” I made a face and tugged at my own ear.

He gestured at the apron. “Baking isn’t my thing.”

I flashed a megawatt grin at him. “Sure, it is. Are you decorating those cupcakes with anything besides frosting?”

“Sprinkles. You’re welcome to join us.”

“Thanks, but I don’t want to crash your family time.”

Sean inclined his head. “So… did he talk to you?”

“It took a little coaxing. Full disclosure… we played video games before we picked up the guitars. You’re not paying me, so I don’t really feel guilty. I just don’t want you to think it was a jam session from the start.”

“I know.”

“You know?” I repeated.

“I snuck in to see how you were doing. Hulk let you down. You might want to go with Iron Man or Captain America next time.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I snort-laughed, then sobered. “As for Parker… he’s a good kid. He’s shy, reserved, and likes organization. He seems like the kind of person who excels at things he can control. I bet he builds killer Lego sets. He might learn a few songs, but I doubt he’s a savant. You never know, though. Kids are sponges. They pick up stuff you and I would never catch.”

“That’s true. I’m impressed. And you’re right… about everything. He keeps a lot inside. He’s always been that way. Very thoughtful and methodical. He sets a high bar for himself. He likes to get things right the first time. He does well in school, but he’s struggling with the transition to junior high. His old friends tried out for sports and he opted not to. It’s left him feeling ostracized and alone. Hormones don’t help. I thought it might be good for him to spend time with someone cool who—”

“Cooler than you?”

“Well, let’s not get crazy.” Sean flipped the corner of his apron and let out a self-deprecating laugh. “I just… thanks for doing this. I appreciate it.”

“No problem. Hey, if he really is interested, we can do this regularly. My schedule is light for the next couple of months, but it’ll get crazy again in late spring.”

“I’ll call you.”

“Text me. I hate phone calls.” I held out my right hand and snatched it away a second later, narrowing my gaze. “You have frosting on your nose.”

“My nose?” He wiped his hand over the apron, then across the tip of his nose. “Did I get it?”

“No. Come here. Let me help you.” I stepped into his space and brushed the sugary goodness away.

“Did you get it?” he asked in a huskier than normal tone.

“Yeah, but it’s on your ear and your chin and…”

“Where else?”


I ran the pad of my thumb under this bottom lip. “Got it.”

I didn’t move. I should have, but something held me in place. I studied his features, noting the flecks in his eyes. I wondered what color they were… gold, green, brown? I traced a line at the corner of his mouth, rubbing the scruff of his neatly-trimmed beard. I stared at his full lips for a long moment before meeting his gaze. Then I inched closer and… kissed him.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Starting From the Top is the fifth installment in the Starting From series. It can be read as a standalone, but reading the series in order as the author intended is, of course, the best way to enjoy each story building upon the last.

Starting From the Top is Johnny and Sean's story. Johnny is the guitarist from the band Zero. He hasn't had the best childhood but meeting his band members had him finding the family he was searching for. Zero was on the cusp of becoming internationally known and insanely popular. But Johnny didn't see it that way. He was just a guy doing what he loved. The fans asking for pictures and autographs still just weirded him out. Doing a favor for his interior decorator, he was picking up a color wheel from a neighbor, well not just a neighbor, Teagan's ex, Sean.

Sean is a complicated man. He strictly keeps his personal and professional lives separate. He was married for twelve years before divorcing and announcing he was bisexual. With two kids and an ex-wife he was adamant about keeping apart from any of his lovers or partner, having a relationship was hard to do. Sean didn't like failure and always portrayed a man that had his shit together. That was true in a sense, until he found Johnny standing on his porch. Johnny didn't fit into Sean's world. Johnny was the all-black-wearing emo rock star. So completely different than the designer suit wearing Sean, but oh so intriguing.

I loved seeing these two come together. They exploded in hotness when together but took the time to learn each other on a friendship level. The complemented each other in ways they never expected. When everything looked to be against them as a couple, they fought for what they wanted. Johnny's patience with Parker showed such a softer side to the man. I loved seeing that.

The last few chapters of this one brought me to tears but in such a good way. I was rooting hard for them to make it!

This is the fifth book in the series and whilst I would recommend that you read them in order, I also think you could read and enjoy this as a standalone... you can always go back and catch up!

A series which revolves around emerging and upcoming rock bands and the dynamics developing between the men who live for their music careers. Now that the relationships have settled down a bit, the record label is thriving, and the guys are in the studio laying down tracks, singleton Johnny has finally bought himself a house. As someone who lived in the system, this is the first home he's ever had, and it is a truly significant moment for him to recognise that he has made it.

When he finds himself affected by Sean, an older man who had a brief relationship with one of his band members, he is confused and not inclined to do anything about it. Add in Sean's rules designed to protect his children and the level of complexity is also dissuading from action. But we can tell from both their thoughts, that there is something there which is going to scratch away at them until they act.

Following a couple of bands whilst they are all pretty settled down and are at home is quite a change for a rock romance, but I rather enjoyed the slower pace. It dealt with some more family-based issues and reminded us that their life is not all about being on tour.

An enjoyable addition to the series, and I am always glad to catch up with old friends and see how their lives have improved and moved forward.

Starting From the Top is the fifth installment of the Starting From series. While there are cameos of past narrators, I do believe it would be free of confusion to read out of order or as a standalone.

Johnny is thrilled to have a place to call his own, finally having purchased a home, where it's just him, not dependent on roommates to help foot the bill. He's carving out a life for himself. His interior designer inadvertently puts him in the path of her ex, who just so happens to be an outlier in Johnny's life, his fellow bandmate's ex turned friend.

Sean has rules, many, many rules when it comes to dating, all these rules are to protect his children but more so protect himself. Only problem is how Johnny has gotten beneath his skin to where the rules no longer apply, blurting out to ask Johnny to teach his son how to play the guitar.

Starting From the Top made all the right moves, but for some reason I just wasn't feeling it. The journey is there, but I wasn't invested. I was eager to read from Johnny's point of view, but it just fell flat for me. I didn't connect to Johnny or Sean, the warm and fuzzy or the hot and smoldering or the angsty miscommunications, I just didn't feel anything as I was reading the novel.

I'd love to say it was only me, but I've had this reaction on and off while reading most of the author's novels. Either the book resonates with me to where I devour it in a single sitting or it leaves me feeling meh, there is no in between. Hit or miss. Same as with the entire series. Some of the books in the Starting From series were massive hits with me... and this one wasn't.

The fact that my reading tastes didn't suit this novel doesn't mean I don't highly recommend it or the series or every other novel by the author. I do believe MM Romance fans will devour it, hopefully feeling all the emotions, the warm and fuzzies that I didn't. This also doesn't mean that I won't read everything Lane Hayes publishes, because the next might just be a major hit for me.



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

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Lane's Lovers





He was the very space between silence and the first hum of music. He was hard edges and rough terrain, with depths I probably needed two lifetimes to explore. And damn, I wanted at least one. Starting From the Top by Lane Hayes.


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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Starting From the Top (Starting From #5) by Lane Hayes to read and review for this tour.

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