Tucker Reynolds is a humble singer/songwriter both blessed and burdened by his success in the country music industry. Stalked by a predator from his past and struggling with guilt over his secret lust for his childhood best friend and guitarist, Magnusson ‘Mags’ Palmer, Tucker’s carefully crafted lies are his main means of self-defense, but they slowly begin to unravel. Kinky sex with prostitutes hastens a downward spiral that he searches to escape from. At the end of a successful tour, before heading home to Nashville, Tucker seeks solitude in order to come to terms with the guilt over things he has done to which he has never confessed.
Only Tucker’s devoted, less-assuming band mate, Jess Grayville, suspects the truth about the nightmare Tucker is privately battling. Jess attempts to protect Tucker from those who would do him harm, even when the person putting him in the most danger isn’t reckless Mags, but Tucker, himself. Realizing that the best way out of the dark of his past and into the light of forgiveness is by finally admitting to the truth, Tucker strives to listen to his heart and write a song that he knows could save him.
This book is dark, so DARK and painful and SAD. For possible triggers, please see tags below.
There is no redemption for the first 60 percent of the book, and just when you think the worst is over, more comes in flashbacks. This is not an easy read. My heart felt clenched and heavy.
Tucker is a broken man. A successful but closeted country music star, he feels lost, ashamed, and terrified.
Mags, his best friend since high school, is a noose around his neck, dragging him into threesomes with women, wanting Tucker to watch him fuck nameless strangers.
I did not like Mags. He was selfish and oblivious of Tucker's suffering. Even at the end, when Mags finally SEES and "rescues" Tucker, it felt like too little, too late.
The shining star of the book is Jess, the band's pianist. Kind, giving, and incredibly patient, Jess wears a wedding band on his ring finger but never talks about his private life.
Jess begins to break through Tucker's walls, but those walls are so deep and so shadowed and so damn high, it feels like nothing will ever topple them.
What a brutal story this is, REAL as hell, but not for the faint of heart.
Tucker is a victim who blames himself. And there were instances where I blamed Tucker, too, unfairly so, perhaps, but it was so difficult to watch his self-destruction, his willingness to just GIVE UP and be had. It was hard to witness his life in tatters, and him going back for more.
Lynn Kelling does an exceptional job painting a very real picture of a downward spiral and recovery.
Be warned that there is a lot of sexual activity in this book, but the majority of it is not between Tucker and Jess. That comes later. And it's gorgeous when it does: evocative, tender, and passionate.
I at once hated and loved this story. It moved me. It shattered me. I licked up every drop of sweetness and craved more. Lord knows there's never been a more hard-earned HEA.
Songs of the Lonesome Cowboy is as terrifying as it is beautiful. Highly recommended for those who dare.