This is not an unbiased review. That said, what is a review if not a reflection of our sensibilities and biases? I bring it up because Thursday Euclid, the author, is my writing partner. That said, I would never allow a friend to leave the house with their fly open, nor would I encourage a friend to publish something I didn’t think was very good.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Asher Beauregard Attempts to Give a Damn is very good.

It is angsty, very angsty and there’s a lot of darkness to it, but it’s a romantic sort of dark with vibrant characters that allow light in. And, of course, it is a romance, so while there is much to brood about, there is also much to celebrate as you watch Asher grow and learn to accept the love he is being offered.

It is a rocker story. The premise is a darker side of the Jett/Goldie story in Black Gold with a conniving manager driving a very broken Asher, a kid off the streets of Louisiana with musical talent, to enhance his career with sex. Leo, a fan of Asher, has that fantasy that a lot of us do but never act on; he decides he’s going to be Asher’s friend and has enough raw musical talent and nerve to score a spot as an opening band on Asher’s tour.

What follows is sexy, provocative, and devastating as two forces of nature try to figure out how to fit together when a manager and Asher’s low self-esteem try to keep Leo at a distance.

The telling of the story is lush with detail, including Asher’s unique Cajun drawl which I know not everyone loves to read, but I found it pitched well for comprehension and brought the character to life.

This is Thursday’s first solo novel. It explores the lonely places of the heart and the agony of reaching out.

With a sold-out tour looming and intense media attention on their every move, the Artificial Hearts are the hottest rock act in the world. It’s just a matter of time until newfound fame illuminates a past Asher Beauregard would rather leave in the shadows. When he meets Leo Harpstedt, the irresistible frontman for the opening act, undeniable chemistry draws them together, but Asher’s secrecy and emotional scars keep Leo at a safe distance.

Posh and well-adjusted despite the blue hair, Englishman Leo comes from a world that Asher, a Louisiana-born high school dropout, can’t imagine, never mind inhabit, but as first the Artificial Hearts’ manager and then the tour throw them together, the tension between them grows uncontrollable. Leo’s seeming confusion about his sexuality and Asher’s refusal to let go of the persona and be vulnerable threaten to destroy the tender friendship they’ve built living and working together.

With help from his drag queen stylist, lesbian sound tech, and a lead guitarist with secrets of his own, can Asher overcome the public revelation of his deepest secrets and seize this chance at love?

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