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Starting from Zero

Starting From Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Michael Dean
Series: Starting From Series, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

Non-member price: $27.79

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Publisher's Summary

Justin Cuevas is going through a rough patch. A broken relationship, a scandal, and the demise of his band have shaken the aspiring rock star’s confidence. Working two jobs and sleeping on his friend’s sofa isn’t ideal, but Justin isn’t ready to give up yet. With a little luck, he’s hoping to re-launch his music career in LA with his new band, Zero. The key is to stay focused, and not get distracted by his past...or the sexy songwriter he can’t get out of his head.

Gray Robertson has written dozens of hits and worked with some of the biggest names in the industry. But he’s never met anyone like Justin. The younger man is fiery, passionate, and smart. A powerful voice for a new generation. Other than an unforgettable one-night stand and a passion for music, the two men have nothing in common. Or do they? Justin knows the out-of-the-blue challenge to write a quintessential love song is a huge opportunity. And it’s the ultimate test for someone who’s doesn’t believe in happily ever after. When sparks fly, Justin and Gray realize they have a shot something special if they start from zero together. Maybe even love.

©2019 Lane Hayes (P)2019 Lane Hayes

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Profile Image for ButtonsMom2003
  • ButtonsMom2003
  • 21-06-2019

I loved this audiobook!

If you follow my reviews at all (thanks if you do) then I'm going to sound like a broken record. I reviewed Starting From Zero as an eBook when it first released. It was a great read but now Michael Pauley's audio performance makes it even better. He does so many great voices in this one and when it comes to the sexy time – look out – hot as fire!

The following is my original review of the ebook:

I'm a relative newcomer to Lane Hayes books. I started with her Out in College series (3 books long so far) and loved all of them. Now comes her new Starting From series which is a spin-off from the Out in College series. No worries if you haven't read that series; Starting from Zero stands alone and is a complete story with an HEA.

The book is told in first person POV, alternating between Justin and Gray. Justin is an aspiring rock star with many problems. Gray is 18 years older than Justin but something just clicks for them. It starts off as an anonymous one-off but circumstances bring them together again and a relationship develops.

This story had a lot of secret keeping going on and that caused a fair amount of angst in some of the characters. I loved Gray, a successful, wealthy, older man who doesn't flaunt what he has. He started from humble beginnings and hasn't forgotten that. Justin was a bit all over the place. He has ADHD and that makes it hard for him to focus. He's determined to help his new band make it big and won't let anything stop him from making it so. He's not intimidated by Gray's wealth.

I really felt the connection between Gray and Justin and their sexy time together was WOW! The story made me smile in places, cringe in a couple and had all kind of feels going on. There are several intriguing secondary characters in Starting from Zero and I hope they get books of their own. I was particularly taken with Gray's former lover, Sebastian. He comes off as quite a jerk but I think he can be redeemed and would love to read his story. 😊

An advanced copy of this book was provided to me via IndiGo Marketing but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author.

***Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions dot com***

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Aethena Drake
  • Aethena Drake
  • 14-12-2019

Great story. Great narration.

I enjoy Lane Hayes books because the characters are so very real. All the idiosincrasies that comprise a real human make their way into Hayes' writing, and I enjoy getting to know those people.

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  • KENEALY
  • 03-12-2019

kinda okay.

This story was odd. I almost felt like I should have read a story before this story. I even checked to make sure this was really book 1, a few times. It was hard to follow with all the past stories that actually seemed way more interesting than this one. I thought the love story was underdeveloped and a bit immature. The entire stoey was kinda blah. Well, except the narrator. The narration was pretty good, though the separation of voices were minimal so sometimes vocals were hard to follow. Not moving onto book 2.

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  • Melissa
  • 20-10-2019

Loved it!!

This was amazing!! So beautifully written and Michael did an amazing job!!! I loved it so much.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Spanarella
  • 12-07-2019

Swoon Worthy

Swoon! Gah, I just loved Justin and Gray’s story. You know when you read a book, and it’s just so good and you have a smile plastered to your face? And you don’t want to finish because it will be over? This! This is one of those books! I loved it so much I also grabbed the audio, because amazing book, amazing narrator! Justin and Gray made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I loved their witty banter and their comfortable conversations they had with each other. Their chemistry together was explosive and off the charts hot. They truly completed each other so well, and their story really gave me all the feels. I know this will be a book I re-read when I need a pick me up. I really can’t recommend their story more!

I loved their story in ebook, but this narration really made Justin and Gray's story even more for me.

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  • ken sellers
  • 09-07-2019

Lane Hayes....... never disappoints a great read

i loved this book and everything he does and Micheal Pauly is onreal i think this is his best

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  • Kara
  • 15-06-2019

Loved it!

Loved how some of the characters were familiar from Hayes’ earlier books, but I felt like we got a much more in depth look at the leads in this book than we did in the shorter earlier books. Also really enjoyed the two points of perspective here, got a look inside the heads of each lead, rather than just one.

And Michael Pauley as narrator is my favorite and he nailed it... again!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lily G Blunt
  • 02-06-2019

Enjoyable May/December romance

Starting from Zero is a May/December rockstar romance. Its two main characters are brought together to collaborate on a love song for an upcoming movie. Justin is a talented songwriter and struggling musician who wants to make it to the big time. Gray is the older songwriter already with a successful career behind him. Their first encounter is a sizzling hook-up, which follows a romantic ‘date’ overlooking the city from a rooftop bar. They click from the start, but neither of them is looking for a long-term relationship. They meet again because of outside help and Justin is offered the chance of a lifetime. Or not.

A fair proportion of the story deals with the rock music industry and Justin figuring out how to involve his band in this amazing chance. He’s not entirely confident with the idea of writing a love song, but as he falls more and more for Gray, the song (and his life) slowly comes together. There’s good chemistry between these guys, with plenty of conversation and banter alongside the steamy moments. The relationship is relatively angst-free. The main conflict and angst in the story happens because of the producer and also Justin’s ex-girlfriend and previous band, who are also in with a chance of a deal with the production company. Can any of them be trusted?

I liked many of the secondary characters, including OTT Seb, who acts as the band's manager, and that we get to meet Rory and Christian from the Out in College series again. They're still together and very much in love!

Michael Pauley’s narration is enjoyable. He created distinct voices for the various characters. I wasn’t too keen on Gray’s voice at times, but overall the production is good with the right emotions being portrayed well in the various scenes. It’s not my favourite Lane Hayes story, but I definitely will listen again.

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Profile Image for Erryn Barratt
  • Erryn Barratt
  • 27-05-2019

Great start to a new series

What happens when a quickie in the bathroom changes your life? Justin Cuevas was having a bad day when he met Gray Robertson. Justin needed someone to help him out and Gray stepped into the role flawlessly. But the end of the night had Justin leaving and Gray having no way to contact him. End of story, right?

When circumstances bring the men together there is yet another power imbalance. Gray is successful in the music business that Justin is so desperate to break into. Gray has the ability to give Justin a leg up but pride prevents Justin from accepting the help. Justin is stubborn. He is easily distracted and struggles to keep his part time jobs as well as practicing with his new band, Zero. Gray’s offer of studio time comes with no strings and Justin finally decides a little help would be okay. His bandmates are skeptical but willing to take the gift and they try to make a go of their music.

Gray knows Justin is special but struggles to help the young man realize it. He’s older and more successful, so guiding Justin comes naturally to him and sometimes he has to fight taking control of Justin’s chaotic life that is, at times, spinning out of control. Justin has a lot of baggage but it doesn’t faze Gray. Very little does.

The crux of the plot is that Justin needs to write a love song for a big movie. It’s a great opportunity for an up and coming musician but he’s not a big fan of love. His family certainly didn’t have any and the one serious relationship he had ended up burning him badly. He played a big role in the demise, but the fallout was spectacular. So…writing a love song? For a cynic, it’s a bad bet. But he can’t give up this chance so he tries. Gray has written many songs and although he could guide Justin, he wants the young man to succeed on his own. Solution? Show Justin that love does exist – in many forms – and that it might be worth taking one more chance before giving up for good.

I could relate to Justin and his floundering to find a place in the world. His music means everything but he can’t make a living at it. His pride prevents him from embracing Gray’s help whole-heartedly and I understood that. Who doesn’t want to succeed on their own without perceived or real help from someone else? Gray handles the situation with the maturity he’s worked hard for. He manages to restrain the urge to fix everything that is wrong in Justin’s life.

This is a great book about how love is far more complex than just “I love you” and that true love involves risking one’s heart and soul. The book was narrated by Michael Pauley who is one of my favourite narrators. He did a great job again, meeting and even exceeding my expectations. Great job and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

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  • Cassi
  • 26-05-2019

Fantastic story!

These guys are so sexy and vibrant. Their connection was jumping off the pages add in Michael Pauley's narration and you have book that grabs you and won't let go! I listened to this in a day. They were the perfect blend of self assured sexy rock star and venerable lovers. I adored them and I seriously cant wait for more from this series!

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  • Edga
  • 16-05-2019

lovely story.

I had been highly anticipating this book for a while now, Justin was a character that we'd met in a previous book, and I was dying for his story to be told. I was so excited to finally dive into it. It was so definitely worth the wait!

Justin had so much emotional baggage buried in his past, but I loved his attitude to life and his courage to meet things head on and overcome them. His integrity was amazing. Gray was just this amazing, kind soul. He and Justin fit together so well. In fact, I'd go so far to say that they're right up there amongst my favourite characters.

It's, of course, very well written, with a great storyline and plot. It's a passionate and emotional read, which made for a very nice romance. Also, loved meeting Christian and Rory again, characters from one of Ms Hayes' previous books. 

It is written in dual POV, which I do like, giving the reader much more of the thoughts and feelings of the main characters. The epilogue was swoon worthy and there's a puppy 😍🐕

I'm so hoping for more from this series, there were a couple of cracking secondary characters introduced in the story. Can't wait.

The narration was incredibly well done. First class listen 👍

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