Title: When Frankie Meets Johnny
Author: Xio Axelrod
Length: 86 Pages
Category: Contemporary Romance
At a Glance: Author Xio Axelrod has captured the essence of music’s power to unite and to be the catalyst for two people to fall in love, in eighty-six pages of emotion and uncertainty, and it is so, so lovely.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Scottish ex-pat Frankie Llewellyn lives and breathes music. Working late nights at WKMP, a radio station in suburban Philadelphia, he can play what he wants, sleep in every morning, and no one gives him any grief. No one but his most recent ex-boyfriend. Frankie is a serial monogamist, but after this latest break-up, he’s worried he’ll end up alone with nothing but his records to keep him warm at night.
When the station hires someone to do some much-needed renovations, Frankie is horrified to find out the work will be done during his overnight shift. But it makes the most sense, so he’s resolved to take one for the team. After he meets the mysterious contractor, a gorgeous, lumberjack of a man named John Burton, Frankie decides it may not be such a hardship after all.
John is reserved, and a bit mysterious. Quite the contrast to Frankie’s drama-filled life. But, as their friendship grows, John’s quiet presence has Frankie singing a new song.
Originally published in volume two of the Love Is All anthology!
Review: Music is a universal language. It transcends borders, moves us body and soul, triggers memories of specific points in time, is there for us when we fall in and out of love, can provoke a mood, lifts us up when we stumble, and can offer a light in times of darkness. Author Xio Axelrod has captured the essence of music’s power to unite and to be the catalyst for two people to fall in love, in eighty-six pages of emotion and uncertainty, and it is so, so lovely.
Frankie and Johnny are not destined to fall for each other, there is no magic spark between them when they first meet, although Frankie is no doubt attracted to the guy who’ll be spending his nights occupying Booth A at WKMP, where Frankie is the master of his domain and selects his eclectic playlists by feeling rather than by who is topping the charts at the moment. Frankie has a difficult time reading Johnny and his quietude in the wee small hours of the night, and so he begins what might turn into a friendship by letting Johnny’s moods dictate the music, and it’s in this way that Frankie gauges some of what Johnny is experiencing, if not exactly what he’s thinking, during their time together.
Johnny is still reserved, though, still holds his cards close to the chest, but Frankie gets some insights into the man, who suddenly begins showing up at the studio even when he doesn’t have to be there. And hope sparks on one particularly emotional night.
A hope that’s dashed as quickly as it was ignited.
When Frankie Meets Johnny was the perfect introduction to a new-to-me author. The saying goes that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and this novella is better than good. There’s a bit of heart, a smidge of pathos, and it’s topped off by a dollop of sweet that makes this romance feel so much bigger than its page count. But then, look what a three-minute song can do and you’ll get a hint of why this story succeeds.
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