Hello, hello, hello!!
We wanted to start this week off with a bang, so we invited Adrian Doran and Dominic Bradley, the protagonists from Anna Zabo’s new release Counterpoint, to sit down with us for a little chat. We hope you love it as much as we did!
Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.
When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.
Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.
Content Warnings: Anxiety, including descriptions of panic attacks; mentions of racism; mentions of queerphobia, including from a family member; mention of death of parents (from natural causes); stalking by the press
Also don’t miss Anna’s guest post for the release of Syncopation: “Why Rocker Romance?”
Hi Dom, hi Adrian! Welcome to From Top to Bottom Reviews. We’re super excited to have you both here and glad you found the time in your busy schedules. Ready? Then let’s start with something easy.
We already know a couple of desserts you both love, but are there some you didn’t tell us about in Counterpoint? Are there any desserts you don’t like?
Adrian just smiles.
Dominic: Hey, that’s not fair! You’re going to make me answer!
Adrian: Well, you are the one with the sweet tooth. You could tell the about the whipped cream and chocolate sauce adventure.
Dominic: Uh. Coughs. Or maybe not. He shifts in his seat. Lemon really is my favorite flavor, but I also really love shortbread. Like real shortbread. The home made stuff. Um. And mango sorbet. There’s nothing I can think of that I don’t like, to be honest. Adrian has some dislikes, I’ve discovered, though.
Adrian makes a face. It’s just one thing. I’m not terribly fond of pineapple flavored things. I like pineapple on its own, but not baked or cooked into anything.
Dominic: Which means he hates it on pizza.
Adrian: Pizza is not dessert, babe.
Dominic: Pizza is every meal!
Adrian rolls his eyes. Next question?
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Adrian and Dominic.
They both laugh.
Dominic: Oh my god. Problem is there isn’t really a typical day.
Adrian: I think there is. We do a lot of the same stuff every day. It just…shifts around a little. We get up in the morning and I make coffee. Maybe breakfast. Depending on Dominic’s schedule, we’re either lazy—or on the move to practice or recording or some PR opp.
Dominic: Well, we’ve mostly finished recording our next album, so not recording as much, but we are ramping up to go on a tour.
Adrian: A headlining tour.
Dominic: Yeah, so there’s practicing and working with our manager to figure out sets and logistics and hiring crews and planning VIP events and… well. A lot. And the whole band likes to be involved with everything, which I know is unusual.
Adrian: And now I’m now fielding the social media and IT and working on the website, which keeps me busy. Basically, if Dominic is working, so am I. I’ve been trying to keep the old site working while building a new site. I do have to spend some time every day keeping the fans engaged, too. Which is the fun part, because I get to expose, with their permission, what absolute goofs they are all.
Dominic laughs. Don’t let Mish catch you calling her a goof.
Adrian: Mish likes me. And I think she’d agree. You know, after she punches me in the arm.
Dominic gestures. Well, there you go! Anyway, if we’re not, we’re reading or cooking or…
Adrian grins. Doing other things.
Dominic blushes a little. Or doing other things. He pauses. How about we move to the next question?
What is your favorite part of your everyday life?
Dominic: Ah, fuck.
Adrian: Yup. That’s probably Dominic’s favori—
Dominic gives Adrian a look.
Adrian: Am I lying? He’s smiling.
Dominic: No, but look, they don’t need to know that! And I mean…they can probably guess that. He’s blushing fairly hard. Adrian’s favorite part is probably making me blush.
Adrian shakes his head. No, it’s watching and listening to you play. Always. You and music are breathtaking. That’s my favorite part.
Dominic manages to blush harder somehow. Oh. I mean, playing is probably my favorite thing in the word. It’s…I am so me when I do.
Adrian nods. Exactly.
With all the excitement you’re probably dreaming of a vacation already, so we’re wondering what your dream vacation looks like. Where would you go? What would you do?
Dominic: Oh man. You know, I’d probably just want to say home and like spend a week reading. Or maybe go to one of those bed and breakfast places at the shore—like in Cape May or something—and swim then read on the beach. Just…somewhere quiet and relaxing. That makes me sound boring as hell.
Adrian: I actually like Dominic’s ideas. Though, I would love to go to Ireland and see where my family came from. Maybe do one of those “stay in a castle” things.
Dominic: I wouldn’t mind staying in a castle.
Adrian: And reading?
Dominic: That goes without saying.
This is maybe a bit personal, but what is the to you most important thing you learned in this relationship?
Dominic thinks for a little bit. Probably that it’s okay to have all these…pieces…of me. Doesn’t make me any less me. And I can share what I want. And Adrian loved the whole me anyway, even when I didn’t show him all of the parts.
Adrian contemplates his hands. That you have to jump the abyss sometimes. And that I need to have a little more patience, too. I’m certainly not the prefect partner.
Dominic: You listen. That’s pretty perfect.
Adrian: I don’t always listen.
Dominic chuckles: Well neither do I. I guess we’re imperfect humans who try their best?
Adrian, how did your siblings react to the news of you dating a rock star?
Well, as soon as the news broke, I sent my sister Moira email, since I had a feeling someone might hunt down my siblings to harass them about me. I didn’t want her caught by surprise. We’re not…especially close because of family shit, but we do talk.
She called me back after the viral video of me outside the studio became one of those Facebook things—and said it was one of the most romantic things she’d seen in a while, and was happy for me and wished me luck. We’ve emailed since, and she asks about Dominic. I get the feeling she’s pleased, but whether that’s because Dominic is a rock star or because I’m settling down with someone…I don’t know.
I…haven’t spoken to Sean or Patrick in years. I’m assuming Moira passed on the news to them, but I don’t know. My brother Patrick, the very conservative Catholic priest, I’ve written off, since he wrote me off a long time ago. But I would love to talk to Sean someday.
Quick questions, between you both…:
Who’s the cuddler?
Adrian: Dominic. I like to cuddle well enough, but he loves to cuddle. Dominic nods.
Who’s the big spoon?
Dominic: Oh, Adrian. And I like being cuddled, so…
Who’s the better cook?
They both laugh. Dominic points at Adrian and Adrian raises his hand.
What’s your favorite activity as a couple?
Adrian grins. Dominic mock punches him. Other than that!
Adrian: Okay, okay. I think being out. Getting coffee. Going to a gallery or museum. Or bookstore.
Dominic: Yeah, just…being together. Doing normal stuff. He pauses. I mean, the other stuff is…off the charts. But private, you know?
Adrian: So he doesn’t want to talk about it in an interview.
Who kills the spider?
Dominic: Adrian won’t let me kill them, so I scoop them up and put them outside. Which probably kills them, but don’t tell him that.
Adrian: I am not listening.
Who falls asleep first?
Adrian: Depends. Sometimes me, sometimes Dominic.
Dominic: If I’m worried about something, I can’t sleep.
Adrian: But I also get that way. So.
Who is the biggest baby when they’re sick?
Dominic raises his hand. Me. I can’t stand being sick and I bitch and moan about it.
Adrian: Thank goodness that doesn’t happen often.
Who gives the most unexpected surprises?
Dominic: Oh. Adrian.
Adrian laughs. It’s a little on the evil side.
Who dances better?
Adrian: Dominic. Have you seen him on stage? And that ass!
Dominic coughs. I mean, Adrian’s not bad—don’t let him fool you. He used to haunt clubs. But yeah. I’m better.
Adrian: Dancing at clubs was a means to an end, though. I was good enough to get laid, basically.
Dominic: Like I said—not bad.
Adrian gets a look. You know, we’ll discuss that later.
This time, it’s Dominic who laughs.
And who holds their liquor better?
Dominic twists his lips. Mish.
Adrian smiles. Yeah. Mish. When it comes to Dominic and me, we’re about the same. Which probably means Dominic’s a little better, since I’ve more body mass. But Mish will drink us both under the table, if given a chance.
Fingers traced his chin and caressed his lips. “Fucking hell, babe,” Adrian murmured.
Dom knew from experience that this wasn’t the end of the night. He didn’t expect Adrian to drop down to his knees, though, to take Dom’s face between his hands and kiss him like he was the only man in existence.
But that’s what Adrian did, and Dom moaned into him, every nerve on fire.
Adrian wiped away the wetness on Dom’s face. “I love tasting me on your tongue.”
“Fuck my face more often, then.” His words were whispered and hoarse.
A deep rumble of amusement and a pat on the cheek. “We’ve only had two nights.”
Felt like so much more. Everything with Adrian was hot and fast, and yet somehow so slow and perfect, too. Like now, when Adrian pulled him up from the floor and took him to the bed.
Adrian unclasped the cuffs from each other. “Lie down on your back. I’m going to tie you to the headboard for a little while. See what you think of that.”
Dom exhaled, a strange heat running through his body that had nothing to do with the ache of his cock. “Yeah, okay.”
Adrian took each arm and swung it up, murmuring how Dom should move, how he needed to position his body. Gentle voice, gentle touch. He was still in all his clothing, too.
“Wanna see you naked,” Dom said. Everything was heady and light again.
Adrian smiled and touched his face. “Do you?”
“Yeah. I mean, if you want? ’Cause I guess I’m not supposed to demand anything, am I?”
He couldn’t even name the emotions that flickered over Adrian’s features, but there was such a weight to them, and in his gravelly voice. “You, Dominic, can always ask me for anything you wish.”
What he wished. He wanted everything. This moment. Wednesday. Whatever happened tomorrow. He wanted the band and Domino. He wanted Adrian to make the world go away so only Dom existed. Dom and Adrian.
“I’m in way over my head.”
“Shh.” Adrian’s brow furrowed. “So am I.”
Dom closed his eyes. Oh fucking hell. He was gonna fall in love with Adrian. After two damn dates. That wasn’t safe and it wasn’t fair at all.
A touch on his arm had Dom opening his eyes again. “You’ll miss the show,” Adrian said, and pulled off his tie.
He stripped the rest of his clothing off, watching Dom the entire time. Soon that amazing body was exposed once more, in every mouthwatering detail. It was everything Dom remembered, and so much more. “You’re fucking hot.”
“Why thank you.” Adrian got his quirky, wicked grin and picked up a bundle of rope. “And as a reward, I’m going to tie you up. If it’s too much, tell me and I’ll cut you free.”
“It’s not gonna be too much.”
Adrian shook his head. “You don’t know that yet.”
But he did. Because ropes didn’t scare him. The thought of being bound only made his blood hot and his mind relax. What terrified him was the looming future, his guitar, and how much he’d have to give up to have everything he wanted.
Adrian tied his right wrist first, stretching his arm in the process, and it felt so damn good he arched his back. “Fuck, babe, you do like this, don’t you?”
Dom met Adrian’s stare. “Yeah it’s…” He huffed out a breath. “It’s like soaring.” Or being onstage. The thrill, the heat and charge, and the utter security. “I’m safe.” He relaxed into the bed. “I’m safe here.”
Adrian stroked his arms. “Makes me want to tie your legs down, too.”
Oh hell, that sent a bolt of lightning down his body. “Yeah, please.”
“Not tonight. Partly to tease you—because I love that—but mostly because I think you can hold yourself still for me.”
A different heat flowed and settled in his balls and dick. The cuffs might calm him, but a hit of Adrian’s command sent lust racing into every part. “Fuck.”
For that he got a smirk, and Adrian stroked himself a few times. “Not quite there yet. But I bet once you’re tied down and listening to me… I will be.”
Fingers danced up his left arm, and that too was tied to the headboard. Same warm touch swept over Dom’s lips. “You’re talking, not listening.”
He couldn’t resist opening his mouth and sucking those fingers in. Adrian hissed, then grunted. “Your mouth is always trouble.”
Other books in the series:
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.
Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
Anna uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.
Enter to win 1 of 2 e-copies of reader’s choice of back catalog books by Anna Zabo. Must be 18 to enter and win. Open internationally.
Blog Tour Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Orientation: Pansexual Pairing: M/M Publisher: Carina Press Tag: Age-Gap Tag: BDSM Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: Guest Post Tag: Interview Tag: Part of a series Tag: Rockstar/Musician Anna Zabo Counterpoint Twisted Wishes