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Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl.

Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?


BOOK REVIEW: Play

Kylie Scott

BOOK SERIES: 

RATING:

“Whatever you’re imagining, it’s bigger.”
“I’m not imagining anything.”
“I’m serious. It’s basically a monster. I cannot control it.”
“Malcolm—“
“You’re pretty much going to need a whip and chair to tame it, Anne.”

This book should come with a medical warning because I’m pretty certain that I strained a couple of stomach muscles while reading it! Who would have thought that a sexy rocker romance would also become one of the funniest books I have ever read? A love story first and foremost, this is a book that had me in stitches and made me devour its pages like I was starving for them. A brilliant sequel to an all-time favourite, this book can be summarised in one word – MAL.

“He’s kind of like a puppy on steroids. Doesn’t know his own strength.”

Mal Ericson is the ever-popular Stage Dive drummer, known for his easygoing personality and his filter-free mouth. He is the light of every party, the incorrigible flirt who sleeps with women but never dates them, but he is also the peacekeeper in the band, the one who injects humour into every situation and manages to diffuse tempers even when all they feel like doing is rip each other apart. But behind every did-he-just-say-that type of ‘Mal-inism’ hides a man who is a lot more profound and sensitive than he lets others believe. Mal is a man who allows very few people in his life to see past his comedic façade, until one woman catches his attention and completely throws him out of his element.

“Why does everyone insist on being heavy all the f*cking time? Life’s too short for all this over-sharing. You’re here. I’m here. We can help each other out and have a good time while we’re at it. That’s all that matters.”

Anne is a woman who has put her entire life on hold and her every dream aside to make sure her sister would not suffer the same fate. She is a born giver, someone who rarely says ‘no’ to people and who always puts the needs of those she cares for before her own. Her indiscriminate generosity and willingness to help others has brought her to the point of facing eviction, and yet she remains determined to make it on her own in life and keep caring for the ones she loves. When she meets Mal at one of the band’s many parties, she is starstruck by the object of her every teenage fantasy, but even more surprised by his obvious interest in her. And yet, as ‘crazy eyed’ as she gets around him, she does not fuss over him or indulge his antics, making her the perfect type of woman in Mal’s eyes.

The very next day, Anne finds herself with a new roommate, a pretend-boyfriend and more public attention than she ever bargained for. And that is when the Mal Ericson ‘one man show’ takes off and I seriously suggest warming those stomach muscles beforehand because every word that comes out of his mouth is hilarious.

“I’m not sure I can stick my dick in a woman who doesn’t even know who John Bonham is.”
“Stick your dick in?” … “Did you actually just say that?”
“Make love. I meant make love…of course. I would never just stick my dick in you. I would make mad passionate love to this sweet, sweet body of yours for days, no weeks. It would be beautiful, pumpkin. There’d be little angels, and birdies, and you know… all just hanging around, watching. Perverts.”

They pretend, they tease each other, they play the roles they’ve agreed on, but as their attraction grows and every touch, every kiss becomes more real, soon neither of them is faking their feelings anymore. And as one of them faces one of life’s cruellest heartbreaks, they are forced to learn very quickly what it means to be a couple, and that loving someone means no longer having to suffer alone.

A truly well-rounded and flawlessly written story of two complete opposites attracting and becoming each other’s unexpected happy ending, this is a book that I will want to re-read any chance I get. If I could have asked for one thing to make it even more perfect in my eyes, I would have wished for a heroine who made a man like Mal work a bit more for her affections, made him ‘sweat’ on occasion, and not always forgive his actions so easily, but when it comes to a book like this one, a book that you cannot help but thoroughly enjoy cover to cover, any wishful thinking is a pure act of reader’s greed. This is a splendid marriage of romance and comedy, a possibly even better book than its stellar prequel, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes their love stories with a side of giggles.

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“Life’s a song, Anne. Let’s play.”

Excerpt

Right then, Mal strode out of the second bedroom in a black three piece suit. Since when had wearing a vest looked so f*cking hot? My lungs shrunk a size. Either that or the oxygen in the room had been mixed wrong. He was beyond slick with his hair tucked back behind his ears, the angular line of his jaw perfectly smooth. I’d barely gotten used to him half naked and now he was throwing Armani at me. I never stood a chance. Prostrating myself at his feet was the obvious reaction to such a heavenly sight. How I managed to remain upright I have no idea.

Forget Bond and his ilk. I’d take a drummer in a suit any day of the week.

With a low wolf whistle, Lauren looked him over. “Malcolm. Who’s a pretty boy?”

“Only pumpkin is allowed to objectify me,” he said, straightening his cuffs. French cuffs with cufflinks.

“F*ck me,” I muttered, then smacked a hand over my mouth because crap, my mouth. It was an idiot determined to make an ass out of me.

“Anytime.” He winked. The liar.

“Your pumpkin needs to get ready,” said Lauren, ignoring our carry on.

He looked me over and frowned. “Anne, Davie wants everyone dressed up. You can’t go in jeans and a T-shirt.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The party. Pumpkin, c’mon. We don’t have time to mess around.”

I shook my head, clueless. “Okay you two. I have no idea what you’re talking about. Will someone please clue me in?”

“I told you about this.”

“Like you told me about you moving in here?”

“You didn’t tell her you were moving in with her?” asked Lauren, voice low and deadly.

“It was a surprise,” he said, recovering quickly. “A great big beautiful romantic gesture because I knew how much my Anne wanted me with her. She was just too shy to say so. Look at her! The woman practically worships the ground I walk on. And you heard her, demanding I sexually service her at all hours of the day. I can’t that do that shit from afar, you know?”

Lauren raised a brow. “You told me she okay’d it and had forgotten to give you a key, Mal.”

“Which was basically the truth.” He threw his hands out wide. “C’mon, ladies, we don’t have time for this.”

“Anne, I’m so sorry,” said Lauren.

“It’s fine. I’m happy he’s here.” And though a tempting idea, throwing something at him right now wouldn’t actually help. I took a deep breath and tried to keep calm. “Let’s get back to the ‘what the hell is going on here’ question. We’re meant to go to something formal tonight, I take it?”

“I told you.” He pulled out his phone, flicked through a few screens then shoved it in front of my face. “I’m a f*cking great boyfriend, see?”

The message on screen said: AMEX ON TABLE. DRESS UP TONIGHT. My name, however, was nowhere in sight. Sure enough, over on the dining room table a black credit card sat waiting. I’d figured he’d just forgotten the thing. Him leaving it for me to go on a spending spree had never crossed my mind.

“It says you sent this to someone called Angie,” I said tightly. “Not me, Mal.”

“I did?” He glared at the phone. “Shit. Sorry.”

“Who’s Angie?” asked Lauren.

“F*cked if I know, but apparently she’s still looking for the card.” He laughed.

Stage Dive - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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3 Comments Hide Comments

Great review Natasha. I read this in one sitting and couldn’t stop laughing. I was crushing on him in ‘Lick’ but I think I’m full-on in love with him now.

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