She’s done it again! Kylie Scott has given us another absolutely flawless instalment in the Stage Dive series and this one just might be my new favourite. It’s a story that made me laugh as many times as it made my heart clench, and every part of it, every single word was just perfect. There are scenes I have read so many times, I could recite them by heart, and on every single re-read I experienced a new emotion, saw a new side of the characters’ multifaceted personalities. This is in essence a story of unrequited love, of two people falling for one another very differently—with different perceptions of their own rapidly growing feelings for each other and with different emotional capacities to deal with those feelings. I loved being in these characters’ heads, loved dissecting their strengths and weaknesses, and I absolutely adored how much attention was paid to the natural progression of their relationship. This book is the very best example of the kind of story that leaves me breathless and makes me never want to stop reading.
“Fancy falling for someone you didn’t even particularly like half the damn time. Who did something so stupid?”
Lena Morrissey stopped believing in love when her heart could no longer bear the constant disappointment from always falling for the wrong kind of man. She is sarcastic, strong-willed, and she does not let others walk all over her, even if her stubbornness ends up costing her her job. But when her outspoken, sassy personality is the very reason she is offered to become a live-in assistant for the lead singer of Stage Dive, she is not sure whether this is a joke or the best thing that has ever happened to her. Shortly after meeting the grumpy and yet utterly irresistible rocker, however, she fears she might be in more trouble than she ever bargained for.
“Verbally sparring with Jimmy was fast becoming more fun than I’d had with most other men naked.”
Jimmy Ferris’ perfectly groomed appearance might give him an air of poise and self-control, but behind closed doors Jimmy is moody, hot-tempered, hard to live with on the best of days. His poor emotional coping skills have resulted in addictions that cost him dearly and almost made him lose everything he has ever valued in life. Unable to work with any of his past sobriety companions, he is coerced by his bandmates into hiring Lena into that role, knowing all too well that he has met his match. His dynamic with Lena is one of constant bickering, both personally as well as professionally, but when faced with his first meltdown while in his employ, she proves to be the only person he trusts to see his deepest fears and triggers. He lets his defences down with her, showing her the man very few people in his life get to see, and their bond grows.
“Don’t hate me, Lena,” he whispered. “You want to be mad at me when I do dumb things, that’s fine. But don’t ever hate me. I couldn’t take that, not from you.”
As their relationship changes over time and Jimmy begins to depend on her strength in his darkest moments, so does Lena’s growing infatuation with her boss. She falls in love with him silently, reluctantly, fully aware that she should not be feeling that way, but incapable of fighting it. She knows that he would not return those feelings, so she hides them, pines after him secretly and pretends that nothing has changed between them. But when her secret is no longer that and their working arrangement is at risk of ending, the only solution to their predicament is to find ways to make Lena ‘get over’ her crush… even when the only thing that remains to try is to sleep with one another.
“Lena, focus. What was the frown for?”
I stared at his cock, mesmerized. Even incased in rubber it remained a thing of true beauty. Had I any talent with a pen, I’d have written in poems. A haiku perhaps.
I was hypnotized, helpless. Cock-struck.
One of the main strengths of this story is the way the author shaped these characters, subtly but impeccably, and the way she made their differences the very thing that makes them so perfect for each other. She gave us a plus-sized heroine whose physical appearance in no way defines her as a sexual woman or diminishes her fearless personality. And then she gave us a hero who is physically flawless, but a complete mess inside, unable to cope with emotional closeness and harbouring unresolved abandonment issues. Their every interaction is explosive, hilarious, unforgettable. As a couple, they clash at every turn and yet they make complete sense. The dialogues in this story, as in all the previous books in the series, are simply fantastic, carrying Ms Scott’s signature humour in almost every character interaction. They are clever, unforced, and always fresh. I simply couldn’t get enough of them.
I rarely find myself loving and connecting with every layer of a given story, but in this case, I truly adored every last word. This series keeps getting better and better, which is rather scary since it was perfect from the very beginning. An absolute, super enjoyable must-read.
“You okay?” I asked.
“Feeling a little emotional, huh?” I petted his hair. “That’s okay. It was an emotional blow job.”
The man’s mouth kept moving but I’d long since tuned out.
They weren’t paying me enough for this. Impossible. Day two on the job and I was ready to throw myself out a window. The music biz will be fun they said. It’ll be glamorous they said. They lied.
“…is that so hard to understand? Am I getting through to you? An éclair is a long, chocolate frosted donut with custard in the middle. Not this, this…round thing you’ve bought me. AGAIN,” the idiot thundered.
Over at her desk, his P.A. slunk further down in her seat, just in case he decided to make her the next target, no doubt. Fair enough. She probably wasn’t getting paid enough either. Only a masochist would enjoy this for under a hundred bucks an hour.
“Are you listening to me?” Fake tanned flesh turned from orange to a startling shade of burgundy as his anger grew. If he had a heart attack, I wasn’t giving him mouth to mouth. Some other brave soul could make the sacrifice.
“Miss…whatever your name is,” he said. “Go back to the shop and get me what I asked for this time!”
“Morrissey. My name is Lena Morrissey.” I passed him the napkin. “And this is for you.”
“What is it?”
“It’s a message from the duty manager at the donut shop apologizing for the lack of long tasty phallic shaped éclairs. Apparently they don’t get baked until later in the day,” I said. “Since you failed to believe me when I explained this to you yesterday. I thought you might be more inclined to believe it if it came from a higher authority in the donut world.”
The poor perplexed darling looked from me to the napkin and back again.
“His name was Pete. He seemed like a nice guy. Call him if you need further verification. You’ll see I got him to write his number down there at the bottom.” I tried to point to the digits in question but Adrian snatched his hand back, scrunching the napkin into a ball of rubbish. Oh well, I tried.
Laughter burst forth from the corner of his office. A good looking guy with long blond hair grinned at me. Glad blondie was amused. I on the other hand was probably definitely about to get fired.
Wait, was that Mal Ericson from Stage Dive?
F*ck a duck, it was.
So the three other fine looking men must be the rest of the band members. I tried to avert my eyes. But my eyes had other ideas. Famous people. Huh. At least I’d managed to see some up-close before getting my ass canned. They didn’t seem particularly different to us normal human beings. A little prettier, perhaps. Two guys with dark hair and fair faces were huddled together, flicking through some documents. They’d be David and Jimmy Ferris. Brothers. Ben Nicholson, the bass player, and largest of them all was stretched out, hands behind his head, fast asleep. Kudos to him. Not a bad method of getting through a meeting.