Under the guise of sexy, bantery romances about a band of famous rock stars falling in love, Kristen Callihan continues to deliver breathtaking tales of friendship, acceptance, and family found—both delighting and pushing readers out of their emotional comfort zones—and her latest offering in the VIP series is no exception. It’s the long-awaited story of Rye and Brenna, two thirtyish frenemies and colleagues who’ve spent their entire adult lives working towards making their dreams a reality, but now, while both at the top of their game, the future is staring them in the face, and it’s looking colourless and lonely. A no-strings-attached, sex-only arrangement between them seems like the answer to both their problems . . . until things get very complicated in and out of the bedroom, and two people who’ve spent far too long pretending not to like each other are forced to face their true feelings for one another or continue to live the lie. The playful yet wildly combustible chemistry between the characters alone makes this the kind of book I will want to read over and over again.
“It’s not the daily minutiae of a relationship I crave, but the simple physical connection. I want to be wanted. Craved above all things. Needed with a breathless devotion.”
Rye Peterson and Brenna James have been at odds from the start, the daily roller-coaster of exchanges between the goofy, lovable Kill John bassist and their fierce publicist always treading that fine line between barely tolerating and outright hating one another, but while they have everyone believing that they’d end up killing each other if left unsupervised for too long, deep down, the truth couldn’t be more different. So, when Rye accidentally overhears Brenna confessing her most intimate desires to a friend, the deep longing in her voice for something he finds himself craving more and more lately moves him to want to be the one giving her the kind of sexual pleasure she’s only ever dreamed of. And he is willing to do all it takes to convince her to let him into her bed.
“I’m good, Bren. I’ll do whatever you want, for as long as you want. I’ll make certain you’re taken care of, and I won’t tell a soul.”
With set rules in place, Rye and Brenna begin having the great, elusive, off-the-walls, gotta-have-it sex they’d both been fantasising about, all the while keeping their arrangement a secret so as not to become an even bigger sideshow in their friends’ lives. As they begin to connect on a deeper level both as confidantes as well as lovers, however, their post-coital glow soon becomes impossible to hide from their besties, and nothing about their relationship stays secret or all that casual for very long. And in each other’s arms, they start to change.
“I don’t want us to be stuck in the past. We’re not those people anymore. We’re…new.”
Brenna’s love begins to pierce through the spiralling darkness of uncertainty that has made Rye feel alone and empty in life, stealing more and more of his heart and soul that once used to belong to music alone. And Rye not only makes every sexual fantasy Brenna has ever had come true—he adds colour to her life in places that had taken on a dull shade of grey, making her feel excited about the future again. But while Rye is ready to take all the stolen moments with Brenna and turn them into more, no matter the cost, Brenna has spent her entire adult life with her guard firmly in place and running from anything that threatened to leave her emotionally vulnerable, so letting love in could prove to be the biggest challenge she’s ever faced.
I might never be able to convince her that love isn’t what breaks people apart; it’s what holds them together.
As it’s been the case with every story in this series, the premise might be simple at first, but there’s so much emotional complexity in Callihan’s delivery, vividly rendering her characters and their colourful dynamics, while lovingly approaching their inner lives with tenderness and stellar writing. Make the time to read this book.
“Never be afraid to fly, Bren. Even if it takes you from all you know.”