Can a love built on secrets survive?
Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs…and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn’t need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.
But Dred has other ideas. Pixie’s sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.
I’ll start by mentioning that I haven’t read the first two books in this series, and it was a great read in its own right. It completely stands alone and it isn’t essential to have read the other stories first because this author is fantastic at building each character’s profile one step at a time. A lot of times, I find books of a similar nature are on the short side and have a tendency to rush characterization. Not this book. Not this author. Scarlett took her time presenting and molding her characters and the book is such a good read because of it.
Both Dred and Pixie are complex characters with plenty of skeletons in the closet. I adored reading their love story. Especially, how they gradually grew closer to one another, and starting opening up and sharing their demons and the details of their past. By the end they were a very solid union with a promising future.
Family features quite heavily as a theme in this book, and how the notion of family can come in many guises. Pixie’s own family let her down and she has a surrogate family in the guys from Second Circle. They were so protective of her and it was lovely!
Dred’s own situation is far from ideal either and he still bears the scars from his dysfunctional childhood. His band members are his family and they all looked out for one another. Dred is a hard-core rocker with a hidden inner sweetness that comes to the fore when Petal enters the scene. Gosh, those scenes were so emotional, so beautiful! Imagine a badass tattooed rocker swooning over a baby, and more than that, doing everything in his power to ensure that baby has the best start in life and the prospect of a happy, healthy future. And it wasn’t just him – his bandmate brothers were equally as protective and caring – and I LOVED that aspect of this story. It really tugged on my heartstrings.
I did think the plot was quite predictable in parts and it’s not difficult to figure out who the antagonists are and what they are up to. It’s all building toward a confrontation at the end that felt a little rushed to me, and lacked punch as a result.
I also thought that Pixie’s sexual transformation was a little too quick for a girl with so much baggage.
The writing and pacing were great and I really enjoyed the worldbuilding. Love rocker romances and this one had the balance right between all key components.
Overall, this was a really great read and I look forward to reading more in the series in the future.
Thanks to the publisher and publicist for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Pyrotechnics went off all the way around the stage as the crowd screamed and cheered. He hugged each of the guys, then ran off the stage to pull Pixie from Harper and Drea. The break between the end of the act and the encore was approximately four minutes, and he had plans to use them wisely.
Pixie looked at him, her eyes wide in shock as he grabbed her hand.
“Quick,” he said to her, tugging her down the stage steps. There was no way he could make it back to his dressing room in time, so he hurried them along the black curtain that surrounded the stage into a darkened corner. He pushed her gently against the wall, trapping her in his arms.
“Watching you watch me, Pix . . . drove me crazy. You going to let me kiss you?” he begged. “Please.”
Pixie looked at him and put a hand against his cheek. “Yes.”
He slid both hands into her hair and pressed his mouth against hers. Energized from the performance, Dred struggled to rein in the need to kiss her fiercely. When he heard her groan, felt her lift up on her toes to loop her arms around his neck, he was done for. She was more than he’d dreamed of, and he’d dreamed a hell of a fucking lot. And yet none of his half-asleep fantasies could match the emotions currently blazing through him. Her tongue tentatively brushed against his so gently it was almost innocent. Well, as innocent as it could be when what he really wanted to do was take her against this black curtain.
It was fucking heaven.
He slid his hands down her body. Pixie giggled when he gripped her waist to pull her close. Ticklish. He’d have to remember that.
Not that he wanted to, but he needed to get back onstage. Fucking encore. He kissed her one more time, tasted the whiskey he’d given her earlier. The telltale thump of Lennon’s bass drum started to sound. He pulled back, willing his hard-on to take it down a notch before he got back onstage.
“That was quite the kiss,” Pixie said shyly.
He took her hand and led her back to the stage, positioning her right where she had been. It was impossible to resist kissing her again, and he grinned when Trent raised an eyebrow in his direction.
“Agreed. As beginnings go, Pix, it was pretty fucking epic,” he said with a wink, and walked back onto the stage to face the screaming fans.
About the Author:
Scarlett Cole is a writer of contemporary romance and a two-time RITA finalist. Her debut, THE STRONGEST STEEL, has already become an Amazon best seller in romantic suspense, was a Best Debut Goodreads Author Finalist 2015, and Authors On The Air Global Radio Network Contemporary Romance Pick of 2015.
When Scarlett isn’t writing, she spends her time reading, hoarding mason jars, and working out to off-set an epic sour candy habit. She likes hot men, cold beer, and expensive shoes.
Having travelled the world for work and fun, Scarlett is a citizen of both Britain and Canada. A true city-dweller, she considers Toronto and Manchester home and likes to set her books in vibrant locations such as Miami and Los Angeles.
Rep’d by Beth Phelan at The Bent Agency, and published by St. Martin’s Press.
She’d love to hear from you on twitter @itsscarlettcole
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