Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “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,” [...] “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.”
Jimmy Ferris, the gorgeous and unpredictable lead singer for the famous rock band, Stage Dive, is used to the world being handed to him on a silver platter. When his drinking and drug use gets out of hand, the band gives him an ultimatum…get clean and stay clean or he’s out of the band for good. A stint in rehab gets him on the right path but unresolved issues from his past almost guarantee he will backslide unless he has some help.
Enter Lena Morrissey.
Lena has issues of her own but one of them is not taking any crap for a certain overly entitled rock god. Lena has one job and one job only…to keep Jimmy on the straight and narrow. So what if all her girly parts tingle when Jimmy’s around, can she keep things professional?
As Lena and Jimmy spend more time together, the chemistry between them sparks like an out of control wildfire, bringing out the best and worse in both of them. When Lena decides to lay all her cards on the table and tell Jimmy how she really feels, Jimmy reacts badly and shoves Lena right out the door. Now Jimmy will have to bare his heart fully if he wants to get Lena back for good.
I adore Kylie Scott’s uber funny and sexy rockstar romance series-Stage Dive. Though each book focuses on one couple’s romance, the arc is on going and each book picks up where the last one left off. I would start with book one-Lick-to get the full experience.
While Mal is by far my favorite male character in this series, Lena takes the top female spot hands down. Lead is a feisty romantic contemporary that sings with snark and laughter yet holds a deep pocket of vulnerability and fear as a young woman who’s hired to babysit an out of control rock star falls in love with her difficult hero and struggles to try and keep their relationship platonic.
Fate shifting beneath your feet should feel big. For instance, mood lighting and dramatic music would be well within keeping. Instead, I got a cranky cold blue stare from a guy in a sharp suit. [...]The man was beautiful. Devastating in the way that only something so completely out of your reach that it doesn’t even occur to you to try and grasp it can be.
Lena left from home and family after she catches her boyfriend cheating on her with her sister and now they are getting married. She doesn’t want to deal with the drama so she applies for a PA job with Stage Dive’s manager only to discover he makes Courtney Love look sane. In the midst of being fired by him, Mal steps in and convinces Jimmy to hire her as his sobriety companion and assistant.
“You don’t seem very impressed by me, Lena. Am I not impressive to you?”
“Sure you are. I guess I’m just a bit busy getting fired right now to fully appreciate the magnitude of the moment.” Hands on hips, I looked him in the eye. “But, rest assured, later I’m going to freak right out.”
He leaned against the door frame. “I’ve got your word on that?”
“I’m trusting you here.”
“And I appreciate that, Mr Ericson. I won’t let you down.”
He gave me a huge grin. “You’re a bit of a smart ass, Lena. I like that.”
Jimmy, lead singer for the band, hit rock bottom in Lick. He and his brother, David had a hellacious childhood and Jimmy choose to go the self destructive route, causing even more problems between him, his brother, and the band. At the end of Lick, David put Jimmy into rehab in hopes of saving his life. Lead picks up at the funeral of Mal’s mother and Jimmy is clean. Lena has been with Jimmy for a couple of months and is beginning to see he is more than a spoiled over indulged man that the tabloids delight in writing about.
I laughed throughout this entire book. Lena is definitely the star of the show and her internal and external monologues concerning Jimmy, the band, and life in general will keep you in stitches.
“Britney Spears. Give me strength.”
I liked that Lana isn’t damaged or carrying any really heavy baggage. Her situation at home is a problem but not enough to pitch her into a never ending pit of emotional despair. Her strength, determination, and intelligence makes a perfect foil for Jimmy’s capricious nature. She and Jimmy get along fairly well until her crush begins to show itself and Jimmy starts to notice. Lena’s use of humor to diffuse the situation is at a premium as she struggles to keep her feelings in check.
“You are looking at me weird all the time.”
“No, I’m sorting your email. A different thing entirely.”
“Oh, look. Lingerie Girl has sent you another picture. A demi-bra this time. Hot pink with tassels. I think the tassels are a nice touch. She’s even attached a video of her making them swing. So thoughtful.”
“But what if she says something important?”
“She’s a complete stranger sending me pictures of herself nearly naked dancing and bending over furniture.”
“Yes, today we have a washing machine. Very sexy in a domestic erotica sort of way. A powerful statement about feminism, I think. This woman is deep.”
Jimmy is a trainwreck for much of the book. Though a virtual succubus on stage, once the lights go out, he becomes a rude and crude prima donna. His dysfunctional childhood and on going issues with his mother keeps him emotionally cut off from everyone. A mercurial man who despite his every attempt to chase you away, gradually reveals a softer side that wants what his brother and friends have but feels he doesn’t deserve. You eventually begin to see the many layers of Jimmy and the reasons Lena has fallen hard for him.
“The thing is, you’re never going to have much of a life being at my beck and call. You’re better off away from me, and I know that, and still I don’t care. That, Lena, is who I am.”
The romance is very slow to develop. Even though Lena readily admits to her deepening attraction to Jimmy early on, she never allows that to interfere with her job. She genuinely wants Jimmy to succeed in his sobriety. Scott gives Lena and Jimmy ample time to get to know one another on a personal level; first establishing a firm friendship before pushing beyond the boundaries and introducing the added intimacy of sex. The chemistry is outstanding, even when in it’s early stages. Sexual tension pulsates through the book as Jimmy struggles to keep Lena confined to the box he has placed her in. Jimmy’s answer to Lena’s crush in the beginning is to push her towards other men. Great in theory…terrible in reality. Jealousy rears it’s ugly head more than once much to readers delight.
Old friends join the fray to offer advice, laughter, and run interference between our lovers. The push and pull between Lena and Jimmy sizzles with taunt hostility and the band, especially Mal, offer comedic interventions to offset the drama that seems to naturally generate between these two.
He held the pup in front of his face. “Killer, tell daddy where the bad people touched you.”
I absolutely adore this series and have found that each installment only serves to further cement my love for this band and Ms. Scott’s writing. A small contention with this story is I would have liked to have heard more from Jimmy. He was naturally reluctant to share emotionally so I felt at times that just relying on Lena’s POV didn’t always translate Jimmy’s feelings or the reasons behind some of his actions well for the reader. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed Lead and I can’t wait to read Ben’s journey to true love. I expect that will be a wild, wild ride; especially if he falls for who I think he will.