Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Look, it’s too early in the morning for your commitment issues.”
Ramsey is a well known and seemingly jaded guitarist with the band Toxsin. His fame, fortune, and rumored sexual prowess has not only made him a legend but also the target of a scorned groupie. When he tosses her aside after a one night stand, she gets her revenge by getting him intoxicated and having an inappropriate tattoo placed in an intimate area. Upon discovery, Ramsey and his band mates happen upon a young tattoo artist who fixes the tattoo and gains not only Ramsey’s gratitude but his interest. In order to explore this chemistry between them, he offers her the job of a lifetime.
Jewel came to Seattle to fulfill her dreams of becoming an artist. Currently working for a master tattooist who uses her skills and talent to make a better name for himself, Ramsey’s offer to tour with the band to increase her exposure is a dream come true. Worried that if she acts on her attraction to him, it may leave her nothing more than another notch in his bedpost, she strives to keep things professional between them. After all, Ramsey is not looking for forever but right now. But Ramsey is hard to resist and his passion for her and her art may be her undoing.
Rock Steady by Dawn Ryder is the second in her erotic romance contemporary series-Rock Band. While I haven’t read book one-Rock Me Two Times-that in no way impeded my understanding of this story or the characters involved. Heavily character driven, the story focuses on the romance between a famous rock star and a struggling artist. A fast read with two determined characters, an interesting storyline, and some very steamy love scenes; I did find myself raising an eyebrow or two at some of the antics of the characters and the direction the storyline took. Frankly, I found I liked our hero and heroine better as individuals than as a couple.
The story starts out well with fairytale overlay. Innocent and down on her luck heroine saves rich sexy hero. He rewards her by taking her away from her dreary poverty tinged life and giving her a shot at obtaining all her dreams. Not bad but not altogether unique either. This feeling changes gradually when you see that Jewel isn’t looking for her prince charming to save her. I liked Jewel for the majority of the book. She is a college graduate who had the courage to strike out on her own. Smart, sexy, talented, and brutally honest, she wants to make it on her own and stands firm in that regard. That means not allowing Ramsey to pay her way or give into any one night stands with him. She sees beyond his rock star persona and wants him to see her the same way-as someone worthy of more than a quick sexual release.
“I’m getting the feeling personal boundaries are something you struggle with.”
Ramsey is written as the anthem for rock stars. Gorgeous, talented, charismatic, and oozing sexuality from his pores. His misdeeds and escapades leave the tabloids with more than enough fodder. This is not to say he isn’t serious about his music because that is one of the few things in life he takes very seriously. He sees Jewel and wants her so he creates a reason to keep her. But as he gets to know her, he realizes that she wants and deserves more from him then a quick ride and so begins his journey into self-awareness and redemption. A rocky journey that is punctuated by his unconscious efforts to sabotage his burgeoning relationship with Jewel. I do applaud Ryder for keeping Ramsey in character. He doesn’t have a singular moment where he becomes instantly tamed. He makes mistakes over and over and over again as he struggles to understand and accept his growing feelings towards Jewel.
“I’m not changing for you.”
“I didn’t ask you to.”
Ryder showcasing the rock star experience through Jewel’s eyes. We see the lavish lifestyle, nosy paparazzi, and nonstop groupies. Jewel finds herself swept up and ill prepared for the crazy non stop accusations, insinuations and lies concerning her and the band. Jewel’s skepticism and low self-esteem come through strong in her narrative. The strengthening chemistry between her and Ramsey only produces more anxiety as Jewel feels herself being sucked deeper into his orbit and fears she is losing pieces of herself. Even with Jewel’s hesitation, the sexual tension is edgy with innuendos, jealous foreplay, and eventually an explosive release.
A plentiful cast of secondary characters insert themselves into the relationship, offering advice and some amusement as they attempt to help push forward a relationship they deem as worthy. From Ramsey’s band mates to his record label producer, everyone has a finger in this pie and make their thoughts known. We are introduced to the antagonist that started it all rather late in the game. A plot device whose characterization predictable-the iconic groupie who places too much value on herself.
I did have some issues. The tattoo plotline took serious liberties and was blatantly manipulative. The romantic aspects were overshadowed by the sex scenes. Their relationship essentially ran on physical attraction. We never see any true romantic gestures. Ramsey especially annoyed me because he kept doing the same things over and over in order to force Jewel to reassure him that she cared enough about him enough to stay. And while Jewel would take him to task over it, she kept excusing and forgiving his behavior.
Rock Steady is a lightweight opposite attraction erotic romance with the classic redemption of the bad boy trope Predictable and formulaic, you won’t become heavily invested, but it will fill a lazy day.