Reviewed by Sheena
Favorite Quote: “I have a proposition for you.” All kinds of dirty thoughts ran through her mind—the first being if she locked the office door, could they be quiet enough not to alert Daisy to what they were doing? “A proposition?” she asked in a sultry voice… “Baby, if I thought we could be quiet about it, I’d be propositioning you all over that desk.”
A spin-off from my beloved Shaughnessy Brothers series, featuring brother Riley’s band-mates, oh yes please! I am such a fan of Samantha Chase’s style that I snapped this up with only a cursory glance at the blurb. It’s Samantha Chase, I knew it would be all things yummy sensual tension, enjoyable and without the contrived melodrama that sometimes plagues contemporary romance. And I was mostly right. The tension was delicious and the plot was intensely character focused. What I didn’t count on was just how slow-moving and…dragging it would be at times.
Ambitious Paige Walters is ecstatic when she’s hired to recruit musicians for a literacy campaign—it’s her chance to prove she’s got the chops to make it in the family business. She certainly isn’t going to let some fallen idol screw it up. But as the work brings Paige and Dylan closer together, their attraction grows…and so do their challenges…
Paige was an interesting heroine. Likable, though I found her to be stubborn and judgmental in a way that was not flattering, though goodness knows she earned the right to be a little obstinate given her upbringing and deeply seated sibling rivalry and daddy issues. Paige is an executive in her families PR firm and is finally ready to step out from the heavy and long reaching shadows of her manipulative sister, Arial and controlling father and she has just the project to propel her to the respect and recognition she craves. Paige is championing a literacy awareness program that she cultivated from its inception, hand picking the distinguished authors to serve as spokespeople to champion the importance of childhood and adult literacy. She is in her element as things go according to plan until her nemesis sister throws a monkey wrench into the mix, tossing Paige’s carefully curated spokesperson list and replacing it with a who’s who of celebrity stars, simultaneously rising the literacy campaign’s star power and Paige’s ire.
Dylan is everything Paige wasn’t looking for in a campaign spokesperson. Recently discharged from a stint in rehab, on the surface, the bass playing fallen rock star is anything but a poster child for a positive role model. Paige is immediately put off from the idea of using him for the campaign and can’t help show her own bias regarding the many assumptions she makes about him upon learning he is favorite to join the campaign.
“…I’m a musician. Your daughter Ariel reached out to me about the campaign and I came by today to talk to Paige about my participation.”
“Nothing’s confirmed yet,” Paige interrupted, shooting him a warning glare. “I’m still not convinced that Ariel’s suggestion is how I want to go.”
Robert studied Dylan for a moment and then turned to his daughter. “…Getting members of various arts could extend our reach with the campaign, Paige. It’s not an uncommon approach, and it’s proven to be successful in the past. I know you wanted this to be your baby, but that shouldn’t mean you automatically disqualify suggestions just because they’re not your own.”
For a minute, Dylan felt bad for her—she was getting reprimanded by her father right in front of him. That had to be embarrassing…
“Paige,” her father began sternly, “it’s not like you to be so judgmental. Personal feelings should not play into what’s going to help your cause. I think you’d be doing the campaign a disservice if you eliminate willing volunteers based on your own bias.” He paused. “You should reconsider.”
Her cheeks turned a light shade of crimson as she studied the pavement. “It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.”
One of the main running themes of the story was learning to look beyond the exterior and having an open mind when confronted with personalities or circumstances that challenge preconceived notions. Paige often allowed her bias to cloud her better judgement in matters of both the heart and her work on the literacy campaign. It was evident that her sister was keen on upstaging and sabotaging Paige at every turn, however, Paige allowed herself to be walked over time and time again by her father and sister, so much so that in her desire to be taken seriously, she overshoots her wilfulness and as a result, she winds up looking the part of the one in the wrong for passing on ideas and strategies that are legitimately superior and a better fit for the campaign.
Aside from the issues plaguing the campaign, the meat of One More Promise is the romance between Dylan and Paige. Both with their own emotional baggage, supported one another in very authentic and genuine ways. Dylan is living live, one day at a time and adjusting to his sobriety. Each day sans alcohol is a struggle and he is determined to make good on his second chance, eager to throw himself into the literacy campaign. Working with Paige on the project brought out the best in Dylan, allowing him to be redeemed in ways he hadn’t expected. His relationship with Paige growing from a friendship to lovers was essentially the extent of the plot. The danger of having such finely character focused material is that there isn’t anything to break up the monotony. I felt this keenly in One More Promise. Yes, Dylan and Paige had to learn to trust one another, and from that trust grew a lovely friendship and camaraderie that later blossomed into an attraction they could not ignore. Unfortunately, with so much attention on the two of them, with little outside influence, my eyes hazed over more than a few times under the strain of waiting for something, anything to actually happen. And by the time something did happen, they story was practically over and I was nearly weary waiting for it to end already.
One More Promise is perfectly sweet and perfectly romantic. What it wasn’t was terribly interesting, and paired with the lack of heat I am used to from Chase, this novel played it way too safe. I love Chase novels for their dynamic characters, engaging plots and sensual tension so well done that I don’t even care that the stories aren’t dripping in sexy times. This one felt heavy and weighed down, a needed relief, more levity was sorely missed. I appreciated the journey, but wish there were a little more spark along the way.
I don’t know if it was the subject matter (recovering alcoholism, familial strife) or the extremely mild conflict, but something left me stifling yawns and with a case of the meh’s. I suspect this severely character driven style sets the new tone for what we can expect from this spin off. In which case, I hope that future installments pick up the pace. Mainly because, there was one band member, Julian, whose back story seemed quite compelling, so if book 3 due out this fall, One More Moment, is his story, I’m certain I’ll check it out.
If you like a low (low) drama, character centered plot and don’t mind a more mundane romance- grab your coffee (5 hour energy shots- whatever works) and check out One More Promise.