Dirty Like Seth by Jaine Diamond
Fresh on the heels of the naughty novella that was A Dirty Wedding Night, Dirty like Seth features fractured band mates Elle Delacroix and Seth Brothers fighting for the right to live their lives on their terms, though both nearly succumb to their own selves and selfishness. The white-hot lights of fame took Seth under and on his way to rock bottom he developed a drug addiction and near death overdose. Ousted from the band he loved when his brothers couldn’t abide his self-destruction, he clawed his way back to sobriety. Seth has next to nothing to offer and when he reunites with the band, he is blindsided by the chemistry that strikes him when he’s one on one with Elle. Speaking of chemistry, WTF- a girl can’t catch a break. Sure, she knew it wasn’t true love but a public break-up with boyfriend & band mate Jesse was hard enough without having to see him fall head over heels in love and married to another woman right under her nose-dammit, flag on the freaking play! Too soon! Rich, beautiful, famous and the world at her fingertips, Elle is stuck in place and mad as hell. However, events that transpired after Jesse’s wedding, make for a total paradigm shift and Elle is ready to shed her depressed cloak and indulge in all life has to offer.
Victims of one destructive self or another (pick one, self-loathing, self-pity, self- sabotage, etc), Seth and Elle have some serious work to do before they are ready for love, but carpe-freaking-diem, balls to the wall is the only way to do rock star love and these two were electric together. I know I’m not supposed to care, but a part of me was a little eyebrow-raisey at Elle’s…band-mate hopping, but as I read her story, I could appreciate how the author was skilled in her narratives that I never felt like Elle had gone the way of the cliche’ female band member. Each of her interactions felt really authentic and significant and there was so much good context that it barely left any room to get judgey.
Besides, Seth was such a strong hero, he sucked all the air out of the sails of any man that came before him in Elle’s life. I had a positive response to his owning his bullsh*t, scarred by a rough childhood and young adult substance abuse, Seth was determined to show rather than try to tell his old friends how he’s changed. Annnd, the band embraced him- yeaaah. Not so much. His initial drop back into their lives was not successful, and he had no one really in his corner, but Elle, and since she was already on her own quest to do whatever the hell she felt, felt good. She extended her hand (and later er heart!!! squee, squee, squee!) to Seth just when they both needed it most.
The Dirty series novels can stand alone, but why have peanut butter without jelly, experiencing them as a collective is ideal, but if you want to get your feet wet with Dirty Like Seth, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. As far as angsty, sexy and guilty pleasure contemporary romance goes, this series is solid.
Fight for You by Nina Crespo
Fans of second chance romance, gather, lend me your ears! I first read Nina Crespo a few years back when I came across, Naughty Little Wishes book two of her Birthday Wishes series and I knew, I knew I’d found something special. When Fight For You popped up on my radar I was more than ready to dive back into one of Crespo’s worlds. This time, I was rewarded with Aiden Kingman and his uphill battle to win (back) the heart of the woman he callously (her perception though he did it begrudgingly, but still) betrayed her and left her and her father nearly destitute. His hidden ill intentions and sneaky shark-like business dealings cost Delanie much and she never forgave him, vowed to keep him firmly in the enemy zone. Only like life’s worst (and sexiest) boomerang, Aiden is back and she needs to face him in negotiations again, like she needs a hole in the head, yet here they are. Adversaries in and out of the bedroo- boardroom. Definitely boardroom, because Delanie wouldn’t give the double talking, shady dealing Aiden a second chance to what- bankrupt her this time? The last thing Aiden wants to do is break her heart and disappoint her again, but he’s all in this time, and a family tragedy is the catalyst for their coming together within and outside of their business ventures. Aiden is an alpha with a heart of gold. Makes crappy decisions to please his crappy megalomaniac dad he was stuck between a rock and a hard place for much of his life. His missteps and dishonesty, though were business and not his true heart, affected Delanie to her core and their HEA was hard-won.
Like cure incessant groveling and 10001 actions to prove you can trust the damn man already, kind of hard.
I am not a huge fan of groveling, I mean I like a nice grovel, especially if prior douchey deeds demands it, but, after a while, it is overkill and I can’t help but become irritated when the heroine or hero (depends on who the groveler/grovelee sitch), won’t respond favorably to reasonable overtures designed to earn trust. Delanie definitely fed Aiden with a looong handled spoon a little longer than I preferred, but he hung in there and earned her trust. But with any good character motivations, it is slowly revealed that Delanie wasn’t only deeply affected by the fall out with Aiden years prior, but her subsequent relationship where she took more than she gave and refused to allow a little grace and patience into her heart. I could appreciate that the novel wasn’t all about “big-bad- Aiden -is- back with-his -big -cock -and- sorry- for- dicking- Delanie-and-her-family- over- the- first- time.” There was also room for growth for what could have been a very “Delanie-is -the- perpetual- victim” narrative. Both hero and heroine had work to do, did the work and though a little emotionally bruised at the end, they make it together. Such a satisfying romance, if a little heavier than the usual contemporary fun fluff.
I love character depth!
Fight For You is the second book in the series, but stands alone. But it won’t for long, because I am totally reading all of Nina Crespo’s words!