Donna Reads: Rock Wedding (Rock Kiss Book 4) by Nailini Singh

Abe Bellamy is the keyboard player for the rock band Schoolboy Choir. Sarah is his ex-wife. Abe met Sarah when she was 21, alone and lonely. Instantly attracted to one another, they fell into a relationship and married when Sarah ended up pregnant. Their time together is brief and full of pain. Abe is addicted to drugs and alcohol and recovering from a family tragedy. Sarah tries to help him, but he won’t let anyone get close. Sarah miscarries, and Abe continues to push her away and self-medicate to escape his pain. After a bitter and angry divorce, they go their separate ways. In their time apart, Sarah has a relationship with someone else and gives birth to a stillborn child, another terrific loss and tragedy for her. Abe has finally overcome his demons and gotten clean. Sarah is strong, and independent, and a successful businesswoman. When Abe and Sarah are thrown together once again, Abe wants a second chance. Sarah is afraid to let him back in.

I had a hard time getting in to this last installment in the Rock Kiss series. I didn’t connect as easily with Abe. He wasn’t as sympathetic a character to me. I also was loath to read the last book in the series since I’d enjoyed the series so much. I liked Sarah, but after hearing her whole story, I had difficulty believing that someone could survive as much as she had and still be sane and fully functioning. Sarah’s past life was pure hell, and after how Abe had treated her in their brief time together, it made me dislike him more. I did enjoy the wedding aspect of this book. I thought it referred to Molly and Fox’s wedding at the start of the story, but the title actually referred to the fact that all four band members got married over the course of this book. All their weddings were unique and beautiful in their uniqueness. The four heroines and four heroes pledging their lifelong love and commitment made this book worth the read.

Donna Reads: Rock Redemption (Rock Kiss, #3) by Nailini Singh

redemptionThe Blurb: Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart. Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation. When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting—needing—to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

This is the book in the Rock Kiss series that I most wanted to read. Noah St. John has his demons, and in the first books in the series he’s referred to as troubled and broken beyond repair. Kit Devigny has always been Noah’s friend, and at one point they were moving towards something much more. Noah panicked and shoved Kit back hard; in fact, he broke her heart, and devastated, Kit walked away. The story opens with Noah at rock bottom and about to do something really stupid. At his darkest hour, he calls Kit.

Kit is an about-to-be A-list actress, having worked her way up from soap star. She met the band of rock stars when they were also just starting out. She loves Noah and always had until the night he destroyed what they were building. When he calls her drunk out of his mind, she senses that something isn’t right. She can’t just hang up or give up on him.

Kit was an exceptionally strong character. She loved Noah despite the multiple times he hurt her. She also has a stalker who’s been making her life a living hell. When she agrees to accompany Noah to a gala event hosted by his Aunt, she gets a further glimpse into the privileged but cold world where Noah was raised. As a result of the endless paparazzi photographs taken at the gala, it’s assumed that Kit and Noah are hiding a secret romance. To help Kit’s media presence, Noah agrees to play her fake boyfriend. Underneath it all, Noah has true feelings for Kit. He just doesn’t know how to act on them, believing himself to be incapable of loving her the way she deserves to be loved.

Yes, this book doesn’t have any serious romance until maybe the last 20%, but I turned page after page to get to the reason behind why Noah is the way he is. With the glimpses of what Noah and Kit could be if Kit could help him unravel the nightmare from his past, I read on. I did guess what the horror from Noah’s past was, and while I didn’t agree with how Noah handled his demons, I understood better why.

Donna Reads: Rock Hard (Rock Kiss #2) by Nalini Singh

rockhardThe Blurb: Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

This is the second (third if you count the novella) book in the Rock Kiss series by Nalini Singh. When I read the first book in the series (Rock Addiction) and got to know Molly and her best friend, Charlotte, I found myself more drawn to Charlotte’s character than I ever was to Molly. I really wanted to read Charlie’s story. She was the more interesting character. She was funny and sweet, and it was obvious from the start that Charlie had serious issues of some sort. She’s shy, she’s timid, and while she’s always cheering Molly on to try more and reach for more, she’ll never do that for herself. She’s too damaged.

Gabriel Bishop is an ex-rugby player whose career was cut short by an injury. He’s ruthless as a businessman, brought in to save struggling businesses, he’s smart, he’s dedicated, and he cleans house. Charlie spends the first part of the book terrified of him and worried that she’ll be losing her job, too. Gabriel quickly sees that the timid mouse who works in records is the one who’s doing most of the work that his personal assistant is supposed to be doing. When his PA is his next victim, he promotes Charlie to that position. Charlotte intrigues him. She’s talented, she’s highly intelligent, and she’s as dedicated as he is, staying late hours to work just as hard as he does, but she’s terrified of him.

I loved Gabriel. He is one of the most patient heroes ever. He constantly pokes at his Ms. Baird, finding that stirring her to snap at him in anger gets her past her paralyzing fear and shyness. Molly, always on the phone with Charlotte, is pushing her to stand up to him. Molly has realized that Charlie likes Gabriel and not just as a boss. She tells Charlie to be brave and to live her life. Her support and encouragement and Gabriel’s strength and persistence convince Charlie to open up.

I knew that what had happened to Charlotte was bad, but reading it was heartbreaking as she was telling Gabriel everything. She’s been through hell, and her fear is understandable. It breaks her own heart that she has flashbacks and panic attacks. Gabriel remains steadfast in his determination to get her past the horrors. He is one of my favorite romance book heroes. He has demons from his past that still haunt him and make him the driven man that he is today. Along the way, Charlotte helps him to grow, too. Despite the horrors of her past, their love story was sweet and wonderful to read.

I highly recommend this one.

Donna Reads: Rock Courtship (a Rock Kiss novella) by Nalini Singh

The Blurb: What happens when the Gentleman of Rock decides to play dirty? A drummer for the hottest rock band on the planet, David has a single, powerful weakness: Thea, the band’s publicist and the woman who steals his breath away with her every move. Only problem is, Thea doesn’t date clients—or musicians. Emotionally scarred by a cheating ex, she’s not about to risk her heart with a man who has groupies buzzing around him like flies. Even if his sexy smile ties her up in knots. What she doesn’t know is that David is a one-woman man…and he’s madly in love with her. David’s determined to prove he’s worth the risk, and willing to court her, step by exquisite step. Thea’s about to discover just how long and hard this handsome drummer can play.

I loved David’s and Thea’s story. Although it’s a novella, it was so well told it felt like a full length novel. I wish it had been. David is known as the Gentleman of Rock. He’s the drummer for the rock band, Schoolboy Choir, and he’s been in love with the band’s publicist, Thea, forever. Thea is just out of a long term relationship where she was deeply hurt by her ex’s cheating. David has been a good and true friend throughout it all. Can David teach Thea how to love again? I enjoyed this and liked both main characters a lot.