Play by Kylie Scott
Series: Stage Dive #2
Also in this series: Lick: Stage Dive 1, Lead: Stage Dive 3, Lick: Stage Dive 1, Deep
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: March 25th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Erotica, New Adult, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary, Coming of Age
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Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller Lick.
Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast-at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn't plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn't count on finding the one right girl.
Anne Rollins never thought she'd ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls-especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn't end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?
Anne’s roommate bailed on her without paying back the money she owed for back rent and she’s pretty much going to be evicted any day. Since she’s trying to help her sister through college, there isn’t a lot of extra for her anyway, but she’s never been this bad off. Especially since her roomie took most of the furniture when she left.
When she meets Mal at a party, she’s stunned..and a little starstruck. The Malcolm Ericson? The man she’s fantasized about pretty much forever? It’s a dream come true. Except the part where he overhears her sharing all her woes with her boss and friend. Reece. She wants to die of mortification, especially when Mal calls her out on being a pushover and decides he’s going to fix things for her by moving in.
“You’re moving in with me?” I asked, interrupting all the male bravado and talk of money. I wasn’t even touching upon my supposed friend issues.
“Yes, pumpkin,” said Mal, his face deadly serious. “I am moving in with you.”
I cringed at the horrid nickname but chose to focus on the real concern for now. “When did we talk about this exactly?”
“Actually, you might have left by then.”
She thinks he’s joking until she comes home from work the next day to find he’s actually moved in.
What the hell was happening here?
“You moved in with me somehow.” There could be no other reason for an entire drum kit appearing in the corner, let alone all the other stuff. The Twilight Zone had officially been entered. “You … huh. How about that.”
The plan is simple. In exchange for playing his girlfriend for a short period of time – for reasons he refuses to specify – he’s paid her rent and bought her a couch. Since she needed the money – and the couch- and sees no harm in the charade, she agrees. What neither expected was how close they would become. Or how hard it would be to keep pretending to be together when they both wanted it to be real.
I think this was my favorite book of the series, but I’m not sure. It might tie with Lead. I’ll have to think about it.
I loved Mal in the first book and couldn’t wait to get to his story. He’s manic, quirky, and surprisingly sensitive. I loved how funny he was, but more, I loved how insightful.
“You know, you can be kind of intense sometimes, Malcolm Ericson.”
His watched me in silence.
“You come across as this happy-go-lucky-type dude most of the time, but you are in fact a man of many layers. You’re kind of complicated.”
“Yes. And no.”
He made jokes a lot, but he paid close attention to those around him. He wasn’t afraid to call things as he saw them, though the loud, often embarrassing way he did it left something to be desired. Still, I can’t deny his antics cracked me up.
“Your cheeks have gone all rosy. Are you thinking rude thoughts about me, Anne?”
“Liar,” he taunted in a soft voice. “You’re totally thinking of me with no pants on.”
I totally was.
“That’s just gross, dude. A massive invasion of my privacy.” He leaned in closer, his breath warming my ear. “Whatever you’re imagining, it’s bigger.”
“I’m not imagining anything.”
“I’m serious. It’s basically a monster. I cannot control it.”
“You’re pretty much going to need a whip and chair to tame it, Anne.”
“That okay with you?”
Anne frustrated me in the beginning. She seemed like such a pushover. She let her friends walk all over her and loved her manwhore boss from afar. Then Mal called her on it and she started to come into her own. Just when I’d think she was a total doormat she’d open her mouth and I’d gain new respect for her. Some of her zingers toward Mal were hilarious. I love that she gave as good as she got with him.
“You, Miss Rollins, are a doormat.”
“I am not a doormat,” I growled, everything in me rebelling at the idea. Either that or running in fear of it. I was so worked up it was hard to tell.
He rolled his eyes. “C’mon, you know you are. It’s right there on your face.”
I shook my head, beyond words.
“So, I’ve given this absolutely no thought and decided that you need boundaries, Anne. Boundaries. Are. Your. Friends.” Each word was punctuated with his finger tapping the tip of my nose. “Do you hear me? Is this getting through?”
Which is about when I snapped and started screaming. “You want boundaries? How about getting the hell out of my face! How’s that for a boundary, huh? None of this is any of your damn business, you obnoxious dickhead.”
Because Anne institutes a no-touch rule early on, they come to be good friends without sex getting in the way. Anne sees past Mal’s bright exterior to the man beneath and he helps shore up her self-confidence. They had problems, like Anne’s unrequited crush on her boss and Mal’s refusal to share his secrets with her, but underneath it all I thought they had a solid friendship.
There were some emotional scenes. The reason Mal needed a pretend girlfriend was pretty heavy, and so was Anne’s past with her mother. Though the overall tone was light, there was a surprising amount of depth.
I laughed. I cried. I got angry. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This was definitely a great way to spend a few hours.
“Life’s a song, Anne. Let’s play.”
4.25 out of 5
This book is available from St. Martin’s Griffin. You can buy it here or here in e-format. Or in audiobook from Macmillan Audio here. Listen to an excerpt: