Lead: Stage Dive 3 by Kylie Scott
Series: Stage Dive #3
Also in this series: Lick: Stage Dive 1, Lick (Stage Dive #1), Play, Deep, Lick
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
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Stay up all night with the sexy rockers in Stage Dive, the epic rock star romance series from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, author of Lick and Play.
Lena is the only thing holding Jimmy back from total annihilation. But who will save her from him?
Lena Morrissey has had some lousy jobs in her time, but none of them compare to being the personal assistant to one of the rock world's biggest - and most egotistical - stars. As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to having whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. But after a PR disaster landed him in rehab, it's Lena's job to keep him on the straight and narrow.
Lena's not willing to take any crap from the sexy rocker and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry.
But in the end, Jimmy always gets his way...
Jimmy spent most of his career as the lead singer of Stage Dive either drunk or high. Hell, he started long before the band did. After a meltdown that landed him in rehab, he’s determined to stay clean. To that end, the record label hired a “sobriety companion” for him. Someone who stays with him 24/7 to make sure he isn’t tempted to use again. 6 months and 4 companions later, he hasn’t managed to scare off Lena. Lena took the job with Jimmy because the money was good and it seemed like a challenge.
Things are fine until Mal’s (the band’s drummer) mother passes away and Jimmy is asked to speak at the funeral. He doesn’t think he can do it and Lena ends up lending him emotional support in a way she never has before. They often bicker, but they never touch or open up to each other on a personal level. Jimmy’s breakdown before the funeral, the way he clings to her during and his upset when his mother shows up after, break down barriers she didn’t even realize had been erected. Once those barriers come down, Lena finds herself becoming more and more attached to Jimmy.
When she realizes her professional feelings for him are long gone, she knows she needs to find new employment. There’s no way she can continue to work for him. Too bad Jimmy won’t let Lena leave. She’s gutsy, determined and refuses to take any of his crap. She’s also surprisingly supportive and easy to spend time with. If Jimmy wasn’t so sure he was a complete loser who doesn’t deserve happiness, he just might want to keep her as his own. As it is, he’s determined to keep her as his companion. When she says she plans to quit, he has to pull out all the stops to get her stay. He may not want to admit it, but he can’t let her go.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jimmy. He wasn’t shown in the most flattering light (cough understatement cough) in the previous books. He’s jaded, angry and has no scruples. He slept with his brother’s girlfriend, trashed hotel rooms and compromised the band. I didn’t think he could come back from that. He ended up surprising me. He wasn’t a different or changed man in this book. He didn’t suddenly touch, talk or open up. He’s bitter and often makes snide remarks. He keeps his emotions fully contained. Seeing him open up to Lena changed my perspective of him and softened him for me. I wanted to wrap him in bubble wrap and carry him around in my pocket.
“I lied. I cheated. I stole. I destroyed everything that meant anything to me and hurt everyone around me. I blacked out constantly, ODed twice, nearly died. What do you think that did to them … to the guys? Visiting me in the hospital, seeing me like that?” He looked everywhere but at me. A cold wind blew between us. “That’s the truth, that’s who I am. Don’t make excuses for me. I’m still the same moody selfish fuck I ever was, sober or not.”
It was good Scott didn’t gloss over his addiction or make it something that was magically better. It was a large part of the story because it was a large part of his life, but it didn’t consume the story. It was just something that had to be dealt with. I was surprised Lena admitted right out how she felt about Jimmy and her reasons for wanting to quit. It was kind of refreshing that it wasn’t a big secret. It was also frustrating at times, since I felt like she was humiliated on occasion, because she was open and honest about her feelings while Jimmy wasn’t. Still, I really loved her. She supported and championed Jimmy, but didn’t take any crap from him while doing it. She saw him for what he was and called him out when he needed it.
“Throw one more thing, Jimmy, and I’ll shove my three-inch heel so far up your ass you’ll need a surgical team to extract it.” I glared up at him from behind my dark bangs. “Is that understood?” He scowled.
Jimmy’s determination to make her date other men so she’d fall in love with someone else was hilarious. Especially since he just ended up going with her to make sure everything went well.
“Where you taking her, Ben?”
Mouth open, the bass player gave it some thought. “Ah, how about the sport’s bar? Allen’s?”
“She doesn’t like sports and don’t be cheap. This is Lena, you gotta take her somewhere good. Relaxed, but good. Mood’s important.”
Sweet baby Jesus. I sank lower in my seat. “Thank you for your concern, Jimmy. But Ben and I can discuss this later. In private.”
“It’s all right. Let me think.” Ben scratched at his short beard. “How about the Japanese place we go to sometimes?”
“No,” said Jimmy. “Not quite right.”
“Well, where would you suggest?” asked Ben, amusement lighting his eyes.
“Why don’t I book you a table at a place I know downtown?”
“Done,” said Ben. “Thanks, Jim. Lena, I’m looking forward to our date on Saturday. Pick you up at eight.”
The entire book was surprisingly funny, considering how dark Jimmy was. Lena really lightened him up.
So what have you been thinking about?”
“Your feelings,” he deadpanned, looking up from the magazine.
I took a breath. “Jimmy, I’m impressed. You almost managed to say it in a normal voice this time.”
“I practiced downstairs for a while.”
The progression of their relationship from employee/employer to friends to more was well done. I also really liked how Jimmy’s relationship with his brother, David, the lead guitarist for the band, progressed as well. There was some anger and resentment between them, but they hashed it out over the course of the novel and repaired their relationship. Overall this was a great read. Despite my hesitation in the beginning, I fell right into the book and stayed up all night to finish it.
4 out of 5