I’m always on the lookout for romances with disabled protagonists, and drummers have long been my favourite band members for rock star romances. So this novel should have been right up my street, in spite of being the second in a series that I hadn’t previously encountered. Throw in a mystery subplot and a pair of protagonists hiding a bunch of secrets from everyone, including their nearest and dearest, and there’s even more reasons that I should have loved this book.
Actress Juliet St. Clare has moved on from being a child star to being voted this year’s Sexiest Woman Alive, although her ever increasing fame has brought with it some very scary so-called fans. After a particularly harrowing experience with a stalker, she’s considered giving in and returning to a more normal life, but her family need her income: her younger sister was diagnosed with a progressive and debilitating illness at an early age, and her step-father is now showing signs that he too is affected. Fortunately, Juliet’s personal assistant is able to stand in for her when the public attention becomes too much, and Juliet has mostly kept her personal life away from the limelight since her stalker was convicted.
By contrast, Felix Donovan used to relish being in the public eye as the drummer of a successful rock band. Paralysed following an accident at a party, he’s been hiding the extent of his injuries from everyone except his bandmates, and is determined to keep things that way: even to the extent of forbidding all those involved in his Sexiest Man Alive photo shoot from revealing any details that might give the game away.
At the shoot, Felix and Juliet rapidly develop a rapport, thanks in no small part to Juliet’s refusal to treat Felix any differently from an able-bodied man, other than to suggest poses that will work well for both of them. The pair start hanging out together, and a romance begins to blossom. However, it seems that Juliet has a stalker once again, and Felix’s reluctance to be seen in public also takes its toll on where they can go together.
While I could sympathise to some extent with Felix’s issues, I did feel that he laid the angst on a little too much. Other musicians – other drummers, even – have found fame, or returned to the stage, with equally taxing disabilities, and his determination to hide his use of a wheelchair wasn’t exactly a positive character trait. Juliet, meanwhile, felt a little bland to me, and also a little too trusting of the people in her immediate circle, even as it became apparent that this time her stalker couldn’t be just anyone.
Not a total failure of a book, but not one that encourages me to read more from the author either.
Juliet St. Clair has spent her life under Hollywood’s spotlight. While being America’s favorite girl next door has had its perks, having to testify against her stalker to put him behind bars certainly wasn’t one of them. But when she thinks about walking away from it all, she can’t help remembering the enormous pile of medical bills her family is drowning under. Bills that just keep on coming.
Felix Donovan had it all–stunning good looks, gorgeous women, and a spot as the drummer to a band that’s sitting pretty at the top of the charts. Until one life-altering decision left him paralyzed from the waist down. He doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he wins this year’s Sexiest Man award, but the one thing he immediately does is send out a Non-disclosure agreement. Hiding his condition from the public is hard as hell, but he’s not ready to face the world while he’s still struggling to accept his new reality.
Except this year’s Sexiest Woman–Juliet St. Clair–never looks at him with pity, only desire. But falling for Juliet means a permanent spot in the tabloids, a decision Felix isn’t sure he’s ready to make. And when Juliet’s stalker re-emerges from her past, Felix’s secret isn’t the only thing at stake, it could cost Juliet her life.
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