Some years ago I read What the Librarian Did and loved it. Actually, it was the beginning of my love affair with Karina Bliss as well as my love affair with rock star romances. Zander (the hero of this book) was the villain in that book. But, a villain with charisma and readers wanted to hear his story. The challenge was to get him to a point where he'd be considered hero material and Ms Bliss succeeded very well.
What the Librarian Did was a Harlequin SuperRomance but this was was self published by Ms. Bliss.
And OMG, look at that cover! Does that not remind you of Queen??
Here's the blurb:
Rise - The redemption story of a rock star going straight(er) through the love of a good(ish) woman.
Acclaimed literary biographer Elizabeth Winston writes about long-dead heroes.
So bad-boy rock icon Zander Freedman couldn’t possibly tempt her to write his memoir.
Except the man is a mass of fascinating contradictions–manipulative, honest, gifted, charismatic and morally ambiguous.
In short, everything she seeks in a biography subject.
When in her life will she get another chance to work with a living legend? But saying yes to one temptation soon leads to another.
Suddenly she’s having heated fantasies about her subject, fantasies this blue-eyed devil is only too willing to stoke.
She thought self-control was in her DNA; after all, she grew up a minister’s daughter.
She thought wrong.
Rock star Zander Freedman has been an outlier–many would say an outcast–for most of his life.
But there’s no disaster he can’t overcome, from the breakup of his band to the inevitable damage to his reputation.
His Resurrection Tour is shaping up to be his greatest triumph–if his golden voice holds out.
Contracting a respected biographer is simply about creating more buzz. Elizabeth’s integrity is the key to consolidating his legacy as one of rock’s greats.
All the damn woman has to do is write down what he tells her. Not force him to think.
Or encourage the good guy struggling to get out.
And certainly not make him fall in love for the first time in his life.
Turns out he is scared of something: being known.
I loved this book, everything from the cover to ... everything. It has everything I want; slow burn romance; great sex at the appropriate time; viable reasons for current hangups; and no over-the-top angst, although Zander is an over-the-top character.
The band, Rage, has been his life, his Snoopy blanket. When the band breaks up after brother Devon's collapse (see What the Librarian Did), he's desperate to save it and brings in new band members and uses his own assets to fund the Resurrection World Tour. One secret. His voice may not make it until the end of the tour. Two secrets. But hey, Zander's used to manipulation. He can handle this. Sure he can.
Zander lies a lot, even to himself. He lies about his past, he lies in the present. No one, absolutely no one can find out his true self, his true history, because then he would lose the love he's come to need from his audience. They couldn't love him - no one could love him - Elizabeth wouldn't love him - if they knew his truths. Zander has to realize he deserves love no matter what, that he is lovable no matter his past and Elizabeth is just the lady to teach him.
Elizabeth is one strong lady and didn't fall for any of Zander's crap. Only Zander would hire a biographer and then try to hide important parts of himself from her. Elizabeth takes no shit from him and it's a pure delight reading their dialogue.
I loved this book. I loved it so much I can't even nit pick and lay anything less than perfect before you. A definite reread for me and I believe there's more to come, which makes this a series and I am in heaven!
I strongly recommend this. Strongly!