Goodreads review for the lazy (hint.. I’m the lazy): “As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, whether it’s booze, drugs, or women. However, when a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call about his life and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant to keep him out of trouble.
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 when Jimmy pushes her too far and Lena leaves, he realizes that he may just have lost the best thing that ever happened to him.”
I’ve liked the Stage Dive series — particularly the second, Play — and a lot of that has to do with Scott’s humor and her amusing depiction of the “world” of Stage Dive. The interactions between band members and their paramours, and the way that they all become each others’ family, are warm and comforting, if a bit precious. Overall, there’s an easy likeability with this group of people. This third book continues in that vein, and it’s the solid backdrop including these band members (and the re-appearance of the hero from Play, Mal, who I love) that establishes an easy familiarity from which to tell Jimmy and Lena’s story.
Now, it was evident from the prior two books that Jimmy is the “troubled” one. Dave of Lick had his moments, but Jimmy is the headcase. In Lead, he’s mostly cleaned up, but he has major commitment issues and an aversion to nasty, tickling feelings like love. This is already not my kind of hero, but even beyond embodying a trope that isn’t my particular catnip, Jimmy also does this awful thing where he CLEARLY is into Lena, but says and pretends to act otherwise, even going so far as to set her up on dates with other guys, which he then intentionally sabotages. He does this, and he can get away with it, because he’s 1) Lena’s boss and 2) she admitted to having some feelings for him, so he knows that she’s on the hook.
While I wouldn’t consider his particular behavior here to be especially malicious, in intent or execution, it’s certainly childish, annoying, and cowardly. He does it under the guise of wanting to make sure that the guys involved are treating Lena right, but he’s too emotionally stunted to recognize what that means about the depth of his feelings for her. And all of that? Is not cute in a romantic hero. I don’t care if his head is straight by the end; it’s just not appealing to me to read a story with such a clueless male lead. In my wish-fulfillment, I prefer them to be assertive physically AND emotionally, thanks!
Lena, herself, seems like a gal I could have a beer with, even if she is a bit too permissive of Jimmy’s crap. To her credit, she doesn’t forgive or take him back until he gives her exactly what she wants. But for most of the book, while she’s mothering Jimmy into being a functional adult, I wanted more for her.
So would I recommend Lead? On its own, no; currently the crown jewel of this series is Play. But it’s inoffensive enough that if you’re reading through the series anyway, you’ll enjoy it enough to give your inner complete-ist peace.