Audrey LaRue is the diva and heroine of the latest book in Julia Thrillseekers Anonymous series. I liked Audrey very much, but the book was a bit tepid in the romance and the suspense departments.
Jack Price is one of the partners in the Thrillseekers Anonymous business. When a very well paying job as head of security and chief bodyguard for the latest pop sensation Audrey LaRue comes along, Jack takes it. Thrillseekers Anonymous doesn’t generally do bodyguard jobs – they specialize in stunt work and extreme sports packages – but Jack is a former pilot with dreams of starting his own flying school, which takes lots of money.
Audrey is hot right now. Her songs are hits, her album is burning up the charts, and her tour is selling out in seconds. With fame comes stalkers and Audrey has received some nasty letters, enough so that her boyfriend/manager Lucas Bonner beefs up the security. As one who has full access, Jack gets a good look at the “glamorous” life that is the lot of a major star.
Audrey is no manufactured poptart. She began her career singing her own smoky jazzy ballads (think Diana Krall or Amy Winehouse) in small bars, clubs and dives. Music was Audrey’s escape from her troubled family and it was her music that kept her sane. During her club dates, Audrey met Lucas Bonner and they became lovers. He pushed her toward a more pop direction with her music – she wasn’t all that comfortable with the new direction, but the public loved her new sound. She began to sell records, fill larger venues, and now Audrey is a superstar diva, but she isn’t happy at all.
Although Audrey is grateful to Lucas for his support in the past, now he seems to be taking advantage of her stardom to push his own career. In addition to this, the powers that be at Audrey’s record label don’t want her to record the ballads she loves – they want more of the over-produced pop sound. Audrey’s family is demanding her time and energy, and the poison-pen letter writer has stepped up his production. Audrey is acting like a total diva and who could blame her? The only person on the tour who seems to be grounded is Jack. He can see though Audrey’s diva act and as he gets to know the person and the artist, he falls in love with her. However, Audrey has deep trust issues and a lot on her plate and she isn’t sure whether she can let go and trust her own feelings.
Audrey wants to please everyone and has a tendency to let people walk over her, especially Lucas. Although she knows the direction he is pushing her music is not a good one for her, her sense of loyalty keeps her from confronting him, until Jack’s love and support help her make the final break. Jack’s love also helps Audrey in her dealings with her dysfunctional family.
Jack wasn’t a very vivid character. He was nice enough, but there wasn’t anything about him to make him stand out from the crowd of nice guy heroes. There wasn’t a lot of heat between Jack and Audrey at the beginning and it isn’t until almost the end of the book that we get any sparks between them. Oh, btw, Jack’s pet name for Audrey – Sweet Cheeks – is not one that I liked at all. Ick!!
The poison pen writer sub-plot is a real let down. We know who it is very early on and he isn’t a very dangerous person at all. Weird – yes. Scary – no way. Other than serving to introduce Jack to Audrey, this sub-plot served no purpose.
Despite its faults, I enjoyed American Diva. Julia London writes well and Audrey was a most likable heroine. She is the main reason I can recommend this book. Fans of romances with a show business backgroud should have a good time with this one.