More Than a Feeling
More Than a Feeling is the last novel in the Rock Star Romance series and features Cooper, guitarist for the band Blue Fire. It works as a standalone, but it’s helpful to read the other books first.
When the story opens, Blue Fire is in the middle of a tour although a planned two-week hiatus is scheduled to begin the following day. As the band watches from the wings, the singer of their opening act has a drug-fuelled meltdown in the middle of his performance. Roadies quickly clear the stage, but it’s clear Blue Fire is going to have to fire the band. After struggling in earlier books to steer clear of drugs and other destructive influences, they no other choice – but with vacation and much needed family time scheduled to begin the following morning, the band is desperate to fill the spot. As the only still single member of the group, Cooper volunteers to look for a replacement support act.
Shortly before they take the stage, Cooper gets a phone call from his mother’s sponsor (she’s a recovering drug and alcohol addict) urging him to come home to Montana. When Cooper balks, the sponsor insists his mom is finally ready to tell him who his real father is. Wary, but desperate to know, Cooper revises his plans to include a weekend away in Montana.
After a traumatic childhood living with an addict for a mother, Cooper left home at eighteen and never looked back. It’s been a decade since he left and he dreads both the visit and his painful memories. He has no plans for a prolonged visit to Snowberry and he’s determined to speak to his mom, get her to confess who his father is – and then leave. He doesn’t plan to run into Daisy Charbonneau – his best and only friend growing up, and the girl he always loved.
Daisy can’t believe it when she runs into Cooper, her former best friend and high school crush. The timing couldn’t be better – Cooper is looking for a new opening act for Blue Fire, and Daisy needs a headliner for a major concert she’s staging in Snowberry. When she explains her dilemma, they decide to join forces and help each other.
When Cooper finally discovers who his father is – and that his father wants to be a part of his life, Cooper wants nothing to do with him. But after spending time with Daisy and formulating a new plan to find an opening act and a showcase for her concert, and realizing it’s going to take more than a few days to tie up the loose ends of his life, Cooper decides to extend his visit.
From the moment Cooper and Daisy reconnect, sparks fly. It isn’t long before lust gives way to lovemaking, Cooper moves in with Daisy, and they fall hard and fast for each other all over again. But it isn’t all good times. Cooper struggles to adjust to the news about his father, and to reconcile his feelings for Daisy with his desire to be on the road with his band. Daisy hates the rock star lifestyle and all she imagines it entails (groupies, orgies, drinking and drugs) and regardless of her feelings for Cooper, has no intention of leaving Snowberry. Fortunately, fate has other plans for these two.
There are a few other things going on in this story, such as why Daisy needs a band at the last minute and why she’s staging the concert in the first place; and Cooper’s conflicted relationship with his biological father’s other children, but the joint band search provides the perfect opportunity for Ms. Kelly to bring these two together and keep them in close proximity as the story unfolds. Unfortunately, the constant miscommunication between them, and Cooper’s constant negativity about his place in Snowberry and his past drag the story down. Cooper is a stereotypical rockstar with a heart of gold, Daisy just has a heart of gold – and a face, body and voice to die for. She’s also fiercely independent, intelligent and kind… Ms. Kelly saddles her with so many sterling qualities, it begins to read as overkill.
I’m not sure when or why Ms. Kelly became so fixated on small towns and drug/alcohol addicted mothers who profoundly mess up their progeny (men who still somehow rise above their dysfunctional childhoods to become paragons among their peers) – but she has. Cooper’s childhood and subsequent relationship with his mom is eerily reminiscent of Mine for Now, Ms. Kelly’s last book, and I didn’t like it any better in this iteration. Mom plays a lesser, if no less significant, role in this novel, but she is one of the few characters with flaws and/or a blemished past. Snowberry citizens are remarkably good and mostly likeable characters. Sigh.
Eventually Cooper has to leave and when Daisy refuses to go with him, or consider touring with him, the relationship comes to an abrupt end. Fortunately, Blue Fire bandmates sense something is off with Cooper, and Daisy’s friends and family in Snowberry come to a similar conclusion. They’re there to guide our hero and heroine to a happily ever after. Like most of the novel, I found the ending a bit trite and over the top, but in the context of the novel, it works.
I’m a fan of the Rock Star Romance series, but this fourth and final novel was disappointing. Based on Ms. Kelly’s early books, I’m reluctant to give up on this author – but it will take a compelling storyline to lure me back.