It’s no secret I have a soft spot for bad boys, fictional and in real life. Not actual bad guys of course, just ones who have a little bit of a wild side. Happily, Play, the second book in the Stage Dive series, delivered just the hero I’ve been looking for.
When Anne Rollins is invited to a party hosted by her neighbor’s sister, little does she know she will come face to face with the object of her teenage desire, drummer Malcolm “Mal” Ericson. Sparks fly instantly between the two of them when Mal overhears a conversation between Anne and her boss regarding Anne’s roommate who skipped out on her, owing her several months’ rent. Their confrontation is an auspicious beginning to a whirlwind romance.
Mal faces a dilemma. For reasons only he knows, he needs a girlfriend. And Anne is the sort of stable, respectable female he needs in his life. But Anne isn’t about to make this easy for him. Despite her teenage crush, she refuses to cave in to his charm and persuasive ways. At least, she refuses until he makes her an irresistible offer.
Their verbal sparring is delightful. I giggled throughout, earning more than a few strange glances in waiting rooms. Their arguing is fun and frivolous, never having an edge that makes you question their affection for one another. It’s mainly Anne playing straight man to Mal the clown to hilarious effect. My favorite part is when they break her bed, which doesn’t happen in the way that it might sound.
Mal can be a little much at times. He has a completely over the top personality, which one might expect from a seasoned performer. He’s loud and occasionally abrasive, his persona covering a painful, sad truth. Straight-laced, soft-hearted Anne provides a good foil to his antics.
I read the prior book, Lick, and thought it was okay but not a keeper. David was somewhat emo for me. But I enjoyed the glimpses of Mal enough that I had to read his story. This turned out to be a good decision as Play surpassed my expectations. And now I can’t wait to see what’s in store for bad boy lead singer Jimmy. It will be hard to top Mal and Anne’s story though.