Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller LICK.
Title: Play (Stage Dive, #2)
Author: Kylie Scott
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl. Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?
After reading Lick and falling in LOVE with the characters, I was all in with the series. The story of David and Evelyn was great and I absolutely adored them but as always, what happens with me sometimes is I find myself more curious about a secondary character more. In this case it was the bands drummer Mal Ericson. He was hilarious and so much fun so I couldn't wait to get his story.
Despite being about Mal, the book is told from the point of view of Anne Rollins. I wasn't expecting to get this from her POV but I loved Anne. Coming home from work she finds her roommate has left her high and dry having moved out leaving her with no way to pay the rent she was behind on. She's at the end of her wits in the face of the uncertainty and on the verge of breaking down when her friends next door invite her to a party. It's a happy coincidence that her neighbors are Lauren and Nate. Best friend and brother to Evelyn Ferris, wife of David Ferris who is one of the bands front men and host of the party. Against her better judgement she tags along hoping to take her mind off of everything. Once at the party Anne realizes she isn't comfortable rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. Stepping out onto the balcony to take a phone call is when she meets Mal.
Malcolm Ericson is the kind of guy wet dreams are made of. Tall and lean with blond hair and incredibly down to earth He's known as the jokester to his friends and always the life of the party. Being a drummer myself it's not hard to see why I connected with him. I saw a lot of myself in his character traits. He's the kind of guy who hates to see anyone upset and does whatever he can to break the tension with a joke or acting a fool. One of the main traits I identified with is the way he uses humor to mask pain. Everyone in the band is worried about him as he deals with a family problem that threatens to drag him into a dark place emotionally. When he overhears Anne's current predicament he takes matters into his own hands and moves himself into her apartment. He approaches her with a proposition that if she will be his pretend girlfriend he will help her out financially by filling her old roommate's place.
Play was equal parts fun and serious. With Mal and Anne living together it was fun to see them interact. Anne always had a crush on Mal as a fan of the band growing up so having him in her space was so much fun seeing how badly he flustered her. The attraction between them was fantastic and with a no sex clause added to their agreement that lasted about as long as Mal's attention span, there was plenty of good times to be had. I couldn't have picked a better person for Mal to end up with than Anne. She's had a lot on her plate from a young age taking care of her younger sister Lizzy after her mom checked out mentally from a bad divorce. Failed suicide attempts, raising a child while still being one herself and struggling to make ends meet and put her sister through school turned Anne into a strong woman of immense character. You would think that her financial woes would have turned her into a gold digger with Mal in the picture but she remained independent of his wealth. That seems to be a theme with Scott's female characters because both Anne and Evelyn kept jobs despite how well off their men were.
Mal has such a big heart he was not shy about helping Anne however he could. It's almost impossible not to love a guy with such an amazing personality and giving spirit. Though he used jokes to divert attention from what was really going on with him the pain he was feeling couldn't be hidden for long. The circumstances behind his sadness were heartbreaking. With his mother battling an illness he sometimes had a tendency to lose himself in alcohol. This made Anne the perfect match for him after dealing with her own issues with her mom. Anne was such an great character. Instead of babying Mal she showed him tough love and stood her ground refusing to watch him go down that same road. Mal was used to getting what he wanted so it was nice to see her put up some resistance.
Anne and Mal meshed so well together and their growing relationship brought a smile to my face several times throughout the story. It wasn't always easy for them though with jealousy plaguing them due to Mal's past flings, women throwing themselves at him constantly and Anne's current crush on her boss Reece there was no shortage of mild drama to keep things interesting. I got worried when they hit a bit of a rough patch and I don't know why why but I always expect Scott to throw in some cheating aspects during these times. Most guy characters at the first sign of trouble in their relationships always end up sleeping with someone else but I'm learning with Scott's guys that when they find the right girl there is no other for them. She did it with David in Lick and now with Mal in Play. I can't tell you how much that means to me as a reader. It shows amazing character growth especially for guys like Mal who can and DO get any woman they want. His devotion to Anne was not only impressive but sweetly romantic and silly as only Mal can be. I loved how in tune they were to each other.
One of the biggest treats was seeing all the characters I loved in Lick makes appearances in this book. David and Evelyn had such a great story and have an especially tender moment in this one that made my heart melt. I loved getting to see more of the other band members and seeing the basis of their stories take shape. The bands bass player Ben seemed to hit it off with Anne's sister Lizzy so naturally that pulled my attention to their possible story. Lead singer Jimmy also has something to say being fresh out of rehab and showing signs of interest in his new P.R. rep Lena.
Sometimes when you anticipate a book as much as I did with Play it can be a let down if it isn't what you hoped. This was NOT one of those cases with Play. It was everything I wanted and so much more. I got a healthy dose of my goofy and playful drummer Mal, but also a deeper understanding of what makes him unique. I expected him to find love but got another amazing and independent heroine full of moxie who kept him on his toes. I expected to see my favorite characters and got an in depth, heart warming look at their continued romance. Lick was a surprise hit for me so it wasn't all that surprising that I would love this one. Full of funny one liners, sexy romance and enough drama to keep you on the edge of your seat without wanting to take your toys and go home, Play was another winning hit in the Stage Dive series! If you haven't jumped on the "Band Wagon" (no pun intended) yet then I suggest you grab a copy and get LICK-ed today!
I made a mental note to kill him later, once we were alone. Kill him or fuck him, whatevs. My hormones were so confused. ARC 27%
It wasn't a soft kiss. No passing brush of the lips or token peck of affection would do for Mal. Hell no, of course not. It was an amnesia inducing drug of a kiss. No memory of another remained. Chemical bliss. I'd obviously never been really and truly kissed before because this...he covered my mouth with his and Owned me. ARC 34%
"You taste so fucking good." "Like what?" I asked breathlessly, thigh muscles tightening. The man was lucky I didn't just attack him with my vagina. "What do I taste like.?" "Well, like honey and cream and...I dunno, bread?" ARC 43%
"It's fate, Anne. Written in the stars. Leave it the fuck alone." ARC 70%
"You're beautiful, Anne's pussy. Just beautiful. And I'm not mean like her. I'm on your side and I love you very much because you feel fucking amazing wrapped around my dick." ARC 73%
Buy the Book
Lick (Stage Dive, #1)
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Australian Romance Writer.