Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Book Review for Manipulated by Cari Quinn & Taryn Elliott

My name is Owen Blackwell, and I’m currently in recovery.
Not from what you think, though I do enjoy a bit of whiskey.
No, my issue is that I fell foolishly in love with my best friend. Oh, and she’s getting married.
So, in my eternal stupidity, I hooked up with a woman at our annual masquerade ball. You know what they say—the best way to get over a woman is to get under another.
Who is this woman, you ask? Calliope Templeton. She's unlike any other I’ve ever met. And believe me, as the guitarist for Hammered—only the biggest selling rock band out there right now—I’ve met quite a few.
Now I have to figure out how to convince her we’re more than just a one-night stand. She’s supposed to be my happily ever after.
And if necessary, I'm willing to show her just how resourceful one determined Irishman can be...


Authors Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliott have become a go-to for me when it comes to rockstar romances.  Whether it's the Oblivion on Tour series, or the sexy rockers of the Hammered series, they continue to delight.  With this latest installment in the Hammered series sparks fly between Irish bassist Owen and the recently divorced Callie who's rebuilding her life after years of her self-esteem being battered by an ex who left her woefully unsatisfied.  Add in charming interactions with the other band members of Hammered and you end up with a quick yet satisfying read full of witty and playful banter and plentiful steamy encounters.

From the moment readers meet Callie Templeton they discover a unique heroine whose outspoken nature belies her low self-esteem.  She married young and from that moment on her husband made her into what he wanted her to be, mocking her boudoir photography career, and making her feel as if her body wasn't enough.  She's slowly reclaiming her life since her marriage ended, but her feelings regarding her self-image are still a work in progress.  When her popular and sexy younger sister pushes her into joining her at a party sponsored by rock band Hammered though it changes her life irrevocably, if only she's brave enough to take a chance on the newfound feelings Owen engenders in her.  Callie's a larger than life heroine, from her bold style of dress to saying the first thing that pops into her head.  She may appear a bit prudish regarding sex early on but Owen quickly brings out her sex kitten side which leads to numerous scorching encounters.  Overall she's leery of the intense feelings he engenders in her and struggles to keep things casual despite how serious his intentions become in a relationship that hits a huge roadblock in the last few pages due to her fears which frustrated me as it felt emotionally manipulative to readers.  For the most part though she was a strong and sassy woman who brought out a softer, more romantic side, to Owen that had me rooting for their HEA every step of the way.

Owen Blackwell is still trying to recover from his long-time unrequited love for best friend, and bandmate, Keys as her recent marriage definitely makes her off-limits.  The last thing he expects to find at their band's annual charity ball though is the one woman to make him forget about Keys and focus on the future instead.  Owen and Callie's first encounter crackles with sexual tension and soon becomes all-consuming, resulting in a Cinderella moment that keeps her forever in his thoughts and picking up where they left off the moment they're reunited.  Owen knows the moment he sees Callie how important she is to him and doesn't hesitate to let others know as well.  It's clear he sees a future with her in it despite her wanting to keep things temporary and tells her in every way his intentions which charmed me wholeheartedly.  From his sexy Irish brogue to his constant compliments regarding her body and career, Owen knows how to treat a woman and being with him slowly rebuilds her self-esteem.  Through sweet and sexy interludes and playful banter theirs is an entertaining relationship that had me falling even more for Owen throughout the story as he was proud of what he and Callie had together.  Though she wanted to treat him like a dirty little secret he found joy in every single encounter and wanted to share it with the world which put their HEA in jeopardy, leaving me angry with her for denying the rightness of their connection.  Despite this small hiccup late in the story Owen remains my newest book boyfriend for the lavish attention he heaped on Callie and for being a true romantic in letting her work through her issues without pressure from him.  He's the epitome of romantic hero and Wyatt, who I've been pining for from the first installment, will have to work hard to displace Owen in my dreams!

This was a fairly simple story of boy meets girl, but with a rockstar twist.  Owen's a loyal and kind-hearted rocker who wants to claim Callie the moment he sees her in a romance that goes astray because of her self-doubts.  She's outspoken in so many ways but all too often felt like second best, except when it came to Owen's feelings regarding her, but it still had her doubting his all too obvious feelings.  As the music tour progressed numerous scorching and clandestine encounters were balanced with playful moments that brought he and Callie together, charming readers every step of the way and investing us further into their HEA.  Along with their fun and flirty burgeoning relationship readers get to spend time with some of the other members of Hammered. There's blissfull happiness for some while Bats is still self-destructing in his toxic relationship and Wyatt and Zack are the lone men standing waiting for their own HEA.  Lila and Nick Crandall also stop by to dispense some snarky words of wisdom which reminds readers of the familial connection between all these rockstars which keeps us fully invested in each character's story.  On a whole this was another satisfying installment in this dynamic duo's erotically-charged and vividly depicted world of rockstars.  Though my frustration over Callie's actions late in the story dimmed my overall enjoyment, the wonderousness of Owen had me smiling from the first page to the last.  This series has held me captive from the very start with its colorful and immensely appealing cast of sexy but sincere rockstars and I wait with bated breath for each subsequent release and recommend it to those looking for short, sweet, and sexy stories!

My rating for this is a B+

*I bought this book with my own money and my opinions are my own.

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