Saturday, May 20, 2017

Book Review for Dangerous Fling by Crystal Kaswell

He’s my rock star crush, my go-to fantasy. And he’s offering to make all my dreams come true...
Malcolm Strong is the perfect rock star wet dream.
Broad shoulders, inked arms, those piercing blue eyes...
His words are poetry.
His voice is s*x.
He could have any woman he wants.
And he wants me.
No feelings.
No strings attached.
I’m game.
But my heart won’t get in line.
Lacey is as sweet as she is sassy.
Her innocent brown eyes call all my attention.
She’s supposed to be working on our music video.
Which means I’m not supposed to be picturing her naked.
Spread eagle.
Screaming my name loud enough to wake the neighbors.
I only have one rule: this is staying physical.
But there’s something about Lacey...
I want her heart as much as I want her body.


The Dangerous Noise series is creeping ever closer to concluding with this immensely appealing romance that's a bit predictable but still compelling because of its strong characters.  The sparks definitely fly in this tale of older brother Mal's unexpected connection to a bubbly video director who start out as friends but quickly morph into more.  Readers quickly get immersed into the emotional baggage both of them carry and though there are frustrations along the way, by the end there's plenty of cheering.

Malcolm Strong is the sexy singer of Dangerous Noise, strong-willed, and the controlling force in the band.  He likes managing things and doesn't care if he's disliked because of his decisions.  There's actually not much he truly cares about as childhood abandonment issues overshadow his life and leave him closed off from forming commitments.  While he's close to his siblings, acting almost like a father, when it comes to the opposite sex all he wants are the "benefits".  Meeting Lacey though changes everything as he genuinely starts to like her, to enjoy spending time with her, and as she starts bringing joy to his life that's been feeling increasingly lonely.  Not wanting to put his heart on the line has him pushing her away when he needs support the most, when a family crisis takes him to the breaking point.  Will this moment finally make him realize the healing power of love or will he always live in fear and on his own?  Mal's a truly delicious hero who's always been there for his siblings.  He cares for them, wants to see them happy, but is sad that they're living their own lives now and no longer need him.  Where does that leave him?  It's a question he asks that nearly broke my heart.  He's never been able to count on his parents which has contributed to his need for control and to always assuming that he's not worth staying around for.  His interactions with Lacey depict these deep-seated emotions as their interludes are bdsm-lite along with his habit of pushing her away when feelings become too strong as well as reminding her of the time limit they've put on their relationship.  Mal may think he's incapable of love but his wholeheartedly caring for his siblings, and his desire to help strengthen Lacey's bruised self-esteem, show a kind and loving man with a heart bigger than even he realizes.  In so many ways he's the quintessential boyfriend in and out of the bedroom, and despite him frustratingly pushing Lacey away, I still found myself drooling over him as will other readers.

Lacey's a breath of fresh air to Mal's self-imposed unhappiness.  She's always been drawn to him as a fan, but meeting him in the flesh has her seeing the truth of the man behind the image.  While getting close to his bruised heart will be difficult, he's more than happy to give her access to his body.  He also gives her her dream job of directing the band's next video which gives them ample opportunities to connect but also puts a time limit on that connection that he frequently reminds her of.  Lacey's got issues of her own though that come out during her time with Mal, issues that had me aching for her as it's something many women can relate to.  Feeling undesirable and judged by others for your desires recently had Lacey ending a long-term relationship that she still feels guilty over.  She feels a bit dirty too and frustrated for too long living an unfulfilled life out of fear of being alone.  Being with Mal brings all her desires to the forefront as he encourages and accepts all her naughty needs.  In turn she tries to get him to open up, to put his heart on the line one more time, in a hard-fought journey that's a bit frustrating at times but always worthwhile. Through it all Lacey's an immensely appealing heroine who wears her heart on her sleeve.  She's a force to be reckoned with, funny and flirty, who tries not to fall in love with Mal but clearly does so one slow step at a time.

Mal and Lacey have a combustible connection from the moment they meet on a video shoot.  She sees the true meaning of what lies behind his lyrics and longs to see more of what he keeps hidden in his heart.  He's drawn to her truthfulness and her infectious joy in everything he's taken for granted for too long.  They're great friends with witty and flirty banter and as lovers they're combustible with numerous interactions that are erotically-charged.  There's actually LOTS of eroticism in this book, from scenes that lightly touch on bdsm to dirty talk that Mal's a master of.  Though there's lots of these moments there's also time spent on heartfelt talks, a baring of the souls to varying degrees, that had me rooting for them as a couple.  Surrounding these two strong-willed characters was an equally likable cast of secondary characters.  I loved getting reacquainted with the other members of Dangerous Noise and seeing them happy after reading their own difficult journeys to HEA.  They're an eclectic and outspoken group of family and friends and reminds readers how loved Mal is despite how alone he feels. This was another satisfying installment in a series set amongst the chaotic and sensual world of music which Ms. Kaswell has become a master at depicting.  Though this tale is slightly predictable I still found it endearing for its strong yet bruised hero and a heroine easy to relate to.  I'm sad the series is coming to an end but am enjoying each step in these character's hard-fought journeys to HEA!

My rating for this is an A-

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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