My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.
STEADY BEAT is the fourth book in Lexxie Couper’s Heart of Fame series, but I had no problem reading it as a stand-alone. The band previously known as Blackthorne has been on hiatus since their eponymous leader found his one true love in LOVE’S RHYTHM, the first book in this series. Their talented drummer, Noah Holden, is at loose ends since his swimsuit model girlfriend, Heather, dumped him for their dog-walker three months earlier, and worries that his ADHD will keep him from ever being able to have a real relationship outside the band. When “Blackthorne sans Blackthorne” meets in a local bar to discuss an offer to reform for a lucrative movie soundtrack, it’s their waitress, Pepper Kerrigan, who seizes on the perfect opportunity to get an audition as their new lead singer. What she ends up with is an immediate attraction to Noah and the chance of a lifetime. But can the new band survive both their sparks and the unforeseen return of Heather into Noah’s life?
As much as I try to avoid using this phrase in a review, I can’t help but say it for STEADY BEAT: I wanted to like this book more than I did. The premise was like catnip for me, featuring a shy and gifted heroine with a lifelong dream to sing with a band, meeting a sexy and sweet drummer who sees in her the woman who could be the steady love he’d thought he’d had before. The way Pepper and Noah meet borders on unbelievable, but Lexxie Couper makes it work, mostly because Noah is such an ingratiating hero who made me want to believe that this was all for real.
I’m generally inclined to give insta-lust a pass if what follows provides insight as to why these two people would have such a compelling attraction and shows the fallout from what happens next, especially when the couple have such disparate backgrounds as these two do. What I’m not inclined to ignore is when the insta-lust morphs into a seemingly magical cure for a genuine medical ailment such as Noah’s acknowledged ADHD. Meanwhile, we have a heroine who self-identifies as “chronically shy” but has somehow succeeded previously as a band manager and now wants to be the new lead singer for the reformed version of a world-famous rock band. I honestly didn’t know if I should be relieved or disappointed that Noah didn’t cure Pepper’s shyness in the same way she settled his attention span deficit, since it was that shyness that threw an unwelcome twist in the ending that the whole story had been moving toward since the first chapter.
There was much for me to enjoy in STEADY BEAT, most of which was related to Noah’s interactions with his band mates and how they ultimately came to like and trust Pepper as a member of their group. But as compelling as the romance was between Pepper and Noah, their happy ending didn’t blunt my disappointment at her inability to follow through on what she had claimed were her career goals all the way up until the end of the new band’s first gig. The somewhat abrupt ending of the story made Pepper’s sudden decision even more frustrating for me, and I wished that there had been an additional chapter or epilogue so we could see that her choice clearly made in haste was one that had actually worked out well for everyone involved.
Sensuality level: 3.5 (hot passionate sex between the main characters but nothing kinky)