Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.
Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.
“I thought . . . I thought we were pretty hot together before,” Theo said. He didn’t sound quite as confident now. “Course then you left, so . . .” When he shrugged, he seemed to shrug with his whole body. A lost thing wanting to be found.
I leaned forward and caught his shoulders in my hands. His lips parted and his eyes widened at the proximity.
“I didn’t leave because it wasn’t hot between us.” I let my desire for him spill into my voice. “It was definitely hot.” His pupils dilated and his eyelids grew heavy. I could practically feel the lust coming off him, and I definitely wasn’t unaffected. “I left because you make me want things. And it’s easier not to want anything. Safer.”
“You don’t seem like the safe type,” he murmured.
I snorted ruefully. “Yeah, I’m not. Hasn’t served me all that well.”
Theo nodded, then slid forward in his chair, put his hands on my knees. Just a firm pressure, but it felt like more.
“I feel . . . better around you,” he said softly. “Like, here, with you. I feel like I can actually just be myself instead of that person that everyone sees me as. You . . . you see me. Just me. And I like you. And, yeah, I kind of want to fuck you constantly.” He shot me a look and I couldn’t help but smile. “But, your call.” When he removed his hands I felt like I might float away.
I swore under my breath. I wanted him, of course I did. But I’d spent the last year learning to mistrust the things I wanted. Learning that chances were if I desired it, it was going to kill me eventually. It was hard to reconcile that lesson with the man in front of me, offering himself with one hand and protecting me with the other.
I just needed to know that I wasn’t powerless in the face of the things I wanted. That they weren’t uncontrollable forces that would suck me under like sand in the surf. I needed to know I could exert some will.
“I want that too,” I murmured. “The fucking you constantly part, I mean.” I winked at him. “I think I just . . . Just not tonight, all right? It kills me to say that, especially with you all—shit, look at you.” I pulled away from him a little, as if the distance had any hope of quelling the combustibility of the air between us. “I just need to think a little bit. Make sure I’m making a choice. You can stay, if you want? Long drive back to the city. But I’ll crash on the couch. God knows I’ve done it often enough before. Okay?”
“Course. I mean, of course it’s okay to not, uh, you know, tonight.” His sudden shyness hit me right in the gut. “But I’m sleeping on the couch. Jesus, I’m not kicking you out of your own bed.” Then he squeezed my hand and cleared the table before I could respond.
Part of me couldn’t believe I’d just turned down sex with the most gorgeous guy I’d ever been with. Especially when I was quite aware of how good it could be between us. But I felt a deep need to slow things down. To do the opposite of what I would have done before. Not forever. There was no timeline in my head. I just needed to make sure I was acting rather than reacting. That I was making a choice instead of allowing the tides of other people’s feelings to pull me under.
All or nothing was a cliché, but it felt dangerously accurate to describe the way I tended to operate, barreling full speed into anything I took even one step toward.
When Theo asked for a blanket and settled on the couch after we’d talked for a bit, I draped one over him and retreated to my room. It felt like there was some kind of force magnetizing my attention to the living room. I could hear Theo tossing and turning for a while. Then I heard low humming and the sound of the porch door opening. I followed, to find him standing on the porch, looking out at the stars as I’d done so often in the past year.
“Couldn’t sleep?” I asked softly so I wouldn’t startle him. He was wearing only black boxer briefs, and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the straight line of his spine, the wings of his shoulder blades. In the dim light, his tattoos looked like they were being projected over the canvas of his pale skin. I wanted to reach out a hand to make sure they were real.
“Your couch is uncomfortable as shit,” he said, low, with no resentment at all. “And my clock is still all fucked up from being on tour.”
I grabbed a pack of cigarettes from the ledge and held it up. “Bother you?”
He shook his head and gestured for one before I put the box down.
“Bad for your voice,” I said. He shot me a quelling look and smirked.
We smoked in silence for a while, Theo with an arm wrapped around his waist. The position looked natural, like he had been made to hold himself together in the absence of anyone else.
When we went back inside, we didn’t need to speak. He followed me to my room and got into bed beside me. He pressed a fierce kiss to the back of my neck, then rolled over and threw an arm under his pillow, curling into a comma with his back to me. I lay awake beside him for a long time, watching the moonlight dance across the messily plastered ceiling, half hard, and feeling comforted by the fact that I could choose to do nothing about it. Sometimes, he would shift in his sleep, and I’d catch a whiff of his scent. He made small sounds, light snores, and a few muttered words I couldn’t make out. Everything about him worked its way under my skin, like a bullet slowly making its way to my heart.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
*I received the book in exchange for an honest review*
Oh wow, this book! 🙂 I loved Theo from probably about the second paragraph, and I have also loved Caleb so much.
Theo is a wonderful musician, enjoying in everything connected to music, but not so much enjoying the fame. The band is doing great, but it’s not exactly what Theo would want. He wants to create music, but he also wants to be free to go outside and live his life without being cornered by paparazzi, by people wanting to talk or photograph him.
Caleb, on the other hand, is a musician that has disappeared from the public eye because he is sure only total avoidance of the music and anything related to it would allow him to stay clean, to not relapse. He is living his life in fear of a relapse, so much so that you could barely call it living.
Both of them are dealing with problems. Theo keeps feeling isolated, not accepted by the others, not even in a band where he thought he’d find another family. But the others have been together from the beginning and Theo feels he’s on the outside. Caleb isolated himself, as said before, to stay clean after another stint in rehab. He doesn’t have a good opinion about himself, convinced he’ll screw up everything he’ll touch.
They do have instant connection, but they have to work through a lot of other things to actually get to the ‘in love’ thing, as well as the relationship thing. They do seem to belong together from very early on. As Theo said, Caleb can actually see him.
I have read some of Parrish’s books before and had a high expectations for this one. And it did not disappoint. The characters were realistic, in fact so much so that I just wanted to find them and hug them both!
The dual POV was a great thing as well. It was different than in the other books by Parrish I’ve read but I loved the fact that I could see things from both of their perspectives so much. It gave me chance to get to know both characters really well, their hopes, their fears, everything.
I think by now, Roan Parrish has totally become another of the one-click authors for me!
About Roan Parrish:
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
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