Insider (Exodus End #1)

insidercover68987-mediumAuthor: Olivia Cunning

Publisher: Vulpine Press

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel

Provided by Publisher

 

Blurb: Toni wants to be an insider. Logan just wants inside her.

She’s finally ready to rock…
Toni Nichols set aside her dreams to raise her little sister, but now she’s reaching for the stars as the creator of a revolutionary interactive biography about Exodus End. She’s on tour with the rock band to immerse herself in their world, but how will she ever gain the trust of four veteran superstars who’ve been burned by the media before? Nobody said this was going to be easy. Then again, good things can come in hard packages.

He’s always ready to roll…
Adrenaline junkie Logan Schmidt lives for the rush of playing his bass guitar before thousands of screaming fans. When he’s not performing onstage or in the bedroom, he’s looking for his next thrill in extreme sports. So why does a sweet, innocent journalist get his heart pumping and capture his full attention? Is Toni the real deal or just digging up dirt on his band? Logan’s eager to rock Toni’s world and roll her in the sack, but when she starts to get too close to his heart, she takes her insider look to a place he may never be willing to go.

 

Review: Having read Olivia’s Sinner’s series, I already knew that she could write great romances filled with sexy rock gods having raunchy fun. And this book totally delivered, even though it wasn’t what I was expecting. There’s always a quick-shot backstage pass to love when you climb on the tour bus with Ms. Cunning!

Toni is a shy, twenty-five year old woman who’s spent the last nine years at home so she could be there for her special needs sister, Birdie. But she’s got dreams of getting out and doing big things, and all of a sudden she sees a chance. When Nichols Publishing, her mother’s company, signs a contract with metal rock band Exodus End for an interactive electronic biography of their tour, she knows she’s the best qualified candidate they have for this job–and she gets it. Unfortunately, her new editor Susan is harping on her constantly and she’s going to have to leave Birdie alone with her Mom, but she’s got to take a chance.

As soon as Toni hits the tour bus, she’s immediately smitten with bassist Logan Schmidt. Logan’s incredibly attracted right back, offers to show her around, and makes a pass at her during her “tour” of the sleeper sofa she’s using during her four week stay. She kisses him back and WHAM! They start the tour off with a bang–literally. Things are changing FAST in Toni’s life!

As she settles in and establishes an interview outline for the four members of the group and starts getting video and shots of the fans, the band’s routine, and all the things that encompass a band on the road, Toni becomes more comfortable with where she is and what she’s doing. There are all the scenes you’d imagine on a road tour in a lavish bus with a rock band–groupies, wild parties, late nights drinking and early mornings hung over, and lots and lots of miles. For some reason, seeing it through Toni’s eyes doesn’t get old, and it’s never an “aw shucks, ma’am” kind of thing. She just looks at life differently and it’s fun to see it that way too. The members of the band are all interesting with hints of great backstories, and we get a taste of Max, Dare, Reagan and Steve through her interviews and interactions with them.

But Logan. I’d like to slap him upside his head sometimes. He is an asshole but he really does care about her–he just doesn’t know what the heck he’s doing.

Of course some of the plot line is pretty expected–she’s on a tour with famous people, she’s privy to secrets they won’t want getting out, she’s keeping a journal, it goes missing… But I like the way that Ms Cunning handles it. She doesn’t allow a lot of angst, no one’s a martyr, and there’s a lot of good realistic story development plus hot sex in between to keep you involved.

It took me a while initially to get into the story, but when I did, it was well worth the trip. I really liked the second half when the character development and plot alignment were beautifully synced–the great interaction between Toni and Logan while doing his extreme sports together, him helping her with her project and making sure she got great shots, and them sharing meals and having a “real” relationship. I liked seeing him as a “person” and not just the walking talking equivalent of a dick rock star. I was also proud of Toni for being able to adjust and not take the betrayal she received at the end personally. It was much easier to see the next step from there instead of taking the huge leap I had to at the beginning when they first had sex. Enjoyed this story and can’t wait for the next member of the group to get theirs!

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