Ashlyn Murphy was not living the dream. Twenty-seven years old, college educated, up to her eyeballs in debt and yet she’d been relegated to pouring beers at a local bar. She desperately needed an out and was willing to do anything to get back into the corporate world. Well, almost anything. Dan Evans, Rock Star was NOT one of those things. In fact she despised him. Apparently he didn’t get the memo.
Dan Evans, bass player of international rock band Power Station had it all. He was rich, travelled the world, played to millions of adoring fans and had no shortage of beautiful women willing to share his bed. He didn’t need a moody redheaded knockout with a superiority complex complicating his life. Or did he?
When two people who couldn’t be more opposite cross paths, it’s bound to be explosive; sometimes all you can do is sit back and enjoy the show.
Book one of the Power Station series. (Goodreads)
After reading Echo by E K Blair, I needed a lighter funnier read. High Strung more than met the criteria. From the first page I was in a constant fit of giggles as I watched two people who couldn’t be more different from each other, prove that opposites do attract. That’s not to say that there wasn’t times that I was shocked or upset at some of the turns the story took. Yet, throughout all the trials and tribulations, Gephart never lets you give up hope. High Strung proved to have all the elements for a really entertaining read.
The book opens with Ashlyn hoping to get a much needed job as PA to Lexi, the PR manager to Power Station and wife to Alex Stone, a member of the band. Although she is nervous enough about the job interview, her run in with Dan Evan’s at the office is the first step of a hot and heavy relationship between the two. That one exchange sets in motion a rollercoaster of a journey between the two, for Ashlyn blames Dan’s ability to rub her up the wrong way as one of the causes for her to fluff up the interview for a job that would get her back on the path she had planned for her life.
Though Ashlyn, didn’t expect to see Dan again, fate steps in when Ashlyn’s best friend Meg drags her out for a night of cocktails and dancing to commiserate the poor interview, only to end up in the same club as Dan and his band mates, Troy and Jason. Now, it has to be noted that both Meg and Ashlyn had tee many martoonies and their judgement (and balance) is more than questionable. So, when Ashlyn wakes up in bed, nursing a killer hangover, only to be greeted by the sight of an almost naked Dan, naturally she would jump to the conclusion that she must have slept with him.
While Dan more than lives up to his Rock and Roll Stereotype, it is here we start to see that you should never judge a book by its cover. Though he doesn’t outright shoot down these assumptions, he also never says that it did. We are left wondering if they did sleep together, but are quickly told that they didn’t when he meets up with Troy. Scratch the surface and he is a really decent guy, just living life as he sees fit. Up until Ashlyn, he has been happy with the endless supply of groupies to “warm his bed”, but Ashlyn presents a challenge to him. She isn’t a groupie and freely admits she has never listened to his music nor *gasp* been to a concert.
So, when fate steps in again to present Dan with a modern day version of a glass slipper (Ashlyn’s purse/handbag/clutch) he has the excuse to see her again and the true journey of them getting a future together really begins.
That’s not to say that it all run’s smoothly. Both Dan and Ashlyn have a number of personal hurdles to over come, but while both proclaim that this is a casual thing, we see it organically grow into more. With other writers and books I have read in the genre, you can see that many hurdles that are thrown in the characters way are just there for padding and stick out like a sore thumb. Gephart manages to weave these in to her story with great ease, except once near the end. I really wanted to overlook it, but the writing, structure and pace up till that point had been flawless, yet what happened seemed so left field and out of character to what had happened before I couldn’t shake it.
Without giving too much away, Dan takes the decision to try and help Ashlyn get onto the career path. The alarms started to go off for me when he took this decision. I had reservations about this and feared how Ashlyn would react. Though she did call him out on this, it wasn’t about what he did, but who Ashlyn perceived he asked for help from. Since we are able to see both sides of the story since the books is told from both Dan and Ashlyn’s point of view, the book gives a balanced look to their story. It could have been easy to make Dan out to be a villain, but because we get his side you see that there is more to the rockstar persona.
Reading the book, I fell further and further for Dan’s charms. He really has a no nonsense approach to life and was rational up until he broke up with Ashlyn. I wish I could say the same for Ashlyn, but she seemed to take a 180 on Dan’s history. She knew that he had a history with other women and Dan never hid this fact from her, yet for some unknown or unexplained reason, she uses this against him. It just didn’t fit with what we came to know about Ashlyn and how she handled difficult situations earlier in the book. It kind of pulled me out the book a bit, which was a real shame because I had really enjoyed the book until then. Thankfully, Gephart manages to pull it back to a really satisfactory conclusion.
Gephart really is a gifted author, who has a knack for creating characters you really do care for. She walks the dangerous tightrope of schmaltzy with sincere with the greatest of ease. Yes, since it’s a romance book, the outcome is almost guaranteed, but you can’t help wonder what “life” or in this case the God known as the author will throw at them before they end up together.
High Strung was my first by this author, but it isn’t the last as I dived straight into Crash Ride after finishing it. This series is proving to be like a tub of Pringles where “Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop.” Sign me up as Power Station Groupie!
BOOKS IN SERIES ORDER
1 High Strung
2 Crash Ride
3 Back Stage