Jordan has had a very rough upbringing and he needs to know his bandmates are safe and always there for him. Because of this, the band all lives together, except Dred who is in the process of moving out to be with his fiancee and baby. Jordan has kept himself isolated from everyone except his bandmates and he believes that his soul is too dark and dirty for someone as pure as Lexi. Aleksandra has done everything her father has ever asked of her, but it’s beginning to wear on her. She wants to do more contemporary ballet but her father’s constant guilt trips and controlling attitude make it hard to venture outside his shadow. Not only that, but Lexi is becoming overly concerned with her weight and how it might be affecting her career.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed in this one but I still enjoyed the romantic aspects. I’m not sure what to think about the other band members but I’ll certainly give them a try. This romance is mostly about the characters getting out of their own way; most of the conflict comes from within instead of outside forces like in the Second Circle Series. There are some outside factors (Lexi’s father, Dred leaving the house, etc.) but this is straight contemporary with no suspense.
Scarlett Cole always does a great job writing a very emotional and character driven romance and that’s evident in this book as well. Both Jordan and Lexi feel things very deeply and their backgrounds and current issues create drama in their relationship. However, when I say drama I only mean the best kind. I never found myself annoyed by the drama that was going on.
I felt like there was some missing elements to Jordan’s issues. The first look at Jordan makes his anxiety seem like a very severe issue that he will really struggle to overcome. However, he pretty quickly works through his problems after meeting Lexi. All the things that were hinted at don’t develop in the story. I kept waiting for him to be more upset over Dred leaving, or to panic more about where Lexi was when they weren’t together, or to struggle more with moving from his bland, almost empty room to a “real” room. Jordan’s anxiety came across initially as something that would likely need therapy and that there were would certainly be periodic setbacks. However, once Jordan decides he wants something with Lexi he pretty much goes all in with little problem. He quickly overcomes Dred leaving the house, he gets a phone and more guitars, and moves out of the attic with very little thought. It felt like what Jordan really had was some mild anxiety and the desire to remain in his rut but we were expected to believe his issues were much greater.
Content Note: eating disorder, PTSD, references to past abuse
••• Book Details •••
Preload #1 • Romance, Contemporary • SMP Swerve • February 28, 2017
Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.
Now he’s made good, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.
Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.
She craves Jordan. Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he’s never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?