Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook
Series: Rock Kiss #3
on October 6th, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Book Depository
Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.
Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation.
When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting—needing—to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.
Rock Redemption is a powerful story. It is not an easy story.
Both Kit and Noah have a lot of baggage about their pasts and their parents. But there’s a big difference. Kit has learned to deal with her parents’ benign neglect combined with extreme protectiveness. She loves them, they love each other, but they don’t hurt her anymore. Not because they aren’t still occasionally selfish idiots, but because Kit has learned not to count on them for anything. It’s a hard lesson, and it’s had some overlap into the rest of her life, but she has learned to deal with it.
Earning her own as an actor has helped her, not just for the fame and fortune, but for the validation. And the fame is certainly a mixed blessing – it’s brought her great movie parts, but also a vicious stalker.
And some of Kit’s baggage was dropped in her lap by Noah’s crap.
Noah has had a much tougher row to hoe, and has way more baggage as a result. His rich parents are cold and distant. They occasionally require his presence, but can’t look him in the face. We don’t find out what happened until fairly close to the end of the book, although there are clues dropped early on. But what happened was bad at the time, and it’s worse now in lots of ways because Noah has never had any help getting past it. The wounds are scars that he keeps picking at, and one of those ways that he picks at those scars is to pick up lots of women and have hard and meaningless sex.
And there are lots of women to pick up – Noah is a member of Schoolboy Choir, the rock bank that has featured in Singh’s Rock Kiss series. Lead singer Fox found his true love in Rock Addiction (reviewed here), drummer David, found his happy ever after with their publicist Thea in Rock Courtship (review at The Book Pushers) and in a lovely kind of side-story, businessman Gabriel woos and wins Charlotte, the very best friend of Fox’s Molly in Rock Hard (review also at The Book Pushers).
Noah has gone through his life believing that he isn’t worthy of being loved. And this in spite of the fact that he and Fox have been best friends for 20+ years. But now that he sees his friends fall in love and find real happiness, Noah is starting to envy them a bit. But he thinks he is too messed up for happy ever after. He’s sure that he’ll ruin anything he touches.
And that’s where Kit comes in. Before this story opens, Noah and Kit fell into a deep friendship that masked very real love on both their parts. But Noah, doing a classic “I’ll hurt you now so I don’t destroy you later”, let her find him with another woman. Noah and Kit weren’t even dating, but it was a betrayal and he knew it and did it on purpose.
A lot of the story in Rock Redemption is Noah and Kit recovering their original friendship and trust, to set the stage for that more that Noah can’t believe he deserves.
Escape Rating B+: There are a lot of classic elements to this romance. It is definitely a friends-into-lovers story, while at the same time being a second-chance-at-love story. It has some of the feel of good-girl-reforms-bad-boy, and it has oodles of fake-romance-turns-real.
At the same time, it’s an absolute heartbreaker. Part of the bedrock of the story is that Kit knows she loves Noah, but she is absolutely unwilling to let him off the hook on dealing with his own shit. She’ll help him, she’ll sit up with him, she’ll run with him in the middle of the night, but she won’t let him use her as an emotional punching bag. He has to own up to what went wrong in the past, and work to get beyond it. Over it isn’t possible or reasonable, but he has to stop using his past as the reason to screw up the present, and do it without booze or drugs or endless parades of women to numb the pain.
I really liked Kit. She both stands up for herself and fights for what she wants. She knows just how far she will go, and doesn’t waffle on her line in the sand. She’s scared and hurt and she still does everything she can to get where she wants to be.
She also lives her life on her own terms, in spite of the crazy stalker who has broke into her house, sends her sick notes and drops presents where she trips over them. The stalker seems to be escalating their level of insane possessiveness, and it’s a constant menace to Kit’s life and happiness. But as much as I admired Kit’s strength in the face of this adversity, the reveal of the stalker seemed a bit anti-climactic at the end.
The setup of the fake-romance plotline also seemed a bit contrived, but it was necessary for the story, and it was lovely to watch the way that Noah would just about beat himself up to do whatever he could to help Kit’s career – no matter how much he hurt himself in the process.
But I still loved this story. It is, in some ways, the exact opposite of Rock Addiction, which sometimes seemed like all sex all the time. In Rock Redemption, we have a very necessary very slow burn as Noah and Kit have to find their way back to trusting each other before they are ready to love each other.
For another take (actually several other takes) on Rock Redemption, check out the Group Review over at The Book Pushers.
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