Loveswept / March 4, 2014 / $2.99 digital
Lacey Dawes is a total pro at the talent agency where she works, and it doesn’t hurt that IMO Worldwide Media represents Dante Falcone. The rock god has starred in her fantasies since she was sixteen—and remains her secret crush to this day. So when Dante picks her to be the interim manager on his Dream It tour, Lacey can’t believe her luck. Handling Dante is sure to be the most exquisite, spine-tingling, nerve-wracking mix of business and pleasure ever.
Although Dante is grateful for the adoring fans who scream for one more of his full-throttle, soul-searing songs, being surrounded by a cadre of corporate types backstage is wearing thin. Then Lacey shows up. Yeah, she’s organized, smart, quick to get him what he wants before he knows he wants it—but Dante senses there’s something else going on with sweet, sexy Lacey. One kiss tells him what that “something” might be . . . and makes him hungry for more.
Jennifer Chance is known for her Elizabethan England-set YA spy series, Maids of Honor. Rock It is her first contemporary romance, and though it’s for adults, the youths of both hero and heroine are important to the story. Lacey Dawes was a teenage fangirl of Dante Falcone, but she’s grown beyond that now and sees the business of rock and roll as just that, a business in which she’s a junior talent agent with a lot of ambition. At least, she thinks she’s grown beyond it. She still has all of her memorabilia stored away, and makes sure to see as many of Dante’s concerts as she can, collecting a t-shirt for each performance. She still gets a serious thrill from seeing him perform, both emotionally and sexually.
Dante Falcone dominated the stage like a depraved god, his guitar slung at his side, his sculptor-perfect face tilted up to the blinding spotlight, while rich, ethereal music swelled to a crescendo and filled the whole world. His thick black hair cascaded back from his face. His dark eyes implored the heavens. His lips parted. He stood there a moment more, as if transfixed by the immensity of his own arcane spell, and Lacey Dawes’s heart nearly stopped in her chest.
… Lacey shook her head, hard, to clear it. Dante couldn’t have any idea who she was—much less care—but he was staring at her as if it was she who had captured his attention, she who held his world. A distant, vague part of her mind registered the beefy security guy at her side, knew that she had just been written into the night’s act as the fans screamed their approval and her face flashed all over the Jumbotrons. But none of that mattered, not right then. With one soft smile, Dante Falcone had made her feel wonderfully, sweetly, hopelessly sixteen, all over again.
Even though Lacey is still a fan, she hides it now, as she feels it would interfere with her work, especially since Dante is a client of the agency where she’s employed. Her true self, who feels free to revel in his music and in appreciation of Dante’s looks and performance skills, is hidden beneath her businesslike daily behavior.
Dante, while appearing to be a former teen pop idol who’s created a more enduring career for himself as an adult, has more on his mind than stardom. He’s grown exhausted with nonstop adulation, and is in search of the next step in his life. He’s the reverse of Lacey; appearing decadent on the surface, while underneath feeling and being anything but.
No one really seemed to interest him anymore. Instead he had this endless, aching need for—something. Some sense of purpose he’d lost along the way. Some reason why he should keep playing the game. He supposed that was the point of the meeting with IMO tomorrow, to put him on a different path, give him something new to think about. He doubted it would work, but it was worth a shot. Or at least that’s what he’d told himself.
The contrasts between the two, as well as their similarities, are intriguing, but what I most liked about this novel was its portrayal of Lacey’s fandom. Teenage girls are often mocked for their crushes, or seen as inadequate in some area of their life, or portrayed as pathetic. Lacey’s dedication to Dante Falcone and his music, though it changes over time (and changes quite a bit after she actually meets him), is still a constant in her life, and shapes the career she’s chosen for herself. She uses her knowledge of fandom and of being a fan to accomplish her goals, even while at times herself deprecating her “secret crush.” In the end, her inner knowledge of what a star can mean to his fans—and what lies beneath the stardom—is a vehicle for not only their romance, but a springboard for new opportunities for both of them.
Rock It is a fun entry into the subgenre of rockstar romances, and has some interesting things to say about stars and their fans, as well.
Learn more or order a copy of Rock It by Jennifer Chance, out now: