Oct 3 2012 4:00pm

I Love Rock ’n’ Roll (Heroes): Rock Stars in Romance Novels

Electric guitar image by Jsome1 via Flickr Creative CommonsWhen I was thirteen years old, I attended my very first concert, and it was Rick Springfield's. *swoon* He was my first rock star hero crush. I was convinced he would see me in the crowd, fall madly in love with me, and we would be married. If you read my byline, you’ll see my last name is NOT Springfield. Alas, it was not meant to be, though I’m secretly convinced he mourns this everyday.

From that day on, I’ve had a love for bad boys. Especially those in bands. In my teens and twenties I tended to gravitate towards boys who played in bands, especially if they played guitar—guitars made me hot. The more intense and broody they were, the more I was attracted. I even married a bad boy, though his days of raising Cain are over and he’s more apt to rage against the grill than society.

Public Secrets by Nora RobertsNow I get my rock star hero fix through books. Rock star heros aren’t a new trope; Nora Roberts’s Public Secrets, released in 1998, chronicles the life of rock star legend Brian McAvoy as seen through the eyes of his daughter Emma. Dramatic characters, intense storyline, and plenty of humor and sex, Public Secrets is a complicated mystery thriller that left me thoroughly satisfied at the end. It’s a yearly reread for me. Adrian Phoenix's The Maker’s Song series is a PNR whose hero is a vampire rock star in the band, Inferno. Dark and tortured, it’s only when Dante meets his love, FBI agent Heather Wallace, that his life and his problems truly begin. A very dark and intense series that stretches your limits.

Lately, though, we have seen an onslaught of rock star hero books. What is the appeal of these books? Do we women instinctively love the challenge seemingly unattainable man? Does the fame attract us like moths to a flame? Is the power they seem to weld an aphrodisiac?

Laid Bare by Lauren DaneTwo very popular fictional rock stars are Adrian Brown and his sister, Erin, the hero and heroine siblings in Lauren Dane’s Brown Sibling series. A deliciously erotic romance contemporary series that follows the lives of the Brown siblings and their friends. Laid Bare introduces Erin Brown. A former rock star, a tragic past has her living back home in minor seclusion. When a former boyfriend re-enters her life, ready to take what he couldn’t handle before, Erin has to decide if she is ready for the commitment he seems to want. Laid Bare hits all the right spots with its sensual writing, sexy characters, and a storyline that burn the pages up.

Her brother Adrian’s story is told in Never Enough. A successful rock star who finds out a one night stand resulted in a son, Adrian finds himself not only falling in love with his son, but also the woman who is raising him. When secrets from her past threaten their relationship, Adrian’s lack of trust could destroy them all. Lauren Dane lays it on the line in here and holds nothing back as we see the other side of a rock star’s life with the lack of privacy and the intrusive hold the public has on them.

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn RigaudThough I'm not usually a huge fan of Jane Austen-esque books, Heather Lynn Riguard’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star is a delightfully sexy modern contemporary romance based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The book is based on two bands, one all male and one all female, who go on tour together. Riguard manages to infuse her storyline with all the basics of Pride and Prejudice yet contrives masterfully to make it 100% her own story. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll permeates the story as we watch these two bands struggle to find common ground on and off stage. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the bad boy lead singer of Slurry. Sexy, dark, and brody, he is every girl's wet dream, but we soon find out that there is a lot to Darcy that the world doesn't see...and the one woman who does see it, is the one woman he doesn’t trust at all.

Thoughtless by S.C. Stephans is a New Adult series following the romance between hottie local rock star hero Kellan Kyle and his best friend’s girlfriend Kiera. Kiera’s boyfriend leaves town for a job and Kiera cannot handle the separation. So she begins to lean on her boyfriend’s best friend and roommate, Kellan. We watch as Kellan and Kiera get close, their relationship going from casual flirting to serious attraction, while wondering what will happen when Kiera’s boyfriend comes back into the picture. Well written with plenty of sexy scenes and emotional highs, many readers who adore complicated relationships will love Thoughtless.

“I want to be someone's everything. I want fire and passion, and love that's returned, equally. I want to be someone's heart.”

The Mighty Storm by Samantha TowleThe Mighty Storm by Samantha Towle is a deliciously sexy new adult novel about second chances between a sexy rock star and his childhood sweetheart. The cover alone begs you to buy the book. Jake Wethers, the big, bad, tattooed alpha rock star, will steal your heart and your panties in here. Similar to SC Stephan’s Thoughtless in story arc, Jake and Tru both have to deal with their re-emerging feelings for one another, each other’s pasts, and Tru’s current boyfriend.

“I loved you from the moment I knew how to love.”

A little known but utterly captivating book that left me speechless was How to Kill a Rockstar by Tiffanie DeBartolo. A raw, edgy, beautifully voiced love story between a Eliza,a young music journalist, and Paul, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band. Not a romance in the true sense, DeBartolo writes of love, betrayal, heartache, loss, and acceptance. She speaks of sacrifice, fear, and taking risks. I absolutely adored Paul as his tortured, unable to conform soul speaks volumes in his love for his music and his love for Eliza.

“There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a person over and over every time you lay eyes on them, especially when you hate their goddamn guts.”

Olivia Cummings writes two erotic series based on rock stars. Both her Sinners series and her Sole Regret series follow two bands with some very, very bad boys. Each book follows a band member and the woman who completes them. Very erotic and borderline bdsm, you're guaranteed to want your very own rock star hero once you're done reading these.

So tell me...what rock star hero makes you go groupie?

Electric guitar image courtesy of Jsome1 via Flickr


Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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Lynne Connolly
1. Lynne Connolly
My first book for Ellora's Cave, back in 2005, was "Sunfire," the first Pure Wildfire book. There were four in that series, and they've been consistent bestsellers. Mind you, they're paranormals. The members of the band are firebirds!
Now I'm doing a contemporary series with rock stars, "Nightstar," and it's already doing well, with only the first one out.
IMO, these books have to be hot, right up to erotic. Rock stars don't live pretty lives, and they don't play nice, most of the time. But that's part of their appeal, right?

"Pure Wildfire" was my down and dirty rock series - Led Zeppelin, Metallica, straight-down-the-line guitar rock.
"Nightstar" features Murder City Ravens, and they're a kind of devilish cross between Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails and Massive Attack. So if you're asking - Ed O'Brien from Radiohead and Robert del Naja from Massive Attack.
Glass Slipper
2. GlassSlipper
I'm so happy to see this topic! I've been unsuccessfully trying to find some rock star romance heroes. The only ones I could find had threesomes and/or the hero messing around with other women after meeting the heroine, which I don't like to read about.

I'd like to try some of these. Are there any here that I should avoid due to having the content I listed above? Any help would be appreciated! :)

PS - Does anyone know of a master list somewhere with Rock Star romance heroes? I found a short one on Goodreads.
mandy troxel
thanks for posting these i love stories like this. love the whole rockstar bad boy thing as well, thats why im with a guitar player lol!
Vanessa Ouadi
4. Lafka
I'm a huge fan of Olivia Cunning's Sinners on Tour and One Night with Sole Regrets series _ the rock stars are sexy as hell, the sex scenes hot and the romance sweet, love it! Plus, I like that the rock background isn't just the occasion to bring on bad boys _ Olivia Cunning loves rock music and you can feel it through her books, she quite knows what she's writing about.

In Barbara Elsborg's Stranger, the hero is a depressed rock star with a dark past. I adore this book.

Kristen Ashley's Rock Chick series is quite good too.

Rather young-adult, Abbi Gline's Breathe involves a rock star male character.

And Emily Snow's Devoured is on my wishlist _ it will be published next week, and promises to be quite dark and steamy.

I haven't read Mighty Storm yet, but I'll definitely give it a try.
5. Torifl
GlassSlipper-funny, thing, in most of the newer rock star books, it's the heroine who cheats. If cheating isn't your thing then avoid Thoughtless and Might Storm. In both, it's the heroine who cheats. There are some threesomes in Olivia Cumming's Sinners On Tour series.
6. Jessie D
I have to admit I was never really a fan of rock star romance until I read Sophie's Turn by Nicky Wells. The author totally captures that building obsession that starts when a teenaged girl falls for her rock idol, meets him for the briefest of encounters, and then moves on with her life... probably subconsciously comparing all future boyfriends to HIM.

Then, when she's in a "nice, healthly, long-term" relationship and almost-engaged, the rock star crashes back into her world. Cue whirlwind romance, love triangle, and drama.

This isn't your run-of-the-mill erotica or breathy-sex-scene novel - it's better. Real characters, real emotions, real locations and experiences and LOTS of romance and sexual tension you can feel coming off the page.

By halfway through, I couldn't put it down. I was staying up 'til 3am just to find out what would happen next. It perfectly captures rock-star romance. Just thinking about it, makes me want to read it again - LOL!
7. pwm in mi
Gateway to Heaven by Beth Kery has a rock star hero and was very good!
Tonya Burrows
8. TonyaBurrows
I've always wanted to write a story about a rock star hero, but the right character just hasn't come along yet. Maybe someday....
9. Torifl
JesseD-Oh, I like the sound of Sophie's Turn by Nicky Wells. Thanks.

pwm in mi-I have read one Beth Kery book. I didn't know she wrote a rock star one. Thanks!
10. Klass
Perfect Timing, I love the rock star story line, just fininshed Groupie by Ginger Voight, waiting for the next book.... just d/loaded The Mighty Storm, sounds good....
12. Nae28
At the moment, my rockstar fix is anything by Olivia Cunning and Jet Mykles (m/m).
13. Jill B
Though she's not still writing, LaVyrle Spencer's "Small Town Girl" is worth seeking out. The heroine, Tess "Mac" McPhail, is one of country music's rock stars but family issues bring her home -- where she does *not* receive Star Treatment (most especially from the aggravating boy/man next door.) I enjoyed its realistic "inside" look at the music industry.

@GlassSlipper -- if you've not already discovered it, Lauren Dane's "Laid Bare" has one of the most better-known threesomes of its genre. And yet it evolves in an organic, very mutually respectful way.

For many of us of a certain age, the Rock Star fantasy has deep-seated roots. Mine could likely be traced to David Cassidy and "The Partridge Family" re-runs. My mother once said there was a similar awe/fascination with Rick(ie) Nelson as he performed a song at the end of the "Ozzie and Harriet" episodes. With the turns made by MTV and VH1, much of the Disney channel programming today ("Hannah Montana" and others) probably serves to keep this fantasy life alive for your younger generations.
Lynne Connolly
14. Lynne Connolly
I wouldn't exactly classify the Partridge Family, Ricky Nelson or Hannah Montana as rock stars!
Rock is a definite genre, which may blend with others, but it definitely isn't on children's TV! I loved the Beatles and the Stones, which is fairly soft, and Radiohead, who use techno and trance.
I do dislike books that portray a rock lifestyle as a sanitized, sweet thing. Most of the books here most definitely don't fall into that category!
15. Jill B
@lynnec, to clarify, my comment about the various TV musicians was to speculate about how one's life-long fascination with popular music and musicians is likely to become so deep-seated because it claims us in our childhood. (Much like princesses and the whole royalty genre starts with the *very* young thank's to Disney's interpretation of classic fairy tales, etc.) As adults, the fascination is still there, taken to a whole new level -- and probably is a part of why this genre is so successful.

That said, I understand that while The Partridge Family was decidedly packaged as bubble-gum, David Cassiday's real-life concerts and lifestyles were not. (Perhaps you should look up his Rolling Stones mag cover...)

And isn't that contrast between REAL life and the one PRESENTED part of what makes the genre work so well? Much of it seems to focus on the sensitive artist underneath an edgey exterior -- but isn't it just as compelling (perhaps in a train-wreck-watching sort of way) to see the Real Person chafe at the restrictions set by one's public persona?

The demise of the Partridge Family (while still a commercial success!) was basically because DC could't take the bipolar lifestyle any more. Also consider the "shocking" news when Disney-blessed musicians Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and Christina Aguliera worked to separate themselves from the metaphorical bondage of their public personas. Even Donny Osmond (agreed, not "Rock") once planned to be publicly "busted" for illegal drugs *simply* to try to change his public image; he vetoed the plan at the *last* minute.

Alternately, in a recent radio interview, I was a bit stunned to learn KISS' Gene Simmons (he's "rock," right?) has been chemically clean his whole life! Paired with his deliberate *non-celibate* lifestyle in his younger days, think of all he experienced and felt without dulled senses!! Suddenly I'm more fascinated about his auto-biography ...

Be it the hidden "softie" dedicated to one's family OR the hidden hardened human trying to determine just where one's *personal* boundaries are located, aren't these episodes of "inner-conflict vs. the public persona" all things that make for very engaging fiction in the hands of a skilled author? Toss in a passionate romantic interest with issues of their own? Delicious!
Lynne Connolly
16. Lynne Connolly
I just found the juxtaposition strange. Being British, the Partridge Family didn't impinge on us so much, although the Monkees were as huge over here as they were in the USA. David Cassidy was a big success as a solo artist here, and he is invariably bubblegum to me.
The rock markets, lifestyles, ambitions, are so very different, even these days, to pop.
Yes, I knew that about Gene Simmons, but Kiss were a bit of a manufactured band, too, although they did manufacture themselves, rather than having it done from outside!
It's just that I've read a few "rock" books recently that have disappointed me, because the writers don't seem to understand the difference between the music genres. Not the ones you mentioned, by the way, some of which I'll definitely look up when I've finished the Nightstar series (I don't read in the same genre I'm writing in for obvious reasons).
There are few music genres I can't listen to. Ultra-modern jazz, modern classical (I go up to Benjamin Britten and come to a screeching halt, and I do mean screeching) and country and western, I suspect because I wasn't brought up listening to it.
By the way, when I sent a book in to Harlequin Presents with a rock star hero, I was told (I still have the letter somewhere) that the Presents line didn't consider rock stars to be alphas!
My first musical crush? Paul Mcartney!
17. Rachel Cross
Katarina Bliss "What the Librarian Did" Very good rock star romance.
Carmen Pinzon
18. bungluna
@Rachel Cross - I love Karina Bliss. She's an auto read for me.
19. Leah22
Love a good rock star read! Jessica Topper's "Louder Than Love" was incredible and very different than your average groupie-meets-bad-boy type rock book. The writing was very lush.
20. WolframWM
My absolute go to for this is Nalini Singh's Rock Kiss series. Awesome. However, for people looking for more fun books along the Rock Band way (and I tend to be anti-cheating so most should be considered safe for that stuff. Side note: there is some debate about what constitutes cheating and some are crazy opposed to the 3rd full book in the Rock Kiss series. I didn't struggle with it.)

Terri Anne Browning - The Rocker series
Kylie Scott - Stage Dive series
Kristen Callihan - Idol (new and I am really looking fwd to book 2)
Mariana Zapata - Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin (Another Favorite - but heads up - it is a slow burn, in case that troubles you)
Cari Quinn with Taryn Elliot - Lost in Oblivion series (though I think I remember there being some menage action in the first one or the novella between 1 and 2)

Also, I am about to start the Devil's Share series by L.P. Maxa but I haven't read it yet to recommend.
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