Mal Ericson is getting his own smack down by love from none other than Anne Rollins. Ok, so you shouldn’t know Anne until this book, but you met Mal in the first on, Lick. Mal is the drummer for Stage Dive and doesn’t take too much seriously. Needing to make a good impression, he comes up with a crazy scheme when he meets Anne at a house party for his friends, Ev and David (Lick). Drunk off his ass, he declares his love for Anne and decides he is moving in with her.
Anne is kind of a doormat. She’s a wonderful person, who is misguided in a lot of ways. When her roommate moves out without notice, Anne is left in a touchy situation of needing money for the rent and not having a good way to make it on her bookstore clerk salary. At her friend Ev’s party she takes a phone call and unbeknownst to her, Mal overhears her dilemma. The ensuing conversation between these two is hilarious. Mal can’t really be taken seriously when he says he is moving in.
Well, he does. The very next day. He moves in and takes over Anne’s life making her a deal. He will pay her bills and she will be his fake girlfriend. She just needs to make sweet gooey eyes at him and all will be well. He gets to call her pumpkin and she gets to slowly fall in love with the drummer she had posters of in her room growing up. He starts texting her with all his good humor.
Mal: Did magazine quiz. We need help. Especially you
Mal: Booking us couples counseling. Tues 4: 15 alright?
Anne: We are not going to counseling.
Mal: What’s wrong? Don’t you love me anymore?
Anne: Turning phone off now.
Scott, Kylie (2014-03-25). Play (Stage Dive Series Book 2) (p. 70). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.
But Anne has a plan. You see, Reece, her boss, is a man whore, but once he is done with all the lovely ladies, she thinks he will settle down with her. Until then she plays the best friend and employee…until Reece realizes what he has given up and tries to make a play for Anne as well. When Reece comes over unexpectedly, you get this type of humor from Mal.
“Pumpkin, if you’re still walking straight, my work here is clearly not done. Hell, we haven’t even gotten around to breaking in the new couch yet.” He turned to Reece, enjoying himself way too much if the light in his eyes was any indicator. “She’s worried we’d stain the material. Like I wouldn’t just buy her another, right? Women.”
Scott, Kylie (2014-03-25). Play (Stage Dive Series Book 2) (p. 78). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.
Mal doesn’t have an off button, but somehow Anne starts to learn how to deal with him. She sees some of his shenanigans for what they are, deflection from the true issues.
And so this is how most conversations with Mal go and you can’t tell when he is being serious and when he is really just playing around. One fact I came back too on this is that Mal had a normal childhood with sisters. He isn’t into drugs, does get drunk some, but not what I would call an alcoholic. I kept try to figure out why it was so hard for him to be serious a lot of the time and really didn’t come up with anything other than the reason he needs a fake girlfriend.
Now the really funny part? Anne’s apartment is tiny and has thin walls. So Ev’s best friend Lauren can hear a lot of what is going on. I really wondered why Mal moved in with Anne other than the fact he didn’t think Anne would accept the fake girlfriend offer.
Anne also has a younger sister she is helping to put through college. There’s also Anne’s mother who needs to just leave Anne alone. But her sister is pretty cool and tries to protect Anne from heartache.
“That’s a lie!” I cried, breaking out into a cold sweat.
“Did she write it on her inner thigh? I bet it she did, the minx.” Mal grabbed my wrists, holding them against his chest. An effective means of stopping me from beating him bloody. “Did she draw little hearts with arrows sticking out of ’em too?”
“I don’t know.” My beloved sister settled into the wingback, crossing her legs. “But she did practice signing her name as Anne Ericson all the time.”
Scott, Kylie (2014-03-25). Play (Stage Dive Series Book 2) (p. 135). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.
Now there is something going on in Mal’s life and he’s not telling anyone about it. He’s dealing with by getting a new girlfriend in Anne, but also by banging out on the drums. He runs with Jimmy, their lead singer, who is out of rehab. As Anne learns to deal with Mal, she figures him out and starts to see the good in him that he hides. Their love grows over the course of Mal dealing with issues and Anne offering the comfort he needs. He provides the love Anne desperately needs.
I laughed so much throughout the entire book. I usually get tired of this type of humor, but it worked so well for Mal and Anne. The story is told entirely from Anne’s point of view and I grew to love her just as much as I did Mal. She was strong when he needed it, but also didn’t put up with his bullshit. Once she got how he worked, she worked him.
“Ah, man,” he sighed, shaking his head slowly, mournfully. “I’m not sure I can stick my dick in a woman who doesn’t even know who John Bonham is.”
“‘ Stick your dick in’?” I asked, my brows probably touching. “Did you actually just say that?”
“Make love. I meant make love … of course. I would never just stick my dick in you. I would make mad, passionate love to this sweet, sweet body of yours for days, no, weeks. It would be beautiful, pumpkin. There’d be little angels, and birdies, and you know … all just hanging around, watching. Perverts.”
“Right. You are so full of shit.” I smiled, cautiously, climbing to my feet.
Scott, Kylie (2014-03-25). Play (Stage Dive Series Book 2) (pp. 175-176). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.
It all came down to a sexy story that I want to already read again. Each character comes to life and I feel like I am Anne living the story. I laughed so hard, squirmed in lusty joy over the sex scenes and cried when it truly was heartbreaking. I never wanted it to end and I find myself counting the days until I have time to re-read it! Another book I can say with certainty…READ IT!
Need more Stage Dive? Read where it all started and meet Mal for the first time!
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