A Cruel Kind of Beautiful: Book 1 of the Sex, Love, and Rock & Roll Series
Michelle Hazen, author
If you can’t get to the Big O, can you get to the happily ever after? Jera McKnight loves music, swoons for hot guys, but sucks at sex. Jacob Tate is her perfect storm: a pun-loving nude model with a heart as big as his record collection. When a newspaper-delivery accident lands him in her living room, he’s almost tempting enough to make her forget she’s never been able to please a man—in bed or out of it. Sure, he laughs at her obscure jokes, and he’ll even accept a PG-rating if it means he gets time with her, but he’s also hiding something. And it has everything to do with the off-limits room in his apartment. Jera pours all her confusion and longing into her drum kit, which pays off when her band lands the record deal of their dreams. Except just like Jacob, it might be too good to come without a catch. She doesn’t know if her music is good enough to attract a better contract, or if she’s enough to tempt a man like Jacob to give up his secrets—even if they could fix her problems between the sheets. But if this rocker girl is too afraid to bet on herself, she might just end up playing to an empty house.
Hazen (Fill Me) tees up her Sex, Love, and Rock & Roll series with a middling rock music–themed contemporary set in Portland, Ore. Aspiring musician Jera McKnight has sworn off relationships. Then Jacob Tate, who has a job delivering newspapers, accidentally sends one sailing through her window at 4 a.m., and she’s charmed by his efforts to apologize. Their lives couldn’t be more different. Jera’s focused on making music, and her band, the Red Letters, is managed by her formerly famous father. Jacob, once a baseball star at the fictional Portland University, lost both his parents in a car crash; a year later, he’s trying to support himself and his siblings with lousy jobs like the paper delivery route. Though Jera worries that her band is only “dive bar good,” an appearance at a local music festival leads to a record deal offer—but is it the right one? Jera’s trust issues make her relationship with Jacob rocky. When he confesses a family secret, she becomes distractingly obsessed with it. Readers will be confused by her continual efforts to stay emotionally detached from Jacob despite him being a perfect boyfriend. Still, the indie music scene reads as authentic, the pacing keeps the story humming along, and the big twist is one readers won’t see coming. (BookLife)