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Two years ago everything changed for the remaining members of the Seattle rock band Tempest.
Two years is a long time.
Too long to keep on remembering.
Not nearly long enough to forget.
In trouble with nowhere else to go songstress Lace Lowell seeks refuge with the band during their stop in New York City. It's a risky move for her because they are both there, two impossibly good looking men whose lives are inseparably entwined with hers. One who bruised her heart and one who smashed it into pieces.
Warren "War" Jinkins, the mercurial lead singer of Tempest, has always had a thing for Lace. But then again so does his best friend and band mate.
Bryan "Bullet" Jackson, the sinfully handsome tat-sleeved lead guitarist, has a bad boy reputation befitting his nickname. For the past two years Bullet's had a rule with the groupies: one time, never twice, leave 'em satisfied, but always leave 'em.
Two guys, one woman, and a host of dark secrets all together within the tight confines of a tour bus as the group travels cross country.
Can the past be forgotten and buried?
Will friendships prevail?
Or will the three of them succumb to seductive impulses too addictive to resist?
Irresistible Refrain is an irresistible story of a broken girl and the boy she’s loved since she was little. Music, a fast-paced life and the fact that she’s with his best friend instead of him made this so compelling!
Lace was so very lost, and being back in the Tempest tour bus didn’t really change any of that. Even as she had been away from the band for a long time, she picked up her relationship with War as soon as she came back, even if Bryan was looking at her differently than usual at this time. Irresistible Refrain showed the ugly side of the music industry, especially when it came to War and Lace. Drug-use, not taking care of themselves or each other – they managed to make their own lives very dark and harsh – with little hope in sight.
In Irresistible Refrain, Mankin goes way down into the dark and gritty depths of the characters, and it made them seem so very real, flawed, vulnerable and actually not as confident as they showed the outside world. The drama Lace’s return brought to the band was understandable, and it never felt over the top. Bryan had loved her since they were children, and Lace had loved him right back. However, she started dating War, and then Bryan had to back completely away because he couldn’t go after his best friend’s girl.
The inner turmoil Bryan felt in Irresistible Refrain was so strong I could feel it with him! And Lace was hiding behind a tough exterior, especially when it came to Brutal Strength’s singer, Avery. She had read all about Bryan and Avery, but she really didn’t know anything about what had happened between them at all. The bad feelings, betrayals, hopelessness and desperation were very strong during the beginning of the story especially. However, as Lace finally started to take charge of her life again, she realized that there was more to life than what she had given herself in the recent past.
Written in first person point of view, past tense, the characters really shared their feelings, and there were flashbacks to the past of both Bryan and Lace to help me understand them better. A strong story with flawed characters that were very enticing, Irresistible Refrain got me hooked from the start. Throughout the story, there are chapters from either Lace’s or Bryan’s perspective, and seeing the same story from two different points of view made it even stronger.
Irresistible to Me
Rockstar romances are a guilty pleasure for me when they’re good. Unfortunately, I’ve also read some really bad ones that I had to DNF, and I almost never DNF books. Michelle Mankin is a new author to me, so I didn’t know what to expect with this one.
I’m so glad I read it because it was wicked good. It fed my habit and re-addicted me to this sub-genre. I loved the characters, the plot, the way she told the backstory, everything. It’s funny because so many of the details in this book have been turn offs for me in some other books: a character that’s an addict, a band member with questionable character, hostility within the band. These are usually things I don’t enjoy because the fun part for me is the rock ‘n roll fantasy, and those elements, if overdone, kind of pop that bubble. I mean, I want a good plot with some conflict, but there have been some series that I haven’t continued because I found one of the band members to be too creepy to be redeemed or there was constant fighting between band members, which can be a downer, especially in a series where those other band members will become the leads. However, Mankin uses these elements and pulls it all off. She put her characters through the wringer and brought tears to my eyes a few times, but it paid off for them in the end. Refrain wasn’t so dark as to be a turn off, and it had some meaningful themes without being preachy or heavy handed. In fact, my only criticism would be a couple of minor mistakes in one scene about how the music industry, especially the putting on of concerts, works, but I’ve seen similar inconsistencies in just about every rockstar romance I’ve read so far, and it wasn’t enough to take me out of the story. She got most of the details right and made you feel like you were actually on tour with the band.
The backstory is told through flashbacks, a lot of flashbacks, so be warned if that bothers you. It can bother me, and it took a little getting used to at the beginning, but the author made it clear what time period it was before any shifts, and it was an effective way to show details about the relationships between several of the characters instead of telling a long, boring narration before the main story even started. Also, the POV alternates between Brian and Lace, another device I often don’t like, but it was done very well here. She divided the points of view by chapter and prefaced each chapter with either “Brian” or “Lace” so you’d know which character was narrating. I enjoyed seeing both points of view and understanding the thoughts between each character’s actions. What annoys me the most about POV shifts is when you jump from one character in the middle of an important scene to another that’s not involved in that scene, so you have to wait to find out what happens. I hate that. It doesn’t happen in this book. I never felt frustrated that she cut away at a bad time.