Book: Rock Hard
Author: Olivia Cunning
Rating: 3.75 Stars
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Read an Excerpt
Olivia Cunning continues her stunning wet dream of a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy in Rock Hard, the sequel to Backstage Pass. This time Cunning focuses her story around the bands’ lead singer and veteran wild boy Sedric Lionheart who must come to terms with the woman he let get away.
Cunning uses a softer touch this time in comparison to Backstage Pass-that debut stunned and licked a fiery path of erotic decadence through each and every page. In Rock Hard, readers might be surprised at Cunning’s softer take to Sed. All Cunning’s delicious cues in Backstage Pass set Sed up to be the virtual bad boy from hell-with an insatiable sexual appetite that provided daily fodder for the paparazzi and tabloids. In reality, he is anything but.
When his girlfriend Jessica breaks it off with him after a bitter disagreement regarding the course of their relationship, Sedric loses himself in a mindless cycle of groupie flesh and alcohol. Existing in a perpetual state of denial, Sed is reluctant to admit that his affection for Jessica might have actually been love.
After leaving Sed, Jessica struggles to carve a path of her own that is solely dependent on her brains rather than her beauty. She is determined not to relive the mistakes her mother made, and her dream of attending law school has finally become a reality. But still, Jessica is hard-pressed to forget Sed.
She finds that funding law school purely on scholarships is simply not enough to make ends meet. When her scholarship is jeopardized, Jessica makes a tough decision to dance at a Vegas strip club for the summer to sock away the money for school. Little does she know that when she steps out on the stage one night as “Feather” that Sed will be in the audience…
Readers will not have a problem liking or even loving Rock Hard. The romance between Sed and Jessica is fraught with the typical he-said-she-said issues, hurt feelings, and provides a great deal of tension for Cunning’s story. The sensual situations are hot and frequent as Sed and Jessica have the habit of hooking up in public places. But their couplings provide moments where they endeavor to discover their deeper feelings.
But the overall flavor of the sequel is on the bland side. Whereas Backstage Pass (my favorite) was full of exploration and uninhibited situations (and love!), Sed and Jessica are purely vanilla and their relationship denouement is somewhat predictable. Cunning delivers some plot excitement in lieu of sexual enterprise in Rock Hard though-Trey is seriously injured in the fight to rescue Jessica from strip club hell and the ensuing exhibitionist liaisons between Sed and Jessica lead to a voyeur filming them that ultimately turns into a media nightmare.
Another conflict highlight is the David-versus-Goliath fight that Jessica embraces against her law school after her illicitly recorded video goes viral. In those moments Cunning’s female lead truly shines and the already strained relationship between she and Sed has a greater impact.
I liked Rock Hard, but Backstage Pass is dearer to my heart. I look forward to the next book thanks to Cunning who dropped yummy hints here and there about Aggie and Jace (!!) Hopefully they will be next in line to have their story told.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat)