Title: Music of the Heart (Runaway Train #1)
Author: Katie Ashley
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
For Abby Renard, the plan was supposed to be simple—join her brothers’ band on the last leg of their summer tour and decide if she’s finally ready for the limelight by becoming its fourth member. Of course, she never imagined stumbling onto the wrong tour bus at Rock Nation would accidentally land her in the bed of Jake Slater, the notorious womanizing lead singer of Runaway Train. When he mistakes her for one of his groupie’s, Abby quickly lets him know she sure as hell isn’t in his bed on purpose.
Jake Slater never imagined the angel who fell into his bed would resist his charms by promptly kneeing him in the balls. Of course, the fact she seems like a prissy choir girl makes her anything but his type. So he is more than surprised when after betting Abby she wouldn’t last a week on their tour bus, she is more than willing to prove him wrong. But as Jake’s personal life begins to implode around him, he finds an unlikely ally in Abby. He’s never met a woman he can talk to, joke with, or most importantly make music with.
As the week starts comes to a close, neither Abby nor Jake is ready to let go. Can a sweetheart Country songstress and a bad boy of Rock N Roll actually have a future together?
Reaching over, I tapped his chest. “Such a good heart in there.”
His hand closed over mine, and he pressed it flush against his shirt. “You don’t know what it means to me that you’re able to see that through all the bullshit.”
“I see you a lot better than you’d ever imagine.”
“And?” he prompted.
I swallowed hard under the intensity of his stare. “I like what I see. A lot.”
He then brought my hand to his mouth and tenderly brushed his lips across my knuckle.
“I’m glad to hear that.”
My heartbeat thumped like a cannon blast in my ears, and I was sure Jake could hear it. Just when he leaned closer to me, a voice boomed from below the stage, “We’re ready when you are.”
His eyes momentarily closed. “The worst fucking timing,” he grumbled before turning to the guy. “Thanks Joe. We better get this show on the road.”
“Show?” I questioned in a squeak.
Jake turned back to me. “Yeah, last night after your phone conversation with that assmunch—”
“Garrett,” I corrected.
“Whatever. Anyway, I thought about how scared and nervous you were at the prospect of not getting much rehearsal time to duet with the douchebag, so I thought I could help.”
Suddenly Joe was at my side thrusting a microphone into my hand. “Jake, what’s going on?” I asked.
“You’re going to practice your duet to where you’ll be perfect for Sunday night.”
He waved his microphone at me. “We’re going to sing it together.”
“What?” I practically screeched.
Ignoring my shock, he said, “I know it won’t be the same since we’re going to have to use canned music. I mean, the guys wouldn’t have had time to learn the song, but I know all the words.”
I thought back to this morning when he’d had his headphones in, and my heart shuddered to a stop. “You memorized the song?”
“Sure did.” He winked at me. “Lucky for you, I’m a fast learner.”
“I can’t believe it,” I murmured.
Jake grinned as he tucked a stray strand of hair behind my ear. “Are you ready to rock this arena?”
If I had any doubts before about the depth of my growing feelings for Jake, they evaporated in that moment. I’d been with him for all of forty-eight measly hours, but somehow I had fallen for him. Wait, how was that even possible? I’d always scoffed at the notion of love at first sight. Stuff like that didn’t happen. Sure lust at first sight, but love?
But now as Jake stood before me, I wondered if it could be true. Well, it was partially true since right after I laid eyes on him it wasn’t love, but anger that I felt, especially when I nailed him in the balls.
“Angel, did you hear me?”
“I asked if you were ready?”
“Uh, yeah, sure.” I cleared my throat and tried to catch my breath. How the hell was I supposed to sing when my breathing was so erratic?
Jake appraised me with a skeptical look. “Are you sure? Your face has turned green like you’re about to puke.”
A giggle escaped my lips, and I covered my mouth. “I guess I’m just nervous.”
Jake’s eyebrows rose in surprise. “Seriously? It’s only me here.”
You’re exactly what makes me incredibly nervous. “I know, but I haven’t really done any warm-ups or scales either. I might sound like a sick cow or something.”
He waved the microphone in his hand dismissively at me. “You don’t need to do any of that. I mean, what are rehearsals for, right?”
“If you say so.” I then bobbed my head. “Let’s do it then before I lose my nerve.”
Jake winked at me before calling, “Okay, hit it, Joe.”
Within seconds, the music came blaring through the arena, causing me to jump. Jake brought the microphone to his lips, “I really hate to let this moment go,” he began.
I couldn’t move—it was like I had been shot with a taser gun and was completely paralyzed. I didn’t blink or even draw breath. I just stood staring at Jake as he sang his lyrics with passion and feeling. It was only when he stopped singing that I came back to myself.
“Cut the music!” Jake shouted. Once the song came to a halt, Jake gave me a puzzled look. “What happened?”
“Um, you didn’t chime in with the chorus.”
Oh God. I had been so totally enthralled by Jake’s voice and performance that I had completely forgotten to sing. “I—uh—I guess it was nerves that got to me, and I blanked,” I lied.
With a smile, he reached over and rubbed my arm. “Come on, you don’t need to be nervous. Just tune out everything around us and focus on me and the music.”
Yeah, right, focusing on you was what got me in trouble to start with! I decided it would be better to focus on the music along with the lyrics I should be singing. “Okay. Let’s try it again.”
“Again Joe!” Jake called.
This time I was just as into Jake’s performance as I was before, but I managed to come in with my part at the chorus. When my voice echoed through the auditorium, I jumped, which caused Jake to bust out laughing. “Hey, you totally messed me up this time!”
He held up his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry. But if you could have seen the look on your face!”
“Jake,” I growled.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry.” He turned to gaze off the stage. “Sorry Joe. Let’s take it from the top again.”
This time we made it through without any problems. When it came time for me to sing alone, I kept my gaze locked on Jake’s the entire time. The gleam that burned in his eyes made me shudder, but I kept my focus and eventually became entirely lost in the music. The lyrics had so much meaning for what I was experiencing with Jake. I wanted to stay right there in that moment with him for as long as I possibly could.
When the music came to a close, Jake grinned. “You did it, Angel.”
Katie Ashley is the author of the phenomenally successful and stunningly told books, The Proposition and The Proposal. I must mention those two books because they were fantastic reads with well-developed characters. If you haven’t read them, you need to get them on your TBR list now!
Music of the Heart, Ms. Ashley’s newest release, is a tale of a beautiful virgin, who has traveled with her family as missionaries, and a rough- talking manwhore of a rock star. They fall into each other’s lives and go about changing one another. For better or for worse–that is up to the reader to decide.
The heroine is twenty-one-year-old virginal nursing student Abby Reynard. Her three brothers have a successful cross-over Christian band. Therefore, she has grown up around the music industry. Abby was like sunshine on a Sunday afternoon, and she is written as such. She is a sweet and very likable character, but she could have had more of a backbone!” Ask me at that age for a three-way and you are going to get more than a one-line reply. No, the fact that she is a virgin doesn’t excuse her too-good nature. I found Abby to be a very engaging character, but I wanted to slap her and ask her if she missed the disease transmission classes in Nursing School.
Side note, I actually called my niece, who is an RN and a little older than Abby. I described the characters, situation, and planned seduction and asked if she would throw away all of her knowledge for unprotected oral sex with a manwhore who has admittedly slept with hundreds of women. One of these women, Bree, has been sleeping her way through rockers as well. A man who has had sex inebriated on different occasions–hmm how much safe sex was he having? Anyhow, my niece’s response was the same as mine, “You have got to be kidding me?” I simply don’t understand how Abby could be concerned about unprotected sex (unwanted pregnancy) but wasn’t fazed by unprotected oral sex.
Now the hero, Jake, is like an ADHD thunderstorm. He is so emotionally stunted that someone needs to slap him upside the head… hard. Some of you may know the southern expression, “Some people just need killing.” Well Jake just needs repeatedly kicked in the balls with silver-capped, pointed-toed cowboy boots. Are we supposed to forgive Jake the rock star manwhore for being an ass because his mother is dying? I don’t even think his mother would have forgiven him for being an ass to Abby aka Angel. I, as his mother, would have cut him a new one, dying or not, if I knew that because of my diagnosis he decided to get “trashed” and asked a sweet, innocent girl for a three-way. She raised him better than that. Yes, he self-medicates, but man-up Jake! I would have preferred more groveling in his repentance. Jake has walled himself off from any emotional attachments with the opposite sex. He is still that teen boy who was dumped by his first love. Yikes! Abby has her work cut out for her.
What I wish Ms. Ashley would have included more in the book was Abby and Jake’s relationship after his confession to try a relationship. I truly wish Ms. Ashley wouldn’t have fast forwarded the book. I would have liked to have gotten inside their love story. For me to go beyond a sweet, likable character like Abby, I needed more fire in her belly. I needed more glimpses into the inner-Jake, so like Abby, I could forgive him each time “her royal” makes an ass out of himself.
The best, most well-written parts of the book are those of Jake and his mom. In those scenes Ms. Ashley hits a high note, as they are the most moving of the book and written true to life. I recommend Music of the Heart for its cute and funny moments and for those scenes in which Jake’s heart is wrenched from him.
FOLLOW THE COMPLETE TOUR
BARNES AND NOBLE | AMAZON | SMASHWORDS
Katie Ashley is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of The Proposition. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her two very spoiled dogs and one outnumbered cat. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.
She spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.
She also writes Young Adult fiction under the name Krista Ashe.
Where to Find Katie: WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS