Author: LJ Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rock Star
Rating: ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
A one-night stand born from vengeance in a foreign land.
An explosive chemistry neither of us could deny.
We signed a contract on the back of a Boar’s Head Pub napkin that said if we ever met again, we would drop everything and be together.
Eight years and thousands of miles later, he’s here.
In New York.
And he’s America’s music obsession.
The intangible Irish poet who brings record executives to their knees.
The blizzard in my perfect, unshaken snow globe.
Last time we spoke, he was a beggar with no intention of becoming a king.
But a king he became, and now I’m his servant.
I’m not the same broken princess Malachy Doherty put back together with his callused hands.
I have a career I love.
A boyfriend I adore.
An apartment, a roommate, a life.
I changed. He changed, too.
But Mal kept the napkin.
Question is, will I keep my word?
Excerpt . . .
I’ve never seen someone like him before.
He is beautiful, true, but that’s not what stands out to me. He is radiant.
It’s like his presence has a presence. He sucks the air out of everything in his vicinity, making it impossible not to look at him. Malachy is tailor-made for a huge, colossal heartbreak. Everything about him—his tattered jeans, filthy boots, white shirt, and leather jacket that was broken in decades ago—screams trouble. He looks like a seventies heartthrob. An icon. A Terry Richardson muse. Bruce Springsteen pre-fame.
His voice is like honey and warm spices. It lulls me into a place in my mind I’ve never been before, even though it’s far from beautiful. It is gruff, throaty, and smoky. When someone bumps my shoulder to get closer to him, I snap out of my reverie and realize what I’m listening to.
“One” by U2.
The coincidence is strange. I try to tell myself it’s nothing. This is Ireland. U2 is a national treasure.
His eyes are squeezed shut as he sings. It’s like no one exists other than him and his guitar. Something warm rushes through my skin, like a heat wave, and I shudder in delight.
I always thought there was something melancholy about street performers—the way people walk past them, ignoring their music, their art, their passion. But this guy, he’s the one doing the ignoring. The tables have turned. He’s got the crowd eating from the palm of his hand. Every woman here is under a thick, sweet spell. He’s got that Harry Styles quality that makes girls want to bed him and older women want to adopt him. The men are a cross between impatient, annoyed, and jealous. You can see it in
the way they tap their feet, check their watches, nudge their wives and girlfriends to move it.
The song ends, and Malachy Doherty cracks his eyes open and stares directly at me, like he knew I’d be here. Like he watched me watching him through closed eyes. Disoriented—and for some reason wanting to do something, anything—I throw a bill into his guitar case and look away, realizing to my horror that I threw the fifty euros his grandpa gave me. Everyone around me murmurs and whistles. They think it was intentional. I can feel my face flaming red. I bet he thinks I want to sleep with him.
Do I? Probably. But should he know that? Hell no.
Even though both protagonists annoyed me I still needed to keeping reading. Something about it just pulled me in and I had to know what was going to happen. What was interesting about the writing was the multiple voices that were included. Each character added their thoughts and their piece of the story that built up the bigger picture. It also allowed these individuals to explain their actions and, in part, change the views of the reader about their character. Of course for me, there was one character in particular that I despised. Her fake kindness and warmth did nothing to imbue her to me and then later her actions with Mal made me realise that in my eyes, she couldn’t redeem herself. Her actions were inexcusable. One character however left me feeling mixed because while she was protecting her loved one, her actions went too far in her quest to shield her child. LJ Shen caused mixed emotions throughout the story for me but the ending actually left me feeling content. While I didn’t agree with a lot of the actions of the characters, I was happy with where they ended up in their journey.
About the Author . . .
Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets people's’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.
She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.
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