Title: Come Undone by Madelynne Ellis
Rock Hard Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins UK
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Word Count: 92,000
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
On stage he’s dynamite. Off stage he rocks her world.
When red-hot, Goth-metal band, Black Halo, split live on stage, fate throws Daniella Fosbrook into the path of sexy vocalist Xane Geist. Initially, Xane’s only looking for a ride home, but Dani tempts him in a way a thousand other women haven’t. Determined to explore their heady chemistry and avoid hashing things out with the band, Xane whisks Dani off to Monaco for a steamy weekend.
There, Dani tries her best to hang onto her heart and some clothing, while Xane soon loses both. However, Xane isn’t being entirely honest about the reason for the band’s demise.
When the truth comes out, can Dani accept the facts, or will everything come undone?
Come Undone, the first novel in Madelynne Ellis’s addictive Rock Hard series, is a delectably steamy erotic romance. But it is also an emotional story that will tug at the heartstrings as Xane Geist, lead singer and co-founder of Black Halo, is dealt a devastating blow by not only his lover, but his bandmates as well. Meeting Daniella “Dani” Fosbrook on the heels of the band’s break up, Xane is charmed by her refreshing interest in the man behind the rocker, but will her insecurities and personal demons withstand the revelation of his deepest secrets?
Dani is a good girl who is still trying to break free of her deeply religious upbringing. One of her biggest rebellions is her longtime devotion to the metal band Black Halo. She is drawn to Xane and his raw, heartfelt lyrics have helped her through the darkest times in her life. Despite her x-rated fantasies about Xane, Dani is not the typical groupie and when she first meets him, her concern for his emotional well-being overrides her attraction to him. Although she knows she is taking a big risk getting involved with him, Dani cannot resist the rakishly sexy rocker when he implores her join him as he tries to avoid the press.
Xane is an incredibly complex and multi-layered character. Estranged from his siblings, Black Halo is his surrogate family but it is his childhood friend and bandmate Steve that he is closest to. Their close friendship is complicated by their relationship with their keyboardist, Elspeth, and their shocking news sends Xane reeling. But what hurts Xane the most is the lack of support from his fellow band members and he just cannot keep pretending that he is ok with their treatment of him. This also coincides with Xane’s need for a more normal life and some downtime from their hard rocking lifestyle.
The relationship between Xane and Dani is a fabulous mix of intensely erotic interludes and genuine emotion. At first, Xane is cynical of Dani’s motives but he quickly realizes her interest in him extends beyond who he is. Of course he is also intensely attracted to Dani, but their connection is just as emotional as it is physical. Neither freely gives up their secrets and while there are hints dropped along the way, it takes most of the story for them to reveal their respective issues. Their sex scenes are scorching hot and plentiful, and Xane does a wonderful job drawing out Dani’s sexually adventuresome side but he never pushes her farther than she wants to go.
The secondary cast of characters is mostly made up of Xane’s band mates and it is hard to like them because they are so dismissive of Xane’s feelings. They are pushy and unbelievably self absorbed, but once about the entire truth is revealed, they become a little more likable and sympathetic. Dani’s friend, Ginny, is vivacious, carefree, fun and much more experienced than Dani and she convinces Dani to give her relationship with Xane a chance.
Come Undone is an exciting rollercoaster ride that is full of strong emotions but all in all, it is mostly angst-free. The characters are deeply flawed but sympathetic and their inner demons are believable. Madelynne Ellis’s brings the novel to a shocking conclusion that will leave readers eager and very impatient for the next installment of the Rock Hard series.