Rock star romances can be a mixed bag for me, but Gray had me at “cinnamon roll writer” and Emory and River’s incredibly unique meet-cute. As their interactions progressed, Gray also provided me with one of my favorite tropes ever (idiots in love) as Emory and River both try to hide their (sometimes low-, sometimes high-key) obsession with each other. Note here that the obsession definitely falls on the romantic end of the spectrum rather than the creepy. River might initially indulge in some stalker-ish tendencies, but it always comes across in a way that implies he would be respectful of Emory’s limits. Alas, Emory has fairly few, and soon, the obsession between them ratchets the heat up to 11.
Sure, a huge chunk of the conflict in the romance arc would have been eliminated if these two men had employed some mature communication skills. But Gray sets up their characterization and histories in such a way that I bought how Emory and River try to protect their hearts and emotions. I also found myself thoroughly invested in the drama with the rest of the band, which became an engrossing secondary conflict with a few surprising twists. I’m already looking forward to the next book in the series because Gray has set up an intriguing backstory between Iris and Caspian.
Overall, this is a solid romance that leans into the tropes of its subgenre in ways that enhance the story rather than making it seem stale. It’s safe to say that I’m pretty obsessed with these characters myself, and I hope to catch glimpses of them throughout the rest of the series.