Toni wants to be an insider.Logan just wants inside her.
She’s finally ready to rock…
Toni Nichols set aside her dreams to raise her little sister, but now she’s reaching for the stars as the creator of a revolutionary interactive biography about Exodus End. She’s on tour with the rock band to immerse herself in their world, but how will she ever gain the trust of four veteran superstars who’ve been burned by the media before? Nobody said this was going to be easy. Then again, good things can come in hard packages.
He’s always ready to roll…
Adrenaline junkie Logan Schmidt lives for the rush of playing his bass guitar before thousands of screaming fans. When he’s not performing onstage or in the bedroom, he’s looking for his next thrill in extreme sports. So why does a sweet, innocent journalist get his heart pumping and capture his full attention? Is Toni the real deal or just digging up dirt on his band? Logan’s eager to rock Toni’s world and roll her in the sack, but when she starts to get too close to his heart, she takes her insider look to a place he may never be willing to go.
“You missed the best part,” Logan said with a soft chuckle. “I didn’t get hurt.”
“But you could have!” She still hadn’t removed her hands from her eyes.
“I could get hurt standing in the middle of an open field.”
“True,” she said, “but the odds of that happening are a lot less.”
“You can’t live your life by the odds, lamb. Besides, bungee jumping isn’t all that dangerous. Do you want to see something really dangerous?” he asked, tugging at her wrist.
“I’d rather not,” she said.
“Ah, come on. You already know I didn’t die.”
She lowered her hands and looked up at him. He really did seem to be excited about this stuff. Maybe she was overreacting. She glanced down at his video screen, and stretched before the camera was a spectacular view of a cerulean blue ocean. A waterfall spilled from the ground beneath the shot, water thundering over rocks on its way to the sea.
“I’m not going down that way,” yelled a voice on the recording. Steve’s face came into view as the camera turned in his direction.
“Then why in the hell did you climb up here?” Logan said onscreen. Toni couldn’t see him, but he sounded close.
“Up is my thing. Down is yours,” Steve said.
“How do you record the footage?” Toni asked, leaning closer to the screen for clues.
“I’m wearing a headcam. Maybe you’d like to borrow it while you’re following the band around. It would free up your hands for taking notes on napkins.”
He laughed—and she knew he was laughing at her—but a headcam was a wonderful idea. Why hadn’t she thought of it?
Toni gripped his wrist excitedly. “Could I really borrow it?”
“Sure. Now you have to watch.” He nodded toward his screen.
“You’re not really going to jump, are you?” Steve asked on the video.
“No fear,” Logan yelled, and suddenly the waterfall was the only thing in sight and seemed to slow until it stood still. Or maybe it was just falling at the same rate as the man who’d just jumped off the cliff. There was a brief glimpse of the craggy rocks sending water spraying toward the camera, then the rapidly approaching surface of the water below. Toni didn’t see the rest—she covered her eyes again—but over the rumble of the falls she could hear Logan yelling exuberantly.
“What a rush,” Logan said beside her. “I need to do that one again.”
There was a tremendous splash and gurgling sounds as water closed in around him.
Toni didn’t uncover her eyes until she heard the distinctive sound of him surfacing and taking a deep breath.
“Fuck yeah, that was awesome!” he yelled on the video as the camera, with its view now partially blocked by water droplets, panned far, far, far up the waterfall and cliff face. “Come on, Steve. Get your ass down here!”
“You’re insane!” Toni heard Steve yell from a great distance. His voice was nearly drowned out by the sound of the waterfall. “I’m insane!” And then there was a loud whoop as Steve launched himself over the cliff.
Toni covered her eyes again. Yes, she knew that Steve hadn’t died that day either, but holy shit, he was almost as fearless as the man beside her. And here she was practically afraid of her own shadow.
She heard Steve screaming in terror all the way down, heard his entry splash. When he surfaced, he coughed several times and then yelled at Logan, “That fucking hurt like hell!”
Logan just laughed. “If I told you it hurt, you never would have jumped. But it was fun, right?”
“Spectacular,” Steve said.
Logan shut off the video. “You can uncover your eyes now,” he said into her ear. His tone revealed his amusement at her terror.
“You could have died!” And she did uncover her eyes. So she could slap him on the chest.
“But I didn’t.”
“Jeez, I must bore you to tears,” she whispered, not sure she actually wanted to voice that thought aloud.
“Do I look bored?” He grinned at her crookedly.
“Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow.”
“Maybe never,” he interrupted.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
*ARC Given to Blog for Honest Review*
4 “lamb” “justfriend” “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” Kisses
I love Rock Stars. A lot. Part of the reason for that love is because of Olivia Cunning. Her Sinners on Tour series changed me completely and started my obsession with both her writing and the rock gods she creates within the pages. To say I was excited about the spin off series for Exodus End would be…the fucking understatement of the century. I’ve basically been waiting for this book since 2012…patiently…desperately…excitedly waiting…and after Insider, I can already tell this is going to be another amazing series.
Antonia ‘Toni’ Nichols…oh Toni Toni Toni…*sigh* – I challenge anyone to not love this girl. She’s so naïve – but it’s not in an annoying way, like…at all. It’s in an incredibly adorable, totally endearing way. And I think that’s because the naïvety comes from being unexposed to things ‘most’ people are exposed to while growing up. When her father passed away unexpectedly when she was 15 years old, it thrust her into the role of caregiver/substitute mother for her special needs sister…a role she took to like a champ but it kind of stole her adolescent years and forced her to grow up and be more mature. She’s an amazing big sister…like off the charts, you couldn’t dream of a better sibling and her love for Birdie makes her even more amazing in my eyes. But there are a lot of amazing things about Toni…her heart in general, could not get any bigger if she tried. She’s insanely companionate and loving, she internalizes other peoples emotions and just taps in so purely to whatever they are feeling and it’s like nothing I’ve ever read in a character. It made her so special and so unique, I really loved that about her. She’s quirky and weird and goofy…all things that made me love her more. As she is exploring what life is like outside of her comfort zone, she’s learning a lot, but I think going out into the big bad scary world and experiencing new things is exactly what Toni needs.
‘Laughing, probably about her wearing pajamas, the guys headed up the bus steps in single file. Except Logan. He lifted a hand touched her cheek with his fingertips. His thumb brushed her trembling lips. “A sweet lamb left to fend for herself in a den of wolves. Whatever will we do with you?”
“What do you mean?”
“I’ll see you inside.”’
Logan Schmidt…playful, fun loving, wild child bassist of Exodus End. I wasn’t expecting his story to be first, but he was definitely a pleasant surprise. His personality is truly one of a kind…he’s totally the class clown, the type that you’re never really sure when he is being serious because he’s that good at pulling off a joke with a straight face. He’s a total manwhore…huge…so of course, I had a soft spot for him right away. He’s an extreme dare devil…motor cross, sky diving, bungee jumping…if it’s an adrenaline rush and there is a risk of getting hurt – he’s totally there, balls to the wall and with a huge smile on his face. He’s kind of a lose cannon…which is both a good thing and a bad thing because the only time he really flies off the handle is if/when he’s truly passionate about something…because Logan really doesn’t do anything half ass. But Logan is damaged in his own way…he didn’t grow up knowing true love…his family life was rough and he holds a lot in – expressing and experiencing emotions is not something that he’s really comfortable with. Which is part of the reason why his hard and fast lifestyle has worked so well for him. But Toni changes everything…
‘“Next time it will be all for your pleasure. I won’t let myself get so carried away.”
As if she was going to argue with that.
“And then the next time, you’ll teach me to suck your cock, right?” she said.
He groaned and wrapped both arms around her to give her an enthusiastic hug. “Woman, you’re going to get me hard again if you aren’t careful.”
Was that supposed to be some kind of warning? She took it as more of a challenge.’
There is so much about these two that I could not get enough of. First of all, they seriously could not be more polar opposite in just about every way, which works out perfectly for their chemistry. She’s the innocent little lamb…and he’s the big bad scary wolf…it’s almost comical how well that fits them in every way…but put the two of them together and things just ignite. Sweet little innocent Toni never expected Logan, in any way shape or form…but at the same time, I know Logan may have had his expectations about what he wanted with Toni, the feelings that came along with it were completely out of the blue. They’re both facing uncharted waters and while it got messy at times, it really fit well with who they were as individuals. Logan and Toni aren’t your average guy and girl…and neither is their relationship, but that’s what I liked most about them. He’s playful and brings that out in her and she unleashes a protective and caring side of him that he’s never experienced. He’s giving her sex lessons (which, for the record, are the best thing in life) and she’s basically…for lack of a better way to call it….giving him an emotional education. All of it came together for an truly special connection between these two that I thrived off of…was completely sucked into…it was magical and just sheer bliss.
“I’m good at paying attention.”
He scowled. “I’m not. The only thing I’m good at is being a fuck-up.”
She rubbed his worried brow with her fingertips until his flesh relaxed beneath her touch. “You’re not a fuck-up, Logan. You’re . . .” Wonderful. She sighed internally, not wanting him to know how infatuated she was with him already. Or maybe her jumping into his bunk with him was a dead giveaway.
“Prove it. Name one thing I’ve done in the past twenty-four hours that wasn’t impulsively stupid.”
“Impulsive, yes, stupid, no. You’re a creature of instinct.”
“So now I’m a creature?”
“A man,” she corrected. “A sexy one who I can’t stop thinking about, even though I know I should be paying attention to my work.”
“I have the same annoying problem when it comes to you.”
“You don’t have to say things like that to get into my panties,” she said with a grin.
“But I do to make you smile.” He kissed her, and she melted against him. His lips moved to her jaw. “Besides,” he whispered, “it’s true.”
I hate talking about what I didn’t love but as many Olivia Cunning books as I have read, I have a certain expectation and the fact that it felt short for me at all is like poison on my tongue. But I’m honest to a fault…and there were a few things that didn’t work, so I guess it’s time to rip off the band aide. I’m a complete sucker for insta-love…give me the right emotions with the right couple and I’m totally there and on board…no questions asked. Toni and Logan are insta-love…kinda – on her side, 100% – but it felt natural for her. I mean, she is the ‘cliché virgin’ but I didn’t mind that and she’s got her own uniqueness that made her stand out and be different in my mind but when she was in love after 48 hours I was a little…disappointed. I had feelings…lots of good, wonderful, positive, amazing feelings…but I didn’t feel the love yet. I think a few more days establishing them with conversations, stretching out their interactions slightly, things like that, and I would have been sold. Then, with Logan’s yo-yo act, I started to get a little frustrated…once he explained where he was coming from, I got it and I was on board…but I never really felt like he had that ah-ha moment where everything clicked and I felt that change of heart in him…and I think for me to really feel their love, that was what I needed. Like the moment when he finally said ‘I love you’ and he really meant it – the setting and everything was awesome…but the way it was presented I was like, what? Wait…did that just happen? And I almost didn’t want to believe it…because of his inner thoughts and everything. When it came down to it, I truly got their connection…it was there and it was amazing and I loved most of it.
‘She smiled softly and shook her head. “You don’t have to lie to save my feelings, Logan. I’m a big girl.”
“I’m not lying.” He lifted her hand from her lap and kissed her wrist. “I wish I could fast-forward time a couple of hours so the show would be over and I could teach you more about making love,” he said. And you can teach me how to love someone.
She wrapped her arms around his head and hugged him to her abdomen. “Why are you so nice to me?”
His chuckle was muffled against her belly. “I have ulterior motives.”
“Making you mine.” Shit. Why had he said that? He was showing his cards much too soon.
She slapped his shoulder. “Don’t say it if you don’t mean it.” He wished he could say he didn’t mean it. He didn’t particularly want to be so far gone. Ah, what the fuck—he liked her. A lot. She was just going to have to learn to live with it. If he could admit it, surely she could accept it.
“I mean it, Toni.” He untangled his head from her grasp so he could look up at her. “I really do like you. And it isn’t just lust.” For once in his dick-led life. “I can’t stop thinking about you. Even when you’re not in my bed, you’re in my head. It’s driving me crazy. I’m not sure how to handle it.”
She smiled, and he saw her feelings displayed clearly in her eyes. “You’re going to break my heart someday.” She released a sigh and stared over his head as she spoke. “I really like you too, Logan. But maybe it’s best if we pretend the only thing between us is lust. If I fall for you . . .” She shook her head and closed her eyes.
“You don’t trust me with your heart.”
He wanted to say she should, wanted to say that he’d never hurt her, but he, more than anyone, was aware of his track record with women.
“That’s something you’ll have to decide on your own.”’
Don’t get me wrong, even with the minor issues I had, I still completely enjoyed this book – I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face…and when I wasn’t smiling, I was drooling over the boys, or the sexiness between Toni and Logan…there really wasn’t a point when I didn’t enjoy what I was reading. All of that can be attributed to one main factor…Olivia’s writing. Her combination of endearing and loveable characters, engaging storylines, flat out perfect dialogue and sinfully delicious sex is something I’ve never seen. It gets me every time and I never want the spell to be broken. The depth and detail that she puts into her characters, whether it’s the main couple or not, is absolute perfection. I feel like I know every single one of them…and it’s something that can’t be replicated, it’s just a feeling that I get when I read…either it happens or it doesn’t and it’s so powerful with her characters. I also have to say…her sex scenes are some of the hottest I have ever read. Unique, carefully tailored to fit the couple perfectly, never over the top or tasteless…just pure, amazing, red-hot sex.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to be a bother. I just got a little worked up when you kissed me.”
Logan chuckled. “A bother? You’re kidding, right?”
He wrapped a lock of her hair around one finger and tugged. “You are no bother,” he said. “What you are, Miss Nichols, is a distraction.”
“Isn’t that the same thing?”
He shook his head. “I wouldn’t want to be around a bother. I can’t stop thinking about or wanting to be near a distraction. Does that sound like the same thing to you?”
There is so much packed into this book…that’s part of what I love about the first book in a new series…we get to fall in love with a new couple and then see all the building blocks for what is to come. We get to meet all of the other band members, get the feel of the group overall and how they all interact and gel together…and I’m getting all excited and squirmy because the chemistry and connection between the guys is just as crucial as it is between the couple. So Exodus End is comprised of five people:
• Dare Mills – Lead Guitarist (original band member)
• Steve Aimes – Drummer (original band member)
• Maximillian Richardson – Lead Singer (original band member)
• Logan Schmidt – Bassist (original band member)
• Reagan Elliot – Rhythm Guitarist (substitute for Max)
Every single one of them is so incredibly beyond words perfect that I almost don’t know what to do with myself. The Bro-mances are off the chart…and I l-o-v-e-d every single aspect of it. Plus…Exodus End is an older band (these guys are in their 30’s – and Oh-Em-Gee…that totally made them hotter!) so there is mountains of history –some good, some bad and some ugly…and we barely scratch the surface. Every detail I got made me hungry for more and I’m so excited to see what Olivia does with the rest of the Exodus boys. And the fact that Exodus End Series connects into The Sinners on Tour Series…just…I can’t even tell you. Happiness feels EXPLOSION for me. The Sinners aren’t a major part of the book…but they make their appearances here and there, and with Trey (Sinners rhythm guitarist) being the younger brother of Dare and the boyfriend of Reagan…the bands aren’t going to be cutting ties anytime soon – which is perfectly fine by me!
“You’re lying.” She hoped.
“Why do you say that?”
“You can’t even look at me, Logan.” She touched his hand, surprised when instead of drawing away, he turned his hand over to clutch hers in an iron grip. “At least look at me while you break my heart.”
“I don’t want to break your heart, Toni.” He lifted her hand and pressed it into the center of his chest. His heart thudded against the back of her hand. “Not when seeing you upset breaks mine.”
The ending was…a little quicker than I expected. After the shit hit the fan, my heart was worried about how everything was going to affect Toni and Logan, but luckily, like everything else, it fit so well with the characters, so there wasn’t drama for the sake of drama and things weren’t drug out unnecessarily – and I really appreciated that. I got my HEA…it’s not ‘final’ but then again, it never is with these books because we’ll see more of Toni and Logan as the series continues, but I was really happy with where things were left off. So…in case it wasn’t obvious…I am so ready for Outsider. With the events that happen in Insider, the buildup is perfect and I am already too excited to see what will happen with Reagan, Trey and Ethan. Because of Double Time…I already know the characters…this is just a continuation of their story, so I feel like my excitedness is multiplied by a million. Either way, I know Olivia will blow their story out of the water.
Combining her love for romantic fiction and rock ‘n roll, USA Today Best-Selling Author Olivia Cunning writes erotic romance centered around rock musicians.Raised on hard rock music from the cradle, she attended her first Styx concert at age six and fell instantly in love with live music. She’s been known to travel over a thousand miles just to see a favorite band in concert. As a teen, she discovered her second love, romantic fiction — first, voraciously reading steamy romance novels and then penning her own.
Olivia’s first book in her Sinner’s Tour Series, Backstage Pass, was published in 2010 by Sourcebooks. Book two in the series, Rock Hard, was published in 2011 and the third book, Double Time just released November 2012. The last two books in the series are expected to be out in 2013. Aside from the Sinners Tour that launched her career, Olivia has been hard at work on a few other series and stand alones . . . of course with the music turned up.