Series: BALEFIRE #2
Publication Date: AUGUST 26, 2021



My entire life is my music—and all the trappings that come with it. Sex, booze, and rock ‘n’ roll is all I ever wanted. Touring the world as the lead singer of Balefire, I have it all. Until on hiatus, I meet the girl next door.

Ashleigh Baker is nothing like the groupies and celebrities who usually have all my attention. In her cute floppy hat with her knees stained with dirt, she spends her days creating a flowering show piece from her rented yard. She’s the most gorgeous woman I’ve ever met, and she acts like she doesn’t want a damn thing to do with me. But from the moment I laid eyes on her, she’s all I can think about.


Growing up the only child of an Air Force Colonel, all I wanted was to stay in one place for more than a minute. When I score a pretty little house with a long-term lease, I just want to grow my flowers and my freelancing gig as a music reviewer. Then a loud Harley wakes me from a sound sleep and I discover my neighbor is Blu Connolly. Yeah, that Blu Connolly, lead singer for my favorite band Balefire. With his killer good looks and panty-melting voice, he’s a walking temptation to sin. Though I do my best to avoid him, it seems Blu has other ideas. He’s on a mission to wear me down, let him in, but what happens when he stops wanting to sing for me?


Rating: 4/5

I’m a sucker for rockstar romances so there’s no way I would miss out on this one. This book was by far my favorite rockstar romance book due to how the story wasn’t as stressful as the vast majority of rockstar romance books even though the stressful part was only a little bit and doesn’t last long.

When I said stressful I mean the unnecessary or unwanted drama, the miscommunications, the misunderstandings, and don’t get me started on the whole ‘cheating’ stuff that usually happens because the hero’s a rockstar and he can’t keep it in his pants. Rockstar romances are very predictable. I knew the pattern of this kind of story and yet I still read this kind of story even though I usually just DNF it. Honestly, it depends on how extremely worse the story is actually.

This is a story of Blu Connolly the rockstar, and Ashleigh Baker the part-time teacher and part-time music reviewer. What I expected from this story was that they pretended to hate each other but the more time they spent together ended up with them jumping each other’s bones, and something would happen when things are going right for them which ended up in a miscommunication and misunderstanding, and them taking a break from their relationship but eventually they would get back together living their happily-ever-after life because they solve the problem.

Turns out I was right, again. When I said I knew the pattern of this kind of story, I wasn’t kidding. It was too predictable, thanks to my experience in reading many rockstar romances. Does this make the book good or bad? I would say it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t really good either. Still, it was interesting enough to keep me entertain, and I do find it to be quite an enjoyable story.

This book gave me a small-town rockstar romance vibe. That was the vibe I get from the story, and I really dig it. I really enjoyed seeing both Blu and Ashleigh spending their time in the town they’re living in without Blu’s rockstar life interrupting him and Ashleigh. His bandmates doesn’t appear too much in this story which was fine by me because I truly appreciate the author putting the focus on these two more than the music scene which includes Blu’s bandmates, his manager, and anything that are related to his job as a rockstar. The scenes which include those music-related stuff did appear in the story eventually but it was toward the end, so it doesn’t take up much space in the overall of Blu and Ashleigh’s story.

I liked seeing a little bit about Blu’s job and watching the dynamic of his group, like how he and his bandmates recorded their music and how are they discussing things about their projects etc. In each rockstar romances, different bands has different dynamic and the way they are working together on their music is different from the other bands in the other rockstar romances. Balefire which is Blu’s band puts too much effort in trying to make their music sound as good as usual, and all the members of the band contribute something to the project which was really cool to see that.

From the rockstar romances I’d read, usually it was the lead singers who did the most because they are the leaders who started their own band, so they handle all the music projects and many more stuff. In this book, Blu’s band doesn’t have to depend on him alone, and he doesn’t have to be the only person in the band to handle things and to make decisions about many other stuff that are related to his band and their music. He has his bandmates with him and they all did their part in creating the best music in the industry which is why their success is on a mega scale. They are all naturally talented people who were born to do something great like this.

Blu is just like any other rockstar heroes. He’s cocky, a ladies man, talented, and too confident that his charming smile along with his good looks and hot body would win the heroine’s heart. Heroes in rockstar romances are like this with an exception of a few who are awkward and shy. The more I read the story, the more it revealed that Blu’s cockiness doesn’t define who he really is as a person. Deep down, he’s a cool guy whose heart is really kind. He loves helping his mom and Ashleigh whenever they needed something. He also cares a lot about the people he holds dear to him.

Judging him just by what he was best known for is wrong because there’s more to him than meets the eye. You think a rockstar on a break would spend their time going to a bar for a drink and take different ladies to warm their bed every night? You’re wrong for that if that’s what you were thinking. Blu is definitely not that kind of person. He’d rather hang out with his friend who live a normal life because that’s what he needs after spending months traveling the world doing a world tour with his bandmates. He needs that normalcy after living a big celebrity life for months even though that normalcy is only for a little while but at least that keeps him grounded and give him more room for breathing. Living a big celebrity life all the time can suffocate the artist.

Blu is overall a good man. It was a mistake to judge him because of how he portrayed himself in the media—a rock god with a big fanbase who enjoys the high of a celebrity life, and a rockstar who loves having too much fun because such life is grand and not many people are lucky enough to live that kind of life. Honestly, this book made Blu looks like he’s a saint the more time he spent away from his bandmates and band-related stuff, and just live a quiet life in a small and quiet neighborhood. I was surprised by how much I ended up liking his character.

Ashleigh on the other hand is a woman who live alone at her new house and loves to do gardening stuff while also working two part-time jobs. From that alone I knew how hard her life has been but she’s an independent woman who depend on no one else but herself. She kept so many things about her life to herself, and she was wary when Blu barged into her life asking her if she needed any help. A man who is known as a famous rockstar whose life is being shown in the media as a player who loves to have fun a lot suddenly become her neighbor then he used his charming smile to charm her? I can’t blame her for being wary of him. After all, it’s easier to get charm by a handsome man but he also can easily break her heart because of who he is in the music industry.

She was smart to be wary of him and to keep his distance instead of giving in to temptation. I salute her for being able to keep herself in control. Most heroines would jump the heroes bones already in the 10th chapter even if they tried hard enough to keep their distance or even if they despised the heroes due to how charming and what a player they are (this is solely based on many romance books I’d read). Seeing Ashleigh being smart enough not to act like that was surprising to me, like this is very refreshing to see in a romance book. I can’t think of a single heroine in romance books who acts like her, I tried to come up with a name but it came up blank. She was definitely a first.

She had all the chance and opportunity to jump into bed with him or at the very least kiss him, but she didn’t. The amount of self-control she had was too strong. I’m proud of her for not giving in so easily but instead she made him work hard for it, as in not only trying to charm her or get her attention but she made him do something so big that made her believe he is ready to be in a committed relationship which he did eventually. She’s an amazing person and a well-written heroine whose heart is both kind and soft. She wasn’t stubborn like most heroines and if she gets hurt, she’s willing to have a proper conversation and ready to hear Blu’s explanation. Unlike many heroines in romance books who got hurt then ran away and when the heroes confronted them wanted to give the full explanation, they refused to listen and continue to be stubborn as if they are teens and not adults. It was so exhausting when things turns out like that but at least it didn’t happen like that between Ashleigh and Blu. The author did a great job handling Ash’s character in this story.

It was also really great to see her doing her gardening stuff. She really loves her plants and flowers. This reminded me a lot of my childhood days when I used to help my grandma with her gardening stuff. I still love gardening but I don’t do it as often as before. Reading this book makes me want to get back into doing it everyday. Aside from that, the book also showed Ash’s working as a part-time teacher which doesn’t have much focus but her other job as a part-time music reviewer is the one that the author focusing on. I understand why the author make her job as a music reviewer important because not only does she have a connection with Blu who is an actual rockstar but she have a strong potential to turn her hobby as a music reviewer into an actual career as a music journalist. I’m happy to find out that she ended up working as a music journalist for Rolling Stone. Talk about a life changing moment here. At the start of the story, she had a hard time getting a permanent job and then the matters with paying rent and bills put her in a stressful situations. I’m happy that her future looks bright for her and it was all thanks to Rolling Stone for hiring her, and find what she wrote so compelling. I have to give credit to Blu too for having a hand in it, he literally called up Rolling Stone to have a meeting with her. Bless his kind heart for wanting to help her.

The romance between Blu and Ash was more to an enemies-to-lovers slow-burn type. She couldn’t stand him and kept accusing him of not being able to commit in a relationship even though at that time she didn’t really know him as in didn’t try to get to know him better. He on the other hand is very persistent and kept pursuing her. What I liked seeing the most was every time she told him that a player like him won’t be able to have a committed relationship because it was in his nature not being able to do that, he got mad at her and was so pissed off because her words struck a nerve. That alone tells me that he is able to change himself and have a committed relationship.

It gets frustrating when she kept saying that as if she knew him as a person while she didn’t. She didn’t even try to get to know him until he couldn’t take it anymore and just took matters into his own hands. He literally said, “you’re my girlfriend now and we’re dating.” He didn’t even give her time to make decisions or space to think. She wanted him but kept it to herself because she was afraid of getting hurt which is understandable due to his rockstar status but she didn’t have a choice. Any choices she would make will have the same answer which is she will end up with him in the end. She tried to run away? Any path she takes only lead her back to him. They’re soulmates and are meant to be together.

When she tried so hard not to be attracted to him and he tried to do anything to get her attention, the tension between them was too hot. It was apparent and anybody can see it. The author done a good job writing a strong build up to their epic and explosive romance. All those sexual tensions and slow-burn leads to a beautiful and extremely hot romantic relationship between these two characters. Blu and Ashleigh’s romance was amazing.

Things has been going great and smooth ever since the moment they met each other, until the last few chapters when a drama and a misunderstanding happened. I thought since the story nearly come to an end that nothing will happen but turns out I was wrong. I thought this book will be the first ever rockstar romance book that don’t have an unnecessary drama trying to tear apart the main couple. It was frustrating to read that part. They had months of zero communication and then when they reunited they got back together after he explained what actually happened, and what went wrong the night of the video shoot. I’m blaming his band’s manager for trying to take away the happiness from them. The book will still do fine without that little breakup drama. I don’t know why there is a need to put a drama in the story especially when things always went on a straight and right lane since the very beginning. Take the drama out of the story, the story will still be great and it literally won’t ruin the already beautiful story.

Anyway, I’m happy for them because that ending was really like what I expected it to be. This book started off pretty much interesting and it ended wonderfully. All the rockstar stuff, the relationship between Ash and Blu, the steam, and the engagement party are all amazing. I’m happy with how this book ended. If you’re looking for a rockstar romance that doesn’t have too much drama, a likable hero and heroine, and a relationship so sweet and yet so hot, then I suggest you to pick this one up.


Tam DeRudder Jackson is the author of the paranormal romance Talisman Series and the contemporary romance Balefire Series. Her favorite “room” in her house is her back patio where she dreams up stories of romance and risk. When she’s not writing her latest paranormal or contemporary romance, you can usually find her driving around with the top down in her convertible or carving turns on the slopes of the local ski hill. The mom of two grown sons, Tam likes to travel, attend rock concerts, watch football and soccer, and visit old car shows with her husband. She lives in the mountains of northwest Wyoming where she spends most of her free time trying to read all the books. Her TBR piles are threatening to take over her office, and she’s fine with that.



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