February 18, 2016

REVIEW & EXCERPT: Fade Into You (Shaken Dirty #3)

It seems like I've been waiting forever for the next Shaken Dirty book, and it's finally here! Even better - it's Wyatt's story. Check out my review and an awesome excerpt that gives you a glimpse into Wyatt's incredible talent.

Fade Into You (Shaken Dirty #3), by Tracy Wolff
Publish Date:
February 15, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Brazen
Format: ARC, provided by the author and TRSOR Promotions
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Wyatt Jennings has been called a lot of things by the media. Bad-boy rocker. Intense drummer. Addict.

Finally out of rehab and desperate for a fresh start, Wyatt rejoins his mega-platinum rock band Shaken Dirty as they prepare for their world tour. But Wyatt’s demons are never far behind, always nipping at his heels for one. More. Fix.

Enter Poppy Germaine, the band’s new social media consultant. A beautiful bombshell who somehow manages to get underneath Wyatt’s skin, Poppy’s an addiction Wyatt can get behind. And even though she’s with the label—and therefore off-limits—he craves her. Needs her.

Except Poppy isn’t actually a social media consultant. She’s the daughter of the label’s CEO, sent undercover to babysit Wyatt and keep him from falling off the wagon again. Proving herself to her father is Poppy’s only goal—until she finds herself in Wyatt’s bed. But if Wyatt discovers the truth, it could send him spiraling all over again…

Tracy Wolff's Shaken Dirty series just gets better and better. I love all the band members and how close they are to one another. I also like how the integration of their women, one by one, makes the group dynamic more fun and interesting. 

Wyatt has been painted as the troubled member of the group in previous books. He is also the heart of the group. So, when the heart gets sick, the entire whole suffers. Wyatt's drug use came to a dangerous head in the book prior to this one, and he was sent off to rehab. And it was clear that this weighed heavily on all the band members. 

And now Wyatt is back, and the record label is understandably worried. So, they send in the owner's daughter (incognito) to make sure he's not in danger of falling off the wagon. But, Poppy sees much more than she thought she would. She sees the love these friends have for one another, and the struggle that Wyatt goes through every day to stay clean, and the brilliance each of these guys have at music.

"Jared might be the leader of the band, Quinn might be the heart, and Ryder might be the soul, but you, Wyatt, you are the backbone of this band. You give them their shape, their sound, you hold all of them together. If you break, they all break."

I think my favorite thing about Fade Into You is that Wyatt is far from perfect... and Poppy is perfect for him. I was worried that Wyatt's return to glory would be too easy. And, getting over something like a heroin and alcohol addiction is ANYTHING but easy. But, Tracy Wolff did a wonderful job portraying the constant struggle that Wyatt goes through in order to stay on the right path. 

He is also constantly riddled with guilt. His additions cost his friends millions of dollars. No one trusts him anymore. He's considered a liability by his record label, and it's not hard for Wyatt to see himself the same way.

And yet, here they were. Jared, Ryder, Quinn. Backing him, even knowing it was a sure bet that he was going to fuck up again. Standing by him even though it had already cost them more than they should ever have to pay.

But, Poppy changes everything. She doesn't change the difficult job he has ahead of him, but she makes the road a lot more bearable. She gives him love and affection and acceptance. And, she's totally in love with his mad drumming skillz. And, who wouldn't be? Wyatt is BRILLIANT. 

This was the best Shaken Dirty book yet. And now with a new member, we still have a few stories to go. 

For a man who’d spent years, decades, running from his emotions, it was a strange place to find himself. It scared him.

She scared him.

Eyes still closed, he laid down the first of the drum fills, adding a few extra flourishes because that’s how he was hearing it in his head. Played through the whole song from memory, then did it again and again, embellishing it a little more each time through.

It didn’t take long for his arms and pecs to start aching—it had been too long since he’d played the drums on a daily basis—but he played through it, pounding away at the skins with everything he had in him.

Fourth time through the song, he switched to “Closer,” then to “In the A.M.,” then to “Deified.” By the time he’d run through those a couple of times, his biceps were burning, his hands throbbing. And still he didn’t stop.

Instead, he switched on the recorder he always kept next to his drum kit and started wailing away, playing the beat that had been in his head since he’d seen Poppy waiting for him in her doorway last night, arms open and face welcoming. The melody had started then, in the back of his head, and by the time he’d had her up against the wall it had been a towering crescendo of drumbeats that he couldn’t ignore even if he’d wanted to.

Which he hadn’t. It had been too long since music had burned inside him like that.

He played the song through the way he heard it, keeping a fast thirty-two-beat rhythm on the hi-hat while he worked the snare, the bass, and the floor tom in alternating rhythms. It sounded good, really good, and as he banged out a long, elaborate fill on the toms and crash cymbals, he knew he was onto something.

Though all he was doing was laying down the beat, he could hear the song in his head so clearly. Jared coming in with a quiet but pure guitar presence while Quinn took front and center with his keyboards. Bass—whoever the fuck that turned out to be—would hang back with Wyatt, playing low to underscore. And Ryder…fuck, Ryder’s voice would own this song. He would destroy it. Just the thought sent excitement rioting through him.

Usually, Wyatt and Quinn were the music guys, while Ryder and Jared did most of the lyrics. Every once in a while, though, a song would come to him fully formed, like “Seventeen Again” had, an early version of the lyrics tearing through his head even as he pounded away at the drums.

This song was like that, the words running through his brain like a rain-swollen river, pouring out of him as fast and powerfully as the music had. Even knowing they weren’t perfect, he sang them aloud, let the recorder get every syllable.

When it was over, he ran through the song over and over again while everything was still fresh in his mind. Playing and singing, singing and playing, until his shirt was drenched in sweat and his arms felt like they were going to fall off.

And still he played. Still he wailed away at the drums like the demons of hell were after him. Or worse, like the sins of his past had finally caught up to him after all the years he’d run and all the drugs he’d used to keep them at bay.

And maybe they had. Maybe they had.

Since he couldn’t do anything about it, he played instead.

Long after sweat rolled into his eyes and poured down his face.

Long after his shoulders and biceps and pecs cramped up.

Long, long after blisters formed between his fingers.

He played and played and played, like these drums were the only thing standing between him and hell. And like getting this one song right was his only chance at salvation.

At one point, the blister on his right index finger cracked open and started to bleed. He grabbed one of the clean towels he always kept next to the kit, tore a strip off it, and kept playing. When his left index finger followed suit a couple of minutes later, he did the same thing. And then he played through that, too.

The pain was there, his nerve endings sending agonized alerts to his brain, but he ignored them. Compartmentalized them. Put them in a part of his brain he didn’t need to access to play, and then concentrated on the music. On the beat. Right now, it was the only thing that mattered.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Tracy Wolff collects books, English degrees and lipsticks and has been known to forget where--and sometimes who--she is when immersed in a great novel. At six she wrote her first short story--something with a rainbow and a prince--and at seven she forayed into the wonderful world of girls lit with her first Judy Blume novel. By ten she'd read everything in the young adult and classics sections of her local bookstore, so in desperation her mom started her on romance novels. And from the first page of the first book, Tracy knew she'd found her life-long love. Now an English professor at her local community college, she writes contemporary romance and erotic romance as Tracy Wolff, paranormal romance and urban fantasy as Tessa Adams and young adult novels as Tracy Deebs.

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