Matt found himself watching for Anya, too. Looking for a flash of her shiny hair, or the sound of her clomping boots. Nada. He hoped he hadn’t fucked it up the night before. He’d never, ever felt so into a girl before. Like he wanted to pull her apart, see who she was inside, and then put her back together again. He was painfully aware that he was beginning to sound like a creepy serial killer in his own head.
Not that there were many un-creepy serial killers.
“What do you think, Will?” He snapped out of his daydream.
“If Ryder’s not able to sing, can you take the lead on ‘Hanging On’?” Trevin asked from his vantage point, sitting on one of the big black amps in front of the drum set.
“I guess.” Shit, he’d have to spend the day practicing. Which meant he couldn’t go find Anya. “Will I get a run-through before the show?”
“You wuss—what do you need a run-through for?” Ryder stepped onto the stage from the wings. “Anyway, I’m fine. Just have to gargle and spray some kind of salty fluid at the back of my throat.” He held up a large bottle with a prescription label.
All of them laughed except for Nathan who looked bemused.
“Don’t worry, Nath. You’ll understand when you’re older, mate,” Miles said, giving the poor guy a noogie.
“So what’s up with you and that reporter chick?” Trevin asked in such a way that Matt knew it had a double meaning.
“I’ve got her under control. Don’t worry.”
“Her?” Miles swiveled around and raised his sunglasses. “You have ‘her’ under control? How does that work?”
“I meant ‘it’. I have ‘it’ under control.” He couldn’t possibly have Anya less under control. Under his skin, yeah. The rest? Not so much.
“Just be charming. And don’t chuck any of under the bus. Ix nay on our secrets,” Miles said.
“I don’t have any secrets,” Nathan said, shrugging. Lucky bastard.
Trevin stood up. “Okay, I guess that’s us for this afternoon. Nathan, I think you’re up first for makeup today, but check the list on the door just in case.”
Matt made a run for the edge of the stage and jumped down.
“Your knee really seems to be better,” called LJ from the third row of seats. Where had he come from?
“Amazing recovery, really.” His face was static. No emotion. No happiness at his recovery.
Shit. Did he really suspect?
Matt hesitated for a moment and then continued walking. “Thanks to you,” he said as he rushed past the man who had put his brother in rehab.
Don’t let me hit him. Don’t let me hit him.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Cover comment: I'm really liking the covers in this series!
Book source: NetGalley
The Backstage Pass series continues to amaze me with these in-depth stories, likable characters, and swoon-worthy romances. Anya and the Shy Guy is the fourth book and even though it is also fast paced like the others, this one tackles a more serious and topical subject matter: homelessness. Anya has been on her own for years since her mother's addicted to drugs. Throughout she thinks back to her days and the various experiences she faced, either waking up quickly to run away from someone or grabbing free food to store so she will able to eat. She's always thinking and worrying about where her next meal is coming from and where she'll sleep that night. Her writing about homelessness gets her noticed by a popular website and soon she's asked to write about a popular boy band. Anya needs the money.
As it is with Anya, having secrets is an important theme too. Will, the reputed 'shy guy' of Seconds 2 Juliet, also has a whopper of a secret, one he must keep from the pretty reporter sent to trail him for two weeks. Will is actually Matt, his twin, and he's been covering for his sibling who is in rehab. Both of these characters live with such a heavy weight of having their 'lying' about their double lives revealed. I'm not sure I could get out of bed some days dealing with that.
Let me say here that I can't wait to see this band's manager, LJ, get his due. This 'man' will have to answer for everything he's put these guys (and their girlfriends) through.
Forced together, these two make the best of it. Having great chemistry helps too. Anya and Will are the ultimate cool couple. I think I say that with every review of each book, but they are. This story really resonated with me because the characters were tackling such heavy and dark subjects (homelessness, the whole 'double identity' situation and pretending to be someone else out of love, the pressure of 'keeping up a public face' while deep down terrified your secret will be blown, drug addiction, abandonment). With each other, this couple finds their salvation and someone to ultimately trust. Surprisingly, it is the guy who falls quickly for the girl and I liked that.
The 'heavy' scenes were interspersed with plenty of fun, cute scenes between the blossoming couple and the guys in the band, but my favorites were just between Anya and Matt. Their staring up at the stars was so romantic, Matt really stepped it up when they had to hide in the store closet, and I liked watching Anya watch Will and be amazed by his actions. Funny, because lots of times he put his foot in his mouth, and again, pretending to be your twin comes with its own set of pressures.
After reading each book, I always say that that one is my favorite and I'll say it again, Anya and the Shy Guy by Suze Winegardner is my fave (until the next title is released and steals my heart-lol). I'm so so so enjoying this series! Each author tackles one guy in the band and finds them a convincing conflict AND the right girl, while keeping both characters strong and independent. There's drama, music, issues to tackle, and a tender love story. That's a win-win for me and for all readers. Now where's the next book?
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