Lead (Stage Dive Series #3)

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Overview

Stay up all night with the sexy rockers in Stage Dive, the epic New Adult series from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, author of Lick and Play.

Can rock n’ roll’s most notorious bad boy be tamed by love?

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it—now he’s caught up in a life of hard partying and fast women. When a PR disaster serves as a ...

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Lead (Stage Dive Series #3)

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Overview

Stay up all night with the sexy rockers in Stage Dive, the epic New Adult series from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, author of Lick and Play.

Can rock n’ roll’s most notorious bad boy be tamed by love?

As the lead singer of Stage Dive, Jimmy is used to getting whatever he wants, whenever he wants it—now he’s caught up in a life of hard partying and fast women. When a PR disaster serves as a wake-up call and lands him in rehab, he finds himself with Lena, a new assistant hired to keep him out of trouble.

Lena's not willing to take any crap from her sexy boss and is determined to keep their relationship completely professional, despite their sizzling chemistry. But when Jimmy pushes her too far, he just might lose the best thing that’s ever happened to him. Can he convince his stubborn assistant to risk it all and let her heart take the lead?

"I can’t express how much I love Lead and the entire Stage Dive series. Kylie Scott rocks!" –Red’s Hot Reads

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/20/2014
Scott’s third Stage Dive contemporary far outclasses the other two with a surprisingly delicate look at the underbelly of American rock and roll. Jimmy Ferris is the lead singer of a rock band; his brother, David, was the protagonist in Lick. Throughout the series, Jimmy has been a source of worry as he battles substance abuse. Lena Morrissey was quietly introduced in Play as a tough-as-nails lady with the thankless full-time job of keeping Jimmy sober. Scott has hinted that the answer to Jimmy’s trouble would come through love, and here she delivers on that tantalizing promise. Instead of avoiding the tedious and heartbreaking work of sobriety, she goes deep into the isolation and private pain, showing how the cruel kindness of firm-handed love can save a life. While retaining her mischievous and wisecracking signature style, Scott has also brought a tenderness and honesty to the material that is truly delightful. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Praise for the Stage Dive series

“The stuff my rock star dreams are made of.  A thrill-ride. I felt every stomach-dip in the process. And I want to turn right around and ride it again. Every girl that’s ever had a rock-star crush, this would be the ultimate fantasy.” –Maryse’s Book Blog

“This book rocked my world!! Lick is an addictive blend of heart-warming passion and light-hearted fun. It’s a story you can lose yourself in. The perfect rock star romance!” – Aestas Book Blog

"An engrossing, sexy, and emotional read." - Dear Author

“Scrumptious and delicious. Firmly in my top ten best books this year!”—The Book Pushers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250052384
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/25/2014
  • Series: A Stage Dive Novel Series , #3
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 40,412
  • Product dimensions: 5.45 (w) x 8.17 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott is a longtime fan of erotic love stories, rock n' roll, and B-grade horror films. She lives in Queensland, Australia.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

Jimmy was losing it.

The hotel room door shuddered, something smashing loud against the other side. Inside, voices were raised, but the words were indistinct. Maybe I’d just hang out in the hallway for a while. It was tempting. All of this was my own damn fault, I should have been dust weeks ago. The facts were, despite the great money, me and this job didn’t mesh. Every time I opened my mouth to tell him I quit, however, the words disappeared.

I couldn’t explain it.

“Hey.” Ev wandered toward me in a simple black dress, her fingers twining nervously. Her blonde hair had been pulled back into an elegant chignon.

“Hi.”

“David’s in talking to him.”

“Right.” I probably should have worn a dress too, gone traditional. The last thing I wanted was to publicly embarrass Jimmy on a day like today. Only November in North Idaho could be butt-chapping cold. For a native of warmer climates, they didn’t make tights thick enough to combat this sort of weather.

The band and their entourage had been in Coeur d’Alene for just over a week and Jimmy’s mood had been black since our arrival. Worse even than normal. Mal’s mom had passed four days ago, losing her battle with cancer. From what I could gather, Lori had been like a surrogate mom to the Ferris brothers. Their own had apparently been little more than an oxygen bandit, abandoning them early. I’d only met Lori a couple of times. No one could dispute she’d been a beautiful soul.

More muted shouting. Another thump.

“Guess I shouldn’t have gone out for breakfast.” Coffee, French toast, and far more maple syrup than one woman needed, churned inside my stomach. Comfort eating sucked. “Thought I’d beat him back from the gym.”

“You can’t watch him all the time.”

“I’m paid to try.” I shrugged. “God help me.”

“And if you did, he’d fire you for getting in his face. Just like he did all the others. Giving him some breathing room is a good thing.” Ev flinched, another almighty crash coming from within the room of doom. “Usually.”

“Hmm.”

Jimmy didn’t fire all five of my predecessors, some he gently coaxed into quitting. Or at least, that’s how he described it. But I didn’t bother to correct her.

“David will calm him down,” Ev said, her voice absolute.

It was sweet, the way she hero-worshipped her husband. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had such faith in a lover. David and Ev had gotten married one drunken night in Vegas six months back. It’d been splashed all over the media. Apparently, it was one hell of a story, though I hadn’t managed to hear it all yet. Ev had asked me to go out with her and her friends a couple of times, but I always made excuses. Not that I didn’t appreciate the gesture, it just didn’t feel right with me working for her brother-in-law.

At any rate, dealing with Jimmy was my job. I gave Ev a small smile of apology and slid the room key through the lock. Time to don the hat of hard-assery which according to my ex, bless him, definitely fit.

Slowly, calmly, I pushed open the door. Four feet from my face a glass smashed against the wall, shocking the absolute shit out of me. I in turn hit the floor, my heart going manic inside my chest.

“Lena,” Jimmy bellowed. “Get the fuck out of here!”

God damn mother-fucking rock stars.

Seriously.

Lucky I’d worn pants after all. Carpet burned knees would not have been nice. Also, the minute we got back to Portland, I was either finally quitting, demanding hazard pay, or both. No way was I making enough for this.

“Throw one more thing, Jimmy, and I’ll shove my three-inch heel so far up your ass you’ll need a surgical team to extract it.” I glared up at him from behind my dark bangs. “Is that understood?”

He scowled.

I sneered.

Same old, same old.

“Are you all right?” David Ferris strode across the luxury suite, circumventing a broken side table and smashed lamp. He offered me his hand, helping me back up. Both Ferris brothers had looks, money, fame, and talent. Only one of them had any manners, however. Regardless of etiquette, my gaze stayed glued to the furious man on the other side of the room.

“Fine. Thanks.” I straightened my skewed glasses.

“I don’t think he’s on anything,” David said quietly. “Just having a bad day, you know?”

God, I hoped Jimmy hadn’t taken anything. For both our sakes.

“It’s a tough time for everyone, Lena.”

“Yeah. I know.”

Across from us, Jimmy paced back and forth, hands balled into fists. Normally, the man was a princess, a show pony, put together with perfection. Hair slicked back and designer everything. As eye candy went, his superior rock-god status made him ideal. I was safe to fantasize and indulge my libido while remaining well beneath his notice.

(Sadly, my sex drive hadn’t died when I’d taken my vow of no men. How much simpler life would be if it had.)

Today, however, Jimmy seemed all too human, only half dressed with his dark hair falling over the sharp angles of his face and matching stubble lining his jaw. His usual airtight control was nowhere in evidence. The state of him and the room was shocking. Nothing seemed to have been left unharmed. I must have looked like one of those clowns at the fairs, the ones you where you lob a ball in their mouth to win a prize. My head kept turning this way and that, trying to take it all in.

“What a mess,” I muttered.

“Want me to get Sam?” David asked, referring to the band’s head of security.

“No, I got this. Thanks.”

He narrowed his eyes. “I can’t imagine him doing anything, but … he’s pretty wound up. You sure?”

“Absolutely. We’ll meet you downstairs.” Confidence was everything. I held the door open and he slipped through, giving me worried looks all the while. My fake smile apparently failing to appease.

“Maybe I’ll hang around,” he said. “Just in case.”

“You hired me to deal with him. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine,” I said, shutting the door on David and Ev’s frowning faces.

Jimmy paced on, ignoring my presence.

I took one deep breath, and then another. Nice and slow. Cool and calm. All of the usual pep talks whirled around and around inside my head. You didn’t need to be perfect to get a job done, you just needed to be motivated. And think what I might of the man, his well-being was my job, my priority. I would do my best by him. Glass crunched beneath my heels as I carefully made my way across the room. Around the toppled sofa and over the broken lamp. I didn’t want to guess what the bill for all this destruction would be. Security should have been up here already. Other guests must have heard the racket and complained by now, surely. Perhaps five grand a night bought some exceptional soundproofing.

Jimmy flashed me a dark look as I drew closer. His pupils seemed okay, normal size. He slammed his ass down on a dining room chair, displaying irritability and aggressiveness but excellent coordination. Maybe he hadn’t taken anything.

“What’s going on?” I asked, stopping in front of him.

No sign of blood though his knuckles were scratched and pink, tender looking. Legs apart, he braced his elbows on his knees and hung his head. “Get out, Lena. I want to be alone.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

He grunted.

“Isn’t this a little clichéd, trashing your hotel room?”

“Fuck off.”

I sighed.

All right, so aggravating him probably wasn’t a good idea. I pushed my glasses further up the bridge of my nose, giving myself a chance to think. Time to try something new. The man only had on black suit pants, no shirt, no shoes. And as nice as his inked chest and shoulders were, he couldn’t go like that to a funeral. Especially not in this weather.

“Jimmy, we’re leaving soon. You need to finish getting ready. You don’t want to be late, do you? That would be disrespectful.”

No response.

“Jimmy?”

“I hate when you use that voice,” he said, still staring at the floor.

“What voice?”

“When you try and sound like my therapist. You’re not, so cut the shit.”

With there being no right answer, I kept my mouth shut.

Veins stood out in stark relief on the side of his neck and a sheen of sweat outlined the musculature of his back. Despite the anger, however, his pose was one of defeat. The man could be more than an occasional arrogant dick, but Jimmy Ferris was strong and proud. In the couple of months since I’d become his babysitter I’d seen him in all sorts of moods, the bulk of them bad. Never, though, had I seen him beaten. It hurt. And the pain was as unwelcome as it was surprising.

“I need something,” he said, voice guttural.

“No!”

“Lena … shit. I can’t—”

“You can.”

“Just get me something,” he snapped.

“I won’t do that, Jimmy.”

He surged to his feet, face tight with fury. Every survival instinct in me screamed to step back, to run and hide. Dad had always said I was too stubborn for my own good. Even in my heels Jimmy towered over me, and the man’s favorite new pastimes were jogging and bench-pressing weights. The adrenaline surging through my system made sense, but Jimmy wouldn’t hurt me.

At least, I was pretty sure he wouldn’t.

“One fucking drink,” he roared.

“Hey—”

“You have no god damn idea what this is like. I just need one fucking drink to get me through. Then I’ll stop again. I promise.”

“No.”

“Pick up the phone and order it.”

“You smashed the phone.”

“Then get your ass downstairs and get me a drink.”

I shook my head.

“You work for me! I pay your salary. You answer to me.” He jabbed himself in the chest with a finger to emphasize the point. “Remember?”

“Yes. But I will not get you a drink. Make all the threats you like.” My voice wavered but I didn’t back down. “That is never going to happen. Never.”

He growled.

“Jimmy, you need to calm down now.”

His jaw tightened and his nostrils flared.

“I don’t want to bring anyone else into this. But I’m reaching that point. So please calm down.”

“Fuck!” The war he waged to control himself played out over his perfect face. With hands on hips, he stared down at me. For a long moment he said nothing, his harsh breathing the only sound in the room. “Please, Lena.”

“No.” Shit, I did not sound convincing. I balled my hands up against my stomach, summoning up some strength. “NO.”

“Please,” he pleaded again, eyes rimmed red. “No one needs to find out. It’ll just be between you and me. I need something to take the edge off. Lori was … she was important to me.”

“I know and I’m sorry you lost her. But drinking isn’t going to help,” I said, scrambling to remember all the wise words I’d read on the Internet. But my blood pounded making it impossible to think straight. I might not be scared of him, but I was terrified for him. He couldn’t fail. I wouldn’t let him. “Drinking is a temporary fix that’ll only make things harder in the long run. You know that. You can get through today. You can.”

“We’re going to put her in the ground.” His voice cracked and he slumped back onto the chair. “She fed us, Lena. When there was nothing at home, she sat Davie and me down at her table and she fed us. Treated us like we were her own.”

“Oh, Jimmy…”

“I-I can’t do this.”

Apparently, neither could I. And to prove it, I stood there utterly useless, my heart breaking for him. I’d wondered what had happened to make him so hard. Of course I had. But I’d never imagined anything like this. “I’m so sorry,” I said, the words not even beginning to be enough.

Truth was, Jimmy needed a therapist or a counselor or someone. Anyone but me, because I didn’t have a fucking clue how to handle this. The man was cracking before my eyes and watching him come apart felt like torture. I’d been so careful the last few years, sticking to the fringes and keeping to myself. Now suddenly, his pain felt like my own, tearing up my insides, leaving me raw. The room swam blurrily in front of me.

What the hell was I still doing here?

When I took the job, my instructions had been scarily simple. Glue myself to his side and never, on pain of death, dismissal, and whatever else his lawyers could think to throw at me, let him consume a drop of alcohol or an ounce of drugs. Not a single pill could be popped. Given he’d been clean of his own volition for almost half a year, it hadn’t seemed such a hard task.

Until now.

“I’m going to go find your shirt,” I said, blinking like crazy, doing my best to pull my shit together. Qualified or not, I was all he had. “We need to finish getting you ready and then we’re going to go.”

He said nothing.

“We’ll get through this, Jimmy. We’ll get through today, then things will be better.” The words tasted sour. I just hoped they weren’t lies.

Still nothing.

“Okay?”

“Why did I say I’d talk at the funeral? What the fuck was I thinking?” He scowled. “The guys should have known this wouldn’t work out, not to put me in this position. I’m in no god damn condition to do anything. But Dave is all like ‘you say a few words, I’ll read some poetry. It’ll be fine.’ What bullshit.”

“You can do this.”

“I can’t.” He scrubbed his face with his hands. “If I’m not going to fuck up the funeral of the best person I ever knew, then I need a drink. One drink, then I’ll stop again.”

“No.” I faced him down. “They asked you to speak because as much as they’d probably hate to admit it, they knew you’d do it best. You’re the front man. You don’t need a drink. Shining in the spotlight is what you do. It’s who you are.”

He gave me a long look. So long, it got harder and harder to meet his eyes.

“You can do this, Jimmy. I know you can. There isn’t a single doubt inside of me.”

Nothing. He didn’t even blink, just kept staring at me. The look wasn’t unkind, I’m not sure what it was, apart from too much. I rubbed my clammy hands against the sides of my pants.

“All right,” I said, needing to escape. “I’ll get your clothes.”

Strong arms suddenly wrapped around me, pulling me in. I stumbled forward, only to be stopped by the hot face pressing into my stomach. His grip was brutally tight as if he expected me to fight him, to reject him. But I just stood stunned. His whole body shook, the tremors passing into me, rattling my bones. He didn’t make a sound, however. Something dampened the front of my shirt, making it cling.

It could have been sweat. I had the worst feeling it wasn’t.

“Hey.” None of the last two months had prepared me for this. He never needed me for shit. If anything, I inconvenienced him. We clashed. He tried to cut me down. I cracked a joke. The modus operandi had long since been established.

The man clinging to me was a stranger.

My hands hovered over his bare shoulders, panic bubbling up inside. I was most definitely not allowed to touch him. Not even a little. The one-hundred-and-twelve-page employment contract had been quite specific on the subject. Prior to this, he’d gone out of his way to avoid any and all contact, but now his arms tightened, fingers digging in. I’m pretty sure I heard my rib cage creak. Damn, he was strong. Just as well I came from sturdy stock, otherwise, he might have squeezed the life out of me.

“Jimmy, I can’t breathe,” I wheezed.

The grip eased a little and I stood there panting, my lungs working overtime. Thick arms remained around me. Clearly, I wasn’t going anywhere.

“Maybe I should get Sam,” I said in a stroke of genius once I’d caught my breath. Their head of security most closely resembled a thug in a suit. But I bet he gave great hugs.

“No.”

Crap. “Or David. Do you want your brother to come back in?”

His face shifted against me, moving first left and then right. Another no. “You can’t tell them.”

“I won’t. I promise.”

Silence rung in my ears.

“I just need a minute,” he said.

I stood rigid in his embrace, useless, a mannequin would have been as effective. Shit, I had to do something. Slowly, ever so slowly, my hands descended. The overwhelming need to comfort him far outweighed any threat of litigation. Heat kissed the palms of my hands. He felt feverish, perspiration slickening the hard contours of his shoulders and the thick column of his neck. My hands glided over him, doing their best to soothe.

It was disturbingly nice, being needed by him, being this close to him.

“It’s okay.” My fingers threaded into his thick dark hair. So soft. No wonder they hadn’t wanted me touching him, now that I’d started, I couldn’t seem to stop. I should have been ashamed of myself, feeling the poor man up at such a time. But he’d been the one to initiate contact. He’d grabbed hold of me seeking comfort and apparently, when it came to him, I had a scary amount to give.

“What am I gonna say?” he asked, voice muffled against me. “How can I make a fucking speech?”

“You say what she meant to you. They’ll understand.”

He snorted.

“No, really. Just talk from your heart.”

He took a shuddering breath, resting his forehead against me. “To top it off, she called.”

“She?” I gave the top of his head a sharp look. Damn it, he had seemed okay. Certainly not delusional. “Who called you?”

“Mom.”

“Oh.” This couldn’t be good news. Better than him imagining phone calls from the recently deceased, but still. “What’d she want?”

“Same fucking thing she always wants. Money.” His voice was harsh and low. So low that I had to strain to hear him. “Warned her to stay away.”

“She’s in town?”

A nod. “Threatened to crash the funeral. Told her I’d have her fucking arrested if she did.”

Hell, the woman sounded like a nightmare.

“Davie doesn’t know,” he said. “That’s the way it stays.”

“All right.” I don’t know how wise that was, but it wasn’t my choice to make. “I won’t tell him.”

His shoulders hitched beneath my hands, his misery surrounding us like an impenetrable shell. Nothing else existed.

“You’re going to be okay.” I bowed my head and hunched over, sheltering him with my body. My heart ached and emotional detachment was a dream. The compulsion to give to him was too strong. He was usually such a maddening man, so thoughtless and rude. Anger, however, made my job easier. When he behaved like an ass I could remain indifferent for the most part. These dangerous new feelings running through me, however, were soft and sappy, warm and weepy. No way could I afford to care this much.

Crap.

What the hell was happening to me?

He gripped my rounded hips and turned his face up to me, unguarded for once. All of his usual sharp edges were dulled by pain and if anything it just made his beauty more obvious. I licked my suddenly dry lips. Fingers tensed and tightened against me and his forehead bunched as he scowled at the damp patch on the front of my blouse. “Sorry ’bout that.”

“Not a problem.”

He let go and my legs wobbled, weak at the loss.

Intimacy fled and awkwardness rushed right in like a tidal wave. I could almost feel his walls slamming back into place. Mine were slower, weaker, damn them. Someone, somewhere along the line, had swapped my titanium for tinfoil, leaving me wide open and exposed. It was all his fault. For a moment, he’d actually stepped down from his self-imposed pedestal. He’d been real with me, shown me his fears, and I’d just sort of mumbled some vaguely comforting shit. Honestly, I couldn’t even remember what anymore. Little wonder he’d closed up on me again.

Also, we were unnaturally close, positioned as we were. There were mere inches between us. Jimmy gave me a brief embarrassed look to enforce the fact, just in case I hadn’t noticed. Obviously he regretted this. I mean, he’d cried on the hired help, for Christ’s sake.

“I’ll get your clothes,” I said, grasping at the first useful idea to enter my head.

Blindly, I stumbled across the room. Thoughts and feelings were running rife through me, all of it a blur. I needed to talk to mom. Far as I knew, there was no history of heart ailments in the family. Leukemia took Uncle John. Grandma died due to smoking a pack a day. I think Great Aunt Valerie caught some strange fungal infection in her lungs, but don’t quote me on that. Mom would know for sure. Whatever my heart was doing, it couldn’t be good. I was only twenty-five, much too young to die. Probably about the right age to become a complete hypochondriac, however.

I grabbed a shirt and tie from out of his walk-in closet in the monster-sized main bedroom. My room, on the other side of the suite, wasn’t bad. This room, however, put the Ritz to shame. Sheets, blankets, and pillows were strewn across the gigantic bed. Not from any crazy sex antics because as far as I could tell, the man was either asexual, abstaining, or both. Still, he obviously hadn’t slept well. I could just picture him, tossing and turning, his big strong body thrashing about on that large, sturdy bed. Completely alone with all his bad memories. And I’d only been in the room across from him, also alone and not sleeping particularly well. Some nights my brain just wouldn’t shut up or shut down and last night had definitely been one of them.

I stood frozen, mesmerized by the tangle of sheets and blankets.

Again, my heart did something strange. Something totally out of context. What happened between my legs was best ignored. I’m certain something in the employment contract outlawed any and all wetness on my part, especially if it pertained to one James Dylan Ferris.

“Hey,” he said, appearing at my side, startling the crap out of me.

“Hi.” I hesitated, a bit breathless again for some reason. Perhaps I should have my lungs checked too just to be sure. “You need a quick cleanup. Come on.”

He followed behind me like an obedient child. The lights in the white bathroom were blindingly bright after all the emotional turmoil, dazzling me. Okay, what next? Bottles and tubes were spread out over the counter. Still my beleaguered brain offered up nothing.

“We have to hurry,” I muttered, mostly to myself.

I placed his shirt and tie on the counter, grabbed a facecloth and wet it. If I hadn’t already done my makeup, I’d have splashed my face with the bitingly cold water, let it wake me up from all this weirdness. Meanwhile, Jimmy stared off into the distance, his mind obviously far away once again. When I held up the cloth he didn’t react at all. Forget it, we didn’t have time for this, I’d do the job myself. The cold damp cloth made contact and he reared back, nostrils flaring.

“Hold still,” I said, and embarked upon my first ever sponge bath. Basically, I scrubbed at him like a mad woman. I even washed behind his ears in my fervor.

“Christ,” he mumbled, ducking to try and escape me.

“Keep still.”

Next came his neck, then his shoulders. I wet the cloth again and moved on to his chest and back, rushing through the process. It was best not to think, just to see him as Jimmy, my boss. Better yet, the body beneath my hands was stone, not real in the least, despite the goose flesh erupting all over him. Base desires didn’t matter when a job was at stake, surging hormones and emotions both could take a backseat. I could do this.

“Okay. Shirt.” I picked up the thick rich cotton and held it open for him. He threaded his arms through, smooth skin brushing against the back of my fingers making tingles run up my arm. I fumbled my way through doing up the buttons. “We need cuff links. And I don’t know how to do the tie.”

“I’ll do that.”

“Okay.” I passed him the neat strip of black silk. All good, I just needed some air, the colder the better.

Jimmy stepped around me, walking back into the bedroom. From the top of his dresser he collected a pair of silver cuff links and secured them to the sleeves of his shirt. Actually, they were probably platinum, knowing him. I could see tattoos peeking out from beneath the cuffs of his shirt and above the collar of his neck. There could be no disguising him as anything other than the rock star he was. He hadn’t been made to hide or blend, the man was much too beautiful for that.

“Do you need anything else?” I asked, following him like a little lost puppy. My toes stretched and strained while my hands hung limp at my sides. No way did he need to know he’d made me jittery.

“I’m good.” Socks and shoes waited at the end of the bed. He sat down, getting busy. His suit jacket hung over the back of a chair, a long black woolen coat folded atop it. We were fine, everything set.

“You’ve got your speech?” I asked.

The frown increased. “Yeah. It’s in my pocket.”

“Great. I just need to get my bag and jacket.”

His chin jerked and his gaze skittered over me. “You look nice, by the way.”

“Ah, thank you.”

“Just stating a fact. You look good.” He turned away.

I, however, didn’t move. At first I was stunned at the compliment, but then for some reason, leaving Jimmy alone didn’t feel right. It niggled. What if he got upset again and I wasn’t here to talk him down? His sobriety was too important to risk.

Lips fine, he studied the slowly drying patch on the front of my blouse. “You definitely won’t tell anyone?”

“No. Never.”

The air hissed out between his teeth and his expression calmed. “Okay…”

I nodded, giving him a small smile.

“Listen, Lena?”

“Hmm?”

He turned away. “There’s nothing in here, no pills or booze. I haven’t scored. I’ll do a spit test if you need it, and you can search the room…”

“No, I know,” I said, perplexed. “If there was, you wouldn’t have wanted me to get you something and we’d currently be having an entirely different conversation. Either that or you’d be back in rehab and I’d be out of a job.”

“True.”

Neither of us said anything for a moment. I crossed my arms over my chest, my face stiff, tight with tension.

“You can leave me on my own,” he said. “It’s fine, go get your stuff. Do whatever so we can leave.”

“Right!” One of those false embarrassed little laughs startled out of me. Crap. I’d completely forgotten. “Yes, okay. I’ll get my stuff.”

“Great.” He pushed a hand through his hair the same as he’d done maybe a dozen times a day since I’d come to work for him. It was nothing new. Immediately, however, my heart did the drop-and-squeeze thing again.

No. NO.

It couldn’t be connected to him, I refused to believe it.

“Are you going?” His face skewed with annoyance and thank God for that. His open irritation relieved me no end, we were back to normal.

“Yes, Jimmy. I’m going.”

“Now?”

“Right now.” I strode out, slamming the bedroom door shut behind me.

I did not have feelings for Jimmy Ferris. What a ridiculous thought. He was a former addict. And while I admired and respected him for taking charge of his life and fighting that battle, I did not need to get involved with someone who’d barely been dry half a year. Also, Jimmy was not a particularly nice guy the bulk of the time. A general lack of interest in, and consideration for, everyone else inhabiting the planet was his go-to setting.

But worst of all, the man was my boss.

I didn’t have feelings for him. I couldn’t, no way. I’d fallen for unsuitable, unstable, and outright criminal assholes in the past, but I was done with that. Especially the asshole and unstable portion. There’s no way I had feelings for him. I’d really grown as a person and shit, right?

I slumped against the nearest wall. “Fuck.”

I took a deep breath, focused on the funeral.

Things would get better.

Copyright © 2014 by Kylie Scott

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 126 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 126 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 29, 2014

    Mal still reigns in my heart, but damn if Jimmy isn¿t a super cl

    Mal still reigns in my heart, but damn if Jimmy isn’t a super close second!




    This story is all Jimmy and Lena. Smart mouth, balls to the wall Lena is able to slip thru the cracks to Jimmy unlike anyone before. The relationship develops into something neither has experienced. They fight like an old married couple. They fiercely defend each other- Jimmy answering Lena’s phone when her sister calls-BE STILL MY HEART!




    Yet Jimmy has made it clear- love is not in the cards for him. His ridiculous crusade to “cure” Lena’s feelings for him is just that-ridiculous!  He’s moody, sweet and an overprotective ass all in the same moment. Everyone sees (and teases) how close the two are becoming. Yet once again Jimmy is his own worst enemy.  He breaks Lena’s heart, as well as the readers!




    This series is phenomenal. Hot crazy rockers, laugh out loud banter and so much freaking intense passion! The importance of family (made or blood) once again shines through. These characters are people you want to know, be their friends, a part of their family. Having all of the Stage Dive men living and loving woven into Jimmy and Lena’s story is such a treat.  Well except Ben- because wth is going on with him??  I digress.




    I have one meh- the ending was too abrupt.  It felt rushed, especially given that 80% of the book had Jimmy and Lena at odds with each other. The Epilogue soothed some of that need, and I can’t wait for more. Kudos to Kylie Scott for an excellent addition the the Stage Dive series!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2014

    ¿Words of warning¿...make sure to have extra panties on hand. Yo

    ¿Words of warning¿...make sure to have extra panties on hand. Yours may combust while reading Lead.  First I fell in love in with David, in Lick he's sensitive and caring. Then I fell in love with Mal in Play, he is hilarious and loves hard. Then Kylie went and wrote Lead and Jimmy just captured my heart. Now don't get me wrong at first Jimmy closed off and a major douche.  But eventually he opens up and oh what greatness comes forth. Hopefully you have read the previous books in the series it helps explain and give a better understanding to the characters and what they've been through. Jimmy is the frontman and Lead singer in the band Stage Dive. You've learned in previous books he's not the nicest of people. Due to his problems with addictions he's not to fun to be around. The record label deems him a liability and warrants him to have an around the clock sobriety coach. Problem is that Jimmy runs through them like water. Lena a secretary at Stage Dives record label is at the wrong place at the wright time. The band happens to be in a meeting discussing how Jimmy has once again fired his latest  s.c. Mal being Mal has somehow gotten Lena hired to work with Jimmy. 
    At first things between Jimmy and Lena are awkward and tense. Lena does her job but keeps to herself otherwise. Soon enough Lena is a bit bored and takes on a few more responsibilities dealing with Jimmy. It takes a while (lots of angst going on) for the two to start to click. A slight friendship or sorts starts to form between the two. Mainly because they are both homebodies with nothing else to do. Don't get me wrong, Jimmy's still a hardass. Lena is slowly breaking down those walls that Jimmy has put in place since being a teenager. 
    A new problem arises when Lena realizes she is starting to get feelings for Jimmy. Now I may have forgot to mention Lena hasn't had the best of luck with previous boyfriends. A long line of losers, especially her last one. Can't say much about him. Don't want to give spoilers. So in essence Lena has given up on guys. Unrequited love is not her thing. Jimmy being Jimmy has his head up his ass and of course does a flick move. 
    The boys of the band play a huge part (especially Mal) with helping them, (by them I mainly mean Jimmy) see what's been right in front of him the whole time. Does Jimmy finally come to his senses and Can he overcome his obstacles to find the happiness he deserves. Get ready for LEAD on July 29 and you will find out!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2014

    Really enjoyed Jimmy and Lena's story.  I liked the humor in thi

    Really enjoyed Jimmy and Lena's story.  I liked the humor in this book but don't let it fool you.  My heart felt like it was being ripped out during a certain point in the book.  These two really were good together.  Oh by the way, we get to hear more from Mal! He NEVER disappoints.  Love his humor.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2014

    Awsome

    Great book,is one of my favorites

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Lead by Kylie Scott is the third book in her Stage Dive Series.

    Lead by Kylie Scott is the third book in her Stage Dive Series.  This book has all of the normal things we look for from this author; humor, laughter, romance, friendship, loyalty and love.  The plot builds as the connection between the two main characters, Jimmy and Lena, begins to develop into more than just a working relationship. Intimacy!  Love!  Relationship!  All of these are triggers for Jimmy the notorious lead singer of Stage Dive.  Throughout his life, he has replaced every day living with drugs, booze and womanizing.  After a long overdue wakeup call lands him in rehab, he is ready to begin a cleaner better life with his bandmates. His fear of losing them helps control the urges and yearnings of his addiction.


    Betrayal! Smart-lipped! Sassy! Lena has been betrayed by her sister and former boyfriend.  She is desperately seeking a new life away from her family.  Working for a temporary agency brings her in contact with the band and an offer of a lifetime to work directly with Jimmy as his addiction counselor. As the two begin working together, tragedy strikes the band with the loss of someone dear and close this sets things in motion between them.  As she helps Jimmy over the loss and through the grieving process; she begins to develop feelings for him, feelings that she should not have for her boss.  As time passes, she confronts Jimmy letting him know how she feels and that she is no longer qualified to work for him.


    Jimmy will not let Lena leave him without a fight.  She will not get to run away and hide from him easily.  He doesn’t want another counselor and he wants her to stay so, he comes up with a list of “how to get over him” beginning with dating other people.  Will this prevent Lena from leaving? Maybe this will give her the outlet for her frustration and allow her the chance to find that special person meant just for her. Or will Jimmy realize that Lena is the one for him in time and start his own wooing?  Get the book and read it to find out!  You will not be disappointed in the outcome.


    Overall this was a really enjoyable story.  The gang is back together and Mal is his normal hysterical self.  It was interesting to look in on the group and seeing how each of their characters had developed or changed.  I look forward to Ben’s story next to see what is in store for him and where Ms. Scott will take her characters.  Thank you, Kylie Scott for the mixture of laughter and romance with a twist of the everyday happenings going on with Stage Dive!  It furnished hours of pure reading heaven.



    Overall Rating:  4.25 Rockin’ Stars
    Hero:  4 stars
    Heroine: 4.5 stars
    Plot: 4 stars
    Steam Level: 4.5 stars
    Cliffhanger: No


    Would I recommend this book: Yes.  When you take a sexy, alpha lead singer of a rock band and mix him with a sassy, feisty assistant it creates a combination that delights the heart and the mind of the reader.  This book will ensure hours of entertainment as each page is turned.



    Would I recommend this author: Yes.  Kylie Scott combines her funny style of humor and the unique gift of writing she has to create a series that elevates her to a master storyteller.  She does not disappoint her readers and leaves them longing for the next book in the series.


    ***Received an ARC of this book from the Author in exchange for an honest review***

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    So good , Jimmy and Lena are funny together . This story has rom

    So good , Jimmy and Lena are funny together . This story has romance and comedy . Love this series can not wait for Ben's story . Mal's is still my favorite and adds in funny quips throughout the story . Very good in my book .

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 Stars The biggest A-Hole meets his match! W

    4.5 Stars The biggest A-Hole meets his match!

















    Where should I begin this review? Hmm.. that's a tough choice. Should I begin by telling you I was and wasn't looking forward to reading LEAD? Since the moment I finished LICK (Stage Dive #1) I knew I was going to be a goner for this series. The other thing I knew was that, after meeting Jimmy, David Ferris' brother and lead singer of the band, there was no possible way I could forgive him for what he did to his brother or couldn't possibly like and or fall in love with him. Ugh-uh. Nope. Wouldn't happen. SO I opened it up and I read...and I read. And Jimmy was harsh, and stubborn and damaged. Yet I melted by the time it was all said and done. LEAD was better than I expected and more than I had hoped for.




    So Jimmy Ferris is the oldest brother. Though his lifestyle is lavish and encrusted with diamonds and top of the line champagne NOW it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, Jimmy lived in less than savory conditions with a drunken junkie mother who took out her frustrations on him that he tried to keep his younger brother from. Like mother like son, Jimmy has spent most of his life with plentiful drugs, booze and easy women. Well.... maybe not JUST like his mom. After it finally catches up to him and the band issuing an ultimatum to get clean or get out he's got to change his ways for good now. Losing so many PR reps who either quit or were fired by him, his last hope comes in the form of a snarky yet curvaceous bombshell, Lena. At Mal's insistence she is to move in with the lead singer and shadow him, making sure he doesn't fall into old patterns again. She gets her first taste of exactly what Jimmy can be like after a tragedy befalls one of the band members family and everything between them changes during one emotional moment. A blossoming friendship and a handful of unrequited feelings later and the entire landscape of the story is shaken up.




    Before I get into telling you why I loved Jimmy, I should first tell you why I LOVED LENA! This woman was snarky, sarcastic, hardheaded and determined. She was strong on the outside, a veritable fortress but inside she was as soft as a cotton ball. Lena was the PERFECT woman to go against Jimmy because she matched him attitude for attitude. When he got short with her she gave it right back and they say Iron sharpens Iron. Lena wasn't afraid to put Jimmy right back in his place whenever he got pushy or said the wrong things. She's not your average thin, blond, perky bimbo that the guys in the band have been used to seeing constantly. She's got curves and the best part about her and my number one reason for having this girl crush is...she loves PIE! There was an honesty about her character that drew me in from the beginning. Once she develops feelings for Jimmy and finally lets him in on the secret he tries to help her get over her "crush" on him by following a Cosmo quiz with one of the requirements being to get more exercise. Poor Lena is dragged out day after day to run alongside him cursing her love of Pie the entire time. Lena was a woman after my own heart in so many ways but her past relationship problems are what really had me in her corner. Losing a boyfriend to her sister was painful and left several emotional scars on her heart. I loved that no matter how she felt about Jimmy she never deluded herself to to think things would work out. She went in with her eyes wide open and kept a firm grip on her heart and a clear head on her shoulders and for that reason alone she is my number one favorite female in these books!




    Now onto Jimmy. The A-typical damaged heartthrob Rock star. Boohoo, his mama didn't love him enough and boohoo he's so rich now he can't spend all his money fast enough. *eye roll* I was totally not wanting to like him at all but sometimes these things are out of our control. First of all, Jimmy was a dick. From start to almost finish. It took a while for him to get it but the good news is...he does. It's a painful and patience trying journey but it DOES happen. If you haven't read LICK (spoiler alert) Jimmy broke his brothers heart in the past by sleeping with his girlfriend, the love of David's life back then. It caused a lot of turmoil between the two and the band as a whole. Along with the alcohol and women Jimmy's taste for hardcore drugs is what almost costs him everything. He's been in and out of rehab and OD'd several times and the guys just can't take it anymore. Not just because of their success being on the line but they don't want to see Jimmy hurt himself anymore. One of the surprising things I learned about Jimmy in this book was how sensitive he is. His gruff, quiet and off putting personality hides the fact that he feels. Deeply. About everything. He's not superman and little things hurt him. What his brother thinks about him, hurts him. He has no real friends outside of the band members until Lena comes along and her steady friendship is what finally breaks him open like a Cadbury cream egg. Little by little he starts opening up and sharing things with her and letting her in. It was amazing to see him for who he really is and he's a character that didn't hide the truth from himself or anyone else often times bluntly stating facts so there was no confusion. 




    Have you ever tried pouring Karo syrup from a bottle? Feels like it takes Fooorevverrr! Well that's sort of what the relationship between Lena and Jimmy was like. Nothing between them happens with any sort of speed. The chemistry they share is buried deep and needs to be cultivated like rich soil. Where David and Evelyn had a connection instantly also Mal and Anne, Jimmy and Lena fight tooth and nail against theirs. Well... mainly Jimmy, poor Lena already knows she won't survive Hurricane Ferris but does her best to keep it to herself. God, this was so much fun to watch them fall. Once Lena started to realize she cared for Jimmy her attraction was misinterpreted to be her just being a creeper when he would catch her staring at him at any given time. I laughed so much watching him get aggravated at her but she couldn't help it. He IS pretty damn hot with his tattoos and blue eyes. So they fight it and they avoid it and Jimmy tries to set Lena up on dates and get her to stop feeling things for him but his unspoken jealousy and her overall failed success at dating doesn't seem to pan out for either of them. When the suggestion comes from Jimmy to get each other out of their systems the heat is soooo on. It may take a while but damn did Scott bring it. Sex fixes everything and they live happily ever after! *cue the wedding march, toss the bouquet* and get your head out of your ass because that ain't happnin'! Yes they finally get together and sizzle in that department but the test of their foundation comes shortly after because Jimmy is....he's just Jimmy. He's a man, a very broken man who at his core feels unworthy so you know that won't be easy. I have to give it to Kylie on this one, she really took her time developing these two and it made for a more believable romance.




    What's the best part of continuing on with a series for you? For me it's seeing my favorite characters again and I got all I asked for with LEAD. David and Evelyn make several appearances along with Mal and Anne. Not to mention bass player Ben and Anne's sister Lizzy. The whole gang comes together for several reasons and the women really take a liking to Lena and quickly bring her into the fold as one of them. I loved seeing the girls interact and give Lena tips and help her figure everything out and really just guide her on how to handle being with a rocker. This entire group is a close knit family and it shows with how everyone looks after each other and takes care of whatever the friends may need. *cue Friends theme song*. Lead was definitely the more emotional of the three so far but true to his character, Jimmy's book was fantastic as we

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2014

    Loved

    Loved this book didnt think i was going to like jimmie from the previous books. Loved him. I didnt think i would like any charachter as much as Mal but i do. Loved both of the leads. Funny sad this is an awsome book and series. Every one a read again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2014

    Another hit thank you

    Mal is still the best but I wasn't sure how this book would be but to my surprise it was really good. But of course Mal will always but the best

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Oh man! I have love the men (and women) of Stage Dive from book

    Oh man! I have love the men (and women) of Stage Dive from book one and this was no exception. The characters had me laughing so many times and then there were those steamy sex scenes that will really get your blood pumping. I was so engrossed in the story that I devoured it in a few short hours.
    Jimmy and Lena have a mutual snarky and tolerance of each other when they first meet. Lena is hired to be Jimmy’s sobriety companion and morphs into a bit of an assistant as well. She’s always handled his cold and indifferent attitude with sarcasm and wit. After they have to attend a very close friend’s funeral, things begin to grow to more than that. Due to a lot of psychological damage done my his mom, Jimmy is immature when it comes to handling and understanding feelings. Lena does an excellent job of teaching him how to deal with things. I absolutely loved her personality. She doesn’t put up with Jimmy’s excuses and tells him like it is. 
    The story line was one of growth and healing but also about learning what it means to love. It drew me right in and kept me there until the very last word. I absolutely loved all of the characters and enjoyed the sense of humor the whole group shared. The story flowed really smoothly and I found it a very enjoyable read. I loved this book and I can’t wait to read the final book. 5 out of 5 stars!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2015

    CAN'T. GET. ENOUGH.

    I freaking love this series. I live the characters and the story line. Emotionally i can relate to much of the turmoil.
    I smile and lol throughout all of these books. Come. On. March.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2014

    I think this was the most frustrating of the group

    Very nice writing, they just seem to get better, it was around 267 pages. You won't want to put it down, it takes a bit to warm up but has the best character development as of yet. Can't wait to read her next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2014

    I Love This Series!!!!!!!

    I think I'm in Love with Jimmy and I thought David was awsome! I love this book! Can't wait for the next one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2014

    changed my tune

    I was not looking forward to this story because I couldn't stand Jimmy in the previous books. Wow, was I wrong! Jimmy and Lena were fantastic together. They were funny, sweet and of course had the right amount of drama to keep you going. Kylie Scott rocks this series! I can't wait to read Ben's story.

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  • Posted December 3, 2014

    well written, light and fun, new adult story without a lot of dr

    well written, light and fun, new adult story without a lot of drama...

    Lead is the 3rd book in the Stage Dive Series by Kylie Scott.  This is the first book I have read by the author and felt it held up great as a standalone novel, but it peaked my interest in reading the first two books in the series next as well.  The only thing I could not figure out was how old Jimmy and the rest of the band members were.

    I loved this story and cannot wait for the next book to come out.  It is a well written, light and fun, new adult story without a lot of drama.  The characters are really funny and you find yourself chuckling the whole way through.   I was hoping for a little more action between the main characters earlier on however, and felt I had to wait just a little too long.  

    The book is about Lena, a down on her luck personal assistant, who gets hired by Jimmy Ferris, the rock-god lead singer of the band Stage Dive.  Jimmy has been out of rehab for 6 months and hired Lena to be his sober companion.  As months go on, the two of them become more than just employer and assistant.  They connect on a deeper level and lean on each other for emotional support.  Lena confesses to Jimmy that she has a crush on him and he realizes that he better do something to deter her feelings so they can get back to “normal”.  He does a list of things to get her to move on, like setting her up on dates, which is the funniest scene of the book.  

    Lena is a strong character but has emotional baggage from past relationships.  Jimmy is trying to do right by his band and stay clean and sober.  The entire book you are fighting for them both to realize what great people they are.  

    I received a copy of this book free through Goodreads First Reads!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2014

    So good!

    This series ROCKS!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2014

    Awesome

    Love love this series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2014

    Love it! Read them all!

    Love all of this author's books-they're always creative and easy to read. Many of the stories are addictive and I've read all of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2014

    good story

    I have liked all the books in this series. Worth the money

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2014

    Disappointed!

    I was disappointed in this book. The first two books were so good I thought given Jimmy's troubled past and issues it would be a little more detailed or more depth to his character. Instead Lena and her constant fawning and annoying monolog of mooning over him just made the book long and horrible. I skipped over a-lot of the book just to get on with it. I felt the ending was rushed and not rely an ending at all. Hopefully Ben's book is much better.

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