|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.45(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
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Abby and the Cute One
By Erin Butler, Stephen Morgan
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Erin Butler
All rights reserved.
If Nathan Strong were any other sixteen-year-old guy, helping the gorgeous actress he'd just finished dinner with into her car would've been the perfect ending to a once-in-a-lifetime evening. Especially since he was sure she just slipped him her number.
Instead, he found it exhausting.
He didn't even know how to take her slipping him her number. Or the way she'd fawned over him all dinner. The whole thing was a publicity stunt set up by LJ. And like a fool, Nathan had agreed to play along. Even though he didn't feel a thing for this girl.
Nathan flashed his toothy grin the paparazzi seemed to love and then turned, stuffing the scrap of paper she'd gifted him into his pocket. Thrust into the spotlight as S2J's most eligible bachelor was, hands down, the hardest thing he'd ever had to do. Winning Rockstars: Live! was a piece of cake next to dating celebrities and always having the right thing to say. He could've won that show five times over with how much his new responsibilities weighed him down.
Beau, his bodyguard, greeted him with a smile. "How did the date go with Miranda?"
Nathan shrugged. "Fine. Good. She was nice."
His bodyguard chuckled. "Her name was Marissa. You might've heard of her. She's kind of the next big thing."
Did he not even know her name? He tended to tune out on these image dates LJ set him up on, but this was an all-time low.
It was true they'd all started to blend together. Miranda. Marissa. Melissa. Practiced. Rehearsed. They were only interested in one thing: what could Nathan do for them and their careers? Then again, that was also why LJ kept setting him up on the dates. They helped S2J by solidifying Nathan as the irresistible cute one. The baby of the group who was finally looking to find a girl of his own.
Where was Miles "the heartthrob" Carlisle when you needed him? Most likely talking to Aimee on the cell phone that had somehow permanently attached itself to his face. Nathan didn't know cell phones could do that, but Miles was living, daily proof. As were Ryder and Trevin, who suffered from the same condition.
Nathan finally looked at Beau — what had he just said about Melissa? Something about her being a big thing? "And you know she's the next big thing because ...?"
He shrugged. "TV Guide. I have a lot of downtime."
Downtime. The word became more foreign and harder to recall every day, like the perfect lyric, just out of reach. If Nathan wasn't rehearsing with Seconds to Juliet, he was writing with the guys, sleeping, or dating.
He didn't mean to complain. Not really. He loved singing and the band and the fans, but he didn't sign up for all the extra-curricular stuff no one had mentioned when he was a kid dancing on his porch.
He kicked a pebble on the sidewalk and watched it fly down the street. If only it were that easy to get rid of the constant pressure. Meeting Beau's gaze, he said, "I feel like a walk tonight. Meet you back at the hotel?"
Before Nathan could take a step, the bodyguard was in front of him, wearing his serious duty face. "You know I can't let you do that, Nathan. There are people all over this street. You wouldn't last thirty seconds before being recognized."
It was a nice try. One Nathan knew he wouldn't get away with, but on the off chance Beau took pity on him, he had to go for it. "I know. I just need to clear my head. How about a walk down by the river before we head back? It's been a rough night."
"Right. Real rough. It must be terrible to sit across from a pretty girl all night at a fancy restaurant."
Nathan shook his head. "You have no idea." Give him McDonald's and The Tudors any night over this crap.
Beau sighed and eyed the trail ramp just to the left of the posh restaurant. A concrete walkway sloped down to a river overlook. It was deserted. There were streetlights. Nathan couldn't see any reason Beau would say no. Still, the bodyguard hesitated.
Nathan's heart contracted. He never asked for much. He'd taken on his new bachelor status with as much enthusiasm as he could muster, but right now, he really wanted to be alone. "Please. I just need five minutes. I'll owe you one."
Finally, Beau nodded and Nathan clapped him on the shoulder. "Thank you." It was the most sincere thing he'd said all day.
As Nathan made his way down the ramp, footsteps echoed behind him. He stopped and looked back, only to find Beau following at a respectable distance.
Well, any other day Nathan would've thought it respectable, but apparently not today. With more assholishness than intended, he asked, "Can I be alone?"
All bodyguard now, Beau nodded once. He took his warrior stance next to the ramp, legs spread shoulder-width apart and arms crossed.
If Nathan didn't know better, he'd be scared of him. Screaming mobs of teenage girls weren't even the tiniest bit afraid, though. Nathan was convinced they weren't scared of anything. At least anything that came between them and any of the five S2J guys.
Finally by himself, Nathan strolled down the ramp; skyscraper lights, bright whites, greens, and yellows, twinkled off the rippling water. Every now and then a blinking red light mirrored in the river. Nathan followed the city skyline up to the tallest building. An even taller antenna poked into the clouds blinking the warning red every few seconds.
Here by the water, he could pretend he wasn't the one LJ counted on to keep the band at the top of the charts and the focus of the public's attention. Sure, they were still selling out stadiums, but public interest had taken a nosedive. LJ's explanation? Four out of the five of them now had girlfriends. Nathan was the only single guy left, which put all of the pressure on him.
LJ's brand new scheme put Nathan front and center in the spotlight. The media played him up as Seconds to Juliet's newest and cutest eligible bachelor. All he had to do was act available but not be available. He needed to be the dream for the hundreds of thousands of teen girls who wanted S2J.
LJ had called it. He said the fans would be tripping over themselves to be the one to steal Nathan's heart. He was right. The craziness surrounding him only intensified every time there was a picture of him in some magazine holding open a door for his date or handing some random girl flowers at one of their shows.
Nathan didn't mind helping out. Really. It was just the stress of it all. And the fact that it was all fake. He wanted someone he had real feelings for. Real passion. Someone whose every look didn't remind him that it was all a game.
What else was he supposed to do, though? The image dates were obviously working, and the possibility of Nathan finding a real relationship was slim. The only people he spent enough time around to even have the possibility of falling for them were the roadies and stylists who worked for S2J and any opening acts. After the drama with Miles and Paige, LJ had put a hard no on any of the band dating any of the other "talent." If Nathan wanted romance, he'd have to accept the fake kind that came from fake dates.
Fake. Fake. Fake.
"I'm not a fairy tale girl, no one's going to save me."
Nathan stopped at the voice, his neck craning to find the source. A little ways down the trail, he spotted a shadowy figure singing into her fists.
A loud groan interrupted the song. The girl shook out her hands and started again. "I'm not a fairy tale girl, no one's going to save me."
Curious, Nathan walked toward the voice. It was haunting yet beautiful. Such a rich tone. He was so caught up in it he didn't notice the empty soda can a step away until he accidentally kicked it. In the peaceful night, the rattling of the aluminum against cement sounded like a jackhammer.
The singing stopped, and Nathan cursed himself for ruining it. He could've listened to her voice all night.
Surrounded by a pool of light from the overhead trail lights, Nathan reached for the can. When he looked up, the girl's eyes widened. So she recognized him, but weirder still, she seemed familiar, too.
Before he could think too much into it, she spoke. "Holy crap."
She froze as if any sudden movement would make him skitter away. Nathan couldn't help but laugh at the mixed emotions on her face. Scared, confused, excited, awed. Her cheeks reddened.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I couldn't help myself." He threw the can into the recycling bin, walked toward her, and held out his hand. "Hi. It's nice to meet you." He didn't bother giving his name — she obviously already knew.
The girl bit her lip and eyed his outstretched hand. She was wearing a cute beach dress just revealing enough to make his stare linger in some areas. Her collarbone flirted with the off-shoulder straps that also showed off a long neck partially hidden by flowing blond hair. When she finally did smile at Nathan, it cut right through him.
The girl took his hand and shook it once. When she stepped back, she eyed him and toyed with her lip. "I'm sorry, I just ... can't believe you're here right now. How crazy."
Crazy? Crazy was the way his pulse thumped at his wrists. Talk about instant attraction. This girl was beyond beautiful — she was gorgeous. Much prettier than the dolled-up mannequin he'd walked to the car only minutes ago.
"What are you doing here?" she stammered.
Nathan loved those kinds of questions. Wasn't it obvious? He walked in a circle and then lifted his foot toward her, wiggling it around for good measure. "Walking."
She smiled, which Nathan counted on, but she also did something else no one had done to him in a long time: she rolled her eyes.
It was ... awesome. The realness of it all made him smile.
She curled her long blond hair behind her ears. "Obviously you're walking, but what are you doing out here? Shouldn't you be surrounded by an entourage or something?" She peered over his shoulder. "Are the rest of the guys with you?"
The hopeful look on her face socked him in the gut. Would she have preferred another member of S2J? "I'm afraid it's just me tonight. Sorry to disappoint."
"No, I mean ..." She blushed. "That's not what I meant. It's just usually when you're around, so are they. I mean, I really wouldn't know, but in pictures, and when you're singing ..."
Nathan couldn't argue with that logic. He'd spent more time with Seconds to Juliet than his own family over the past two years. Hell, even the hair and makeup staff knew more about him now than his own sister did.
"Was that you singing? I heard the voice of an angel earlier." He pretended to look around her back. "But I don't see any wings."
Nathan's cheeks flamed hotter than the Arizona desert. Had he really just said that? He'd tried to channel his inner heartthrob, but it just didn't sound right on him. Miles sounded cool, smooth even. Nathan, on the other hand, sounded like a lonely sixteen-year-old who watched too many romantic comedies.
She smiled, and before Nathan could convince himself it was just to humor him, the way the streetlight lit up her face struck a chord with him again. "Do I know you?" he asked. "You seem familiar."
"Trust me, I'd remember if we met before. I'm a huge Seconds to Juliet fan. I'm Abby Curtis, by the way. I'm auditioning to be your opening act tomorrow."
He did know her. She'd covered "The One" on her YouTube channel. A fan had tweeted him the link a couple months ago. He'd heard she even got a recording deal out of it, which he wasn't surprised about. She had a killer voice. "I do know you. Sweet cover of 'The One.'"
A faint red tint bloomed on her cheeks as she studied her flip-flops. "Thanks. I didn't know if you guys had seen it."
He wanted to tell her to stop hiding her face. She was so pretty yet seemed humble at the same time. So different than the actress he'd just left who knew she was beautiful and worked it — and her celebrity status — to her advantage.
Nathan bent over to meet her eyes, hoping she'd get the hint and look up, maybe even smile at him again. "The slower arrangement was killer."
She finally did look up. "Yeah?"
He smiled at her even redder cheeks; at least he wasn't the only one embarrassed. "The song you were just singing, is that your audition song?"
She shook her head. "No. That's a little song I'm trying to figure out. It's not telling me everything yet, though."
Nathan grinned. Had this girl swam around in his brain before? Weird as it sounded, he knew exactly what she meant.
He took a seat on the nearest bench, hoping she'd sit, too. After a few moments of eyeing the bench, then Nathan, then back again, she sat — a good foot and a half away. He slid a little closer.
For a while, they just sat there, city sounds behind them and nothing but the quiet river in front. Surprised Beau was letting him stay out so long, he glanced back. The bodyguard still stood at the top of the ramp, eyes trained forward and surveying. Nathan wasn't naïve enough to think Beau hadn't noticed him talking to somebody, but he appreciated the space.
He turned back around and caught Abby staring at him. "You excited about the audition?" he asked.
"Yes ... and no. I think I might be more nervous. I have a tiny issue with stage fright." She smiled, but then it fell right off like a sack of rocks over a cliff. "Probably shouldn't have mentioned that to you."
"Don't worry. Anything you say here will not be used against you tomorrow. Promise."
She smiled again, but this time the full power of her grin blasted her target — him. It did funny things to his stomach. Hopefully she couldn't see right through to his traitorous butterflies. Some suave bachelor he was turning out to be.
The guys would be so ashamed. Hell, he was ashamed. Nathan Strong was a pop star. He was supposed to be the new smooth member of the group, not falling all over himself because of a girl. For crying out loud, he sang love songs to thousands of girls almost every night, and he couldn't handle talking to just one?
If Miles wouldn't pick on him relentlessly, Nathan might even ask for advice on how to act so cool around pretty girls. It was clear he needed it.
She sighed. "I don't know if it was the same for you when you made it on Rockstars: Live! but it's hard to be close to your dreams yet still so far away. I thought getting the record deal was my dream. Turns out it's not. What good is it if I haven't shared my songs, and me, yet?"
He turned toward her, eyes wide. Everything she said sounded so familiar, as if Nathan had said or thought the exact same thing many times before but had never been able to vocalize it in that way. "I get it. You just want to share your little piece of the world with everybody."
She beamed. "Exactly."
"Well, what does your label say? When are you going to start recording?"
Abby shrugged. "I don't know. I mean ... my take on the whole thing? I'm not sure they know what to do with me. All I'm known for now is covers of really great songs other people have written. But I've been up front with them from the beginning that I want to write my own stuff."
Nathan knew from experience that was a difficult battle to win. Ryder was a great example of the end result if you didn't get your way. "You should stick to your guns. If you record something you're not one hundred percent behind, it'll weigh on you."
Abby gazed at the river and, after a moment, she nodded once, almost as if she'd made up her mind to go down fighting. Maybe his words would help her in the struggle she likely had in front of her.
"So, can I ask you about the tour? Is it all work and no play? What do you guys do for fun?"
Nathan's brain went on autopilot. "Well, we play a lot of —"
She pointed a finger at him. "Do not give me your rehearsed answer, either. I've read too many S2J articles to know what you've already told everyone else. I want the real answer."
Nathan laughed. He hadn't even realized he had a rehearsed answer, but when so many of the same questions were asked day in and day out, it was easy to have a go-to answer that pleased everyone. "Truth is, we do play a lot of video games. We're together a lot, but we also find time to do our own thing, too. Like earlier today, we got stuck in traffic. I read some fan mail while Trevin and Miles played video games. Ryder was talking to Mia, and Will was ... well, not sure. Whatever he was doing he was quiet about it."
"So, you have downtime to call home and stuff?"
Nathan hesitated. It was that word again ... downtime. Nathan Strong would say: I always make time for the people I care about. But for some reason, he wanted to be honest with her. Real. "Yeah ... I wouldn't say we have tons of time to do that, but you just have to squeeze it in when you can. It might mean you're calling home at midnight after a show, but as long as you have a cool family, it should work out."
Excerpted from Abby and the Cute One by Erin Butler, Stephen Morgan. Copyright © 2015 Erin Butler. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 out of 5 stars, the night before Abby’s audition to become the opening act to Seconds to Juliet (S2J), she meets Nathan Strong. They have a magical moment in time together and both yearn to start something more but with Abby winning the audition the following morning and S2J’s rule about not dating the other talent, having a relationship doesn’t seem possible. Will they find a way to make everything work out for themselves or will they allow others to run their lives for good? This whirlwind romance will charm you one moment while get you ramped up in the next. In addition, it gives you excitingly fun updates of all the other S2J members! The updates are for those (like me) who can’t help but want to stay on top of what is going on with them all. Yet, what hooks you for good are Nathan, Abby, and their relationship. You can instantly tell Nathan & Abby have a connection that runs deep, which is why their relationship and this novel is rushed. However, their relationship is written in a way that is so sweet I felt like saying, “Awwww,” within most of their scenes. It has that sweet romance teen factor that can charm you from the beginning and leaves you wanting more. I recommend this novel to those who are S2J fans and/or those looking for a fairy-tale style teen romance!! Review By: From Me to You ... Book Reviews -- read more of this review and FOUR TEASERS on my blog: frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot.com --
When guys get nervouse and stumble around
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating. I've been following the Backstage Pass series from the beginning. Even though the last two books weren't exactly my cup of tea, I still knew I wanted to see this series through to the end. Though there were a few cheesy moments here and there, I couldn't be more pleased with how this series came to a close. It made me fall in love with each one of the guys from Seconds to Juliet all over again and it was hard to put down. I was so excited to finally, finally get to know something about Nathan. He's been the most mysterious. I mean, besides the fact that he's "The Cute One" it's really hard to get a read on his personality to this point. If you'd asked me before reading this book, I'd have told you Miles was totally my S2J guy all the way. With Ryder nipping closely at his heels of course. But since getting to know Nathan I'm a Strong girl all the way! He is just so sweet and genuine and adorable. He has this tremendous heart and actually made me cry at one point when he does the sweetest and most thoughtful thing in the middle of the book for a couple fans. I had been slowly losing my heart to him up to that point, but once it happened I was a total goner. Abby was the perfect girl for someone as thoughtful and giving in nature as Nathan was. I loved how down to earth and grounded she was. And especially the fact that she was every bit as talented, probably even more so, than the guys were. How she knows she has this gift with her voice, but instead of it inflating her ego or having her be driven for fame, she just wants to connect and make people feel the passion that music can inspire. These two are just cuteness overload and perfect together. One thing that each and every author in this series did perfectly the same, was inspire the deep, deep hatred that I felt towards S2J's manager, LJ. The guy was slime. No. Worse than slime! Ugh I could not stand sitting her in each and every book watching him manipulate and threaten these young men in his power hungry ways. And watching each one of them believe his words. With each book I was hoping at first he'd be fired, but then as the series went on I was picturing bad things happening to him. And liking it. Sigh. I was really hoping he'd get killed off by the end of the series, but alas...that didn't happen. But I feel like Erin Butler got me to hate him the most. She really brought out his evil side! And I couldn't have been more pleased with how she handled the situation. Sure, like I said, there were moments of real cheese, but they're 16 years old. I remember things being cheesy and overly dramatic at that age. Regardless, I really thought the romance was sweet and loved the connection between Abby and Nathan. I had such a fun time reading this last book in the series and now that it's happened I'm sad to see it go. Thank goodness Erin Butler came along to finish it up. This was my first time reading one of her books, but after reading this, it definitely won't be the last! Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read an review this book!
This is only the second book I have read in The Backstage Pass series and I want to pick up the first three. The last two that I have read, Anya and the Shy Guy and this one, have been FABULOUS. They have both been four stars for me. They are cute stories with wonderful romance-y themes. But enough about the two books I have read, let’s focus on this bad boy…or cute on shall I say. This story was all kind of cute and that fits the main male character quite well. Every bit of this book is miraculous. I mean there were things that I wasn’t overly excited about, but other than that…wonderful. This story was quick to getting started and I loved that. I thin lately I have been having a hard time with books because it takes awhile to get into it, but this one was BOOM. We meet Nathan and his awesome self and how he is the hot bachelor. You can tell how genuine he is from the get-go and it’s amazing. I love finding a genuine guy in books because a lot of the time there’s something about them that adds drama to the story…the bad boy guy, but he’s just a sweetheart. The other sweetheart in the story is Abby. I loved her character and she felt so real. I loved that about her. I could easily connect with her. She was famous in her own way, being famous on YouTube, but she didn’t act all pompous. She was just herself and I found that to be so wonderful. You didn’t see her act like she was better than anyone. She was so easy-going and I just really loved her. These two characters just added so much to this book that I was blown away. It’s my favorite of the two I read. There was still some things I was nit picky about, but that was just me being me. There was nothing to stand-offish to where I would say…’oh if you don’t like this, then don’t pick this one up.’ I think if you’re in the mood for a light read this is one I would totally recommend. The characters are lovely and I just could not get enough. So, go pick this one up, my lovelies!
This is book # 5 in the Backstage Pass series. I recommend for reader understanding and full comprehension of the story, that you read this series in order. This can be read as a standalone - but then you miss out on the private jokes and fun. Abby auditions and gets the chance to open for Seconds to Juliet, one of her most favorite bands who are living the dream. Just prior to her audition, she had kissed the cute one of the band, Nathan. Now things are a bit awkward. Nathan has never felt like this about anyone, much less a girl. The timing could not have been worse. He is feeling the weight of the world and the band as he tries to do everything in his power to make things better. Abby and Nathan are more than attracted. They are friends also. Well, they try to be. Nathan wants to forget he kissed her, and move on. The mind is a powerful tool so forgetting her is not an option. This book was sweet and a little salty. I loved the character development happening right in front of me as I was reading! The banter, the songs, the whole book just felt so real. I loved this story and found it a great part of the series. ***This ARC was given by Netgalley.com and its publisher for review purposes only.
My Thoughts: I have a mixture of excitement and sadness over the Backstage Pass series ending, but I'd say mostly excitement because the series has been great! Given there have been five different authors who contributed to the series, you'd think you would notice as you're reading, but you don't. All the authors did fab when it came to continuity and a similar feel. Nathan is the last guy in the band without a girlfriend, and their manager wants to keep it that way so that fans stay interested. With one guy single, the girls can have their fantasy of ending up with him someday stay alive. Unfortunately for Nathan, he meets Abby and falls for her almost instantly. He has to keep up appearances for the sake of the band, pretending like he doesn't care for her when he does. It's an upsetting situation for them to be in, but they try to find a way around it together. When all their plans seem to fail, they aren't sure what to do. They want to be together, but how can it work? Abby and the Cute One is adorable and has all the swoons and feels. From the start you can sense how Nathan and Abby are perfect for each other, how insane their connection is. So it tears you up when they face the obstacles because you know they're meant to be. Great book from Erin Butler, completing this series in the absolute best way possible. My Rating: Very Good
**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.** Is this the final one in the series? I feel like this is the final one in the series. While this one wasn't my favorite of the series it was a pretty solid addition. My only gripe with it is that it seemed like it was really rushed. The conflict was there but it wasn't as prominent or drawn out as in the other books. The story was cute though and I will totally recommend the whole series.
**Thank you so much to Entangled Teen for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!** The second that I got an email about Abby and the Cute One, I knew that I had to read it. The Backstage Pass series is everything I've always wanted in a series of books, so I couldn't pass up a story about the last boy in the band. I loved how quickly this story jumped right in. The reader is immediately introduced to Nathan, who is seen as the band's most eligible bachelor. Since everyone else in the band is now taken, he must be seen as the one to date. There's even a huge publicity stunt for him to be dating other celebrities in order for the band to be open to other fan bases. However, Nathan isn't really into that. He likes real, down-to-earth girls, which is why he immediately falls for Abby. Abby is a wonderful character. She is known for her covers on YouTube and ends up trying out to be Seconds to Juliet's opening act for the tour. Of course, she gets the gig, though now that she's on the tour, she and Nathan aren't really supposed to have anything to do with each other. I absolutely adored getting to know more about Nathan! I really liked how sweet he was and how he actually liked girls who weren't all dolled up like the celebrity girls he was used to. I also really liked Abby and I found her to be a special character because in a way, she was kind of famous already from her YouTube videos. That made her unlike any of the other girls that the guys in the past had fallen for. My favorite part was actually how the two of them met. I won't spoil anything (even though it's pretty early on), but I'm telling you it's super cute and adorable. I honestly won't stop recommending this series to people, especially now that not one book in this marvelous series has let me down. Each book in the Backstage pass series has an amazing swoon-worthy romance, and Abby and the Cute One is no exception.
Excellent book to read in one sitting! Such a fun, cute, lighthearted book, the perfect book to get you to get lost in the story of two teens falling in love for the first time. Abby and Nathan are two sixteen year old pop stars, Nathan is part of a famous band and Abby is just getting started as their opening act in their tour. Needless to say from the moment they meet, there are sparks flying around all over the place, the connection is instantaneous and the both just can't stop it from unfolding, even if they both have other responsibilities first. This is the first book I've read of this series, but they all sound amazing so I might give them a read as well.
The sound of a guys voice right after he wakes up