Kylie Scott returns with Play, the New York Times bestselling highly-anticipated follow-up to the international hit Lick
Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast-at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn't plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn't count on finding the one right girl.
Anne Rollins never thought she'd ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls-especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn't end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Kylie Scott is a longtime fan of erotic love stories, rock n' roll, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia she reads, writes and never wastes time surfing the internet. She is the author of Lick.
USA Today bestselling author of the Stage Dive series KYLIE SCOTT is a long time fan of erotic love stories, rock n roll, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia she reads, writes and never wastes time on the internet.
Read an Excerpt
By Kylie Scott
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Kylie Scott
All rights reserved.
Something was wrong. I knew it the moment I walked in the door. With one hand I flicked on the light, dumping my purse onto the couch with the other. After the dimly lit hallway, the sudden glare was dazzling. Little lights flashed before my eyes. When they cleared all I saw were spaces ... spaces where, just this morning, things had been.
Like the couch.
My purse hit the floor and everything came tumbling out, tampons, loose coins, pens and make-up. A stick of deodorant rolled into the corner. The now empty corner since both the TV and its cabinet were gone. My thrift store retro table and chairs remained, same with my over-flowing book case. But the bulk of the room lay bare.
"What the hell?" A stupid question, what had happened here was obvious. Across from me, my roommate's door stood wide open. Nothing but darkness and dust bunnies in there. No point in denying it.
Skye had bailed on me.
My shoulders slumped as the weight of two months worth of back rent, food and utilities came crushing down upon me. Even my throat closed tight. So this is what it felt like to have a friend fuck you over. I could barely breathe.
"Anne, can I borrow your velvet coat? I promise I'll ..." Lauren, my neighbor from the apartment next door strode in (knocking never had been her style). Then, like me, she stopped dead. "Where's your couch?"
I took a deep breath and let it out slow. It didn't help. "I guess Skye took it."
My mouth opened, but really, what was there to say?
"She's gone and you didn't know she was leaving?" Lauren cocked her head, making her mass of long dark hair swing to and fro. I'd always envied her that hair. Mine was strawberry blond and fine. Anything past shoulder length and it hung limp like I'd stuck my head in a bucket of grease. It's why I didn't tend to let it grow longer than jaw length.
Not that hair mattered.
Making rent mattered.
Having food to eat mattered.
Hair styles? Not so much.
My eyes burned, betrayal stung like a bitch. Skye and I had been friends for years. I'd trusted her. We'd trash talked boys and shared secrets, cried on each other's shoulders. It just didn't make sense.
Except it did.
It so very painfully did.
"No." My voice sounded strange. I swallowed hard, clearing my throat. "No, I didn't know she was leaving."
"Weird. You two always seemed to get along great."
"Why would she take off like that?"
"She owed me money," I admitted, kneeling to collect the contents of my purse. Not to pray to God. I'd given up on him a long time ago.
Lauren gasped. "You're joking. That fucking bitch!"
"Babe, we're running late." Nate, my other next door neighbor, filled the door way, eyes impatient. He was a tall well-built guy with an edge. Normally, I envied Lauren her boyfriend. Right then the glory of Nate was lost on me. I was so fucked.
"What's going on?" he asked, looking around. "Hey, Anne."
"Where's your shit?"
Lauren threw her hands in the air. "Skye took her shit!"
"No," I corrected. "Skye took her shit. But she took my money."
"How much money?" Nate asked, displeasure dropping his voice by about an octave.
"Enough," I said. "I've been covering for her since she lost her job."
"Damn," muttered Nate.
"Yeah." Seriously, yeah.
I picked up my purse and flipped it open. Sixty-five dollars and one lone shiny quarter. How had I let it get this far? My pay check from the bookshop was gone and my credit card maxed. Lizzy had needed help yesterday paying for textbooks and no way would I turn her down. Getting my sister through college came first.
This morning I'd told Skye we needed to talk. All day I'd felt crappy about it, my stomach churning. Because the truth was, the sum total of my talk involved telling her that she needed to ask her parents, or her fancy ass new boyfriend, for a loan to pay me back. I couldn't keep the both of us housed and fed any longer while she searched for a new job. So she also needed to talk to one of them about a place to stay. Yes, I was kicking her to the curb. The guilt had weighed in my stomach like a stone.
What were the chances of her feeling any remorse for screwing me over? Not likely.
I finished retrieving the contents of my handbag and zipped it up tight. "Ah, yeah, Lauren, the coat's in my closet. At least I hope it is. Help yourself."
Rent was due in eight days. Maybe I could work a miracle. There were sure to be some cash savvy twenty-three year olds with savings in the bank out there. At least one of them must need a place to stay? I'd been doing fine before this. But there'd always been something my sister or I needed more than future financial stability. Books, clothes, a night on the town, all those little treats that made living worthwhile. We'd sacrificed enough already. Yet here I was, broke and on my knees.
Guess I should have prioritized better. Hindsight sucked.
Worst case scenario, I could probably get away with sleeping on the floor of Lizzy's dorm room if we were super sly. God knows our mom didn't have the cash. Asking her for help was out. If I sold my great-aunt's pearls it might help toward the deposit on another apartment, a smaller one that I could afford on my own.
I'd fix this somehow. Of course, I would. Fixing shit was my specialty.
And if I ever saw Skye again I was going to fucking kill her.
"What'll you do?" asked Nate, lounging against the door frame.
I rose to my feet, dusting off the knees of my black pants. "I'll work something out."
Nate gave me a look and I returned it as calmly as I could. The next thing to come out of his mouth had better not be pity. My day had been crappy enough. With great determination, I gave him a smile. "So, where are you guys off to?"
"Party at David and Ev's," Lauren answered from inside my room. "You should come with us."
Ev, Nate's sister and Lauren's former roomie, had married David Ferris, premier rock god and lead guitarist for the band Stage Dive, a few months ago. Long story. I was still trying to get my head around it, frankly. One minute, she'd been the nice blond girl next door who went to the same college as Lizzy and made killer coffee at Ruby's Café. The next, our apartment block had been surrounded by paparazzi. Skye had given interviews on the front step—not that she'd known anything. I'd snuck out the back.
Mostly, my relationship with Ev had involved saying hi when we'd passed on the stairs, back when she used to live here, and with me hitting Ruby's Café every morning for a big-ass coffee on my way to work. We'd always been friendly. But I wouldn't say we were friends exactly. Given Lauren's penchant for borrowing my clothes, I knew her much better.
"She should come, right, Nate?"
Nate grunted his affirmation. Either that or his disinterest. With him it was kind of hard to tell.
"That's okay," I demurred. Debris lined the walls where the couch and cabinet had stood; all of the collected crap Skye had left behind. "I had a new book to read, but I should probably get busy cleaning. Guess we hadn't dusted under the furniture for a while. At least I won't have much to move when the time comes."
"Come with us."
"Lauren, I wasn't invited," I said.
"Neither are we half the time," said Nate.
"They love us! Of course they want us there." Lauren reemerged from my room and gave her boyfriend the stink eye. She looked better in the black vintage jacket than I ever would, a fact that I chose not to secretly hate her for. If that didn't earn me points into heaven then nothing would. Maybe I'd give it to her as a good-bye present before I left.
"Come on, Anne," she said. "Ev won't mind."
"Good to go?" Nate jiggled his car keys impatiently.
Hanging with rock stars didn't seem the appropriate response to learning you'd soon be out on the street. Maybe one day when I was at my sparkling, buffed-up best I could strut on by and say hi. That day was not today. Mostly I felt tired, defeated. Given I'd been feeling that way since I turned sixteen, it wasn't the strongest of excuses. Lauren didn't need to know that, however.
"Thanks, guys," I said. "But I only just got home."
"Um, honey, your home kind of sucks ass right now," said Lauren, taking in my dust bunnies and lack of décor with a sweeping glance. "Besides, it's Friday night. Who sits at home on a Friday night? You wearing your work gear or jumping into jeans? I'd suggest the jeans."
"No." Lauren grasped my shoulders and looked me in the eye. "You have been fucked over by a friend. I have no words to tell you how furious that makes me. You're coming with us. Hide in a corner all night if you want. But you're not sitting here alone dwelling on that thieving ho. You know I never did like her."
Stupidly, I did. Or had. Whatever.
"Didn't I say that, Nate?"
Nate shrugged and jangled his keys some more.
"Go. Get ready." Lauren gave me a push in the general direction of my bedroom.
In my current situation, this might be my only opportunity to meet David Ferris. Ev still showed up here now and then, but I'd never seen him, despite occasionally "hanging out" on the steps just in case. He wasn't my absolute favorite out of the four members of Stage Dive. That honor was reserved for the drummer, Mal Ericson. A few years ago, I'd crushed on him something hard. But still ... the David Ferris. For the chance to meet even just one of them, I had to go. A few years ago, I'd had a bit of a thing for the band. Nothing to do with their being buff rock gods. No, I was a musical purist.
"Alright, give me ten minutes." It was the absolute minimum time frame within which I could mentally, if not physically, prepare myself to face the rich and famous. Fortunately, my care factor was now dangerously close to fuck-it levels. Tonight would probably be the best time to meet Mr. Ferris. I might actually manage to keep my cool and not be an awestruck waste of space.
"Five minutes," said Nate. "The game will be starting."
"Would you relax?" asked Lauren.
"No." The man made a snapping sound and Lauren giggled. I didn't look back. I didn't want to know. The walls here were disgustingly thin so Lauren and Nate's nocturnal mating habits weren't much of a secret. Happily I was usually at work during the day. Those hours were a mystery to me, and not one that I pondered.
Oh, alright. Occasionally I pondered because I hadn't gotten anything non-self-induced in a while. Also, apparently I had some repressed voyeuristic tendencies in need of addressing.
Was I really up to a night of watching couples rubbing against one another?
I could call Reece, though he'd said he had a date tonight. Of course, he always had a date. Reece was perfect in every way apart from his man-whore tendencies. My best guy friend liked to spread his love around, to put it mildly. He seemed to be on a conjugal-related first-name basis with the better part of the straight Portland female population aged eighteen to forty-eight. Everyone except me, basically.
Which was fine.
There was nothing wrong with just being friends. Though someday I truly believed we'd make a great couple. He was just so easy to be around. With everything we had in common, we could go the distance. In the meantime, I was content to wait, do my own thing. Not that lately I'd been doing anything or anyone, but you get what I mean.
Reece would listen to me whine about Skye. He'd probably even cancel his date, come over, and keep me company while I moped. He would, however, definitely say "I told you so." When he'd found out I'd been covering for her, he hadn't been happy. He'd outright accused her of using me. Turned out he'd been 110 percent right on that score.
The wound, however, was too raw to be prodded and poked. So ... no Reece. In all likelihood, Lizzy would give me the exact same ass kicking Reece had. Neither had been a fan of the save Skye plan. Decision made. I'd go to the party and have fun before my world turned to shit.
Excellent. I could do this.CHAPTER 2
I couldn't do this.
David and Ev lived in a luxury condo in the Pearl District. The place was sprawling, taking up half the top floor of a beautiful old brown brick building. It must have been surreal for Ev, going from our poky, drafty, thin-walled building to this sort of splendor. It must have been awesome. The old apartment building sat on the edge of downtown, close to the university, but David and Ev lived smack-dab in the middle of the very cool and expensive Pearl District.
Happily, Ev seemed delighted to see me. One potentially awkward moment negated. Mr. Ev, the rock star, gave me a chin tip in greeting while I did my best not to stare. I itched to ask him to sign something. My forehead would do.
"Help yourself to anything in the kitchen," said Ev. "There are plenty of drinks and pizza should be here soon."
"You live next to Lauren and Nate?" asked David, speaking for the first time. Good lord, his dark hair and sculpted face were breathtaking. People shouldn't be so greedy; was it not enough that he was insanely talented?
"Yes," I said. "I used to be Ev's neighbor and I'm a regular at Ruby's Café."
"Every morning without fail," said Ev with a wink. "Double shot skinny latte with a hit of caramel coming right up."
David nodded and seemed to relax. He slipped an arm around his wife's waist and she grinned up at him. Love looked good on her. I hoped they lasted.
I'd loved, really loved, four people in my lifetime. They weren't all romantic love, of course. But I'd trusted my heart to all of them. Three had failed me. So I figured there was a twenty-five percent chance for success.
When David and Ev started sucking face, I took it as my cue to go explore.
I grabbed a beer from the kitchen (state of the art and beyond fancy) and faced the big living room with renewed determination. I could totally do this. Socializing and me were about to be best buds. A couple dozen people were scattered around the place. A huge flat screen blared out the game and Nate sat dead center in front of it, enraptured. There were a few faces amongst the crowd that I recognized; most belonged to people I'd never dare approach. I took a sip of beer to wet my parched throat. Being the odd one out at a party is a unique sort of torture. Given today's events, I lacked the courage to start a conversation. With my talent for picking who to trust, I'd probably ask the only axe murderer in the room for his sign.
Lauren gestured to me to join her right when my cell started buzzing in my back jeans pocket. My butt cheek vibrated, giving me a thrill. I waved to Lauren and pulled out my cell, walking quickly out onto the balcony to escape the noise and chatter. Reece's name flashed on the screen as I shut the balcony doors.
"Hey," I said, smiling.
"Date canceled on me."
"That's a shame."
"What are you up to?"
Wind whipped up my hair, making me shiver. Typical weather for Portland at this time of year–October could definitely get cold, wet, dark, and miserable. I huddled down deeper into my blue woolen jacket. "I'm at a party. You're going to have to entertain yourself. Sorry."
"A party? What party?" he asked, the interest in his voice moving up a notch.
"One I wasn't exactly invited to, so I can't extend the offer to you."
"Damn." He yawned. "Never mind. Might get an early night for a change."
"Good idea." I wandered over to the railing. Cars rushed by on the street below. The Pearl District was a mecca of bars, cafés, and general coolness. Plenty of people were out and about braving the weather. All around me, the city lights broke up the darkness and the wind howled. It was lovely in a moody, existential-crisis sort of way. No matter the weather, I loved Portland. It was so different from back home in southern California, something I appreciated immensely. Here the houses were built for snow and ice instead of sunshine. The culture was weirder, more lenient in ways. Or maybe I just had a hard time remembering any of the good regarding my hometown. I'd escaped. That was all that mattered.
"I should go be social, Reece."
"You sound off. What's up?"
Groan. "Let's talk tomorrow at work."
"Let's talk now."
"Later, Reece. I need to put on my happy face and go make Lauren proud."
"Anne, cut the shit. What's going on?"
I screwed up my face and took another sip of beer before answering. We'd been working together for almost two years now. Apparently, plenty of time for him to figure out my tells. "Skye's gone."
"Good. About time. She pay you back?"
I let my silence do the talking.
"Fuuuuck. Anne. Seriously."
"What did I tell you?" he snarled. "Didn't I say–"
"Reece, don't go there. Please. At the time, I thought it was the right thing to do. She was a friend and she needed help. I couldn't just–"
Excerpted from Play by Kylie Scott. Copyright © 2014 Kylie Scott. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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
Second book in the series and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I liked this book even better than the first one "Lick". It was so funny in parts that I had tears running down my face. Loved Mal and Anne's story very much. Great writing, can't wait for the next book due in August 2014, wish it would come out sooner.
Great book about 230pgs
Perfect Musician Series David Who? I thought I loved David Ferris but now I have eyes only for Mal Ericson. *Drool* The Stage Dive series is the perfect musician series. Like, ever. Nothing cheesy. Nothing overly dramatic. Just delicious, delirious amazingness. Anne has a problem with boundaries. She’s so loyal to those she loves that she doesn’t know how to put her foot down and say no. Which is why she finds herself stranded by her roommate and only days away from being evicted from her apartment. Her neighbor, Lauren, who also happens to be best friends with David Ferris’ new wife Evelyn, drags her to a party after Anne’s world is tilted upside down. Not just any party, a party thrown by the members of Stave Dive, the world famous rock band. Mal overhears Anne’s problems and decides that he and Anne need each other. He needs a fake girlfriend, she needs a new roommate; it’s a win/win situation for all involved. So long as Anne can remember to keep her heart out of the picture, that is. Mal is the perfect embodiment of a drummer. He’s loud, hilarious, and bounces from mood to mood in seconds. He’s adorable and lovable and so d@mn funny. He literally had me keeled over in hysterics. He is just so perfect. Part of his perfection is that he’s not always fun. He’s also got a brooding, serious side that he doesn’t want anyone to see. He’s the guy who keeps the peace, not the guy who shares his feelings. Which suits Anne just fine because she’s got some serious baggage she has no interest in sharing either. I loved that as opposed to Evelyn and David’s story in LICK, Anne not only knew who Mal was, she’d had a childhood crush on him. He has always been her dream guy and so in rooting for her and Mal to work out, it’s like the reader is able to believe that if she can do it, anyone could. The story was hilarious yet touching, hot and romantic. Kylie Scott blended erotic scenes seamlessly with sidesplitting scenes. That combined with her fully fleshed out characters is what makes the Stage Dive series my new favorite rock star series. And did I mention tattoos? They have those too - it’s almost too perfect for words! If you love sexy musicians, tattoos, and sweetly romantic guys, you will devour PLAY and the entire Stage Dive series! **Complimentary copy provided by the author/publisher for an honest review.
This is one of those books that you cant sit it down and the whole time you are reading it you are either laughing out load or have this huge grin on your face. Great book thats well written.
Loved Mal's story! Finished in one day! Mal was a bit confusing at times the way he went back and forth between being serious and being his humorous self. You didn't know if he was serious or just being his laid-back, enjoying life and keeping the peace self. Anne could have been better, but I think she was perfect for Mal. She was just what he needed when he needed it. This was a fun a read that I just couldn't put down. I read both of the books in this serious in less than 24 hours. Glad I got my house clean before I sat down and read "Lick"! Looking forward to the next book in the series.
Mal! Mal! Mal!! Now if only I can find a way to score some drum sticks from that hot, sexy, funny as f*ck Mal… In all seriousness, it feels like I’ve been waiting forever for more of my Mal fix after finishing Lick. I can still remember my utter fascination with the naughty drummer of Stage Dive after reading David and Evelyn’s story!! And Play did not disappoint! Kylie Scott delivers witty banter between Anne and Mal, along with many moments including the rest of Stage Dive and their family members. She has a knack for engaging dialogue amongst her characters which makes the story flow beautifully. I found myself turning pages as fast as possible, laughing my ass off, and finding a need to change my panties when Mal turned up the heat! *swoon* Play gave me a chance to catch up with Davie and Ev, and piqued my interest about the next stories in the Stage Dive series. Anne is practically body-slammed by Mal with his humor and panty-scorcher moments. Yet, there’s more than meets the eye with Mal. I loved seeing the many sides of him. I found Anne’s personality hilarious and her internal dialogue one that had me snort-giggling several times. Kylie’s writing style drops me right into the lives of the Stage Dive in such a way that I wasn’t observing, I was THERE. I love that when I get lost in a story like that. Overall, Kylie Scott’s Play is sexy, naughty, and hilarious with a side note of serious that makes it all so real. I’m an affirmed Stage Dive groupie and I’m ready to follow those men on tour wherever they go! Rock on!!
This book wasnt as good as the first in the series, but it was still good. I didnt like how the author made mal, the main male character, seem like he was weird. He seemed off to me throughout the book. There were parts that made me laugh out loud though. Cant wait for the next book in the series to come out.
I loved Lick, so I couldn't wait for Play to be published. It was just as good...it was hilarious, fun, emotional and hot! You have to love Mal and his craziness. If you love rocker books, this series is definitely for you! Now the wait for Jimmy's story is on.
Another great book, Kylie!
Love this series!
Did not like this book as much as series no. 1 - LICK. Mal seemed just a little immature; too playful. Except for the sex lines, seemed like a very young teen novel. OK - now on to the next in series. Hopefully, this book will not leave me wanting just a little bit more.
Super book. A lot of laughter in this story. Loved these characters and how they meshed, with each other and the rest of the cast. Hard book to put down. Kylie Scott rocks!
By far the BEST book in romance! I was literally laughing out loud and had to put the book down to catch my breathe. Mal's character was hiliarious, brillant, loving, and the life of the party. I recommended this book to 3 of my friends and my mother and each one was blown away by this amazing book. I had to reread this book after I read the 3rd book just so I could relive each and every scene with Mal and Anne. FIVE STARS all day long!
Just finished and im definitley rereading! It was amazing had me laughing out loud at the stuff that came out of Mal mouth. Im in love with this story!! The first book was good this one was amazing! Can not wait for the next one for now this series is a most read and reread asap!!
Very good. Expected it to be just ok after Lick, but she did a great job on the characters and story line, making them all unique unlike some book series where the next book is the same as the last with different names.
Loved Lick, and Play lived up to the hype. Can't wait for Lead.
Okay read, but Lick was way better. Altough I loved Mal, this book felt too shallow, too rushed, not enough depth. Anne was an okay character, too predictable. LOVETOREAD
The Stage Dive series is a favorite of mine but Play is by far my favorite!
This series is amazing!
Can't tell you how many times I've read the whole series and loved them all but this is my favorite .
To say that Mal is a bit extreme would be sugar coating it. I honestly thought it was going to be revealed that he was bi-polar or had some sort of mental thing going on because he was over the top. I mean, the extremes he went through reminded me of my niece when she was 5, not a guy in his late 20’s. However, I overlooked it because I really liked the story itself. I mean, could you imagine having taped a guy’s TeenBop (or whatever magazine is out nowadays) photo to your walls as a teenager only to meet him as an adult and have him give you the time of day? Not only does he want you to be his fake girlfriend, but he also wants to move in with you. Like I said, he was a bit over the top. It was really cute seeing these two interact with each other. Anne has just been dealt a crappy hand and is in need of cash immediately in order to pay her rent. Which leads her to take up Mal’s offer to play pretend girlfriend in exchange for him paying her rent. Of course, like all good romances, the fake relationship turns real for both of them before they even realize what hit them. It was fun getting to watch them stumble through this new development. Neither of them are relationship material. Anne has had all but one boyfriend her entire life and Mal is more of a one-and-done kind of guy. So, when they realize that there’s something more going on, it was interesting to see them tread new waters. Play was a great addition to the Stage Dive series. I loved not only getting to see Ev and the guys again, but it was great getting to “meet” Anne and watching Mal mellow out with her. She had this sort of calming affect on him that really grounded him and allowed him to drop the exuberant act. I can’t wait to see Jimmy and his handler pair up next. You saw hints of the two of them together during Play and I just know their story is going to be a good one. Not to mention the bass player, Ben and Anne’s little sister Lizzy steaming up the pages in the fourth book. Yeah. I’m already dying to get my hands on the next books.
Great book, I laughed and cried. Just an all around good story.
We need more books like this
The story of Mal and Anne is one of two brooding souls finding solice with each other when they least expect it.
I could totally relate with the characters