"An intense, emotionally charged, and erotically driven battle-of-wills romance"Publishers Weekly
Being a superstar in the hottest new band, Toxsin, can be a dangerous gig, as guitarist Ramsey finds out when he ends up with a tattoo he definitely didn't ask for in a very intimate location. Now he needs a tattoo rescue from artist, Jeweland maybe a little something more.
Ramsey's reputation as a bad-boy rocker is exceeded only by his dedication to his music. When a jilted groupie gets back at him for a one-night stand with an intimateand completely inappropriatetattoo, he needs it fixed, and fast.
When a high-profile tattoo job lands Jewel an invite on Toxsin's latest tour, she can't say no. What she's really worried about is ruining the gig by hooking up with the first guy to completely rock her world. She knows she should resistRamsey's not the kind to stick around for a morning after. But the way he makes her feel could be worth any risk.
Rock Band Series:
Rock Me Two Times (Book 1)
Rock Steady (Book 2)
Praise for Rock Me Two Times:
"Edgy, smoking-hot...decadence, pleasure, and shocking transformative passion provoke an unlikely couple to grapple with their hearts." Publishers Weekly
"Fans will doubtlessly savor heady details and vivid emotions that pulse through this story...a series to watch." RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By DAWN RYDER
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Dawn Ryder
All rights reserved.
The fog had settled in over the city of San Francisco. The locals put on their coats and stayed on the streets, casting off the chains of the workweek with excess. The bars and clubs were in full swing even two full hours after midnight.
"Where in the hell did you go?" Kate Braden propped her hands on her hips and sent Ramsey a seething glare. "We've been shaking the trees for you."
Ramsey offered her a smile that was a shot of pure sin. He curled a hand around her hip and pulled her against his hard body while taking a moment to enjoy the display her corset top pushed her breasts into. "Would have surfaced sooner if I'd known you wanted me."
He purred out the word "wanted."
A faint scent of scotch surrounded him, but it was a fine grade and only added to his dark-as-midnight persona. He was wearing leather pants and vest as usual, but it fit in with the crowd on the sidewalks of San Francisco. At least the crowd that was out at two thirty in the morning.
He started to nuzzle her neck.
"Hands off my wife there, Rams."
Syon Braden appeared, neatly lifting Ramsey's hand off Kate's hip. Syon slid in and took possession of her as Ramsey grinned.
"What happened to Tia?" Syon asked his bandmate.
Ramsey frowned. For a moment, his rocker image cracked, showing the very sharp mind of the man who lurked inside the Toxsin band member. It was only a momentary glimpse before Ramsey shrugged and offered them a bored expression, retreating into his bad-boy persona.
"Guess she's gone." He kept his tone nonchalant. If Kate didn't know him, she never would have guessed he cared at all about the girl in question. He shrugged again, his leather vest opening to display a peek at his six-pack abs.
But it also showed her a flash of something else.
Kate reached forward for the waistband of the leather pants he wore.
"She might be your wife, but she can't keep her hands off me," Ramsey taunted Syon.
Her husband shifted, trying to decide what she was doing. Kate nudged the leather down just an inch and gasped.
The other two members of Toxsin had found them and joined Syon.
"They're" — Kate pushed the waistband a little farther to get a better look at the new tattoo on Ramsey's lower abdomen — "cherry blossoms." Her voice was a horrified whisper.
Ramsey frowned and looked down. He was sobering up quickly, his expression turning deadly. "That bitch."
"Damn it, Ramsey," Syon snapped. "You can't slip the leash like that." He peered at the delicate, blush-pink blossoms.
"I wasn't drunk when I went off with Tia," Ramsey said.
"Damn straight you weren't," Taz said. "I would have stayed on your butt if you were."
Ramsey was struggling to remember how he'd ended up with a tattoo. "I didn't have that much." His forehead furrowed as he tried to concentrate. He popped open the button on his waistband and looked down.
"Oh, shit," Drake said, his British accent emerging.
"That's bad," Taz agreed.
"We've got to do something," Syon confirmed.
Clearly tattooed on the singer's body were two sprigs of pink cherry blossoms. They conflicted so badly with Ramsey's dark image, his bandmates stared at him for long moments as shock held them silent. It was a serious crash-and-burn moment.
Kate pulled him closer to a streetlamp, hoping the light might show it to be a temporary tattoo.
No such luck.
"You're screwed." Kate detected the faint red marks from the needle. There was a slight gloss from Vaseline too.
"We're screwed," Syon added. "We've got a show in forty-eight hours."
The members of Toxsin stuck together. Ramsey and Syon were tighter than most married couples. Kate had learned that firsthand when she'd met Syon and spent a season on tour with them as their costumer.
"It's Toxsin!" someone yelled from across the street. There was the blare of a horn as the fangirls stepped right into traffic in their quest to connect with their music idols.
Kate reached out and refashioned Ramsey's pants to hide the tattoo.
"I dreamed about this differently," Ramsey drawled. "You took my pants off in my dreams. I remember that detail perfectly."
"Right now, they need to stay on." She fastened up his vest while she was at it, but the garment wasn't going to hide the top half of the second blossom.
"We've got to get this fixed. Now," Syon said. "That is going to show on stage, big time."
They might have been sporting long hair and leather, making them look like society's rejects, but all of them were dead serious when it came to their image. The potential for disaster the little feminine tattoo posed was off the scale.
As in ... epic disaster.
The tabloids would have a field day if even one fuzzy picture surfaced. They'd just hit the Bay Area and had two days until show night. Ramsey was known for his guitar solos, and his lack of a shirt made sure his abs were on display.
"I don't think cover-up is going to do the job on that one," Drake offered.
"One little rub from the waistband of your pants, and it would be all over cyberspace," Kate added.
"We need tattoo rescue. Like, now," Taz said as he dug his phone out of his pocket and started searching the Internet. "The paparazzi get a shot of that, and we're never going to live it down."
"Well, gotta do what we gotta do for image ..." Ramsey slid behind Kate, trapping her in front of him as a human shield as the fangirls made it to them.
Syon punched him in the shoulder, but all he did was smirk and rub his chin on top of her head.
"You're so hot!"
"Can I have a picture with you?"
The girls squealed as they tried to push their way closer to Ramsey. Kate ended up sandwiched between them.
"Got it," Taz said.
Drake went to work, settling his arms around the fangirls and steering them away as he charmed them with his British accent.
"Three blocks south. All-night tattoo parlor. Good references," Taz said once the fans were out of earshot.
"Let's check it out." Syon whistled. A young Korean man looked up from where he'd been leaning against a streetlamp enjoying the view of the bay. "Better get some sleep, Kate."
She let her bodyguard take her toward a black SUV with tinted windows. Syon and Taz surrounded Ramsey, guiding him away. They were three lean, hard bodies, and if she did say so herself, they were wearing really great leather pants. Kate took one last look at her work, as the leather showed off their prime butts, before she ducked into the SUV, Yoon holding the door for her.
Yoon claimed shotgun before the driver pulled the car away from the curb and took her back to the five-star hotel the band was staying at. The paparazzi were camped out as usual. They perked up as the car pulled up, raising their cameras as Yoon opened her door, ready to catch one of the members of the mega rock band Toxsin in a moment of inattention. There was a ripple of disappointment when they realized it was only her, but they were always ready to make the most of every opportunity to claim a headline.
"Hey, Kate, how is it being married to the Marquis?"
"Are you pregnant?"
"Is it true you've filed for divorce?"
"Are you allowing Syon to date?"
The paparazzi had no shame. They'd hound her with the most ridiculous questions, and as far as personal boundaries went, they didn't have any. Taz had brought in his cousin Yoon to be her bodyguard and keep them at bay. The paparazzi stood behind velvet-covered ropes as Yoon swept them with a keen gaze to make sure they weren't breaching the barriers the hotel had set up.
Yoon escorted her inside. He'd finally stopped shooting glares at the more insensitive questions. Hotel security was waiting for her, making sure none of the camera jockeys followed her inside.
"The boys still out?" Brenton, the band's road manager, greeted her with a handshake and a room key card.
"Um ... yes. And we have a problem, with Tia."
Brenton fell into step beside her, never losing his congenial grin. Managing a mega superstar band like Toxsin meant the walls had ears and telephoto lenses. He waited until the penthouse elevator door closed the curious spectators out before his expression went serious.
"How big of a problem?" Brenton asked.
The road manager's eyebrows lowered as he listened to her.
* * *
"What do you think you're going to prove?"
Jewel tapped her fingers against the countertop and bit her lower lip. Her mom was just getting started.
"Don't you appreciate the education your father and I paid for?"
"I do, Mom." Jewel managed to keep her tone even and sweet. Really, it shouldn't have taken much effort. At this point, she should be well acquainted with her mother's disdain for her current employment choice.
But her skin wasn't as thick as she'd like to think. The tone of her mother's voice cut deep, slicing into the dream she was trying to live with the sharp blade of reality.
Don't hate the messenger ...
"Well, you wouldn't know it by the way you're playing around in that tattoo shop like some sort of orphan who didn't have the benefit of a university education paid for by her parents," her mom said.
"I just love art."
"So love it." Her mother was completely exasperated now, her breathing rough on the other end of the line. "What I don't understand is why you aren't using that marketing degree. You need to get out and start your career. If it was your own shop, I might understand. I hate to think about you suffering. Living in a death trap apartment, wondering where your next meal is coming from, sleeping on a futon."
Guilt chewed on her. "Money isn't that tight."
Her mother made a low sound of disbelief. Jewel couldn't really form another argument because, well, it would be a flat-out lie. Her boss was a prick, who paid her only when she had a client, and he scooped up the best hours while the parlor was open, leaving her to mind the shop from three in the morning until lunchtime, when most of their clientele woke up.
And she did sleep on a futon. In an apartment building that had been built in the twenties. Plugging more than one kitchen appliance in at the same time was asking to break out her fire extinguisher.
It wasn't anywhere near the exciting adventure she'd hoped for when she'd decided to try a year of being a struggling artist. So far, all she'd really experienced was the "struggling" part. Substandard wiring and plumbing were everyday challenges. So was scraping together enough funds to pay the landlord. She had a newfound understanding of the girls who resorted to stripping a couple of nights a week to supplement their income.
"Mom, I just wanted to venture a little off the beaten path. Just for a bit, while I'm not responsible for anyone else. I don't even have a houseplant, and I have the safety net of knowing I can come home. I do appreciate you. I just want to try walking on the wild side, to say I did it."
There was a soft sound as her mother sighed. "I was young once too," her mother confessed with a soft snicker. "Burned my bra at a concert once; bet you didn't know that."
"You didn't!" Jewel exclaimed.
Her mother smothered a giggle. "I did. Whipped that puppy off, tossed it into a trash can, and lit it up. It was the night I met your father. I wanted him to see me as a woman of the world: fearless, confident in my sexuality, a true wild child."
"Your sign says twenty-four hours."
Jewel looked up and fumbled her phone. She was pretty sure her mouth hung open, but wasn't completely sure, because her brain decided to fry, leaving her staring at the decadent man prowling across the shop toward her.
"Tell your mom you'll call back. I need you right now."
Okay, fried wasn't nearly hot enough a word to describe the sensation going through her. The guy in front of her was a god. Six and a quarter feet of raw muscle, with black eyes that looked like they'd been carved out of a moonless night sky at midnight. His shoulder-length hair was spiky and screamed nonconformity. But it was the flash of arrogance in his eyes that drove home just how raw he was.
This guy took what he wanted and never apologized for any of his desires.
It should have raised her hackles. Instead, it made her wet.
And she wasn't sure she liked it.
Scratch that. She was sure she didn't like it, because it felt like she was losing control.
"Mom, I've got someone in the shop."
Her voice had become raspy. She blinked, trying to scrape together some poise. It felt like mission impossible as the god grinned at her, his lips curving in a sensual way that sent a bolt of heat straight into her clit.
The guy was sex on a stick. And his leather pants made it clear he had quite a stick.
"How can I help you?" she asked.
"So, you're open?" She hadn't realized the god had companions. One was an Asian man with short, spiky hair, black as a raven's wing, with a flash of blue fire that made it look amazing.
"Oh ... sorry. I was talking to my mom." Her tongue felt like it had gone lame. "When you walked in, that is. We're always open."
And her day was suddenly looking up. "I'm Jewel. What are you gents looking for?"
"Do you do tattoo rescue?" The blond one was talking now. His hair fell just to his shoulders, and his eyebrows were slashes.
"You can only go darker. So if it's already black, your options are limited. But sure, I do rescues."
"Wait," the Asian guy insisted. "Do you have a portfolio?"
"Of course." Jewel pulled a large book from under the counter.
She was used to seeing leather and brawn in the shop, but there was a level of detail on all three of them that spoke of money. The pants were all custom-made, or she'd pack up and start sending out marketing résumés like her parents advised. She knew the difference between wannabes and genuine badasses.
These were the real McCoy.
"I mean, nothing personal, but we can't have this done by an amateur," the Asian continued as he started flipping through the pages of her work.
"Speak for yourself, Taz." The dark-eyed one was leaning farther across the counter, making the air between them sizzle. "I'd like to get very personal with you."
His voice was like black velvet. It would be super easy to just let it rub all over her. She got the feeling she'd end up purring. There was a flash of something in his eyes, sending a tingle of apprehension through her.
He knew exactly what sort of effect he was having on her.
God, that was sexy. It really redefined her concept of the word. He knew exactly what to do with every inch of her body.
She ended up rolling her lower lip in and setting her teeth into it. His dark gaze dropped to the little nervous motion, his lips curving rakishly in response as he leaned on the counter, moving closer to her. He was too damned smooth, pushing in on her comfort zone with an ease that was annoying, but at the same time, forced her to admit she admired it. A ton of guys thought they were good at getting under a girl's skin.
This guy was amazing at it.
He was arrogant, but with a solid core of confidence that sent a shiver down her spine. Part of her really wanted to put him to the test.
Which wouldn't help her pay the rent. She dug deep, trying to get a grip on her professionalism.
"You might want to see these too." She lifted another album from beneath the counter and handed it over. "These are my awards, and the back half are rescues, before and after shots."
The blond took it in a flash, leaving her once again staring at the dark-eyed god. Her mouth actually went dry when he opened his mouth and bit the air between them. "Maybe you should let me in on the ... problem?" she said.
His grin grew into a huge smile that showed off gleaming white teeth. "Thought you'd never ask me to open my pants."
He'd straightened up, giving her another glimpse of just how tall he was before he popped the button on his fly.
It was totally unprofessional for her to get a buzz out of his brazen attitude.
But frickin' awesome nonetheless.
She was actually holding her breath as he worked the buttons.
Oh, hell, the guy was chiseled.
But the delicate pink blossoms hit her like a bucket of ice water. "Oh, that is just wrong."
She came around the counter, her attention fixed on his lower belly. Jewel sank to her knee to get eye level with the cherry blossoms. It was a sacrilege, like putting pink ribbons in the ears of a panther.
Excerpted from Rock Steady by DAWN RYDER. Copyright © 2016 Dawn Ryder. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
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
Lovely series , quite interesting .
Love the Toxsin boys**
Rock Steady, Dawn Ryder Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews Genre: Romance, General Fiction (adult) A rock star romance,a weakness for me...so I had to request it ;-) I loved book one and really enjoyed being back with Toxin. Though this story features Ramsey we still see the other band members, just the sort of read I enjoy best. I laughed at parts of this – the start, Ramsey and That Tattoo – brilliant. I kind of sympathised with the groupie... though she did know what she was getting into so it wasn’t really fair, but what a revenge!! Jewel – she was a terrific character, felt very real, a strong lady. She’s got past issues too and yet she’s worked to get past them. I do like ladies in novels that don;t just curl up and depend on a man, but run their own lives. Ramsey doesn’t know it but she’s just what he needs and vice versa. Jewel doesn’t need a “yes” man, but one who will understand her need for independence, and their romance was so explosive in the physical way. Yet the mental parts, the way they needed to adapt to each other took time and proved the for me much needed heartbreak section. I love the drama, and don’t want a sweet easy read. the more setback and hard parts to work through the greater the reward IMO and this book was perfect for that. . Stars: Five, a cracking read. Great addition to the series ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Love this series. Love how ramsey and jewel interact...cant wait for more from toxsin...hurry please
The characters drew me in, I was not ready to let them go. I want to go on and get Taz and Drake's stories and learn more about the band and their connections.
Rock Steady is story of a smart tattoo artist who meets a stereotypical rock star who needs a coverup. Ramsey the sexy guitarist sleeps with a groupie and ends up with an awful tattoo. His band suggest a coverup and there he meets Jewel, a sassy artist who agrees to travel with Ramsey to finish the work. They have electric chemistry and are soon doing the nasty. Ramsey isn't looking for a relationship, but doesn't seem to want anyone but Sarah. She is realistic in her expectations, but is willing to see how far her chemistry with Ramsey will go.. Will it end with a happy ending or burn out fast? This is a steamy novel that features to hot artists that are reluctant to have a "relationship". Ramsey is an imperfect hero who wants something he doesn't feel able to give, and Jewel is a college educated artist who is the perfect foil for the rock star. I loved the band and dialogue. This is book is definitely erotic and will steam up anyone who reads it. I was given a free copy for an honest review.
The Rock Band series by Dawn Ryder is the first time that I have read anything by this author and I really like the series so far!!! Rock Steady is the second book in the series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but I read the first book, Rock Me Two Times, just before this. I wanted to have the background of the characters and story line. The band Toxsin is made up if four best friends that have known each other for years, including their time serving in the military before becoming famous. Ramsey Brimer is the guitar player of the group. He enjoys the bad boy rocker image he projects to others. He seems to love the excess that the life of a rock star possesses, including the groupies who constantly want to be with him. When one of the groupies gets him drunk and has a cherry blossom tattooed on his lower stomach, he needs it fixed fast. Jewel Ryan is an artist and recent college graduate who is struggling to make it on her own. She is working at the tattoo parlor Ramsey and the band members go to have his fixed. After looking at her portfolio, as well as the drawing she had done for him, Ramsey has her make a dragon to cover up the cherry blossoms. There is instant chemistry between Jewel and Ramsey and he is very impressed with her art work. After she loses her job for helping him, Ramsey starts to pursue her, including a visit to her apartment. When he sees how she is living, he decides he wants to give her a job that includes her coming on tour with the band for a few weeks so she can finish the tattoo. Ramsey is very forward with his feelings for Jewel and she is reluctant to give in to her feelings. In addition to their budding relationship, there is the newness to the environment of being involved with a band. There are a lot of things that Jewel has never had to deal with, that she is learning about now. Ramsey has realized he no longer wants to be the “bad boy” with a different girl every night. He wants Jewel for possibly more than the four weeks she is originally set to be with the band. He also likes how she sees beyond the image he projects and sees who he really is. You see the struggle Ramsey has between maintaining his bad boy image and wanting to change to be with Jewel. When she leaves because she sees him with a groupie, he realizes what he is doing wrong. As Ramsey tells Jewel, "he wants to be everything she has always thought he can be, but he can't do it without her to anchor hiim." So he can have what he wants, which is to be with only her. This is a hot romance, full of emotion that you won’t want to put down. I am looking forward to reading the next story in the series. I will also definitely be reading more of Ms. Ryder’s books in the future!!
Dawn Ryder’s Rock Steady is a hit. Toxsin guitarist, Ramsey Brimer, needs emergency tattoo work done after a scorned groupie marks him with an unsuitable tattoo. He is intrigued by tattoo artist, Jewel Ryan, and convinces her to join the band’s tour. This contemporary rock star romance is suitable to new adult and adult audiences. I like Jewel’s character. Having a design background, I love that she is a talented artist. I like that Ramsey’s tattoo became part of his stage persona. I enjoyed learning more about Ramsey. He is an interesting individual. He doesn’t have the best relationship with his parents. I respected that he brought Jewel home with him and how the situation materialized. The two have fabulous chemistry and complement each other well. I enjoyed the plot. The tattoo aspect was clever. I love that the band is like a family. They have been through a lot together. I appreciated that we learn more about Syon’s and Ramsey’s childhood in this story. I felt bad for all the ridiculous stuff they had to deal with the paparazzi. The story was exciting from beginning to end. I like how the story ended and look forward to Taz’s story. Complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review.