A troubled popstar forced into hiding… A sweet small-town girl overcoming tragedy… And the kind of love that only happens once in a lifetime.
Dakota’s dreams of attending Juilliard were shattered the night tragedy struck her family. It’s one year later, and she’s now enrolled at a local university trying to piece her life back together.
Shawn is one of the world’s most famous faces, having lived under a spotlight since his star exploded when he was fourteen. Now jaded by an industry forcing him to perform music he no longer enjoys, he craves normalcy and the opportunity to rediscover his muse. When a crazy stalker gets too close, and death threats start mounting, Shawn’s management team comes up with a plan—one which will allow him to work on his latest album while staying incognito on a college campus.
Romance is the last thing on Dakota’s mind, but after she crosses paths with a hot, prickly cutie with rock-hard abs and smoldering good looks, she can’t shake him from her thoughts.
Shawn can’t afford to bring any girl into his fucked-up life, but the gorgeous blonde with the sad blue eyes captivates him in a way no girl ever has, and he finds himself falling hard and fast.
But outside forces are conspiring against them.
When danger draws closer, and secrets are revealed, will their love survive?
I love this book. There’s a lot to say about this story, but that’s the bottom line and the most important takeaway from this review. The MCs are great, the plot is complex but clear and the story is just crazy enough to be exciting without being ridiculous. I immediately liked both Dakota and Shawn. They both have heavy baggage and are struggling to find themselves when they find one another, so falling for each other is not ideal. Dakota lived a carefree life as a fun-loving dancer on her way to Julliard until tragedy struck, changing her entire life in an instant. Now she’s the dutiful daughter studying accounting at the state university so she can take over the family business and her social life is nearly nonexistent since she goes home every weekend to care for her family. She’s struggling to decide who she really is anymore: daughter, dancer, martyr, sister. Dakota’s no longer sure.
Shawn Lucas is a the world-famous bad boy pop star who left his friends behind to gain fame and lost himself along the way. He hates what he’s become: estranged from his family, surrounded by phonies who just want to use him, and desperate to make real music again but he’s forced to churn out garbage pop. He expected fame and fortune to make him happy but he’s lonely and unfulfilled. He finds relief in an unlikely place, when a stalker threatens his life and his handlers decide to send him to Iowa where he’ll go incognito as an average college student. Shawn relishes the anonymity and quickly finds some peace. He’s relaxed and writing music again, enjoying every minute of his off-the-radar identity as accounting major Levi, until he meets Dakota.
He’s instantly drawn to her in a way he’s never been drawn to anyone before and he’s desperate to get close to her but drawing her into his world means putting her in harms’ way. Shawn knows she’s not safe until his stalker is caught but he can’t help himself when he sees the pain in her eyes because all he wants is to take it away. Dakota is guarded, with good reason, but fate keeps their paths crossing and she can’t resist him. They become friends not because of their attraction but rather in spite of their determination not to fall for one another because they both desperately need someone to lean on.
“My heart beats only for you, and I know you said you only wanted to be friends, but I can’t just be your friend.” He pulls me closer. “Not when I want so much more.”
They’re both frustrating at times, with some immature reactions and lots of second-guessing themselves and one another but it’s realistic. Considering all they’ve been through and the adaptations they’ve both had to make growing up, the self-doubt and insecurities aren’t shocking. Even the subplots are compelling in this story, with Dakota’s ex and her crazy family situation plus Shawn’s stalker. Siobhan Davis keeps the twists coming as always, so even when you think you know what’s coming or who’s behind something, you’ll be wrong.
One of the best things about this book is that it brings back characters from Inseparable, another favorite Davis book and presents them in a new capacity, which is so much fun. I enjoyed everything about this book and will definitely read it again.