Rock Chick Reborn by Kristen Ashley

Teal blue cover with white titles and a black cityscape at the foot of the cover, between "Rock" and "Chick" is a picture of movie film (that would go in a projector).Why I read it:  I bought this one as soon as I knew it was available because of course.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  As a Rock Chick, Shirleen Jackson lived through all the kidnappings and explosions. Along the way, she also watched the dramatic love stories that came with those rides unfold.

But long ago, Shirleen made her choice. It affected who she was and would always be. She decided to settle for what she had and not want more. She had good friends. She was raising two fine young men who weren’t hers, but she loved them anyway.

She was good.

And then Moses Richardson crashed into her life, literally… and deliberately.

Moses has different ideas about Shirleen. He’s more interested in the Shirleen of now, mostly because she’s interesting. And funny. And loyal. Smart. Beautiful.

But Moses has a big challenge on his hands.

He has to convince Shirleen of all that.

And then convince her she deserves to have more.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’ve come to expect kidnappings in Rock Chick books but there are none in Rock Chick Reborn. Perhaps that’s a good thing! In some ways, the book is fan service. Certainly those who have no familiarity with the series would struggle to understand who everyone is and how they came to be where they are when the story begins. That’s not a criticism. Fan service isn’t a pejorative. And, the Rock Chick books have a very large fan base, many of whom were crying out for Shirleen to get her own HEA. Indeed, from the acknowledgements it seems that parts of the book were crowd-sourced (the hero’s name for example) so I think it’s explicit that this is a book for fans.

Shirleen is a woman in her fifties (yay for older heroines!) who is raising two teenage foster sons, both of them not far from graduating high school. She is beloved – both by the other Rock Chicks and the Hot Bunch and they are all delightfully protective of her when they get a sniff of her interest in a man.

Moses Richardson is a little older than Shirleen and has two teenage daughters of his own (it’s not quite the Brady Bunch however.) Moses is very much Hot Bunch material. A guy who knows what he wants and does what he needs to do to get it. He’s also mature in his approach; he’s patient and kind and gentle with Shirleen as he navigates a woman who doesn’t believe she deserves a happy ever after, who doesn’t think she can have one even if she believed she deserved it.

I rolled my eyes but also smiled at Lee and the boys meddling in Shirleen’s love life and the excessive testoterone on display at the thought of their schedules on planners in colours such as “pink” (Oh the horror!). What was very clear was how much they adored Shirleen and wanted her to be happy.

I liked Moses very much. He is a strong and take charge kind of guy but he doesn’t ride roughshod over Shirleen. He gives her space and time. He’s happy to go slow; as long as they’re heading forward together he doesn’t mind how long it takes.

What else? It’s a novella so the story focuses tightly on the developing romance – there’s no suspense subplot to shake things up. Which is fine, I’m more about the romance anyway.

Because it was a novella, I didn’t have the leisure to get to know Moses and watch a lot of him and Shirleen together, to watch her get to know his daughters, etc. I like doing that in a Kristen Ashley novel and that is one of the reasons Rock Chick Reborn isn’t my favourite in the series. I am so hoping that we get a novel about Roam though – the epilogue gave me a delicious tease and I am so here for it.

Grade: B-

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