Review: Exposed by L.L. Collins

exposedReviewed by Joanna

This is the fourth in the Jaded Regret rock band series, and for me, this book needed to pull some heavy weight to make up for the last. Natalie, the band’s manager, always had a thing for Tanner, the bassist. She was crazy about the guy for years, and he was about her, but in book three he went and got his HEA somewhere else. I was not a happy plot bunny.

But I was intrigued to know which way Natalie’s romantic life was going to weave. We know the woman has issues, her brother Beau (who I love to death. TO DEATH. Read book two, Snared, to meet poor tortured him) and she were in foster care and had some awful experiences, so whoever was in the frame needed to be man enough to see past her evasions and persist, persist, persist.

Step in Kai. He’s the new big-shot label rep for Jaded Regret and he and Natalie have been speaking every day for months, though they’ve never met or even seen a picture of each other. Natalie has serious body issues so won’t allow her image to be captured. They build a relationship on personality and by sharing music.

Obviously they are both supremely hot, of course, and when they finally meet the groundwork has already been done and there’s an inevitability between them. I liked this simple fit, along with Kai’s inability to play it cool. Except it took a big chunk of book to get to this stage. I wanted to cut several unnecessary scenes to hurry us along to this first meeting.

Anyway, there’s a tour to organize, the rest of the band to look in on and big issues to be overcome by Natalie if she’s ever going to be happy. Natalie’s eating disorder dominates her life. It gave her a different personality than I was expecting from the confident friend/sister and effective manager seen in previous books. In some ways, I found her similar to Mac, Tanner’s bae, in that she was very in her head and passive in her resolution. I felt bad for her, but I also felt irritated and I didn’t want to be like that.

Kai was great hero. He was everything Natalie needed but outside of his job, I found him a tiny bit dull. There wasn’t room in the plot for him to have any issues so he could only be the steady, happy guy. All of his drama was around Natalie and Beau, and he was a passive onlooker in their lives.

And so ends the Jaded Regret series. Did Natalie get a good deal in her man? Sure, she’s going to be just fine. Do I still wish Collins has set her up with Tanner? Abso-blinking-lutely. I can’t help but feel it would’ve been so much the stronger book. But that would’ve meant a three-book series, so I get why the author went this way.

You can read this as standalone if you wish, the issues around eating disorders are well described and it’s HEA. You get to see all the band and their families, and the world of Jaded Regret ends on a good note.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

by L.L. Collins
Release Date: October 27, 2016

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