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Lexxie Couper

REVIEW:  Muscle for Hire by  Lexxie Couper

REVIEW: Muscle for Hire by Lexxie Couper

Muscle for Hire  Lexxie Couper

Dear Ms. Couper:

I loved the cover on this book. It depicts exactly the image I have a rock star’s bodyguard. I couldn’t resist requesting it from Samhain when the review copy list was sent. This is a sequel to Love’s Rhythm which I reviewed last summer.

While I enjoyed Muscle for Hire more than the previous book, I still felt like the sex scenes were given more attention at the expense of developing the romance, particularly as the romance takes place over only a few days.

Ex-SAS commando Aslin Rhodes used to be the primary bodyguard and head of security for rock legend Nick Blackthorne but Nick heads into semi retirement as a result of hooking up with an old flame.  While debating his future, Rhodes agrees to serve as a consultant on a high budget action film starring Chris Huntley.  Chris is watched over by his sister and martial arts expert Rowan Hemsworth.

The meet cute between Rowan and Aslin involves Rowan putting Aslin to the ground and driving her heel into his chest. It was a misunderstanding. Aslin took Rowan to be an overeager fan.  Rowan’s first response to any unwanted physical touching is to fight back, an instinct that she fostered after the violent deaths of their parents during a home invasion and her position as Chris’ mother figure.

A number of set related accidents imperil both Rowan and Chris and Rowan and Aslin have to figure out the bad guys or girls in order to keep both Rowan and Chris alive.  The story takes place over three days and it is just too short of a time to really believe in the permanency of a relationship between Rowan and Aslin, particularly given Rowan’s past grief over the loss of her parents something that still haunts her.

While this is an erotic romance, the sex scenes didn’t seem to materially affect the story. In fact, I felt that they could have been excised and the tone and romance would have been the same. I prefer when the sex scenes are so baked into the storyline that I have to read every word for fear I’ll miss something important. Plus, a few of the sex scenes occurred at improbable times lending a farcical feel to a more serious, emotionally laden story.  At one point, Rowan has two broken ribs, possibly a concussion but sallies forth from her hospital bed to mount Aslin.  She literally cannot wait one more day to heal up before she gets another orgasm.

Rowan has worked hard to make sure that Chris stays grounded and she’s run off members of Chris’ entourage that she deems unsafe or unwise.  But for all of her carefulness in Chris’ life, she doesn’t extend that clear thinking to her own.  In scene after scene, Rowan often acts foolishly and irrationally and at times the circumstances excuse it but at other times, it can be rather frustrating.

The story is over the top in every sense, from the danger the characters are placed in to the amount of time that it takes the two main characters to fall in love to the numerosity of the sex scenes.  Perhaps if this was a live action movie it would work better (although there would be no time for all the love scenes in a three hour movie) but in the book it was hard for me to take all those implausible leaps of fate. C

Best regards,



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REVIEW:  Love’s Rhythm by Lexxie Couper

REVIEW: Love’s Rhythm by Lexxie Couper

Dear Ms. Cooper:

Thank you for sending this book to me for review. I had just finished an excellent New Adult book featuring a rock star hero (Where She Went by Gayle Forman) and was excited to see what a sexy, adult contemporary would bring me. There were many good ideas in the story but the execution of them faltered and in the end, it just seemed like one sex scene strung together with another.

love's rhythm lexxie couperNick Blackthorne is the hottest rock star in the world but when his best friends are getting married, there is only one person he can imagine him bringing to the wedding–Lauren Robbins. Nick and Lauren were high school sweethearts but when Nick’s fame kind of went to his head.  The two parted 15 years ago when Lauren didn’t want to follow him around the world.

She is now a kindergarten teacher with a 15 year old son.  I think we all can add 16 + 16 and get secret baby, right?

There were any number of ideas that went unexplored or were explored in previous books (which I hadn’t read). There were allusions that Nick was tapped out creatively. He rediscovered himself a couple of years ago after finding out he was adopted and had a brother who killed himself. None of this is played out in the pages. I had no idea what Nick was like before this enlightenment. It was powerful enough that it makes him want to seek out his first love but we are shown absolutely nothing of the transformation.

The tough reunion emotions that the two might grapple with appear briefly only to be pushed aside when the two fall into each other’s arms the day Nick returns. Whatever issues that kept them apart in the past aren’t well defined or explored.  The two are too busy getting into each other’s pants.

There were other issues: dealing with Nick’s fame; the big secret baby that Lauren kept from Nick; how the two deal with their son.  All of these issues could have provided the basis for a rich emotional conflict if there was not going to be any character development. (And there wasn’t).  But any exploration consists of a couple of dialogue exchanges interrupted by non stop sex scenes. Nick’s anger seemed to abate almost immediately under the fever of their passion. I guess I was supposed to see how overcome these two were with lust for each other, but I tired of the bedroom gymnastics that took the place of any storytelling or plot.

I thought the scene in which Nick storms Lauren’s house to confront her about the secret perfectly exemplifies the problems and probably the high points of the story.  He gets inside the house and instead of asking Lauren about her son, he takes her up against the door after saying “nice playlist” upon hearing his own music in her house. Presumably this makes him so hot that the pain of not knowing his only child for fifteen years pales in comparison with the opportunity to kiss and then take her.  Only after the several page sex scene is over does Nick demand an explanation.

I remember I tried a Bandicoot Cove book a while back and it read like a swinger story. This book isn’t a swinger story, but the heavy emphasis on sex above everything else, even hot sex scenes, reinforces my opinion of the series. It’s all sex, all the time. C-

Best regards,