Rock Addiction is Nalini Singh’s highly anticipated self-published return to contemporaries. I am a big fan of her Psy-Changeling series, and I was eager to read it despite the fact that rockstar romances are far from my favorites.
Rock Addiction is the story of Fox, the hugely famous American front man for Schoolboy Choir, a globally successful rockband and Molly Webster a reclusive and virginal New Zealand librarian. In an instant Fox becomes fascinated with Molly, half-sister to Schoolboy Choir PR expert & publicist Thea, when he spots Molly giving Thea a genuine affectionate hug and he is covetous of it. Molly Webster is the last person to want to attract the attention of a Rock god and despite the teasing encouragement of her best friend Charlotte and gentle prodding by her sister, Molly is more than happy to admire Fox from across the room instead of allowing Thea to introduce her. It is not simple shyness that drives Molly, she is the sole survivor of a political sex scandal that left her orphaned as a teen-ager, after her father’s sexual escapades were exposed and her mother alcoholism led to fatal DUI. Molly’s teen years were incredibly traumatic and as a result she is incredibly vigilant about her privacy and independence, however she is also human and Fox apparently has superpowers that are able to render her impulsive and pliable. One elevator ride later, Fox has convinced Molly into taking him home, and has her promising to herself that she can get involved with him as long as it is in a limited sexual basis, that won’t risk her exposure to the paparazzi. While Molly finds Fox undeniably hot, I still had to be generous with my suspension of disbelief, because this is a departure from Molly’s typical behavior.
Fox is also acting out of character having become obsessed with the idea of making Molly is his, despite professing a disbelief in love and having serious abandoment issues. But Fox does his sneaky sexy best to keep her at his side, planning to use sex as the tool to break down her resistance.
“I won’t hurt you.” He wanted Molly with him all the way, and he suddenly realized he goddamn liked the idea of initiating her into sex.
Addicting her to it, to him, sounded even better.”
Although I really disliked the cliched pairing of a promiscuous bad boy with a virginal librarian, the book was highly readable, and enjoyable but it is also very easy to nitpick. While all the characters are interesting and engaging, I struggled to believe some of the character choices. I liked how Singh worked with issues of addiction, and family history especially in how Molly had constructed her life prior to meeting Fox to minimize her exposure to scandal and to avoid repeating the damaging addictions of her parents. Her choices as presented are understandable but also very limiting. Fox’s own vulnerabilities I felt were under-explored only really creeping up in the later half of the second half. Still the choice Molly makes to abandon her career and life in New Zealand and move to LA with Fox after only a month together, seemed very drastic too me. Even though I understood how she comes to want to live with Fox openly, I wish there had been a middle step where she could be involved with Fox without leaving her whole former life behind.
I enjoyed the significance of the non-romantic friendships present in the book, particularly Fox’s female best friend Kathleen. However too many of these secondary characters had side-plotlines that are obviously set ups for future related books. There were some particularly awkward scenes revolving around Molly’s half-sister Thea and the band’s drummer David, where the reader is basically told, that something huge has happened but it will be dealt with in their book “Rock Courtship”.
The climactic conflict in the second half of the book was well-set up within the book and I thought very well executed. Molly must face her greatest fears head on, and instead of tearing Molly and Fox apart it draws them together in a very satisfying way.
Overall I have mixed feelings about Rock Addiction since I strongly disliked the underlying tropes, but I continue to enjoy Singh’s writing. I will probably come back and at least try Rock Courtship, where hopefully the more jarring series-setup flaws will not be as obvious.
A review copy of Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh was provided by TKA Distribution via NetGalley.