Key Change, an all new slow burn rockstar romance from Heidi Hutchinson, is LIVE in Kindle Unlimited!
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Key Change by Heidi Hutchinson
Series: Common Threads #3
Published by Smartypants Romance on October 5, 2021
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Rock Star Romance
Source: the publisher
Before Hannah was a 9-5 working, dinner making, homebody, she was Ashton James: a paparazzi-stalked pop star with more enemies than friends.
These days she has one priority: keeping her sister safe and away from the public eye.
Hannah was doing a great job, until the pesky little brother of an ex-fling discovers where she is, and wants her help launching his career.
Now she has to trust Johnny—whom she betrayed in more ways than one—to protect her whereabouts. Johnny may have an infuriating moral compass and the timing of a storybook hero, but is he immune to the temptation of revenge?
Johnny’s focus has always been his music business, and a bad influence like Hannah is the last thing he needs at work, or around his brother.
But some things are too powerful to be stopped. For someone like Hannah, second chances—in life and in true love—don’t exist. She didn’t think so, at least.
Johnny is about to prove her wrong, and being wrong has never felt so right.
‘Key Change’ is a full-length contemporary romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #3 in the Common Threads series, Seduction in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
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“You’re a real piece of work. You don’t even remember me, do you?” Johnny said the words, knowing for years they were true but feeling that hurtful sting having to admit it out loud. He had been a nobody to her then. He needed to make peace with that.
Ashton shook her head. “I don’t remember most things,” she said, and it had the kind of ring of truth that sounded too real. She rapidly scanned the interior of the townhouse and her gaze paused on his guitar resting in the stand in the living room.
He held his breath for a minute.
The guitar was the one he’d had when they’d first met. Its sound was on her first record.
It wasn’t fancy by any means, but it was and always would be his favorite. A black Gibson orchestra model. The years of wear showed the scratches and bruises of the life of a working musician.
He wondered if she remembered the night she’d sat in his bed, naked, holding that guitar and singing to him.
Because he thought about it all the time.
“I don’t remember you,” she said after a beat, her voice quieter. The admission hurt more than he expected. “But I know that it doesn’t matter. Going with the odds and how you’re looking at me, it was probably pretty awful.”
Johnny wasn’t sure why hearing that didn’t make him feel any better.
Just then the door opened, or it tried to, but it bumped into the bodyguard, who moved to the side and let Shawn in.
The facilitator of Johnny’s current problem.
Shawn frowned in confusion at the bodyguard, and then his gaze drifted to Ashton. All the color drained from his face, and his round eyes darted to Johnny.
“Oh my God,” Shawn whispered.
“Oh, He can’t save you now,” Johnny cautioned.
Shawn dropped his bag on the floor and his hands came up in a placating fashion. Though he couldn’t figure out which person to direct them to. He faced Johnny, then Ashton, then the bodyguard in quick succession.
“I-I-I can’t believe you’re here,” he finally spit out, obviously speaking to Ashton. He spun to Johnny. “It’s her. I told you it was her.”
Johnny ran his tongue over his bottom lip and nodded once.
Shawn shoved both hands through his hair, unable to conceal the sheer joy on his face. “Did-did you listen to it?” he asked Ashton cautiously.
For the first time since Johnny had opened the door, he saw a crack in her exterior as she looked at his younger brother.
“No,” she said after a beat. “I haven’t listened to it.”
Undeterred, and oblivious to the tension in the room, Shawn eagerly grabbed the envelope off the table and removed the thumb drive. “That’s fine. You can listen to it here and then I can get your reactions up close.”
“Shawn,” Johnny tried to get his attention.
“This is better, actually,” Shawn continued, a slight tremor in his voice, which was pitching a little higher. “I mean, I would have invited you over earlier today if I’d known you would say yes.”
“Shawn,” Johnny said louder and sharper.
It got his attention.
“Read the room, bud.”
Shawn’s hands dropped to his side and his shoulders dropped. “I don’t understand. If you’re not here about the music, then why are you here?” he asked.
“I think…” Johnny said with a slight grimace. “That she’s here to pay us to keep quiet? Did I get that right?”
Ashton glared at Johnny.
“Pay us?” Shawn repeated, confused and devastated all at once.
For a split second, guilt sliced through Johnny. But the sooner Shawn figured out who Ashton James really was, the better for him. In the long run.
Though watching him find out that the artist he looked up to was a lying, selfish, horrible person kind of hurt like hell.
Silence descended like a thick fog as Shawn stared at Ashton, waiting for a response.
Finally, she took in a deep breath and let it out. “Who have you told? I really need to know how far this goes. Please.”
Her tone was different than the last time she’d asked that question.
“No one,” Shawn replied roughly. “Just Johnny.” He waved a hand in that direction. “And he didn’t believe me until Saturday when he saw you at the school. Even then, he told me not to do anything about it.” He shrugged helplessly. “But I didn’t listen.”
Her eyes moved to Johnny, looking for honesty and verification.
He hadn’t told Shawn about helping jump her car. He didn’t want to have to answer any uncomfortable questions that he didn’t have the answers to. Like, why was she so different in that moment than the woman he remembered? And was it real? Or did she just get a lot better at faking things?
Shawn took a step toward her, speaking excitedly.
“I was just so happy to finally meet you. I never thought I’d get a chance to, and then one day, I saw you get off the train. I wasn’t looking for you. Ashton, you have to believe me. I would nev—”
“Please don’t call me Ashton,” she stopped him. She regarded both of them carefully. “I haven’t been Ashton James in a very long time. And I have no intention of being her again.”
Wow, I was really blown away by this book! I was so hooked from the very beginning and I hated every time I had to put it down to go back to work from a lunch break, or to bed so I could get up the next morning and go to work. This was kind of a reverse rock star romance in a way. So often the rock star is a man, of course, but in this case we had our former pop star, used to be Ashton James, now she was Hannah Lee. And boy was Hannah really out there, doing all the bad stuff, being a super-b-word, totally making all the tabloid headlines. Her life had been a total spiral. But when she decided or had to stop and make changes, boy did she completely turn it around. Of course she had to go incognito, anonymous, and really try to protect her younger sister when she came into her life.
And then there is Johnny. Not just an ex-fling, but someone that she kind of screwed over in her race to the top, her have to have it all. And he has very good reason to be unfriendly and not want her influence in his own younger brother’s life. Not to mention that what she did to him in the past, and what he’d thought he’d felt with her.
The romance worked perfectly. There was physical attraction from the start, perfectly reasonable. Neither wanted to fall in love, and both had very good reasons to fight it. It wasn’t only selfish reasons, at least in Hannah’s case. Johnny’s family was so wonderful as well. And there was so much more to this story than just what was going on with Johnny and Hannah. There were things going on at Shawn, Johnny’s younger brother and Piper, Hannah’s younger sister’s school. Things that really made the story have so much more depth for me.
While I kept expecting something more to happen towards the end, something dramatic that wouldn’t affect the romance, but would cause some stress for Hannah, that never happened. And I’m okay with that. I was just dreading that kind of thing happening when all the puzzle pieces seemed to be fitting perfectly into place, making this a picture perfect happily ever after ending.
I can’t wait to read more by this author in the future!
About the Author:
Heidi Hutchinson creates funny, clever, slow burn romance for readers looking for a guaranteed happily ever after.
She hopes the stories she writes inspire her readers to take their hearts on one more adventure.
She lives in the Black Hills with her alarmingly handsome husband, their fearless child, and a rather large and spoiled dog.
She is fueled by her unwavering and perfectly normal devotion to Dave Grohl and coffee.
And a whole lotta love.
Find Heidi online
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