PLAY - Kylie Scott
A Perfect 10
Stage Dive , Book 2
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-05237-7
September 2014
New Adult Romance

Portland, Oregon - Present Day

Anne Rollins comes home to find that her roommate has left, taking most of the furniture and not leaving any of the money she owes.  Attending a party with her neighbors should cheer her up, especially since the party is hosted by a former neighbor, Ev, and her new husband, David Ferris, lead guitarist of the rock band Stage Dive.  Anne has been a fan since she was a teenager, and the chance to meet any of the members of the band is exciting.  The highlight of her night should have been when she met Mal Ericson, the band's drummer, but unfortunately, that happened after he overheard a phone conversation where Anne laid out all her troubles to her best friend and boss, only to have him ask her to cover a co-worker's shift on her day off.  Mal points out that her friend was more interested in asking a favor than offering support, eventually goading her into yelling at him, and he follows this up with claiming her as his girlfriend and telling his bandmates that he's moving in with her.  He may still be hot, but Mal's apparently a little crazy.  Something Anne gets to know even better when he does in fact move in with her.

In spite of his goofy antics and total lack of seriousness, when Mal asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend for a little while, Anne sees something that makes her reluctantly agree.  Hints from Ev that something is going on with Mal have Anne curious and wanting to help.  For a woman who's spent most of the past ten years taking care of everyone around her and has turned worrying into an art form, having Mal around lightens the load.  Anne finds herself having fun and enjoying life again.  What starts out as a little diversion before the start of his tour turns into a bit more, but is either of them ready for a real relationship?

The second book in the Stage Dive series, PLAY centers on Mal, the drummer and class clown.  The four members of the band have been together for years, and Mal's role has always been peacekeeper the one who starts joking around whenever things get too tense, and lightens the mood.  Now though, something is going on with him that he won't talk about, and when Anne enters the picture, she evens things out.  She's been the adult in her small family for too long, and even now she works to support not only herself but her sister in college.  Mal brings joy back to her life, and sneaks his way into her well-guarded heart.

Mal is all fun and teasing and keeps Anne as well as readers laughing throughout.  Though he drives her a bit crazy at times, Anne pretty much rolls with the punches where Mal is concerned, seeing that there is something deeper that troubles him, but allowing him to deal with it in whatever way he needs.  Those who have read the first book get a chance to see how things are progressing with David and Ev, as well as Jimmy, and Ben is a little more prominent in this book than he was in the first.  If Stage Dive is new to you, it's not necessary to read them in order to understand what's going on, but you don't want to miss out on any of these amazing stories.

Thoroughly enjoyable characters and a sweet if unconventional romance make PLAY probably one of my favorite books of the year, which is why I am awarding it a Perfect 10.  Mal's antics occasionally make Anne want to throw something at him, but in the end his infectious charm and cheer win her over, and they will win over readers as well.

Jennifer Bishop