Note: This ARC was provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.
Oh, Owen Blackwell, you are a rock star after my own heart. Manipulated, the third novel in the Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliott-penned rock romance series Hammered, is Owen's love story with freelance photographer Calliope Templeton. The two meet during his band's annual masquerade ball and the sizzling chemistry between them leads to what looks like a promising and mutually satisfying ending, but alas, Callie runs off before Owen can seal the deal. A dream offer from Ripper Records head honcho has Callie back in Owen's presence and while she looks a bit different without her Bettie Page get-up, Owen quickly realizes the photographer assigned to shadow Hammered is none other than his mystery bunny, erm, woman. This book, just like those before it, starts off with all cylinders blazing, but then slows things down, allowing the characters to explore that immediate connection and to see if there's more to what's going on than mere lust. There's a reason why Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliott are go-to authors for me and the proof is right there in this latest installment in what's now clearly becoming favorite series on my end.
Owen Blackwell lost his shot at being with the woman he was in love with when she fell hard for her bodyguard. The fact that she also happens to be his best friend and the keyboardist in the very same rock band that he belongs to would have probably complicated matters, but with her now being engaged, Owen needs something to distract him from his breaking heart. When that distraction comes in the form of a woman dressed as Bettie Page, his reaction to her is unlike anything he's experienced with the women he's hooked up with before. With their first meeting not ending as he would have hoped, he gets a second shot when he locks eyes with her again, only this time, he has her real name--Callie Templeton. She's a creative genius behind her camera lens, but he wants to know so much more about her. Unfortunately, Callie knows all to well what it's like to have loved and lost and the last thing she needs is to play second fiddle to Owen's band and to the woman he still looks upon with love and adoration. Can Owen convince Callie that they can stop hiding behind his bass guitar and her camera and have the happy ending they both deserve?
I admit it: I love Owen. The guy was adorable and his being Irish and having that accent were like the double dose of cherries on top of the delicious sundae that is the bassist for Hammered. His lighthearted persistence in his pursuit of Callie had me grinning like a loon. Callie was a hard nut to crack, already jaded by her marriage and divorce from a man who never put her first in his life. What is it about the men in this series that has me hooked? Maybe it's because Owen, like Hunter Jordan before him, are so devoted to their women and in going all in when it comes to their relationships. It's almost as if they already know how meant to be they are with their respective partners, and they're the ones who have to do the convincing that being together is worth taking a chance on. This was a fun, easygoing romance, one that I thoroughly enjoyed while also leaving me eagerly anticipating the next novel in the series, Manster, which will be Hudson Wyatt's turn underneath the love limelight. Manipulated also continues to have me curious about other supporting characters, doing it's job well as part of an ongoing series. It gets five stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Hammered series:
Manhandled (book two) - 4.5 stars - My Review
Manipulated (book three) - five stars - My Review (posted above)