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Series: Thoughtless #5
Genres: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Rock Band
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The spotlight doesn’t only shine. Sometimes, it burns.
Being the bad-boy bassist for the world’s hottest band has earned Griffin Hancock some perks: a big house, a fast car, and most importantly his incredible wife Anna. The one thing it hasn’t brought him is the spotlight. Anna tells him to be patient, that his talent will win out. But Griffin is through waiting for permission to shine.
Without warning, Griffin makes a shocking decision and takes the gamble of a lifetime. Suddenly he’s caught up in a new level of lights, cameras, and chaos—one that pushes his relationship with Anna to its limits. Anna has always found his unpredictable behavior sexy, but lately he’s seen an ache in her eyes, and it has his soul in knots. Just as the recognition Griffin seeks is finally within reach, the thing he loves most in life could be slipping through his fingers…
ARC provided by Author/Publisher for honest review.
I’m a big D-bags fan. I loved Griffin in the original series, a douche in every sense of the word. He was humorous, arrogant, and over-the-top. A perfect counterbalance to his bandmates who take things much more seriously. I was super excited to read Untamed. I wanted to fall in love Griffin all over again from his point of view.
I could sugarcoat this a hundred different ways, but I’m just going to flat out say it — I didn’t enjoy Untamed. Being inside Griffin’s head made me cringe. He is horribly selfish, whiny, and full of conceited arrogance. From Kellan’s POV Griffin was the crazy bandmate making a fool of himself, but in a mostly lovable way. Griffin’s POV became a repeated diatribe about how he was awesome and everyone held him back and no one wanted to give him his due and blah blah blah…
At 10% I wanted to quit … 30% and I was forcing myself to continue. Every scene was the Griffin show. It didn’t matter if the scene was suppose to be pivotal to another character, it was all about how it impacted Mr. Awesome. At 50% I questioned why I was still reading and the sole reason was that I wanted to like Griffin!!
So, I struggled on.. 73% and FINALLY potential. The poor pitiful me mindset was a longstanding theme throughout the entire book and drove me crazy. It didn’t stop at this point in the story, but at least there was a semi-legitimate reason for him to feel that way now. Even if those reasons were completely his fault, it changed the direction of the story — a small plus. At 80% I thought maybe, just maybe, he could redeem himself. At this point, I had dedicated too much time and energy to stop reading so I read on to 100%.
I won’t tell you if Griffin redeemed himself. That’s something you’ll have to find out on your own.
I love S.C. Stephens. I think she’s a great author. However, Untamed is not her best work. It makes me wish she’d have let the D-bags go out in a flame of glory at the end of Reckless. I’ve gone back and forth with my rating of the book — I had so many times that I honestly thought I would set it aside and never finish. Even though the last 25% picked up, it just couldn’t compensate for the lackluster start. With a heavy heart, Untamed gets two stars for storyline and four wet panties for smut. The one positive thing that was consistent throughout the book was the chemistry Anna and Griffin had between the sheets, on the stage, the roof, and wherever else they could get naked.
“What was all that about? And what did you mean at the end there? You are a part of this band, Griffin. You always have been, and you always will be.”
Pushing him back a step, I snapped, “It’s a little late for the pep talk, bro. If you think I’m so valuable, you could have stood up for me in there.” I lifted my arms for emphasis. “It gave me the warm and fuzzies how you let him walk all over me.”
Kellan sighed. “It’s complicated, Griff. Matt’s a genius on guitar…he’s…it’s his instrument, the one he’s born to play. But us saying that isn’t an insult to you. You’re amazing on bass, gifted even. It’s just…we each have our part, you know? And we have to do them the best we can.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “For the sake of the band, I’m asking you to let this go and just…forget about lead. Please?”
I could only stare at him. I felt numb inside. Was this what giving up your dream felt like? For as long as I could remember, I’d wanted all eyes on me—I’d wanted to be the center of attention. Matt had never wanted that. But he was given the instrument that shone while I was given the one that everyone forgot about. My part was designed to blend, designed to go unnoticed. It was everything I wasn’t, and I was sick of being stuck with it. I wanted more, but they wouldn’t give me more.
Without answering him, I turned and walked away, toward the house. What could I say to that anyway? Matt had just permanently rejected my chances at ever being lead guitar. Forgetting was the only thing left that I could do. Forget, or stew, and right now, I wanted to stew.
When I got back to the living room, Jenny and Rachel were there working. “Need something, Griffin?” Jenny asked, her pale eyes practically sparkling with happiness.
Ignoring both her good mood and her question, I called out for Anna. “She’s upstairs with Kiera,” Rachel quietly replied.
Harrumphing some sort of thank-you, I began plodding my way to the stairs. Fucking stairs. I stomped up them, cursing my bandmates with each step. I imagined that the carpet treads under my feet were their squishy faces. I felt a little better by the time I reached the top. “Yo, Anna! Where are you?”
Both Anna and Kiera instantly appeared in a bedroom door frame. Simultaneously, they both put fingers to their lips. “Shhhhhhh,” they both scolded.
I was tired of being reprimanded today, so I didn’t lower my voice any. “Wake up Gibson. We’re leaving.”
Anna instantly edged around Kiera to step into the hallway. “What’s wrong?” she asked me, while Kiera stepped out of the room behind her. The two sisters were pretty similar, but Anna definitely had a lot more curves than her slimmer and straighter sister. Generally I appreciated those curves, but at the moment, I just wanted to shove them into the car and get out of here.
“There’s no point being here right now, so we’re leaving. Actually, there’s no point in ever coming back here, so we’re leaving.” I opened the door closest to me, hoping I’d find my sleeping daughter behind it. Nope. Empty.
I moved to try another door, but Anna stepped in front of me. “Let’s go outside, get some fresh air.”
Dramatically tossing my hands in the air, I gave up. “Fine.” What did it matter, since nothing was working for me today anyway?
I headed back to those goddamn stairs while Anna told Kiera she’d be right back. Not waiting for my very pregnant wife, I sped down the steps and out the door. The fresh air on my face helped calm me down a little, but I was still riled up. I paced the front porch while I waited for Anna. Those sanctimonious assholes.
“Griff?” A soft touch on my shoulder spooked me, and I jumped. Turning, I saw Anna behind me, her green eyes worried. “What’s going on?” She indicated the front step, and I grudgingly sat down.
Once I was seated, my mood dropped. I’d started the day so positively, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that this tour was going to be the one. But not anymore. It was going to be the same old crap. Dropping my head, I slumped over. Anna sat beside me, and her fingers lightly caressed my back in a soothing pattern. It helped my residual anger, but not my rising disappointment.
“One song. I asked for one fucking song…and they wouldn’t even give that to me…” I studied my fingers in my lap while my dreams dissolved in my hands. “Matt just told me that he’s not ever going to give me a chance to play lead, and the rest of the guys agreed with him. I’m done…forever stuck on bass…forever in the shadows. I just wanted one song, one moment in the spotlight.” With a sigh, I looked up at her. “Four minutes? Is that so much?”
Anna’s eyes were heavy with sympathy. Reaching up, she threaded her fingers through my hair. “No…that’s not much at all.”
I nodded and dropped my vision to my lap again. “Yeah, I didn’t think so either. But they can’t even give that to me.” The anger resurfaced, wrapping disappointment around it like a blanket. “Between me and you, babe, sometimes…I really don’t like those guys.”
Anna kissed the back of my neck and wrapped an arm around my shoulder in sympathy. “I’m sorry, Griffin.”
Closing my eyes, I let her comfort wash over me. At least there was one person on earth who gave a shit about me.
Questions Provide by Publisher
1. What made you want to tell Griffin’s story?
Aside from Kellan Kyle, Griffin is the next most loved D-Bag. It seemed only natural to do a book for him. And he cracks me up, so I was really looking forward to writing his story.
2. If Griffin and Anna’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?
Closer by Nine Inch Nails. And on the sweeter side, Smile by Avril Lavigne.
3. What are five books on your nightstand?
I just finished The House by Christina Lauren—amazing!! I’m currently reading book five in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan—The Fires of Heaven. Love, In English by Karina Halle is open on my Nook, and I’m anxious to start Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Frostfire by Amanda Hocking.
4. What’s next for you?
I have a brand new series coming out in May that I am so excited for! The first book is called Furious Rush. It’s about two very competitive professional motorcycle racers who shouldn’t be together, but can’t help themselves. Pre-orders are up now!