A LUSH BETRAYAL (Lush #1) by Selena Laurence – Review

Lush Betrayal

Joss Jamison has it all. He’s the lead singer for the world’s hottest rock band, Lush. He’s wealthy, sexy, talented…and miserable. Twelve months ago, Joss lost his finely honed control and made a mistake he can’t undo. A mistake that could end up costing him his best friend, his band, and maybe his heart.

Mel DiLorenzo has it all. She’s been hired to document the world tour of her sister’s fiance’s rock band. She’s gorgeous, talented, loved…and sick of being the little sister. When she agrees to the summer job, Mel has no idea she’s walking into a minefield of friendships lost and hearts destroyed. She also has no idea what it means to be the object of Joss Jamison’s affections.

One hot rock star plus one life-altering mistake, add a dash of sexy younger sister and a handful of broken hearts, and you’ve got a recipe for fire. Life on the road can be hot, but for the boys of Lush, it’s about to get a whole hell of a lot hotter.

MY REVIEW:

A LUSH BETRAYAL is a brilliantly written story by Selena Laurence about the members of the rock band LUSH who are lifetime friends that are silently being torn apart by a lone act of betrayal committed in a moment of pain and vulnerability. An event that was not meant to cause pain, but should not have happened and can not be taken back. An event so regretful that it is tormenting and poisoning those that feel they must keep the secret to protect the others they love deeply from even worse pain. I can only say I loved everything about this deep, heart-wrenching, intense and multi-layered story. It ran me through the gamut of emotions and kept my interest on every single page.

On the outside, Joss Jamison, the gorgeous, talented and drop-your-panties sexy lead singer and the driving force of the band LUSH is every woman’s dream. He definitely has the irresistibly charming, cocky, sex-on-a-stick bad boy vibe down and can have any woman he wants in his bed. On the inside, he feels like he is slowly dying. The guilt of his actions is a like a poison he willingly accepts even as it slowly destroys all his joy for life, and especially for the life expected of a rock star. Joss was not alone in his betrayal, but for much of the story he and everyone else seems to be okay with letting him take the full blame and shame for what happened (this was the one gripe about the book that made me rant out loud a few times at his so-called friends). Ms. Laurence does an incredible job of letting the reader into Joss’s regret, despair, anguish and protectiveness that it’s impossible not to love him, to root for him, and to pray he finds forgiveness and peace to get past this. He is a good man and has been a loyal and faithful friend his whole life. He deserves happiness despite the mistake he made.

The story begins with the band about to begin a world tour. Lush’s manager hires Melanie DiLorenzo, a photo journalist and videographer to accompany the band on their summer tour at the urging of her older sister Tammy. Tammy has been Walsh, the bass player’s girlfriend since they were all fourteen and Joss, Walsh and the lead guitarist, Mike, were just starting up the band. For the last thirteen years she has traveled with the band, expediting and facilitating their needs on the road. Their drummer, Colin, has been with the band almost as long. She and these four men are a family of brothers (and sister) who have grown up together, had each other’s back and kept each other grounded, through the lean times as well as the riches and fame.

Mel, who through Tammy, has known Lush almost all her life, but never spent much time actually with them. She has always had a bit of a fangirl crush on Joss, but for the moment she’s sworn off men. Especially bad boys who have a history of nothing but VERY short term relationships, like Joss, who are certain to break her heart. She is dealing with unexpected ramifications of a poorly thought-out relationship and breakup that has brought consequences to her future she never imagined and has shaken her confidence to her core. She is very excited about the exposure this opportunity will bring to her career since she is just finishing her MFA and doesn’t want to do anything to screw it up.

Despite Joss’s state of mind, and debatable past of man-whoring ways, he is hit like a ton of bricks when Mel joins the tour. She is like a beacon of sunshine into his dark world and he can’t stay away from her. He doesn’t even try, he recognizes the emotional connection and that he needs her, that she is meant for him and pursues who regardless of the additional animosity it adds to the already strained relationship of his band. Tammy especially does not trust him with her baby sister and does everything she can to undermine him getting close to Mel. Because I was 100% team Joss, I didn’t like Tammy much, but I have to say Ms. Laurence again does a remarkable job of writing the depth of all these characters and I couldn’t truly begrudge Tammy her motivations.

Mel is falling just as deeply in love with Joss as he is with her, but she really tries hard to fight it. The circumstances were complicated and the emotions were all over the place. I admired Mel, she kept true to herself. She didn’t let anyone else make her decisions for her. She stood her ground, fighting for what she wanted. Yet, she wasn’t jaded like the others, a true breath of fresh air and an innocent in this drama. The passion she and Joss created was seductive, steamy, and loving. Never just sex, not that it wasn’t hot, because OMG!!! The progress of their relationship and feelings for one another was masterfully written. A perfect love story. I hung on every scene when the two of them were together because they literally sparked. And not always in a pleasant way, but always in an intense way which relayed the depth of their emotional bond. I loved them together and hoped they’d have their HEA right up to the end!

This story is more than a true love romance between two people. It is about the consequence of actions on the lives around you. A reminder that some things can never be taken back and you should choose your actions wisely. Because when the betrayal between these friends comes out the tightness of their lifetime bond makes no difference. Their world unravels and completely tears them all apart. The secret revealed leaves a destruction that was painful to read because Ms. Laurence has made you love them all and feel their pain as if it were your own. So yes, I cried reading this book, but I also laughed. Many times. The wit and dialogue was real and brilliantly written. Do not miss out on this book. Do not miss out on this series! Selena Laurence has earned her place firmly on my must-buy author list with this incredible story. I rate this book 4.5 stars but only because it pissed me off how Joss took on all the responsibility and consequences of what happened too often, lol!

~Complimentary copy of this book provided by author for the purpose of an online discussion and posting of an honest review.

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