Next In Line; Cake #6
(An interconnected standalone)
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Genre/Tropes: Rock and Roll/Contemporary Romance
Author: J. Bengtsson
Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars
Next in Line is different than what I was expecting, not different bad, it was way better!!
It’s been a couple of years since I read Cake, but I still remember Jake McAlister, he is hard to forget. Cake was one of those stories that sticks with you, and the characters never leave so of course I jumped at the chance to read about his baby brother, Quinn. I really wanted to know Quinn’s perspective on growing up under the shadow of his brother’s mega star, but also living in the aftermath of Jake’s kidnapping. These are both life altering experiences and I was fascinated to read how Quinn would handle the outcomes of such huge moments.
Next In Line did NOT DISAPPOINT in any way. It is a story that completely stands on its own. (Yes, Quinn it did!) You see, Quinn’s entire life he felt like he had to be better and outshine his big brother. That’s a quality I think a lot of younger siblings face in any normal family, but when your brother is a mega superstar it’s ten times harder to step out from under his huge shadow. Quinn constantly struggled to make his own mark no matter what he tried to do, especially when everyone just assumed he was riding the coattails of his famous brother. Quinn desperately wanted to be a star of his own making, but rising to the top isn’t exactly easy…sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Or meeting the right person. Quinn is stuck, obviously, under Jake’s shadow, but he’s self-deprecating a lot of the time about it so it makes the continual dig at his big brother palpable. Just when this would seem to get old, Quinn is actually coming to terms with a lot of his emotional baggage with the help of his special angel, Jess. Jake may be the world’s favorite rock star, but after this book, Quinn is my new favorite McAlister.
Jess is quite the firecracker. It’s great for her job, it adds that creative flair and gives her style that most days increases her tip jar. When a desperate, yet hot guy, jumps into her RYde share she never expected her fiery nature to attract his attention and eventually spark a Jesserella pandemonium that pretty much turned her world upside down.
Jess is strong, independent, and full of spirit, which helps carry her throughout the story. I love her character and how she’s lived her life on her own terms even with the hard circumstances she’s been given. Her deeply driven strength helps Quinn over and over, while at the same time his deep sense of familial commitment is highly attractive to her, but also what keeps her shying away. She’s got some secrets of her own that she doesn’t want to hurt Quinn while he’s reaching for the top. Quinn’s never met anyone like her, someone selfless and not looking for a free ride, basically someone like himself. Jess and Quinn may be from completely opposite worlds, but they share such a similar background that their souls instantly recognized they are connected. One day is all it took, but honestly they didn’t need more than that to really know they had something special.
Their chemistry is instant and their banter is fun while being just the right amount of flirty. They both felt neglected growing up within their own families, but together, for the very first time, they feel seen. They are two halves of a whole and work better together than they do apart. This whole book was different than I was expecting, but also so much better than my expectations. I really loved visiting this family again. It was a great book!
Just six years old when my brother was snatched off the street, I grew up in the aftermath of tragedy. While other kids were happily playing in the sandbox, I was hiding under press conference podiums listening to my parents beg for Jake’s safe return.
People ask if I’m screwed up after what happened, and I never know how to respond. Life after the kidnapping is all I’ve ever known. Well, that and being the youngest brother to a rock star. Jake was the ultimate survivor. The prodigal son. My king.
But I’m not that worshipful kid anymore, and I’m tired of walking a step behind. I’ve got the talent. I’ve got the drive. And now I’m coming for Jake’s throne.
What to do with a runaway rock star in my passenger seat?
Jess of yore would’ve jumped at the chance. Hell, she’d already be in his lap by now. She was fearless and fun and sexy. She lived like there was no tomorrow… until tomorrow came calling and delivered her an ultimatum: repent or risk losing it all.
And so responsible Jess was born, the good girl who paid her rent and watered her plants and put others before herself. The new, improved version of myself represented stability and a roof overhead. Yet sometimes… sometimes I missed that reckless girl. Wild Jess. God, she’d been so fun.
And now Quinn was here, built like a god and asking me to play. One mindless afternoon of fun.
Surely I could spare that for a future rock legend. I could bring old Jess back for just one day.
What could possibly go wrong?
Next In Line by J. Bengtsson is releasing June 1, 2021!
Pre-order your copy today on Amazon!