Available: Now Amazon/B&N
Type: Contemporary Romance
My Copy: Sent
“A rock star with no rhythm is a man with no soul.” – Stone Lockhart
As the lead singer of one of the hottest bands to hit the rock scene, fucks are free, drugs come easy, and music is life.
For as long as Stone can remember, Willow has been his music – the notes that weave his soul together.
Until he threw her away.
All he has left is a handful of pills and a few lines of powder to make him forget her.
And he tries, over and over.
Clean and ready to make things right, he’s faced with the fact that Willow’s moved on. She’s not the same girl he cast aside. Willow’s a woman sure about her purpose in life. Sure about who she’s meant to love.
Stone may be lost without his rhythm, but Willow has found so much more.
After the huge release of Beck’s first two books (Love Hurts and Love Burns) I wasn’t sure what to expect from her next release. Would this be more of the same gritty, hard hitting love we got the first time around? Or a departure from that completely, being that indie authors don’t follow the “write in your genre only” formula. While Stoned is definitely different than what she has previously released, her voice is still the same and the characters are just as driven and in your face.
Once a drug addict always a drug addict right? Rock star, Stone has hit the the very bottom but he refuses to be a statistic. He thinks getting clean in the hardest thing he’s ever done but he soon finds out that winning back the one person he has ever truly loved is going to be much more difficult. Especially since she has dropped off the face of the earth and doesn’t want to be found.
Willow keeps telling herself she has moved on but when Stone finally tracks her down after a year and a half she’s having a hard time resisting him. He says he’s changed. He says he’s clean. But for how long? She has a different life and a daughter to take care of now and Stone just isn’t the safe bet.
Ultimately Stoned is about second chances, not letting the demons from your past define your future and forgiveness. Moving on and learning to live with your past in order to make your future as bright as possible. Stoned is heavy in content and light on the sex with the main characters only have one go around towards the end of the book. This is true to their characters though and the book was definitely not lacking in the romance department, it just shows it a different way.
Going into this one I was unsure of Stone. How could I like a drug addict, someone who had emotionally abused Willow time and time again? How could his character ever be redeemable? With Willow in a relationship with another man, a man who is everything Stone wasn’t (at least in his drug addicted phase anyway), how could I root for him and not the other guy? Somehow, I did. Somehow I wanted him to clean up, prove himself and ultimately get the girl. This is not a fast turnaround, the book spans two years. Two years of highs and lows on a journey that will really never end. Stone’s strength is shown with such conviction. His friends and bandmates being the wall in which he leaned on.
Willow is a strong heroine in many ways. Strong enough to move on and love a baby girl who was brought into the world without a choice in how she was conceived. Standing tall through Stone’s emotional abuse, bending but never breaking. She surrounds herself with a family not of blood but of choice. Her friends stepping in when she’s down and holding her until she can stand tall once more. Her well of forgiveness that she thought long dry, fills again as Stone shows her how he’s changed, how he’s pledged to be what she needs, what they both need. She spends a great part of the book conflicted over Stone and the safe choice, Joaquin. Needing to feel safe and yet wanting to follow her heart.
Stoned has everything you want to hate; cheating, drug addiction, alcoholism, emotional abuse, non-consensual sex and a love triangle. It’s dark and heavy content will weigh on you long after you finish the book, yet the underlying message will lift you up.
Stoned is a realistic take on a non traditional love story and it’s sure to be something you’ve never read before. With fantastic world building and hard hitting dialogue, Mandi Becki shows the world that not every romance is heart and flowers. Some romances are dark and unhealthy until the light shows them the way.
I give Stoned by Mandi Beck 5 stars!