Brian is a musical prodigy who is one with the guitar in his hand, he has had a dry spell with respect to composing which seems to be associated with his train wreck of a personal life. Now don't get me wrong, Brian has certainly sewn lots of wild oats in his day, (no pun intended re the earlier 'stallion' comment). He has innumerable skeletons rattling around in the closet associated with recent choices of female company and the need for a long term relationship with someone who will love him, for him, not because he is the sexy "Master" guitarist of the Sinners. Then there is his mother who readers meet much later in the book and all I can say is wow, just wow.. o_O Brian wears his heart on his sleeve, and he has suffered hurt at the hands of the charismatic Sedric (Sed) who picks up and seduces a gaggle of readily available nubile females pretty much every morning, afternoon, night - you get my drift. Sed cares not that one or more of these women may be involved with a fellow band member. This has, needless to say lead to insecurities and trust issues for Brian with respect to his recent girlfriends. He is drowning his sorrows in a bucket of alcohol following his most recent relationship catastrophe when he meets Myrna.
Myrna is a scholar who certainly has her own skeletons related to a previous horrific marital relationship which you will learn more about if you read the book. I think it is enough to say that her ex-husband still haunts her. Myrna loves music, particularly when of the rock variety and some of her research and publications are related to the effect of this type of music on sexual response etc. The Sinners happen to be one of her favorite groups and she doesn't waste the opportunity to talk to the band members when she spots them in the bar of a hotel where she is attending a conference. Myrna has no intention of giving sexual favors to any of the guys much to the surprise of Sedric who has an ego the size of the Texas. She does take pity on Brian who is suffering the effects of his over indulgence in alcohol and invites him to her room to treat him for his symptoms and impending hangover. Myrna is attracted to Brian, she has had a long sexual dry spell and, after all, this is a love story, therefore one thing does lead to another.
Myrna's grant funding is going to be cut off for her current research project and she is about to be out of work. A stroke of brilliance strikes when she decides to approach the band about traveling with them to study the female groupies who will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING to spend time with one or more of the Sinners. The band of course readily accepts her proposal because Brian was desolate and not composing after she left following their initial intimate encounter. Hence, for Myrna, what started out to be a fling with Brian Sinclair, becomes much more.
Brian discovered during their first time together that Myrna is his muse. Specifically during sexual intercourse, he hears beautiful music and is able to pen riffs and songs. Brian does like kink and he introduces Myrna to new levels of sexual intimacy. She is a willing participant. As their relationship intensifies, of course comes "I love you" feelings on his part, which she cannot or refuses to reciprocate. Like I said, skeletons. I really liked the realism Ms. Cunning instilled into this aspect of their relationship, Brian's trust issues and insecurities, Myrna's fear of commitment, and they do have their arguments. Then Myrna learns something startling about one of the band members during a ménage à trois arranged by Brian, which affects her deeply, she is however able to move past this. At the end of the day, for this reader, Brian and Myrna's HEA was extremely sweet.
After a while, the band's living conditions on the tour buses get the better of Myrna and she starts cooking nutritious meals and enforces a clean up of one of the buses. She earns their respect, and trust me, the multitude of young women who fawn all over these guys are used solely for sex. Respect isn't something that is gratuitously handed out by the Sinners, especially by Sedric.
I enjoyed Backstage Pass very much, while it is a love story between two lonely people who are perfectly matched for a variety of reasons, it also is an exploration into the lives of a close knit rock band who are consummate musicians. Ms. Cunning professes her love of rock music in the novel's Acknowledgments and her description of the concerts and music seems well researched and added authenticity to the story. I also loved the humor that permeates the narrative of this novel which caused me to laugh out loud on a number of occasions. Ms. Cunning's characterization of each of the group's members along with their camaraderie and issues is excellent. I am looking forward to reading "Rock Hard", Sedric's story due for publication April 1, 2011. "Rock Hard" will be followed by "Hot Ticket", Jace's (an extremely interesting character) book in October 2011. Eric and Trey's books are scheduled for publication in 2012.
If you enjoy a smoking hot erotic romance with loads of explicit sex, (as in if you have impressionable young ones around who can read you had best hide this one) you may like to give Backstage Pass a try. ;)