Audiobook Review: Managed by Kristen Callihan

Posted February 10, 2021 by Lucy D in Audiobook, Book Reviews, Contemporary, Rock & Roll / 0 Comments

Audiobook Review:  Managed by Kristen CallihanManaged (VIP, #2) by Kristen Callihan
four-half-stars
Published by NLA Digital LLC on November 14, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Rock & Roll
Pages: 344
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Charlotte North, Rupert Channing
Length: 10 hr 38 min
amazon b-n
Goodreads

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big...ego.
I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.
That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.
I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.
If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.
Let the battle begin…

 


 

I adored Gabriel and Sophie together, so why haven’t I finished the story, you ask…

I adored the romance between Gabriel Scott and Sophie Darling in Managed. They are such polar opposites. Gabriel (or Scotty as his friends call him) is very stoic even with his friends in the band, Kill John. Sophie is bubbly and funny, the type of person everyone wants to talk to, and it is her unreserved nature which burrows past Gabriel’s defenses and wins his heart. So why didn’t you finish. We’ll get to that.

Obviously, we met Gabriel in Book 1 of the series. He is the manager of Kill John, the most popular rock band in the world. At the start of the story, Gabriel is taking a transatlantic flight from New York to London to meet up with the boys for their Europe tour. He is upset since he purchased two seats in first class and finds Sophie sitting in the other seat. Scotty is a bad flier and he doesn’t want anyone to witness his terror on the flight. Of course, Sophie being Sophie starts off giving Gabriel a hard time for being annoyed by her sitting next to him until she realizes that he is so stressed and she begins needling him as a distraction. So begins the basis of a seven hour friendship with Sophie helping Gabriel through his stress of flying. Sophie dubbing Gabriel “Sunshine” and he was calling her “Chatty Girl.”

We come to find out that Sophie is going to London for a job interview but she hasn’t been told who with. Of course it turns out to be with Gabriel’s company to photo document the tour and manage the social media for the band which is still suffering from negative publicity from Jax’s suicide attempt last year.

Since landing in London, Gabriel is suffering from insomnia. He realizes that the only time he has any real, restful sleep is when he was sleeping next to Sophie in the plane. So Gabriel asks Sophie to share his bus for the tour and to sleep (just sleep) with him so he can get some rest. Sophie, being a nice person and highly attracted to Gabriel, agrees to stay with Gabriel on his bus for the remainder of the trip. Of course, the guys presume they are together together because they see the way Gabriel looks at Sophie and they are very happy for their friend.

I really loved listening to how fun Sophie is and how she becomes so important to Gabriel, who keeps even his friends and arms length. Sophie is the only one who dares to call him Gabriel and the only one to see that Gabriel’s stoicism is just a thin façade so he doesn’t get too friendly with anyone.  Gabriel starts calling her Darling but is it a endearment or just reference to her last name which he allows her to think. It seems to have more meaning each time he says it.  This was just such a wonderful, blossoming romance and when they finally admit that they both have fantasies about the other, these two burn up the pages. So why haven’t you finished…

well, you know how some books have that moment where one character does something so stupid, you just have to close the book and walk away so you don’t throw your phone or ereader against the wall. Yeah. That’s what happened here. There is only about an hour left in my audiobook and suddenly Sophie makes a decision which will absolutely bite her in the butt. Sophie is keeping information to herself, which Gabriel and the band need to know about, and if she doesn’t change her mind, it will, of course, look like a betrayal. After listening for 9 hours, building up this wonderful romance and experiencing far Gabriel has come opening up to Sophie and letting her into his life, I just didn’t have the heart to listen to his little heart breaking wide open if he thinks Sophie betrayed them all. (I am certain that cracking noise would be part of the soundtrack.) You know how I love my wounded heroes. Well, I also have a special soft spot for the stoic ones who lost their Moms young and don’t want to be hurt like that again. Seeing him open up to Sophie, bear his soul to her and then have him lose faith will just break me. I just need to step away from all those feelings before I can watch this train wreck happen. 🙁

I decided to move on to my next audiobook and come back to finish this one up. Who knows, maybe Sophie gets it right in the next three minutes and doesn’t destroy Gabriel’s fragile trust. We’ll have to wait and see. I will update this review once I actually finish.

As far as romance, I was loving this story up until that dreaded “conflict.” Why does everyone feel that every book needs one because sometimes it really sucks all the good out of the book. In this case, it screwed up my sweet romance mojo and I just couldn’t bear to witness it.

One thing I found very interesting about this audiobook, and a little confusing, was that someone chose two different narrators for this story vs Book 1.  That is unusual.  On one hand, I would say, great idea since we have different characters, it is obviously a good idea to give them their own voices.  The problem is that we already have a female narrative giving voices to the characters, and a male narrator giving voices to whoever shows up in their chapter, but after listening to Book 1, some of the secondary characters had a more distinct accent where they didn’t really have one in Book 1.   Now Gabriel and all the members of Kill John all met at an expensive private school (Gabriel went there on scholarship since his family didn’t have money) so I guess they all should have British accents but jumping narrators in the middle of a series screws up the voices in my head. At least the ones that had to do with this series.

updated 2/24/21 – I finally finished the last hour.  I was correct that things went bad and it got ugly for a bit.  Of course, we get a HEA (this is a romance after all) .  Take out the stupid decision at the end by Sophie and it would have been a perfect, sweet romance of opposites attract.    I re-read the plane scene and it made me laugh again.

 


Favorite Scene:

Gabriel and Sophie meet on the plane…

But he just as clearly feels my stare–the fact that I’m gaping like a speared fish probably doesn’t help–and he turns to glare. I’m hit with the full force of all that masculine beauty.

His eyes are aqua blue. His thick, dark brows draw together, a storm brewing on his face. He’s about to blast me. The thought hits along with another: I’d better make this good.

“Jesus,” I blurt out, lifting my hand as if to shield my eyes. “It’s like looking into the sun.”

“What?” he snaps, those laser-bright eyes narrowing.

Oh, this will be fun.

“Just stop, will you?” I squint at him. “You’re too hot. It’s too much to take.” This is true, though I’d never have the guts to say so in normal circumstances.

“Are you quite well?” he intones, as if he thinks the opposite.

“No, you’ve nearly rendered me blind.” I flap a hand. “Do you have an off switch? Maybe put it on low?”

His nostrils flare, his skin going a shade darker. “Lovely. I’m stuck next to a mad woman.”

“Don’t tell me you’re unaware of the dazzling effect you have on the world.” I give him a look of wide-eyed wonder. At least I hope that’s what I’m doing.

He flinches when I grasp the divider between us and lean in a bit. Hell, he smells good–like expensive cologne and fine wool. “You probably have women dropping at your feet like flies.”

“At least dropped flies are silent,” he mutters, furiously flipping through his magazine. “Madam, do me the favor of refraining from speaking to me for the remainder of the flight.”

“Are you a duke? You talk like a duke?”

His head jerks as if he wants to look my way, but he manages to keep his gaze forward, his lips compressed so tightly they’re turning white at the edges. A travesty.

“Oh, or maybe a prince. I know!” I snap my fingers. “Prince Charming!”

A blast of air escapes him, as if he’s caught between a laugh and outrage but really wants to go with the outrage. Then he stills. And I feel a moment’s trepidation, because he’s obviously realized I’m making fun of him. I hadn’t noticed how well-built this guy is until now.

He’s probably over six feet, his legs long and strong, encased in charcoal slacks.

Jesus, he’s wearing a sweater vest: dove gray and hugging his trim torso. He should look like an utter dork in it, but no…It only highlights the strength in his arms, those muscles stretching the limits of his white button-down shirt. Unfair.

His shoulders are so broad they make the massive first class seats look small. But he’s long and lean. I’m guessing the muscle definition under those fine and proper clothes is drool-worthy too, damn it all.

I take it all in, including the way his big hands clench. Not that I think he’ll use his strength against me. His behavior screams pompous prick, but he doesn’t seem like a bully. He never truly raised his voice with the flight attendant.

Even so, my heart beats harder as he slowly turns to face me. An evil smile twists his lush mouth.

Don’t look at it. He’ll suck you into a vortex of hot, and there will be no return.

“You found me out,” he confides in a low voice that’s warm butter over toast. “Prince Charming, at your service. Do forgive me for being short with you, madam, but I am on a mission of the utmost import.” He leans closer, his gaze darting around before returning to me. “I’m looking for my bride, you see. Alas, you are not wearing a glass slipper, so you cannot be her.”

We both glace at my bare feet and the red Chucks lying on the floor. He shakes his head. “You’ll understand that I need to keep my focus on the search.”

He flashes a wide–albeit fake–smile, revealing a dimple on one cheek, and I’m breathless. Double damn it.

“Wow.” I give a dreamy sigh. “It’s even worse when you smile. You really should come with a warming, sunshine.”

His smile drops like a hot potato, and he opens his mouth to retort, but the flight attendant is suddenly by his side.

“Mr. Scott, would you like a preflight beverage? Champagne? Pellegrino, perhaps?”

I’m half surprised she didn’t offer herself. But the implication is there in the way she leans over him, her hand resting on the seat near his shoulder, her back arched enough to thrust out her breasts. I can’t blame the woman. Dude is potent.

He barely glances her way. “No, thank you.”

“Are you sure? Maybe a coffee? Tea?”

One brow rises in that haughty way only a Brit can truly pull off. “Nothing for me.”

“Champagne sounds great,” I say.

But the flight attendant never takes her eyes off her prey. “I really do apologize for the mix-up, Mr. Scott. I’ve alerted my superior, and they shall do everything in their power to accommodate you.”

“Moot at this point, but thank you.” He’s already picking up his magazine, the cover showcasing a sleek sports car. Typical.

“Well, then, if there’s anything you need…”

“I don’t know about him,” I cut in, “but I’d love a–hey! Hello?” I wave a hand as she saunters away, an extra sway to her hips. “Bueller?”

I can feel him smirking and give him a look. “This is your fault, you know.”

“My fault?” His brows lift, but he doesn’t look away from his magazine. “How on Earth did you come to that conclusion?”

“Your freaky good looks made her blind to all but you, sunshine.”

His expression is blank, though his lips twitch. “If only I could strike women speechless.”

I can’t help it, I have to grin at that. “Oh, I bet you’d find that marvelous; all of us helpless women just smiling and nodding. Though I’m afraid it would never work on me.”

“Of course not,” he deadpans. “I’m stuck next to the one afflicted with an apparently incurable case of verbal diarrhea.”

“Says the man who is socially constipated.”

He stills again, his eyes widening. And then a strangled snort breaks free, escalating into a choked laugh. “Christ.” He pinches the bridge of his nose as he struggles to contain himself. “I’m doomed.”

I smile, wanting to laugh too, but holding it in. “There, there.” I pat his forearm. “It will all be over in about seven hours.”

He groans, his head lifting. The amusement in his eyes is genuine, and a lot more deadly because of it. “I won’t survive it–“

The plane gives a little shudder as it begins to pull out of the gate. And Mr. Sunshine blanches, turning a lovely shade of green before fading into a gray. A terrified flyer. But one who clearly would rather the plane actually crash than admit this.

Great. He’ll probably be hyperventilating before we level out.

Maybe it’s because my mom is terrified to fly as well, or maybe because I’d like to think Mr. Sunshine’s horrible behavior is fear-based and not because he’s a massive dickweasel, but I decide to help him. And, of course, have a little more fun while I’m doing it.

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