Author: S.C. Stephens
Author: S.C. Stephens
November 3, 2015
Forever Trade Paperback
The spotlight doesn’t only shine. Sometimes, it burns.
Being the bad-boy bassist for the world’s hottest band has earned Griffin Hancock some perks: a big house, a fast car, and most importantly his incredible wife Anna. The one thing it hasn’t brought him is the spotlight. Anna tells him to be patient, that his talent will win out. But Griffin is through waiting for permission to shine.
Without warning, Griffin makes a shocking decision and takes the gamble of a lifetime. Suddenly he’s caught up in a new level of lights, cameras, and chaos—one that pushes his relationship with Anna to its limits. Anna has always found his unpredictable behavior sexy, but lately he’s seen an ache in her eyes, and it has his soul in knots. Just as the recognition Griffin seeks is finally within reach, the thing he loves most in life could be slipping through his fingers…
“What was all that about? And what did you mean at the end there? You are a part of this band, Griffin. You always have been, and you always will be.”
Pushing him back a step, I snapped, “It’s a little late for the pep talk, bro. If you think I’m so valuable, you could have stood up for me in there.” I lifted my arms for emphasis. “It gave me the warm and fuzzies how you let him walk all over me.”
Kellan sighed. “It’s complicated, Griff. Matt’s a genius on guitar…he’s…it’s his instrument, the one he’s born to play. But us saying that isn’t an insult to you. You’re amazing on bass, gifted even. It’s just…we each have our part, you know? And we have to do them the best we can.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “For the sake of the band, I’m asking you to let this go and just…forget about lead. Please?”
I could only stare at him. I felt numb inside. Was this what giving up your dream felt like? For as long as I could remember, I’d wanted all eyes on me—I’d wanted to be the center of attention. Matt had never wanted that. But he was given the instrument that shone while I was given the one that everyone forgot about. My part was designed to blend, designed to go unnoticed. It was everything I wasn’t, and I was sick of being stuck with it. I wanted more, but they wouldn’t give me more.
Without answering him, I turned and walked away, toward the house. What could I say to that anyway? Matt had just permanently rejected my chances at ever being lead guitar. Forgetting was the only thing left that I could do. Forget, or stew, and right now, I wanted to stew.
When I got back to the living room, Jenny and Rachel were there working. “Need something, Griffin?” Jenny asked, her pale eyes practically sparkling with happiness.
Ignoring both her good mood and her question, I called out for Anna. “She’s upstairs with Kiera,” Rachel quietly replied.
Harrumphing some sort of thank-you, I began plodding my way to the stairs. Fucking stairs. I stomped up them, cursing my bandmates with each step. I imagined that the carpet treads under my feet were their squishy faces. I felt a little better by the time I reached the top. “Yo, Anna! Where are you?”
Both Anna and Kiera instantly appeared in a bedroom door frame. Simultaneously, they both put fingers to their lips. “Shhhhhhh,” they both scolded.
I was tired of being reprimanded today, so I didn’t lower my voice any. “Wake up Gibson. We’re leaving.”
Anna instantly edged around Kiera to step into the hallway. “What’s wrong?” she asked me, while Kiera stepped out of the room behind her. The two sisters were pretty similar, but Anna definitely had a lot more curves than her slimmer and straighter sister. Generally I appreciated those curves, but at the moment, I just wanted to shove them into the car and get out of here.
“There’s no point being here right now, so we’re leaving. Actually, there’s no point in ever coming back here, so we’re leaving.” I opened the door closest to me, hoping I’d find my sleeping daughter behind it. Nope. Empty.
I moved to try another door, but Anna stepped in front of me. “Let’s go outside, get some fresh air.”
Dramatically tossing my hands in the air, I gave up. “Fine.” What did it matter, since nothing was working for me today anyway?
I headed back to those goddamn stairs while Anna told Kiera she’d be right back. Not waiting for my very pregnant wife, I sped down the steps and out the door. The fresh air on my face helped calm me down a little, but I was still riled up. I paced the front porch while I waited for Anna. Those sanctimonious assholes.
“Griff?” A soft touch on my shoulder spooked me, and I jumped. Turning, I saw Anna behind me, her green eyes worried. “What’s going on?” She indicated the front step, and I grudgingly sat down.
Once I was seated, my mood dropped. I’d started the day so positively, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that this tour was going to be the one. But not anymore. It was going to be the same old crap. Dropping my head, I slumped over. Anna sat beside me, and her fingers lightly caressed my back in a soothing pattern. It helped my residual anger, but not my rising disappointment.
“One song. I asked for one fucking song…and they wouldn’t even give that to me…” I studied my fingers in my lap while my dreams dissolved in my hands. “Matt just told me that he’s not ever going to give me a chance to play lead, and the rest of the guys agreed with him. I’m done…forever stuck on bass…forever in the shadows. I just wanted one song, one moment in the spotlight.” With a sigh, I looked up at her. “Four minutes? Is that so much?”
Anna’s eyes were heavy with sympathy. Reaching up, she threaded her fingers through my hair. “No…that’s not much at all.”
I nodded and dropped my vision to my lap again. “Yeah, I didn’t think so either. But they can’t even give that to me.” The anger resurfaced, wrapping disappointment around it like a blanket. “Between me and you, babe, sometimes…I really don’t like those guys.”
Anna kissed the back of my neck and wrapped an arm around my shoulder in sympathy. “I’m sorry, Griffin.”
Closing my eyes, I let her comfort wash over me. At least there was one person on earth who gave a shit about me.
Oh. My. Griffin!!
Kellan Kyle is one of my favorite book boyfriends and I was so excited to read about Griffin. He always brought humor to the Thoughtless series and I loved his relationship with Anna.
The first part of the book is Griffin being Griffin. He was larger than life and thought of himself like a gift given to humanity. He's frustrated with the D-bags and he wants the spotlight.
"This tour, everything was going to change. It was my time to play lead guitar, my moment to shine in the spotlight. I was going to rule that fucking stage, and no one was going to stop me."
Yes, Griffin can be crass and has no filter but he also has a sweet side. He loves Anna and he loves his daughter. There is nothing more important to him than them. In a way, wanting the spotlight is to make them proud of him.
"Anna. My gorgeous, sensual goddess of a wife."
His road to self-discovery (which goes from funny to serious) is bittersweet. I found myself laughing at first and crying by the end.
I never thought I could love Griffin, but SC Stephens made it happen.
And Anna, what's not to like about Anna? I found myself having a girl crush. She seriously was an awesome wife, mother, friend, sister. She was the perfect complement to Griffin.
"You're a star. Always have been, always will be."
When I first heard this story was going to be written I was intrigued. Throughout Effortless and Reckless we get glimpses of Griffin and Anna navigating their relationship and I couldn't help but be curious about them, so when given the chance to get into Griffin's head I dove in full force.
The book starts off with Griffin being the same crude and somewhat obnoxious guy that we all know and put up with. He and Anna are raising Gibson and have another baby on the way. Although he was still that very crazy guy we know, he was also a man very much in love with his beautiful wife. That alone endeared him to me especially when I saw how sweet and loving he was with his daughter Gibson. That being said he still has absolutely no filter when he speaks. He says whatever he damn well pleases and doesn't like being chastised for it either. After many years of playing bass for the D-bags he's sick and tired of not being the center of attention even if for a little while. As time passes and his ideas keep getting shot down by the guys tension builds. Eventually it's way too much to ignore and Griffin decides to make a change, a big change that doesn't include anyone but himself. I love how much Griffin grows in this book. In the beginning he's still that guy who spends his time fantasizing and spouting off nonsense and becomes a man who will do anything for his family and friends. It's exactly what I needed to see from him after all his crazy shenanigans.
I also love how much we get to know about Anna. I remember her being that wild girl with not a care in the world, but in this book we see her as a caring and loving mother. She is responsible and supportive of her husband, whom she absolutely adores. She is patient, trusting, and completely understanding of what Griffin is dealing with. Both she and Griffin have transformed into responsible parents and have a very tight knit little family.
I also loved seeing all of the D-bags together again! Kellan is one of my favorite guys ever! I will always hold him, Griffin, Matt, and Evan near and dear to my heart. I also loved seeing Kiera again, and in very surprising twist seeing her show her love for Griffin.
Now my only question here is, will we get to read Matt and Evan's stories in the future?
A complimentary copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Griffin wants it all. Even though he’s in THE most famous band in the world it isn’t enough for him. He wants to be the center of attention, but he’s unwilling to work to get it. Instead he just comes up with random ideas that the guys don’t take serious.
Eventually he’s had enough. With two kids and a wife to support he decides to quit the band and try to make a career where he’s the center of it all. Unfortunately, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. . .
I almost didn’t finish this book. The first few chapters were so hard to get through. Griffin almost ruined it for me. He was obnoxious, big headed, egotistical, and just plain stupid. He didn’t stop running his mouth about his “awesomeness” and I was getting so aggravated by his character. He was supposed to be funny and a little full of himself, but he was just a total idiot.
With that being said, I really enjoyed this book and I am so glad I pushed through. Griffin’s journey and transformation was one of the greatest character arcs I’ve ever read.
Even though I honestly hated Griffin at the beginning of the book, S.C. Stephens did a phenomenal job at making me love him by the end. Seeing small glimpses of his true character made me understand his intentions, and his heart, better.
I shrugged, Then what does it matter what he looks like. It’s the same with me and Anna. I’m constantly surrounded by chicks, but I don’t do anything with them because I’ve got her.” Peeking over at my wife talking to her sister, I smiled. . . “Your husband is enough for you, and my wife is enough for me, so the Kellan Kyles of the world don’t matter.”
One thing I did love throughout the whole story was the interactions with the band. Kellan has grown up so much and really transformed and I feel like I learned more about Matt and Evan.
If you’re struggling through UNTAMED, please keep reading. It’s truly fantastic once Griffin learns to be humble.
“You hold you down. Your pride, your ego, your refusal to dig deeper and do the hard labor. That’s what holds you down. The only person you can blame here, Griffin, is you. And I’m not going to let you drag down this family any further. I’m taking the reins before you plunge us right off the cliff… if you haven’t already.”
**Complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review!
S.C. Stephens is a #1 bestselling author who spends her every free moment creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance. In addition to writing, she enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading, listening to music, watching movies, and spending time with her friends and family. She and her two children reside in the Pacific Northwest.