I fell in love with Kylie Scott’s work when I first read Flesh. I was so ridiculously excited to find an author who mixed my nerdy love of zombies with my addiction for romance novels and I devoured the whole Flesh series in one day. Kylie manages to mix humour, highly erotic sex scenes and some pretty massive character growth into highly addictive books that are impossible to put down. Her characters are ridiculously sexy, but also flawed with genuine issues, making them relatable to the average reader (or as relatable as a love story in a post- zombie-apocalypse world can be). The dialogue is phenomenal, with each character having a specific voice and tone that makes them jump off your page. They’re characters that will drive you insane, but they’re also people you’d want to hang out with and get to know (and possibly do very dirty things with).
Kylie Scott is unique in that she makes herself very available to her fans through social media. During the lead up to the release of Lead, Kylie let her fans know that Lead was going to be different to her other books. It was going to be a slow burn, with no sex scenes until more than half way through. There were going to be very serious, and a bit dark, issues to be addressed and that the general tone of Lead would be far more serious than the other books in the Stage Dive series.
This had me kind of concerned. I loved the playful nature of Mal that overrode the dark undertones in Play. It made dealing with the fairly heavy plot developments a much more enjoyable experience. Those sex scenes were also all kinds of delicious, as was the sexual banter between the characters. I wasn’t sure I was ready to read a romance book with no super-erotic-playful sex scenes to counter-balance the darkness.
But I fell in love with Lena by the end of the prologue. Her strength is incredible, and I would kill to have her sarcastic sass. I fell in love with Jimmy by the end of the first chapter. I regularly wanted to throttle him, but I was drawn in by his tortured soul, his wicked-harsh background, and his clear but reluctant affection for Lena. This book honestly broke my heart, but in kind of good ways. I was rooting for the characters the whole way through and I desperately wanted them to have their happy ending because they freaking earned it. The slow-burn story sucked me in and kept me interested, and I never, ever got bored. I was enthralled by their journey and I didn’t want it to end.
This book got me in the feels in some pretty major ways. I loved the book. I didn’t expect to, but I really loved it. However, there is a caveat to that. Because of the exceptionally well-done slow-burn storyline, there were no sex scenes until just after half way through. That was fine; the storyline will keep you captivated. But by the time we got to the sex scenes, I had pretty high expectations and I have to admit…for me, the sex scenes fell short. I found them weird and kind of awkward and they were sort of uncomfortable to read. That was really unexpected because Kylie Scott does exceptional sex scenes. However, that is also my one and only caveat.
On the whole, this book is fabulous. It’ll suck you in, get you invested and captivated and it’ll hit you in the feels in all the best ways. You’ll love feisty, sassy Lena and you’ll want to strangle (and play with) the tortured, but ridiculously sexy bad-boy-who-is-trying-so-hard-to-be-good Jimmy. The scenes involving the other major characters in the book are beyond fantastic and really add some depth and hillarity to this amazingly robust world Kylie Scott has created for her awesome Stage Dive books.