Release Date: Jul 7, 2020
Heat Level: Hot/Scorching
Lead Me Back is the latest release from C.D. Reiss about a young woman running from a bad situation that needs a break and a guy who’s had it all handed to him but sees it all tumbling down like a house of cards. Our heroine Kayla returns to LA after spending most of her life living on the east coast. She needs to salvage what’s left of her career while laying low from the publicity she left in NY. Justin is a former boy band member that has decided to branch out into movies and a solo career, but some previous actions have him on thin ice with almost everyone in Hollywood.
Kayla gets a new phone to really start fresh in LA and is unlucky enough to be assigned Justin’s old number. When we’re first introduced to Justin I, like the savvy heroine, was prepared to not like him. First of all his name is Justin Beckett (too close to Bieber for my taste) and he’s described as wearing douchecore style clothes. But the amazing thing is C.D. manages to take that questionable exterior and flip our expectations by giving us a genuinely sweet and interesting man.
Kayla is the kind of no nonsense chick I want in my contemporary books. She’s had some hard knocks and is doggedly picking herself back up and trying again. She accepts a job working on Justin’s current movie project. Even as barbs are exchanged we can see the chemistry that will pull these two together. The relationship could have been very skewed due to their different circumstances, but we’re given a truly equal pairing which I found refreshing to a Hollywood story.
I loved that both Justin and Kayla worked to sort their own issues out, with the support of the other. Neither had to have someone “fix” their problems for them and I loved the characters all the more for their ability to support each other. Both Kayla and Justin had to fix some of the relationships in their lives before they can have their happy ever after, and C.D. manages to give us that resolution in a very satisfying way.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book (my first from this author) and only had minor issues with the way Justin talked. I couldn’t stand how much he said “nah”, but it’s such a minor quibble in a truly entertaining book. If you think you don’t like a Hollywood story, I’d challenge you to give this one a try. I’ve never read such a grounded portrayal of the costs of fame in a romance before. I’ll definitely be seeking out more from this author in the future.
Content warning for descriptions of abuse towards women.