Untamed by S.C. Stephens
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
UNTAMED by S.C. Stephens (November 3, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback; Thoughtful #5)
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…
I had the worst of intentions for reading Untamed, ulterior motives. I read it for every character, BUT Griffin.
Don't get me wrong. This is one of my favorite series of ALL TIME, but I hate to admit that I wasn't all that excited about Untamed. Nope, not really. I was more excited about the idea of getting more Kellan and Kiera. More excited about a new S.C. Stephens book, but excited about Griffin...nope. In the end, I decided that I would tolerate him to get more story.
This was a pleasant surprise. Sometimes being wrong is the best right.
Not only did I enjoy Griffin as a main character, but I found myself doing more than just tolerating him. I understood him. I related to his character. I even felt bad for him. As much as it shocks me to say this, I was on Griffin's side. From the very beginning, I was rooting for him.
I thought this entire story was so creatively done, and the ending was perfect. The only reason I didn't rate it higher was because I found myself so in touch with Griffin's character that I couldn't help but be angry with how he was being treated. I never felt the other guys' behavior was justified, even in the beginning. It made me see everyone, even Kellan, in a whole new light and I didn't like it. They were wrong. I also found myself torn between being enamored by Griffin's character growth and wanting him to stay original, and not change a bit. He is who he is, and I felt his friends should have been a little more accepting.
Irregardless, D-Bag fans will truly enjoy this unique addition to what has been a fantastic journey. It was so great experiencing a different side of the Hulk. Griffin fans are going to go crazy for this truly inspired story of perseverance. Thank you S.C. Stephens!
“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.
About the author
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.
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