Title: Loving Dallas
Series: Neon Dreams #2
Author: Caisey Quinn
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 16 June 2015
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.
Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.
When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning flame.
I have to admit I was a little sceptical about reading Dallas’s story, I desperately wanted the next installment of Gavin and Dixie and was therefore a little bias against Dallas. For me, Dallas appeared to be a fame hungry jerk in Leaving Amarillo. I have never been happier to be proven wrong.
Dallas is an amazing brother, raised primarily by his grandparents, he is compassionate, hard-working and independent. He has sacrificed a lot to be where he is today. However, it soon becomes blatantly obvious that Dallas isn’t happy, although on the surface all his dreams are about to become a reality for him, he is self-aware enough to realise that the fame and money mean nothing without the people he loves close to him.
I can’t really remember how I can to the conclusion the break-up between Dallas and Robyn as teens was due to Dallas’s quest for fame but that is most certainly how I thought about it. Adding to my initial dislike of Dallas. I am happy to say this soon changed as the lot unfolded. The story is very fast paced alternating between Dallas and Robyn’s perspective while intertwining past events with current action.
Robyn is another terrific character with many layers, each layer gets stripped away as the story progresses, allowing the reader to connect emotionally with Robyn. She is initially very career focused, with a tough girl act she shows to the public. However, it is quickly obvious that she has a lot of barriers in place that can be attributed to Dallas!!! Robyn is very hard on herself, she sets herself extremely high goals in an effort to fill the whole her father’s death has left in her life.
Caisey Quinn does an amazing job of showing the darker side of the music business including the superficial people and the underhand dealings that take place. Insecurity and the people who prey on the vulnerabilities of others is shown in all its murky glory. Backstage machinations attribute to many unnecessary conflicts and creates havoc on the emotions of both the characters and the reader.
Robyn and Dallas both live very much in their own heads making communication a problem. They have to learn to share their thoughts and feelings if they have any hope of a future.
The plot flows at a smooth yet fast pace. In all honesty I couldn’t put it down, I was completely hooked for the word go. I adored how the plot played out and how my opinion quickly changed from disliking Dallas to positively swooning over him.
Caisey Quinn also manages to maintain the tension and anticipation of the next chapter for Gavin and Dixie. There may have been a few tears involved as I was reading; I seriously cannot wait for Missing Dixie and am keeping my fingers crossed that my heart won’t get broken.
Loving Dallas is an amazing story of self belief and loyalty. Proving there is more to live than fame and money (although they help). Being true to yourself and the people you love is priceless.
As always I adore the use of music within the narrative, in Loving Dallas it really is the icing on the cake.