“The only problem with having Cole McCormack as your chronic masturbation fantasy is that he’s everybody’s chronic masturbation fantasy—and he knows it.”

I have been waiting for Cole and Sonia’s story ever since I’ve read Loud is How I Love You a few months ago. I knew their story was going to be good and hot. I expected it just based on the chemistry they had going on. What I did not expect was the gut wrenching, emotional punch it brought. It slayed me. I did not expect that.

Stay Until We Break starts off with a bang. Stars on the Floor are on the road, hoping to catch a big break and get signed by a label, make their dreams come true. For Cole and Sonia, it’s a chance to explore the attraction they’ve had for one another. But Sonia isn’t quite sure about Cole because one, he’s a rock star with a reputation. Two, she’s not at all the confident girl she wanted to be, or the kind of girl that a guy like Cole would notice.

For Cole, it’s much more complicated than that. He’s torn between pursuing his dream and his passion and his responsibilities. My heart just broke for him. I though he was going to be this huge manwhore and break Sonia’s heart by sleeping around on her. But he proved me wrong. He’s actually one of the sweetest heroes I’ve read. And very loyal. I loved his romance with Sonia and his friendship with Joey and the rest of the band.

Sonia is a dynamo. I loved that she was a bit insecure and that she had fears. She can be awkward and she can be wrong on a lot of things but she’s always had the band’s best interest at heart.

The romance between Sonia and Cole is everything I imagined a rock-and-roll romance would be: sweet, steamy, a little bit volatile and a whole lot dirty. I mean, they’re an unsigned band on a tour, so they’re broke and can’t afford hotel rooms. So you can imagine the many creative ways Cole and Sonia had to resort to just to get some action. And yes, they got a lot of action. *fans self*

But what really made me fall in love with this book was the journey of Soft—the music, their triumphs and disappointments, their love and loyalty for each other—as we see it through Cole and Sonia’s eyes. I personally love music and loved the ’90s music scene, the era which this book was set in. And this installment had every bit of that ’90s music vibe. Mercy Brown did a phenomenal job of bringing the distinct atmosphere of that era into this book. It was raw, it was authentic and it was head-banging fun.

Don’t get me wrong. I very much enjoyed the romance between Sonia and Cole. Their chemistry and banter are off the charts hot. But this book felt like a love letter to the music and the bands and the music era. This was the ’90s. There was no YouTube where the band can play and someone can upload a video and have it go viral. There was no Facebook or Twitter to help get the word out. It was a time when music and playing live was sacred and a very intimate experience.

This story is about choices and about growing up. It’s about sacrifice and loyalty and pursuing your dreams no matter what. I loved the road stories and the secondary characters, and the other bands that Soft met while on the road.

Stay Until We Break, and this series in general is shaping up to be one of the best rock star books/series I’ve read. It’s one of the few that really focuses on the music and people who are in it. Mercy Brown’s author voice is as distinctive as the genre of music she’s writing about. She’s the real deal.