Toad (Public Enemy #2) by Cambria Hebert

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Aerie Boone is a toad.
At least according to every news outlet and online hater imaginable.

Accusations of lip-syncing.
Rumors of being dropped by my label.
Reports of celebrity feuds and rivalries.
And then there’s my personal favorite…
The pending annulment of a marriage I can’t even remember agreeing to.
When you’re the sweetheart of country music, being a headline is a given.
Living the headline is more of an uninvited surprise.
I’m barely recognized for the massive success I’ve had.
Now I’m famous because people love to hate me.
I’m a public enemy, but no one knows my side of the story.
I’m beginning to think it doesn’t even matter.
I’m burned out, hurting, and everyone thinks I have warts. Ew.
Becoming a shut-in is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Too bad my label has other ideas.
They send me a solution…
In the form of a red-haired, green-eyed man who wears sarcasm like armor.
I don’t want a stranger in my house.
I don’t want Nate.
All I want is to go back to a time when I wasn’t a toad.
When I was country music’s princess.
But going back is impossible.
Moving forward will change everything.

Pet’s $0.02

This is one of the few times that the sequel surpasses the first in the series.

 A lot of Toad’s charm has to do with Nate, cousin of Ten, from Butterfly.

I think the way that Ten treated Nate in Butterfly was horrible. How do you just drop your cousin, who’s more like your brother, when you hit it big? But, did Nate make Ten grovel? Did he drag out the hurt feelings? No, he jumped right in to help Ten win the girl, which shows what a big heart Nate has. It’s also what makes him so likeable. He’s not a dick. He finds the fun in life and doesn’t let the rest of the crap keep him down. Personally, I think this is why Aerie didn’t stand a chance of not falling for Nate. Even when awful things happened, he brought a lighthearted optimism to the problem.

Aerie has had shit for luck in her life. Other than being gifted with a truly wonderful grandmother she had bad luck at every turn. Even things that seemed like good luck, eventually turned. She was so naïve in the way the world of celebrity worked and she paid dearly for it. Add in an unscrupulous boyfriend/husband, a dirty record label and the need the public seems to have to jump on anything negative about someone successful and I’m surprised she was handling the state her career was in as well as she appeared to be. But, even though she was naïve, I never felt like she was a weak person. She was just unprepared and isolated from anyone who could help her navigate her life. Enter Nate…

Good thing Nate doesn’t follow any rules but his own.

I’m just hoping that Cambria Hebert has some more characters she’s planning to add to this series, because I find that I’m not quite ready to let the series go after only two.