Title: Dirty Like Me
Author: Jaine Diamond
Genre: Romance, Music, Fiction
What It’s About: Katie Bloom goes tripping into the meeting room of her best friend’s agency after her dog. As her friend, Devi, ushers the team she was meeting with out of the office, Katie finds herself face-to-face with a very handsome man and feels embarrassment because she believes she looks like a wet rat–having gotten caught in a downpour. Instead, she asks the man if he would like to have cherry pie–he thanks her but cannot stop looking at her. Once he leaves, Devi tells her that the man was none other than Jesse Mayes–one of the member of Dirty, a famous Canadian rock n roll band that got its start in Vancouver. Even though Katie is familiar with music, she has never heard of Dirty and then does her research on Jesse and the band.
Soon after, Devi tells Katie that she has been hired by Jesse’s team to be his girlfriend in a video that Jesse is making for his solo album. At first Katie doesn’t want to do it, but then acquiesces when Devi reminds her that the reason Katie had visited her in the rain with cherry pies was for Devi to set her up with men, so that Katie can go on dates. She also reminds her that Katie needs to grab life by the balls and do things that she normally would not do, especially after Katie had been left at the altar by her ex-fiancé on her wedding day two years ago and hasn’t done anything since. So even though she does not know anything about acting, Katie acquiesces to the session which would bring her $40,000.00.
The day of the video shoot at Brody’s mansion in Vancouver, Jesse is restless. The mansion that is owned by his manager is meant to be the day after a party and Jesse is supposed to be waking up with his lover while singing to her softly. He wanders around the house, seeing different members of Dirty, in different rooms doing different things, when Maggie, the assistant to his manager, introduces Katie to Jesse. At first he has a hard time placing her, but when he realizes that she’s the girl from the cherry pie incident, he knows exactly who she is. Maggie whisks Katie away for final touches, where the stylist put Katie into boxers and think that it will look amazing on her to go to the shoot like this. Katie hides in the bathroom because she cannot stand being looked at any longer and her nervousness gets the better of her so she throws up a little bit. She then calls Devi and panics, but Devi talks her down and Katie manages to get her nerves under control.
Katie then goes into the room with Jesse, undresses and is instructed to sit on his lap, and they start talking to each other. At first when Katie mentions that she threw up and asks for Jesse’s cinnamon gum, Jesse thinks that she’s got a bug or that she’s pregnant, to which she tells him that it’s just the nerves. As the cameras start and keep rolling, Katie and Jesse touch each other in very sexual ways as the video is about them waking up after the best sex of their lives. But they push each other’s buttons a little–scratching or pinching harder back and forth. At one point, while the cameras are not rolling, Katie says something to Jesse that makes him realize that she has absolutely no idea who he is. He finds that absolutely sexy and it gives him a hard-on, so he ultimately ends up kissing her before the shoot ends. In his world, Katie’s lack of knowledge of him and her lack of expectation that he will provide her something is refreshing, as most women are after him and his money.
A month after the video shoot, Katie has been receiving messages for Devi and the video has actually done so well that it became one of youtube’s most watched videos. To Katie, all of this feels surreal, but the money has given her the ability to pay off some of her debts. She heads out that morning to her usual job–the coffee shop Nudge, run by her sister Becca and Becca’s husband–where she runs into Jesse sitting and waiting for her. She invites him to walk with her to the back, where she will drop off her dog Max, and he tells her that he has an interesting proposition for her.
Jesse Mayes wants Katie to come on tour with him for six weeks as his fake girlfriend to sell the album. He tells her that in order for him to have a second album, his first needs to do well and everyone seems to be very interested in Katie, so he wanted to tell the world that he’s with Katie–in order for it to help sell the album. Katie worries about Jesse’s girlfriend, Elle, who is another member of the band, but it turns out that they had broken up some time ago, and he was going to announce it soon, so might as well do that by announcing the relationship with Katie. As they’re talking about this, Devi walks in, notices him, and realizes that something’s up–that he’s making a business proposition for Katie, so she jumps at the opportunity to bring the price up to $200,000.00 for Katie’s services to promote the album for 6 weeks. Katie tries to shoot it down, but once again, Devi reminds her to take the bulls by the horns and give it a try.
Ultimately Katie agrees to at least go to the release party that evening with Jesse as a trial run, and Devi tells her that she will me them there. Jesse picks her up in his car, a powerful sports car, that night, finding Katie dressed in a red lace skirt, and her lucky leather jacket for the night out. He takes her to the club, talking along the way, and reveals that the beautiful girl on one of the boards is his sister–Jessa–that was named after him, as he asked his mom if he could name her and wanted to name her Jesse, but his mom told him it cannot be the same name, so he chose Jessa and that is what she was named. Reaching the club, they get ushered into the VIP section, where Katie gets to meet the whole band again, and introduced some of the others, including Maggie. Devi shows up and they talk while drinking, at which point Devi notices a man–who turns out to be none other than Josh, Katie’s ex-fiancé. Devi wants to run interference, but Katie tells her that there’s nothing to worry about. They listen to Jesse’s music, and when the set comes to an end, Devi goes onto the dance floor, while Katie goes to the restroom, only to find herself locked in with Josh, who wants to suddenly talk to her. She brushes past him, and he lunges at her as she goes for the door of the bathroom. Once she manages to get out of the bathroom, she also gets pulled by Josh only to end up kissing him by accident-the man forces his tongue down her throat, while his belt is unbuckled. Katie is livid and then mortified when she realizes that Jesse saw that, but she marches up to him, and tells Josh that Jesse is her new boyfriend and she’s here supporting his album.
Jesse and Katie spend the night at the bar, and then Katie heads back to the hotel, but instead of going straight to the room, she finds herself at the hotel bar ordering drinks. Jesse finds her and she tells him all about Josh and basically that she does not think that she’s good enough for anyone. Sometime later, both Jesse and Katie returned to the room fully drunk from partying, and Katie wakes up in the morning naked next to him, then remembering the night before, she tiptoes out of the hotel and goes home, after leaving Jesse a load of cinnamon gums and tic tacs as a gift with the intention to not see him again. Her plan does not go accordingly, as Jesse shows up at her apartment building with food in tow and an orange juice. He makes bacon and an omelette for her and tells her that he’s good at cooking because he had to cook for his sister and him when their father left and their mother worked for hours. He showed up at her apartment because he wants to convince her to go with him on the tour. He tells her that a lot of people especially those from the band think that bringing her on the tour is a bad idea, but he is convinced that she will make it a good thing and bring more luck to the tour.
Katie agrees and starts out at the tour in Montreal, where she goes shopping with Maggie–at first Maggie tells her what clothes to wear and buy for Jesse but then Katie decides to use the outfits that Jesse wouldn’t like for their color and create her own unique style with them. Maggie approves. That night, Katie dresses up in the pink colored dress she purchased and wears the lingerie that Jesse buys her, to go to the show in Montreal. There, she watches the show from the front and the backstage and at one point gets propositioned by groupies. When Jesse finds out about that in the VIP section, he has them fired. After the show, she and Jesse head out to some clubs where they are seen together, and Jesse teases her with his touch, never going all out but also leaving her on edge.
After the show, they head out on the tour bus to New York, and on the way there, Jesse and Katie get frisky, at which point, they make a bet–whoever touches the other person’s genitals in a sexual way will lose, and if Jesse loses, he needs to play his show naked, while if Katie loses she gives him a show naked. Katie makes a promise to not lose this bet, because she is getting driven crazy by Jesse. In New York, she does shopping, but does not see much of Jesse, and the one time that she does, they almost end up in bed, but are saved by a knock. Jesse leaves, and Katie begins to pleasure herself with a vibrator when he comes back, finds himself shocked by the vibrator and what he saw, before leaving her alone with it and walking out despite the fact that he really wanted to have sex with her. Katie then gets the idea of being asleep when Jesse comes back, which puts some distance between them.
At some point as the tour continues, Jesse gets upset that Katie inadvertently flirts with a guy in a bar and takes it out on her after finding Katie’s drawing of the guy, to which she tells him that he’s been flirting with girls the whole time–after all, some of them throw themselves at him, ask him to sign their boobs and more, to which he always has a good, kind word to say and a smile. He realizes that he’s being a hypocrite, and doesn’t pursue the topic further. They continue south, and after Katie has teased Jesse enough during one of the band member’s birthday party, Jesse takes her to bed, and makes her come two times before he has sex with her and they both come. From there, things get more sexual and they keep sleeping with each other, as they continue traveling to Texas, and then onwards to Los Angeles.
Somewhere between Texas and Los Angeles, Jesse gets phone calls with a woman–who Katie assumes is Elle–arguing with her about the performance in LA, only to be turned down. When they show up in Los Angeles, Katie’s birthday is celebrated by the band and Jesse especially brings her family down for a bit to celebrate. When they leave, Katie is to go to dinner at a restaurant, and asks when Jesse will meet with her only to be told that he’s in a meeting at that restaurant. She demands to be taken there, and barges into the meeting, which turns out to be a meeting between Jesse and his sister. Katie likes Jessa and they all share a meal, before Katie convinces Jessa to come to the club with them for the birthday. She ends up having a great time, with Zane playing Jesse’s Girl–a song that Jesse wrote for her and sang at the very first opening of the tour in Montreal–in her honor, while Jessa and Katie dance on top of the table. But Katie realizes that Jessa has no spark of life in her, though she does not know why.
The next morning while Katie and Jesse are up, Katie receives an article from Devi that shows pictures of her and Jesse, her and Josh (from the night at the club), Jesse and Elle, her and her brother in law with her niece and nephew, and more. It upsets her to see that her niece and nephew were pulled into it and that the images made her seem like a slut who has been stepping out on Jesse. She panics, tells him that she cannot pretend to do this anymore, that she’s out and that she will be returning some of the money to him. Katie has realized that at some point before Texas, maybe even before New York, and certainly at the video shoot, she had fallen in love with Jesse Mayes. For her, this will not be enough, so she packs up her backs, gets on a flight and heads home to Vancouver.
When Katie is gone, Jesse is wrecked–he wants to go after her, so he calls Brody who talks him out of it, telling him that they will watch out for Katie and that when he’s ready and done with his shows in Los Angeles, he can come and win her back. Jesse doesn’t want to do that, but Brody reminds him why he’s doing all of this, and Jesse backs off. Brody then finds Katie and offers her a ride to anywhere–at first Katie gives him the address to Josh’s mansion, but along the way Brody reveals that Jesse’s dad committed suicide when Jesse was 9, and Brody mentions something about home. This information along with Jesse’s worries about Jessa change her mind about what she needs to do. So Katie heads back to Los Angeles to talk to Jessa to tell her the truth about Jesse’s feelings and beg her to come back home, because she believes that if she can at least get Jessa to go home, and show Jesse through her actions that she cares, he could then decide whether or not he wants her to stick with him.
Things don’t go exactly well with Jessa, who tells her that she will speak with Jesse about all this, but that she’s definitely not coming home. Katie then heads over to Elle’s house, where she talks to Elle, Ash and Dylan, as Elle invited her in. On her way out Elle’s door, she tells Elle that she understands what it is like to heal, to need the time and the space to heal, but that Elle and Jesse were already over when she and Jesse got together–to not always read what is in the articles.
Jesse makes his way back to Vancouver and finds her waiting outside his home with Jude who found her after Katie gave her security detail the slip earlier at the airport on her way back to Vancouver. Jesse and Katie talk in the house, and he then takes her to a building in downtown Vancouver that now houses all of Katie’s paintings, and encourages her to pursue her artwork. He told her that Dirty wants Katie to do their artwork and their covers, social media and other type of artwork–and it was a vote that everyone, including Elle, agreed to as they had seen Katie’s work. He then leaves her to look around the space, which Katie knows is very expensive, when Devi and Becca show up and tell her to go for it. Becca specifically tells her that she will do whatever it is that is needed to make sure every member of her family is happy, and that includes her sister. Katie gives her a hug, and when Becca leaves, she goes upstairs to find Jesse. There he reveals that he loves her too, and proposes to her, to which she says yes.
Two months later Jessa receives a letter requiring her signature, as she’s on her way out to London for another modeling shoot. She receives photos from Katie of the whole band, and she sees Brody for the first time in a long time. Even though she knows she should delete the photos, she keeps them, and decides that maybe finally everyone will get their wish–her returning home.
My Thoughts: Dirty Like Me was a really good romance and I love the rock and roll perspective to the book. It certainly has been such an interesting story because I love how over time Katie goes from this woman who does not believe that she is worthy of love because of the humiliation from Josh leaving her on the altar and cheating on her with her friends who went with him as he’s the rich guy, to being a girl who realizes that she deserves more than being a fake girlfriend to a man who has been nothing short of amazing. She realizes that she wants more and wants to love him but isn’t sure if he loves her back.
One thing I wish was that there was more tension around the revelation that she loves him and he loves her back. I wish that there was some kind of fight where she finally tells him that she loves him and he doesn’t believe her (or vice versa) and they make up before Jesse proposes to her. From the way this ended, it seems like someone told Jesse that she loves him, and he believed that person so he proposed, while also revealing that he’s in love with her. Of course this is all aside from the storyline being a bit unbelievable on the time frame front.
It’s a great story if you would like something quick and fun to read that is not nearly draining your energy with tedious plots and cloak and daggers subplots. Lovely storyline.