Book Reviews

Book Review: Dirty Like Seth

Title: Dirty Like Seth
Author: Jaine Diamond
Genre: Romance, Fiction

What It’s About: Seth Brothers leans against a bike that he assumes belongs to Jude, the head of security for Dirty, the band. He had hopped over the fence, and strums his guitar sitting the bike, when a scraggy young boy comes up to him eating something, and asks him if he knows whose bike that is. Seth says he does and tells him to tell the owner of the bike that Todd Becker is waiting for him. A few minutes later, Jude comes out and asks him what the hell he’s doing. Seth begs him to get him into the audition with Dirty, the band, which has been holding auditions at the location in front of them, and confirms to Jude that he has been clean from drugs, and just wants another chance after having been kicked out nearly seven months ago from the band. Jude agrees to smuggle him in, so long as Seth plays something by Metallica.

Jude gets Seth in and walks him over the office, where Maggie sees him and storms out after telling Jude that it will be both of their necks on the line if the whole band figures out who he is. Jude tells Seth to stay put, and he does stay put there, while some other members who hang around Dirty notice him. First, Katie notices him–and Katie is the wife of the lead guitarist, Jesse Mayes. Then Ash–Ashley Player–of the Penny Pushers, a band that often opens for Dirty at shows–notices him and talks to Seth. Seth confirms to Ashley that he will be auditioning for the show, and tells him that he will be playing a cover of a song that was written by Metallica. Ashley, who has been a fan of Seth, agrees to play as well as he can at the audition, because that is what he has been doing during the whole auditioning process-playing with the other hopefuls by either making them look better or by making them look worse.

Liv then arrives alongside Jude, and upon recognizing Seth, tells the band and her filming crew that they have one more audition. So everyone goes to get ready, with Seth hidden behind the black curtain, because this is a blind audition–the members of Dirty do not get to see who it is until after they have finished playing, so that they can go off of the music alone to see if the person fits.

Elle on the other hand has been dealing with these auditions for several weeks. She’s tired of the debate as Zane and Jesse are at odds regarding the person for the rhythm guitarist that they are trying to fill. She’s also fed up with Ashley, whom she has been having sex with for seven months since Jesse’s wedding, trying to push for more than just friends with benefits, which is what they have agreed to at the actual wedding. Not only that, he’s been trying to get her to suggest to the team about taking him on as a guitarist for Dirty, which surprised her considering he has his own successful band. She sighs and sinks into her seat for one more audition, as Zane and Jesse bicker over their options. When the blind audition starts playing, the vibe checks out and everyone can easily agree that whoever is playing on the other side of the curtain should be in Dirty. Even Zane jumps onto the stage and starts singing with Ash as the song finishes. The band debates between themselves, and someone asks if the person singing has sold his soul to the devil for being such good. The voice that answers leaves everyone in shock–only because they recognize it as Seth.

Then the curtain comes down confirming that it is Seth, and Brody is the first one to react, telling Jude to get Seth the hell out of the audition. Seth goes without any further argument, and Elle just feels guilty about it all. She understood why he had to be kicked out the first time–he had overdosed on drugs–and kind of stood by the second time because of Jessa–Jesse’s sister, and Brody’s girlfriend who is now seven months pregnant with their child. But the accusations that Brody lobbed at Seth and the fact that Seth did not fight him, did not sit right with Elle about it at all. She tries to get the team to hear reason and to bring Seth on, but Brody is not hearing any of it, walking out of the meeting with the band for the first time in their ten year history. Zane backs her up, Jesse is on Brody’s side, and Dylan stays neutral. In order to bring Seth on, it would have to be an unanimous decision, because that is how they have always done it. Since they haven’t decided and they’re stuck on two potentials–one of whom cannot even come into the US due to some drug charges, meaning that he would not be useful for the tour–the band doesn’t know if they should keep looking, so they put everything on pause while Brody, Maggie and the network that is filming this reality TV show discuss things. Elle decides to head out to Kauai in Hawaii for some downtime, having cleared her schedule for a few days, without knowing when she would even be back.

As she goes into her powder room, Ash catches up to her and tries to invite himself into the trip, but she tells him to leave her alone and that she needs alone time. Once she is sure that Ash is gone, she packs up her bag, has her assistant, Joanie, send all of the items to her home, and then goes out to the car with Joanie. Flynn, her security detail, drives her out of the venue, and as they are making their way down the street, Elle sees Seth playing on the curb with a homeless man. On instinct, she tells Flynn to turn around to go through the fast food restaurant, and when she stops the car near Seth, she gets out and goes to him. There is a lot of uncertainty in her because she and Seth used to be friends, but that friendship seemed to have dissipated once he was kicked out in the band. She’s also not sure of him and how to approach everything with him, as she was the one that found him when he had overdosed a month before being kicked out. She asks him to get in the car with her and offers him a ride, while the homeless man says something to Seth about angels falling from the sky.

Seth gets in the car, and Joanie turns the music up loud in the front to give them some privacy, but Seth is completely confused by this sudden change of events, while Elle is not sure why she even invited him. She then invites him to Hawaii with her, and he takes her up on the offer, even though he doesn’t have any clothes with him, because he just does not know what to make of this. The only thing that Elle tells him is that they used to be friends and she would like to repair that friendship; that she’s sorry for how things went down with them. Once they’re on the flight to Kauai, Seth leaves Elle alone on the flight pretending to work.

When they arrive at the mansion belonging to one of Elle’s friends, Elle stays in the main house while Joanie, Flynn and Seth take a cabin each that is located on the property. Then Seth and Elle spend some time talking about the years after his drug addiction, and how he’s been staying sober, why he’s been staying sober, and what is the deal with Jessa. Seth, unfortunately, is not able to tell Elle the truth about Jessa because the truth is that he does not remember anything between him and Jessa–a lot of the memories that he has from his drug fueled days are in bits and pieces, not the full picture, but he doesn’t want to admit that. The next day, Elle starts getting messages and phone calls as to what is going on and why she took Seth with her to Hawaii. She’s pissed off that everyone is butting into her personal life, and angrily tells them all off, including Ashley, before shutting down the phone and all contact with the world.

Seth and Joanie go out to shop for him, as he didn’t bring any clothes, and while Woo had offered, Seth was not comfortable with taking his clothes. So Elle puts on this really racy bikini that show pretty much everything and rests outside on the lounges. At some point, Seth returns, and she had fallen asleep so she hadn’t a chance to get out of the bikini when he comes to her bearing a Mai Tai. As a result, Seth sees everything, or almost everything about Elle’s private parts.

This results in some memories of Seth’s coming back–how when he first came to the band, Zane told him that Elle was out of the question because of her rule of not dating someone in the band, but that he had always had something for her. He makes a mental note to have a discussion with his sobriety mentor about Elle because he had talked a lot about Jessa but nothing about Elle. The next morning, he sits down outside with his coffee, and starts getting a hard on, thinking about Elle, when Elle shows up and joins him. They talk some more about his addiction, before they head up towards the mansion. At that point someone notices that a paparazzi photographer had sat down in the bushes to take pictures of them, and while Elle, Joanie and Flynn debate what to do with the photographer, Seth goes up to him to talk. When Seth comes back he tells them that he got the photographer to agree to leave them alone and send the message out across the network of photographers in the island, so long as he gets a few photos with Elle and Seth. So they head back to the water, where Seth talks to the photographer, and then Elle and Seth stand in the water while the photographer takes pictures of them. Elle attempts to give him the “how dare you judge” look, while Seth and her touch gently in the water, enjoying it.

That night Seth has a hard time falling asleep in his cabin, because he wants to have sex with Elle but knows that she’s off limits. Instead he goes into the shower and tries to cool down, but that does nothing for him, so he just comes. Elle on the other hand wants to go to Seth and also have sex with him–she makes it as far as his cabin, imagines what would happen, and then runs away to her room. A day or two later, the pictures come out in the print, and of course, Elle starts getting phone calls from everyone, including Ash, Dylan, and Brody. She answers Dylan’s call and tells him that all is good and also argues with Ash, while ignoring everyone else. Seth overhears her call with Ash, and once she’s done, tells her that he’s on his way back to Vancouver to see Ray, his foster father–he had booked a flight home in the middle of the night–and he apologizes to her for the shitshow. She tries to get him to stay, but he still leaves, and once he is gone, Elle decides to go for a walk.

When she returns, she finds Liv and her crew setting up. Joanie shows up to tell her that she had tried reaching her but that since Elle was not reachable, she couldn’t tell her. Apparently Brody and Maggie made the decision that Liv could get some soundbites–some interviews from some of the members about Seth’s audition–as it will be part of the network’s release and they’re hoping to use it as a way to close the chapter on Seth for good. Elle is upset about this, but ultimately decides that she will be playing the game with Liv. Except that they’re going to do this on her time, when she’s ready, so Elle gets her hair and make up done, taking her sweet time. When she finally does have it done, she sits with Liv, who interviews her about Seth, and reveals that Seth had already given his interview when they encountered him by accident at the airport. Elle also finds out that Seth signed an agreement with the network and will be getting the dailies. This prompts her to end the interview abruptly, and she calls Brody to ask what the hell–he claims he tried to reach her and tell her, but tells her that it will be a good ending to a long and painful chapter.

Elle makes the decision to cut her trip to Hawaii short and goes back to Vancouver. She watches the video of Seth’s interview several times because he says such specific things about her in it–that she’s hot and cold, so you have to know where to find the real her. The next day, she calls a car to go pick Seth up from Ray’s, and when Seth arrives, they spend the next day having sex starting with him licking her once he walks in her door. While they mostly do use condoms, Seth does accidentally slip in and momentarily put himself into her without one, before realizing, pulling out and putting on a condom. Once they’re done, Elle tells him that she won’t be keeping this up, and that Joanie has his number, but he cannot have her phone number. Seth leaves feeling disappointed with her.

The band meets up again, and since no one wants to agree on working with Seth, but Elle is not willing to stop working with Seth–and she already got Jessa’s answer while in Hawaii, that what Brody claims Seth did never actually happened–so she makes the decision to start working with Seth on her own time. She invites him over, to her music room and recording studio, where they start working on their own songs and lyrics. They record some, they fiddle with the music some, and they definitely have sex quite a bit–Seth does show her the STD tests that he’s clean because he worries about her, which is the first time someone has done something like that for Elle.

As the time goes on, Elle invites Summer over–her best friend who is a DJ, and they also start working on some music. Then Elle takes Seth with her to Summer’s party, where she sees Ash and reiterates to him that they were never more than friends with benefits, as they talked about during the wedding. Summer and Elle talk privately in a room, where Elle tells her that she worries about Seth and what is going on with the two of them, and Summer can see that Elle is really struggling between her feelings for Seth and her guilt over the fact that her band is not willing to give Seth another chance. Seth comes up to the bedroom, and they have sex again. Sometime around this point, Seth has begun to realize that while Dirty has been what he has wanted, Elle is what he has wanted more. Elle also takes Seth to dinner with her parents, and after being interrogated by her sister, she takes him up to her childhood room, where they have a quickie.

She then invites Dylan to come see them, and gets him to listen to a song that she and Seth wrote. Dylan likes it and tells them that they need a good drummer, too bad that they don’t know one–which means that he would like them record whatever it is that they are recording. This leads to Elle setting up studio time at a well known studio in Vancouver. It surprises Seth that she was able to get it at such a short time, and Dylan, Seth and Elle create the music. Then Zane shows up because Dylan told him about it, and he listens through the music, at which point he sings back the lyrics to the music on its own. Zane finds the lyrics and the song to be amazing, which lifts Seth’s spirits–he is grateful that Zane would sing this song, that he had written. Maggie shows up having followed Zane into the area, and as she listens to the playback on the song, seeing Zane, Dylan, Elle who is holding hands with Seth, she gets angry at them. She admonishes them for going behind the backs of the band and creating a Dirty song without Dirty, before leaving them. The four of them are chastised, and they realize they have to come clean.

After Seth has left to his hotel, Elle realizes that her period was late–she counts back and realizes that the last time her period came was right before the auditions, meaning that she hadn’t been with Ashley at all sine then. She has some pregnancy tests picked up and takes one in the evening, one in the morning, both of which come out positive. She is pregnant with Seth’s child, and while it is a shock, she quickly comes to accept it. Then she walks into the meeting with the band, and has a panic attack during the meeting as everyone discusses Seth, at her request. There is a debate between Zane, Jesse and Brody–Dylan stays out of it–while Elle has to lean forward to breathe and she tries to hold back from throwing up. Unfortunately, the panic attack turns out to be too much for her, and she runs to the bathroom, and throws up. That night she talks to Seth and he is really upset that she’s had a panic attack and threw up, so he talks about leaving her alone instead of upheaving her life more than he has already. Elle tells him that is not what she wants, but does not reveal that she is pregnant just yet.

She had spoken to Dylan, asking that only Dirty be in the meeting, and also had gone out to see Jude about why Seth was kicked out of the band. She has figured out that there’s more to Seth’s story than Jude was letting on as to why Seth was kicked out, and Jude couldn’t tell her too much but confirmed that he was always a good guy. She asks everyone to show up the next day, with Seth coming in later than everyone else.

The day arrives, and the whole band shows up in their practice Church. Jessa is running late because of her pregnancy leaving her not feeling well, which is fine. Elle tells the team that Seth is here to stay, in her life, and they just have to be okay with it. Brody is upset about it, saying some stuff about how Seth can’t be in there because of Jessa, at which point Jude speaks up. He reveals that he had asked Seth to look out for Jessa after she turned sixteen. She had been trying to get into the motorcycle clubs parties where Dirty was in, before that, but then around sixteen, she started going elsewhere because she kept getting kicked out. She also stopped telling anyone anything except for Seth, and she was getting into drugs. So Jude asked Seth to look out for her, in exchange for drugs provided by him to Seth–because his logic was that if Seth had drugs from his motorcycle club, then he could ensure that they were good quality drugs and clean than the other ones, and through that keep Jessa safe as well, even if they were both using and drugs were bad. Jesse is upset about it, but Jude asks him where the hell was he when Jessa needed stability and someone to talk to–apparently too busy running the band. Jude agrees that the plan was never for Seth to sleep with Jessa, and it wasn’t ideal but better than other alternatives for safety reasons. But while Seth was provided drugs, and the overdose was one of the reasons why Seth was kicked out of the band, it was a cover up–apparently Seth had gotten into debt with another, rival motorcycle club, and Jude made the decision to kick him out under the guise of overdose, in order to protect the band from coming under fire for the money. He paid it off, and also put Seth into rehab, losing a lot of money in the process.

At that point, Seth arrives at the church right after a black escalade owned by Brody. He comes face to face with Jessa, heavily pregnant, and they briefly talk, with her asking for forgiveness from Seth. He tells her that he forgives her, and asks her for forgiveness too, which she also tells him she forgives him. He congratulates her on her pregnancy and tells her that he could not be more excited for her and Brody. She asks if they can walk in together, hand in hand, and he agrees. So they walk hand in hand to the church, which pretty much everyone picks up on. Brody walks up to him, while Jessa gets ushered into a chair because of her pregnancy, and does not hit him but has words with him. Seth just nods and goes up to Elle. There’s more conversation around what happened between Jessa and Seth, with Jude and Brody giving different opinions. At which point Seth reveals that Jessa had started going off on her own, and one member of a rival outlaw motorcycle club had started taking an interest in her. So in order to get him off, and to keep an eye out on her, he started asking Jude for drugs, making it think that it was Jude’s idea. Jude is surprised by this revelation, Brody is angry, and Jessa does not know what to do with it. Brody says something about what they did to each other, and Jessa tells him that they actually forgave each other, to which Seth nods in agreement.

This seems to settle the whole band, and for the first time since the beginning the band unanimously agrees to bring Seth on, once he walks out of the church after all of the revelations. Brody agrees, though he is not too happy about it, and Jesse checks with Elle about her relationship with Seth; whether this is really what she wants. He also asks her why she didn’t tell him, and she tells him that if he was in her shoes, he would probably not come to her with this kind of revelation because he knew what she would say–that it’s none of her business, and to fuck off. He agrees that he would have said something to that affect, and when he pries a bit more, Elle literally reminds him what he just agreed he would have said. He then walks off and Elle goes home, where she finds Seth waiting.

As they talk about the band, Elle also asks about Jessa–what Seth’s feelings on her are. And for the first time, Seth tells her that he has no idea what it is that he loved about Jessa because all of his memories of her are about the music and the lyrics, while the rest of them have no sound–he cannot remember what they talked about when they spent time alone. Elle finds that so sad, but adds that sometimes you don’t really have to know the reason why you love someone, and asks him why he loves her. He tells her that she brought joy to his life, and asks her why she loves him, to which she says that he’s done the same for her. He realizes that there’s something else, and Elle is unsure how to break the news, but then tells him that Jessa’s and Brody’s kid will not be the only one who will be backstage, revealing that she’s pregnant. Seth is taken aback, and Elle tells him that she’s sure she’s pregnant–she had taken five pregnancy tests that morning and is going to the doctor to confirm the following day; that she’s sure it’s his, so do not ask; and that she’s keeping the baby, so do not ask. Seth takes her word for it, and calmly takes the news in.

Four days later, they go in to sign the contract–Elle had gotten confirmation from her doctor that she indeed is pregnant–and she talks to Jessa while they are at Brody’s mansion. Jessa is happy, and they feel like they’re on a good place. Then she goes to the office with Seth where Brody sits back behind the chair with Maggie near him, giving Seth the contract. Seth tells them that this contract better be fair because he’s going to be a dad, and he won’t take anything but fair contracts. Maggie retorts that it is more than fair, and Brody is surprised by the news. He mellows out and hugs Elle, telling her that she’s never alone, and she will get what she needs. The news makes its way out to the rest of the band with Seth telling Zane, and Elle telling the rest of them. By the time they have their concert as they kick off their tenth anniversary, the whole band and their significant others know. Seth is a bit nervous about the set, but fits right back in as soon as the set starts, and Katie had looked at Elle with a bit of envy.

After the show, Dylan is chilling on the couch, looking around the band. He’s glad that things worked out with Seth, so now that drama around the band can end, and they can go back to making music. Liv joins him and they talk for a bit, before Ash joins them both and they talk for a bit with Liv as well. As soon as Liv figures out that Ash and Dylan are having a completely different conversation, one with sexual undertones, she jets out of there. Dylan tells Ash that Liv is lesbian, so not his luck, while Ash keeps getting excited about everyone and anyone because he’s bisexual. Later on, Ash is making out with Candace, when Elle comes up to him and asks him if he recognizes Candace. He says no, and Elle reveals that Candace is Summer’s cousin, and that she has a husband and a kid. She tries to talk to him to make their friendship okay again, and Ash brushes her off, saying that they’re friends-repeating the words that she had said to him several months ago at Jesse’s wedding. While she does not believe him, she just accepts it.

My Thoughts: Okay…that is not where I thought that was going to go. I thought that Seth would find his way back to the Band through the audition and they would be so wowed by him that they would take him on, and that he would fight back against Brody–finally reveal the truth. Besides, in the A dirty Wedding Vow, I thought that Elle would have a Dirty Like Elle book that would explore her relationship with Ash, or even that Elle would be explored in Dylan’s book due to her relationship with Ash. And here we have instead Seth and Elle.

I liked this story because while I had hoped for some more explosiveness in book #2, in this one, I feel like the mellowed out but nervous approach works really well with Seth. It’s part of who he is, as a former drug addict who got clean and he’s mellowed out by realizing that drug addiction has taken so much from him already. As a result he’s grateful for all of the opportunities, and he’s nervous about how the team will take him. One thing that I’m not too keen on is the fact that Seth does not fight for his position. He gets kicked out of the audition, instead of coming clean about what really went down with Jessa to at least give himself a fighting chance, he just bows his head and accepts his fate. So that could have been a bit better, with a better message–to fight for what you want–but at the same I understand that the point of the whole thing was so that he would fight for Elle, and realize Elle was his dream all along.

Great story in the Dirty series. Can’t wait to read the next one.

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