Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin was the last Mariana Zapata book I took on as part of my binge. (She has one more book out, Lingus, but a porn star as a romantic lead just doesn't appeal to me on a personal level.) This one follows Gaby, who has just gone through a bad breakup and, faced with no other job prospects, agrees to join her brother's band on tour to man the merchandise booth. This means a cross-country trip in the tour bus, packed with her brother's band and the headliners (and the only woman in the bunch) and then a span of time in Australia and another in Europe. And it means time with the headlining band's lead singer, Sacha Malykhin, who is, of course, a total dreamboat. Gaby swears she falls in love with him the first time she hears him sing.
This is a typical Zapata romance in that there's a slow build from strangers to friendship to romance, and that the hero is someone who's somewhat in the public eye. However, in other books the main couple typically had some degree of privacy on their outings and in their living quarters. Here, Gaby and Sacha are constantly in the company of no less than ten other people who they travel with. Zapata minimizes this a bit on the Australia and Europe parts of the tour, when there a couple of instances in which the touring groups stay in hotels. However, this lack of privacy means that, while there is some good making out here, there's never any, ah, consummation. I'd say that, while there is some heavier physical contact, this is probably the lightest of Zapta's that I've read in that regard. Sacha and Gaby were also friends, or friendly, from the very beginning, another aspect I didn't see in the other books. Gaby herself is also lighter, with no "tragic past" backstory; the most tragic her past gets is that she got breast implants because her boobs were uneven. While no woman would really wish for that, considering Zapata's other heroines have gone through abusive families, cancer, and losing their dreams, I'd say it's pretty mild. This is definitely the lightest book overall, and while I might have enjoyed it more in a different context, I think this was probably my least favorite of Zapata's, with the status of "favorite" going to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me.
3 stars out of 5.