Undone by Bryce OakleyUndone by Bryce Oakley is an angsty novella featuring a thawing ice queen who’s a pop star.

Billie Rush and her band, The Shrikes, became indie darlings when their first album came out three years ago, and Billie’s struggling to write the next one. Every song is wrong because The Shrikes don’t play pop music, and her fellow bandmate, sister, and cowriter has been coming up with nothing either. Since The Shrikes are nowhere near ready to record another album, their manager hooks Billie up with an unusual opportunity that she takes, even if she isn’t sure she wants to.

Vero De Luca is ready to strike out on her own, forging a new career as a solo artist and leaving her all-girl pop band days behind her. As the daughter of a rock legend, she’s had expectations on her all her life, and she’s ready to show the world what kind of an artist she really is. Vero knows she can write the perfect songs to start this new chapter, but the record label wants her to work with other songwriters. Left without a choice, Vero lets Billie stay with her for two weeks at her remote home in Colorado so they can write a song together.

Billie and Vero can’t stand each other and are barely able to even talk to each other. But eventually, a song starts to come together just as they move past their antagonism and into something a lot more romantic. Can their fledgling relationship survive the real world when their two weeks are up and they head back to L.A.?

The Characters

Billie is much easier to like than Vero. Vero is standoffish and treats Billie badly, at first. She clearly has affection for a handful of people, and it makes sense why she’s so guarded when we learn about what went down with her last girlfriend, but whooo, did it ever take me a while to like her. Billie, on the other hand, is just trying to do her best to keep her career going and I appreciated how she makes an effort to connect with Vero even when Vero is kind of a dick. I enjoyed watching them warm up to each other and seeing how they find a way to work together on music and in life.

As a side note, the whole time I was reading Undone, I kept imagining Billie and Domino as Tegan and Sara, even though they’re not twins. But still! Lesbian sisters in an indie band? How could I not? They have a great dynamic and friendship, and I’m glad to see that Oakley has recently released Domino’s story, because I’d love to see more about her (even if I’m still a little mad at her for events later on in Undone that I’m not going to spoil for you).

The Writing Style

This was a super fast, easy read. I sank into it immediately and read it in a sitting.

The Pros

I read a lot of celebrity romances because it’s one of my jams, but it was interesting to get a different take on a pop star romance. This isn’t about performing or the limelight, but instead about the behind-the-scenes work of crafting music, and I enjoyed seeing that.

The Cons

I don’t have any.

The Conclusion

Undone is Oakley’s debut and I’m looking forward to reading more from her in the future.

Excerpt from Undone by Bryce Oakley

The hair rose at the back of [Billie’s] neck. She had been sitting with her eyes closed on the patio trying to get into the mood, but she felt as though she was being watched.

She blinked in the sunlight, looking around. Across the pool, she saw a woman standing on her own balcony, watching her. Although she was too far away to talk, Billie instantly recognized her as Vero De Luca.

The platinum hair had thrown her off. Earlier, she had thought she had seen a blonde head, but from her new angle, she saw that Vero’s hair was more silvery white than true blonde.

The long, light hair against her caramel skin made her look otherworldly. The sun shone, illuminating her as she leaned against the railing, watching Billie with an interested expression on her face. Billie’s first impression was that Vero was stunning in the same way that poisonous flowers were alluring.

Billie cleared her throat and lifted a hand to give a small wave, feeling awkward under the new scrutiny.

“Hey,” Billie called out.

Vero turned and walked back into her room, disappearing behind gauzy white curtains.

Billie realized her heart was pounding and that she had been holding her breath. Had that actually just happened? Or had she seen a ghost?

Moments later, there was a knock on the door.

She rose, setting her guitar down in her seat, and crossed the room to open the door. In front of her stood Vero De Luca, much shorter than Billie had imagined.

“Didn’t want you to think I was a creepy stalker,” Vero said, holding up two cans of seltzer water. She was even more stunning in person without a full face of makeup. Billie had imagined that she was just one of those beautiful women who look good in magazines, but Vero had a strange allure even fresh-faced.

Billie realized she had been staring and cleared her throat. “Nice to finally meet you,” she said.

Vero brushed past her, walking into the room.

Billie tensed her jaw. “Sure, come on in,” she said, closing the door behind them.

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Bits and Bobs

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