From the author of Deeper than Dreams and the Much “I Do” About Nothing novels, a story that proves that you have to find yourself before you can find love…
As rock star “Riff Rotten”, Rick Rottenberg has enjoyed all the perks that fame can offer, especially now that he’s reunited with his former band mate, Adrian “Digger” Graves. But despite his success, Rick is a mess. Still reeling from the death of his wife years ago and terrified his demons will end his career, he agrees to seek help for his anxiety.
Burned by a musician in the past, Sidra Sullivan has closed her heart to love. So when Rick walks into her yoga studio, she wants nothing to do with him–until the bad boy shows an unexpected soft side.
As Sidra and Rick work through their painful pasts, they realize just how strongly opposites can attract. But when a crisis threatens the delicate balance they’ve forged, they’ll discover if their love is strong enough to weather another storm or just too broken to survive…
I have been obsessed with all things Jessica Topper ever since she made me fall in love with a drunken reclusive rocker, Adrian “Digger” Graves in Louder Than Love. Then she made me fall even harder for him and Kat in their follow up novella, Deeper Than Dreams. All the while teasing me incessantly with the promise of “Riff Rotten”, Adrian’s band mate and the man that’s still healing the wounds of his past. To say that I’ve been salivating to finally get my hands on his story would be an understatement. So I am beyond excited to be able to get the man himself on DGR today to answer all my questions. Plus don’t miss an exclusive excerpt and Jessica’s dream cast for Softer Than Steel after the interview. And now, without further ado, please welcome, Rick “Riff Rotten” Rottenberg….
ROCK STAR ALERT: Front man Rick “Riff” Rotten from the legendary British metal band Corroded Corpse, drops in on Dirty Girl Romance today! Riff’s been living under the radar in Hawaii since the death of his wife, raising his kids and staying out of the limelight. But the band is now back, in action and in high demand! This sexy singer has some secrets lurking under that dark and brooding brow of his. Not sure how much we can dig out of him, but let’s give it a shot. Here we go!
DGR: So…care to state your name and occupation?
Riff: The name’s Riff…and I’m here to soil your reputation rotten, my dear Lana.
DGR: (Fans self) Oh my, that accent! Is that all you do?
Riff: I guess I’m – to quote The Moody Blues – “just a singer in a rock and roll band.”
DGR: And lead guitarist, too – right?
Riff: Rhythm. (Leans back in chair, crosses arms) Digger plays lead.
DGR: You guys were huge back in the day, all over MTV and the radio. Then you just disappeared. Did you ever think you would be here, doing it all over again, in the 21st Century?
Riff: No way. We were such pompous and cocky young bastards. Self-destructive doesn’t even begin to describe it! I think my last words to Digger were “See you in hell.” I figured one of us would be dead, and the other would follow soon after. I never thought we’d be in the same room again, let alone share a stage! But it’s been great. We’re at the top of our game now.
DGR: I’ll say! All of Asia, then Germany, France, Spain…and now you’re plowing through the States…this reunion tour has been massive. Which country has the best fans?
Riff: Japan. Such polite people. Plus they pick up after themselves. Nothing worse than finishing a festival gig and watching people leave it littered like a bloody landfill.
DGR: So would you say you’re an environmentalist, Riff?
Riff: (shakes his long curls out) Not exactly. But I’ve got three boys to think of. Would like to leave the world a better place for them, you know?
DGR: Wow. Three sons. How do they like having a rock star for a father?
Riff: They’re like any other kids, really. Probably embarrassed by their old man, except when they need a loan or the keys to the car. (laughs)
DGR: I guess all kids are the same, huh? So, let me ask you some Coke or Pepsi-type questions. What’s your poison?
Riff: (laughs) Well, if we’re on tour, it’s more like Wine or Whiskey. If Digger’s fiancé is accompanying him, we stock the bus and green room with wine. Kat likes her Pinot! Juice boxes for Abbey, of course. As long as there’s a proper ale for Sam, and some craft beer for Jim, they’re happy as clams.
DGR: And for you?
Riff: Whiskey, now and then. I like the slow burn.
DGR: Fame or fortune?
Riff: Bloody hell. Both? Neither? Pass!
DGR: Tux or T-shirt?
Riff: (laughs and gestures down to his tight black tee, jeans and motorcycle boots) Pretty much my uniform. Although what did Kat call me when she saw me in a tux? Oh, yes – the James Bond of heavy metal.
DGR: You’ve mentioned Adrian – um, Digger’s – fiancée quite a bit. I take it you two get along?
Riff: She tolerates me. (chuckles) But seriously, if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now. There would be no album about to be recorded. She was instrumental in bringing us all back together.
DGR: Cheers to Kat! So you’re about to hit the studio in New York City and record your first new album in years. Exciting! What do you like to do in your off-time, in the city? Do you like to people-watch?
Riff: I like to find the prettiest girl in the room, and imagine taking her to bed. (Arches an eyebrow, stares pointedly) Usually, I’m not left imagining for very long.
DGR: Whoa. (blushes) That’s one way to pass the time. So I take it you’re single?
Riff: (somber) I’m a free agent, yes.
DGR: Watch out, ladies! Last one: Brains or beauty?
Riff: Actually, there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who knows her own mind. (Smiles wistfully and stands) Thanks for humoring me today, luv. See you down at the show, then, right? Cheers.
DGR: Wouldn’t miss it for the world, Riff. Thanks for stopping by today!
Exclusive Softer Than Steel excerpt
Seventeen thousand fans can’t be wrong.
Rick Rottenberg clipped his mic into its stand, lifted his face to the spots and hazers shining high above the Palais Omnisports de Paris-Bercy stage, and threw his head back, exalted. Sweat-soaked ringlets grazed the middle of his slick bare back. It had taken four years to grow his hair back out to acceptable headbanging, rock-and-roll length. Running a hand through the dark, unruly mass of curls, he smiled. Sometimes he forgot it was there, even dreamed his head was still shaved clean. He had kept it shorn like a Buddhist monk for so long, first in solidarity for Simone, then for years after for no reason he could ascertain.
Even in a sea of thousands, you’re alone.
Grimacing, he hoisted his guitar by its neck, high overhead.
The crowd’s response was visceral. A rolling current of fists raised, eyes squeezed shut, and a collective hoarse roar emanated from their throats. Rick ripped out his in-ear monitors by their cords, letting the sound hit his eardrums full-force. Like bracing himself for a hard wave, he took a wide stance in his black leather boots and steeled himself.
I was born to do this.
It was less a thought and more like a full-on sensory experience, as his eyes adjusted to the raised house lights and his ears welcomed the cacophony of applause. Dry ice from the fog machines burned his nose, and the ten-gauge steel of the guitar strings cut into his palm as he used his instrument like a conductor’s baton to whip the French crowd into a frenzied cyclone.
And he tasted victory.
It had taken four years. But Riff Rotten was back.
Because seventeen thousand screaming, rabid, shining, elated metal fans can’t be wrong.