Everything to Me by Simona Taylor


ea3395979891cd8547b1a9b372a93606When she jets down to the Caribbean, Dakota Merrick doesn’t expect to spend the night with Trent Walker at his luxurious island hideaway. The bad blood between the music columnist and the ultra-charming jazz producer vanishes with their first kiss. Dakota’s enchanted by the erotic atmosphere of the world-class resort and the passionate music she and Trent are making together.

Trent knows he shouldn’t trust the ambitious reporter. But living out his most sensual fantasies with Dakota is a temptation no man can refuse. Until a breaking scandal threatens their tropical idyll. Will Dakota choose ambition over a future with him? Or can Trent find the right notes to play a love riff straight into her heart?


Starting off there is so much to like about this book, a romance that takes place in the author’s native Trinidad and Tobago.  Columnist Dakota is there to cover a huge jazz festival where several of Trent’s acts are performing.  When her hotel reservation goes up in smoke he offers her the second bedroom of his cabin at Rapture, the erotic resort he’s staying at (all the normal hotel rooms were booked, natch).  They have a contentious relationship – Dakota broke a story that nearly ruined the career of one of Trent’s starlets, Shanique.

This is all fine.  Things start to go south in the details.

The story Dakota broke is perfectly legit – Shanique’s voice started to go and instead of cancelling or postponing a few dates on her tour she lipsynced to a singer backstage a la Singin’ in the Rain.  That’s a big deal.  That’s a story.  No one can blame you for covering that.

That doesn’t stop Trent from being sore, and the couple has some spirited discussions over dinner, while walking, at the cabin… pretty much all the time.  I didn’t mind it because there’s a lot of emotional stuff for these two to get through if they’re ever going to be a couple.

But then Dakota stopped thinking like a journalist. Upon hearing a newly revitalized Shanique at the festival:

…her story had brought low such a talent, almost destroyed such a star.  She felt rotten.  The standard journalist excuse the people’s right to know, felt hollow and insubstantial.  She hadn’t written that story because of anyone’s right to know.  She’d written it because it would have been a shot in the arm for her career.

Um.  Shanique and her managers were duping people, giving them something other than what they paid for.  That’s a big deal.  People do have a right to know.

Later it becomes clear that Dakota got the story because she was sleeping with a source, one of Trent’s rivals.  And now that she’s with Trent she’s, you know, sleeping with another source.  The tiny shreds of respect I still had for Dakota died right there.

Near the end, due to spoilery things I won’t go into, Dakota makes a job switch that’s supposed to be a step down from columnist – editor of a new and upcoming music magazine.  But that’s a huge step up, making her responsible for many other people’s reporting.  She who has a shaky grasp of journalistic morals has become the guiding compass for an entire publication.  Nope.  Nopenope.

Other things irked but weren’t deal breakers, like having sex in a natural hot spring.  (Don’t do it people, or in hot tubs either.  There’s nasty stuff growing in there.)  I liked reading about the island of Tobago and what life is like there, and felt safe knowing that someone from there was telling the story.  But I just can’t get over the sleeping with sources (twice! with no remorse!) thing.