“How you holding up?” Maddie rubs her hands up and down my arms as I flick my fingers, trying to get the feeling back. I take a few steadying breaths. If I don’t get my breathing under control, I won’t be able to sing for shit.
Everything is riding on this. Everything. This is my one chance and if it doesn’t pan out, I need to knuckle down at school and give it my all. My dad wants me to follow in his footsteps and become a vet and take over our private game farm to look after the animals we have on our 1000-hectare land. I don’t hate studying to be a vet and I love helping my dad on the farm but performing is all I’ve ever wanted to do. It’s all I ever wanted since I was three years old. I sing constantly and drive people crazy. Well, except Maddie and Papaw, they love it.
Maddie frowns and takes a step back so she can extract her phone from her jeans, her blonde hair skims her shoulder as she smiles at the screen. “It’s Papaw.” She hands me the phone and I place it on speaker. It’s crazy loud backstage and we both lean in.
“Hey, Bubbles, I figured you wouldn’t have your phone so I tried Maddie’s. How are you doing, kiddo?”
“Oh, I’m good.” I can’t stop smiling. I know this call is costing him a small fortune being all the way from South Africa and I want to hug the phone to my chest.
“She’s lying. She’s wearing a hole in the floor with all the pacing.”
I woke to the sound of waves crashing on the shore and an empty bed. The uneasy feeling from the previous evening settled in the pit of my stomach as I turned over and stared absently at the sunrise through the open blinds. It was beautiful, all pale peach and powder blues surrounding the luminous orange orb, but I was too distracted to take it in. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something was off with Trent and whatever was on his mind, he’d used some really interesting distraction techniques to throw me off the trail. But now that I wasn’t sexed stupid, I needed answers.
Forcing myself out of bed, I picked up Trent’s shirt from the floor and slipped it over my head. Running my fingers through my hair in an effort to tame my bed-head, I dragged my languid self to the kitchen. As I inhaled the aroma of brewing coffee, I almost forgot about Trent’s lies. Okay, so he hadn’t actually lied to me but he was definitely keeping something from me and as far as I was concerned those two things were one and the same. The truth was, if anyone was an expert on lies of omission, it was me. My biggest secret was one that had my stomach twisting with guilt daily, but I was too deep into it to do anything now. I’d just have to live with my secret and hope it never came to light.
From the kitchen window I spotted Trent lying on the hammock. Damn the man was all types of fine. Wearing only his boxers, one arm hanging over the side of the hammock, the other over his eyes. His perfectly defined sun touched abs making my fingers itch to touch. I poured two cups of coffee and headed out to the beautifully secluded garden I loved. As I stepped outside, I took a moment to appreciate my surroundings, to feel the crisp touch of the ocean’s breeze against my skin, to breathe it in as it slipped through the palms and shrubs which were artfully situated so as to lend the desired privacy from the sparkling beach just beyond. My feet hardly made a sound but as I approached, Trent lifted his arm from his eyes. His smile took my breath away. God, I loved him.
“Hey, gorgeous, how did you sleep?” Continue reading
Prologue *Unedited draft*
Damn, I’m pumped! Adrenaline and endorphins rage through my veins and I know I’m not going to get any sleep tonight but I don’t care. There are multiple things I can do to fill the hours and I plan on making good use of those multiples. Emily sits next to me in my Impala and I can’t wait to get my hands on her. I want to take everything I’m feeling, every single emotion running through me from seeing her in the front row at the concert, and pump it into her, because words just won’t cut it tonight. Emily’s been to shows before—hundreds of them—but she’s always been backstage, watching from the sidelines. Tonight, she was front and center and although I was standing in front of 20,000 fans, I was singing every single word to her.
As part of the show, I do this bit where I bring a girl onstage and sing to just her. I dance with the girl, hold her hand, let her kiss me on the cheek. The crowd goes fucking crazy for it and the girl gets an experience she can hold onto forever. I’m not trying to be a conceited prick here, I know from experience how great it feels to have a moment with your favorite band. And because of that moment, I want to give back to my fans and show them how much it means to me to be doing what I love every day of my life.
The girl on stage with me tonight was shaking so hard I could feel her hand vibrating in mine as I sang to her. I’ll be honest; it’s a breath of fresh air to get the sweet ones on stage. I never used to pick them, I’d leave that up to security but that almost always resulted in me nearly getting dry-humped. This girl was on the opposite side of the spectrum. The longer she was up there, the more she shook. Eventually, when it came to the part where I dance with the her, I gave her a twirl, took her into my arms and whispered to her that I was nervous too. She calmed down a beat after that and totally stole the show by singing back to me and performing like a natural. When she ran back to her friends at the end of the performance, you couldn’t tell who was beaming more, her or me. That part of the show always brings back my first concert experience and the nostalgia was bittersweet.
I was giddy with excitement. Kevin had been away on location in Nepal for the last three months, which was the longest we’d gone without seeing one another. But worse than that, for the last two months we hadn’t even had an opportunity to talk on the phone, or text, for that matter. Now that he was nearly here, I couldn’t wait a minute longer.
Alison placed the yellow tulips on the coffee table in the charter lounge and looked over at me, her green eyes sparkling with barely contained enthusiasm. “That’s the last of them.” She blew her auburn curls out of her eyes. “Do celebrities always have such crazy demands?”
I looked around the lounge and stifled a smile. A dozen bunches of tulips dotted every available surface and Turkish Delights lined a bowl next to a bottle of lime milkshake.
I hid the smile tugging at my lips. “This is nothing.”