Authors: Melissa Pearl
A Songbird Novel
© Copyright 2014 Melissa Pearl
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, actual events or locales is purely coincidental.
Cover art (copyright) by Mae I Design. All rights reserved.
Kindle Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy.
Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Morgan Pritchett doesn’t need anyone. Strong-willed and confident, she’s the master of organizing and looking after everyone around her. In her mind, she’s bulletproof.
But she has one weakness—men. She can’t seem to live without them, yet is unable to find her perfect match. After yet another break-up, Morgan promises her sister and best friend that she’ll write off men for the rest of the year...but then she meets Sean Jaxon.
Sean Jaxon has worked hard to become a Hollywood actor, scoring minor roles and slowly making a name for himself as an action sidekick. After a chance encounter with the stunning Morgan Pritchett, he decides to take a risk and put his dancing skills to the test by signing on for the lead role in
, a TV musical. He never thought he’d reconnect with the girl who urged him to ignore his manager and be honest with himself, but when Morgan shows up on the set as a production assistant, he realizes he’s found his ultimate weakness—her.
Their passion for dance and music will bring them together, but will their relationship be able to withstand the forces determined to pull them apart? As Morgan comes face-to-face with her long-buried demons and Sean decides how much he’s willing to risk for love, these two songbirds discover something...they’re not as bulletproof as they thought.
I love to dance. As a child I never had the confidence to pursue it, and I will always regret that. There’s nothing cooler than getting lost in a song, letting your limbs do the talking for you. I love feeling that beat move through my body.
Bulletproof is filled with music you can dance to. The playlist is a treasure trove of songs that get my hips moving. I love every song in this book, and I hope you can enjoy listening to the playlist as much as I do.
Have fun taking this journey with Morgan and Sean. They have some tough issues to deal with, but I love their romance...and, of course, I love the music.
(Please note: The songs listed below are not always the original versions, but the ones I chose to listen to while constructing this book. The songs are listed in the order they appear.)
WE ARE NEVER GETTING BACK TOGETHER
SHAKE IT OFF
Performed by Taylor Swift
WE FOUND LOVE
Performed by Rihanna & Calvin Harris
Performed by Zedd & Foxes
DON’T STOP THE MUSIC
Performed by Rihanna
Performed by Austin Mahone & Pitbull
Performed by Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mýa & Pink
Performed by La Roux
I GOTTA FEELING
Performed by Black Eyed Peas
GIVE ME EVERYTHING
Performed by Pitbull, Ne-Yo & Afrojack Nayer
ME & U
Performed by Cassie
Performed by Ke$ha
FOREVER AIN’T ENOUGH
Performed by J. Holiday
GOT ME GOOD
Performed by Cody Simpson
Performed by Beyoncé
ALL OF ME
Performed by John Legend
EVERY TIME I CLOSE MY EYES
Performed by Babyface
Performed by Usher
Performed by Ariana Grande & Zedd
Performed by Taylor Swift
NOW YOU’RE GONE
Performed by Basshunter
WISH U WERE HERE
Performed by Cody Simpson
COME AWAY WITH ME
Performed by Norah Jones
Performed by David Guetta & Sia
FIGHT FOR YOU
Performed by Jason Derulo
READY OR NOT
Performed by Britt Nicole & Lecrae
IS IT YOU
Performed by Cassie
Performed by Richard Marx
For Taylor Swift -
A woman who writes in vibrant colors and sings the most amazing love stories.
Thanks for inspiring me with your music.
I cringed, scrunching my nose as the bald guy in the plaid shirt tried to negotiate the high note on “Wind Beneath My Wings”. My shoulders were bunched tight as he came to the end, and all I could hope was that the guy would step away from the mic and let someone else have a turn.
He raised his arm with a final flourish, and the only sound in the karaoke bar was the enthusiastic clapping of his adoring wife.
“Encore!” she shouted with a giggle.
“Please, no,” Jody whispered, gripping my wrist. “I don’t think I can sit through another one.”
Ella choked on her bottle of Sprite as she tried not to laugh. I leaned forward and patted her back as she scrambled for a napkin. Wiping her chin, she looked at us both and then started giggling. She’d been doing that a lot since she and Cole moved to LA a couple of weeks ago. It normally wouldn’t bother me—Ella’s laughter was music to anyone’s ears—but tonight it was grating.
Who was I kidding? Tonight,
“Maybe we should just go, you guys.”
“No way.” Jody’s blonde curls danced as her head spun away from the stage. “We came out tonight to cheer you up after Brad’s suck-fest turd of a break-up text. You’re not allowed to go home until you’re feeling better.”
I pointed at the stage as Baldy started up “Killing Me Softly”. If only it would kill me.
“I don’t think this is going to help cheer me up.”
Jody rolled her eyes and groaned. She did everything with such dramatic flair, I couldn’t help smiling. “It’s because we need to get our butts up there and do some singing.”
Ella made a little whine in her throat. It didn’t matter that she sounded like a pure songbird; she and public singing were not friends.
“Yes.” Jody looked at her. “Ella Simmons, you are getting up on that stage. We all are. It’s time to man up. It’s time to get Morgan out of her break-up funk.”
“Jody.” I frowned. “It’s been two weeks. I’m allowed a little bluesy time.”
“Oh come on, it’s been more than two weeks. You guys have been breaking up and getting back together for months...and yes, in case you’re wondering, it was painful.”
“How was it painful for you?” I sniffed, pulling my shoulders back.
“Oh Jody, I don’t know what to do.” My kid sister impersonated me—badly, I might add. “He’s so hot and sweet, but maybe we’re not meant to be.”
I glared at her, which only spurred her on.
“I miss him. We should get back together. We got back together. We broke up. We got back together, but now he’s being kind of mean, I don’t know if I should stay with him.”
I crossed my arms and slumped back in my seat, wrinkling my nose at her. What did Jody know? She’d never had a serious relationship before. Hell, I didn’t even think she’d done it yet, which I was quietly very relieved about. My soon-to-be nineteen-year-old sister was a bubble of sunshine, and I didn’t want anyone to ever burst it. There was a pureness to her that just couldn’t be beat.
Glancing across at her cheeky smirk, I could feel my traitorous lips twitching.
“I wasn’t that bad.” I squeezed my arms and lifted my chin.
“You were pretty bad.” Ella patted my knee, her smile full of sweetness. “But we love you...and we just want to see you happy.”
“And smiling,” Jody added.
“And free.” Ella’s gaze turned serious for a minute.
I glanced away from it, not wanting to decipher the underlying meaning.
“Okay, fine.” I slapped the table. “So how are we gonna make that happen?”
Ella sat up straighter, swiveling her petite frame to face me properly. “You need to swear off guys for a while.”
“What? No, I don’t. I need to find someone else. Someone who can treat me well and wash away all the Braddy badness.”
“Since when has that ever helped you?” Ella’s hazel eyes were tearing strips off me, so I turned to face Jody instead.
“You need to cleanse, sis.” Her bright blue eyes danced, her rosebud lips quirking into that half-smile of hers. Damn it, I was going to miss her so much when she left for college.
“Cleanse? What does that even mean?”
“It means you need to rip up every photo of you and Brad. It means you need to clean out your closet and buy some new clothes.”
“Jody, I haven’t managed to find a job yet. In case you haven’t noticed, my funds are like...zero.”
“You’ll get a job.” She flicked her hand. “You’re amazing and talented and brilliant at organizing people. You’ll make the world’s best PA to some rich CEO who’ll treat you like a superstar.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’d be happy to be a receptionist at a used car lot right now.” That wasn’t true at all, but I was getting desperate. I’d started applying for jobs months ago, hoping to walk into a job straight after graduation, but every application I sent out had been rejected. I’d even considered looking for work in Nebraska, until stupid-ass Brad broke up with me...for the final time. He made that very clear in his five-sentence text.
My lower lip started to tremble, so I nipped it with my top teeth and focused back on Jody.
“You know what we really need.” Jody pointed at the stage with her thumb. “We need to get that squalling cat away from the mic and wow the crowd. Let’s liven this place up.”
“I don’t know, Jo-Jo.” Ella’s soft defense would never stand up to an enthusiastic Jody.
“It’s not an argument, Ella-Bella. We need to sing some Taylor, because that always gets Morgan’s happy juices flowing.”
“My happy juice? Ew, what is that exactly?”
Jody stood with a beaming smile and grabbed my wrist. “It’s that tingle you get inside your body when the music starts to flow through you. You know what I’m talking about.”
I knew exactly what she was talking about. Jody understood better than anyone the power music had over me, especially when it came to dancing. She’d never know the whole truth, I wouldn’t tell her that, but what she did know was that nine times out of ten, music could cheer me up like nothing else.
“Why didn’t we go to a club instead?” I let Jody pull me toward the stage, pausing her long enough to grab Ella’s hand and drag her up there with us.
“Because, there are two extremely important songs you need to sing tonight.” Jody applauded with Baldy’s wife as she ascended the stairs and nudged him out of the way. Turning to the karaoke touch-screen, she got busy punching in the songs she wanted before shuffling Ella next to her and giving me, the giant among us, the spare mic.
I cleared my throat, grimacing as it echoed through the room. My expression stayed in place as a familiar guitar riff started up, and I instantly recognized “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift.
Jody grinned at me. “Go for it, Morgs. Pretend Brad the Bastard is in the back of the room and you’re singing this just for him.”
Taking a breath, I gazed toward the back of the bar and pictured my boyfriend of nearly two years standing there staring at me. His beefy arms were crossed over his chest, and the sweet smile I originally fell for melted away to the judgmental smirk he wore for the last few months of our relationship. Why I didn’t break up with him first was beyond me.
As I opened my mouth to sing, I felt like a total fool. How’d I let him keep treating me like that for so long? I was stronger than that, damn it.
The words flowed out of me with a force I hadn’t expected. It felt good, though. I directed each and every syllable at the guy who’d been messing me around for far too long.
I stepped out of the private room my sister had booked for her birthday. She’d turned 30 today, not that you’d know it. Having a child-free night with her friends and family brought out the crazy in her. With a chuckle, I slid the door shut on the screeching giggles and headed to the bar.
“What can I get you, buddy?”
I held up three fingers to the bartender. “Corona with lime wedges, please.”
He nodded and turned to get my order. I leaned against the bar, peering over my shoulder at the three women on stage. They sounded good together. They were harmonizing over a Taylor Swift song.
The tall blonde at the front was taking the lead, singing into the mic with an intensity that seemed out of place at a karaoke bar. It was like she meant every word coming out of her mouth, like singing this song was releasing something inside of her.
I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was stunning with her small, sharp nose and pointy chin. Everything else about her seemed long. Long neck, long arms...long legs. My eyes traveled down her tight, black pants and my brows rose with approval.
The song ended and the room erupted with applause. The two girls next to her giggled. The shorter blonde with big curls and a sparkling smile bowed low, while her petite counterpart tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and looked to the floor. The tall one...she just swallowed, a look of sadness sweeping over her features. She held out the mic to her blonde friend and looked ready to leave the stage.
“No, just one more.” The blonde girl refused the mic with a shake of her head and began bopping on stage.
The tall girl pushed a smile over her lips and began swaying to the beat, laughing as they all broke into an enthusiastic rendition of “Shake It Off”
Another Taylor number. They must have liked her. All three knew the lyrics by heart, barely looking at the karaoke screen as they clumped together and belted out the words.
It was so engaging, the bartender actually had to tap me on the shoulder to let me know my drinks had arrived. I passed him some cash with a smile and ignored the narrowing of his eyes, turning back to the singing before he could figure out who I was.
The song came to a triumphant end and even I applauded this time. I couldn’t help smiling as I watched them descend the stage. They looked close...like sisters maybe. Part of me wanted to ditch my family and go and join them for the night. It’d no doubt be entertaining.
I reluctantly turned away from them and reached for the beers, ready to head back to the private room Helena had booked, but something stopped me.
She was coming this way. The long, sexy one. Her curvaceous hips swayed slightly as she approached the bar, and against every logical thought in my brain, I let go of the beers and gave her a smile.
Rhonda would kill me. After all the media hype I’d just endured, my manager would throw a fit if she thought I was trying to chat up some chick in a karaoke bar, but the smile just happened and once it did, I couldn’t take it back.
Long Legs faltered and she glanced over her shoulder before looking back at me. My grin grew. Her brow furrowed slightly, her head tipping with a skeptical frown as she made the last few steps toward me. Placing her hands on the bar, she gave me a long stare, her eyes eventually warming with a smile.
“Okay, I know that I know you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t know me. So, why are you smiling at me right now?”
I liked the sound of her voice; it had a confident definition I found attractive.
I stood there grinning like an idiot mute before finally nodding with a shrug. “Can you do me a solid and pretend I’m just this normal guy and I’ve seen a pretty girl I want to introduce myself to?”