Authors: Kaithlin Shepherd
Heart of the Music
© 2015 by Kaithlin Shepherd
All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be used or reproduced in any written, electronic, recorded, or photocopied format without the express permission from the author or publisher as allowed under the terms and conditions with which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution, circulation or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's rights, and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.
Heart of the Music
is a work of fiction. All names, characters, events and places found therein are either from the author's imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to persons alive or dead, actual events, locations, or organizations is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.
For information, contact the publisher, Hot Tree Publishing.
Editing & Formatting:
Hot Tree Editing
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
ISBN 13: 978-0-9944079-8-6 (eCopy Edition)
This book is for anyone who has ever been scared to fall in love.
5 years ago
It had been a hell of a week, so when she got a private invitation to attend a show from a new, upcoming band, Patricia jumped on it. After being dumped by her boyfriend and losing one of her PR firm's most lucrative clients, she figured she could use a good time…and some whiskey; okay, make that a lot of whiskey. This band was supposed to be the next best thing, and judging by the crowd, they were definitely a hit with the ladies.
The bartender handed her a drink—whiskey straight up—just as the lights went off and the music started to play. Patricia turned around to face the stage, and the minute she saw him, she forgot to breathe. He was sexy as sin; every single one of her fantasies pulled into one irresistible package. His body was to die for and her eyes were drawn to his broad shoulders. A few tattoos peeked out from under his T-shirt. His jeans were tight—as God intended—and when he opened his mouth to sing, it was like something inside of her came alive. The man could sing; she had to give him that.
She was captivated by his voice, and after a couple of lines, he locked eyes with her. It felt like her world was being thrown off its axis. This was unlike anything she’d ever felt before. It was the kind of attraction she’d only read about, the kind you felt deep down in your soul, down to your toes, one that could change your whole life.
With effort, she pulled her gaze from his to look around the room. The audience were mesmerized by the men on stage. They had that something which made them unique. Her eyes found his once again. Was she crazy to think he was singing directly to her? Guys like that did not flirt with her, but she felt his energy like a second skin. By the time the show ended, she was blown away by their talent and knew she wanted to work with them. So she made her way to their merchandise table. In her line of work, you either had the guts to take a risk or you missed out on a great opportunity, and she wasn’t about to pass up this chance.
“Hi, honey. What can I do you for?” an older man asked as she looked at the products.
“I’ll take a CD, please.” She handed him the twenty-dollar bill and took the CD he handed her. “Saints and Sinners…good name.” Somehow it fit the guys she’d just spent an hour captivated by. She had a feeling these guys could sin with the best of them, but she also didn’t doubt they had what it took to play music for a living.
“These guys are going to be big someday. They just need that lucky break,” the older man stated with a smile. Maybe coming here tonight had been more than just about checking out some band on the rise; maybe this was exactly where she was supposed to be. After spending weeks feeling like she was in a rut, she found herself excited at the possibility of working with these guys.
She offered her hand to him. “Patricia Monroe, I’m a publicist, and I think I might be that lucky break.” She took her time to observe the man’s reaction. A lot could be said about the type of people a band surrounded themselves with.
“Well then, honey, go on back. These guys could use a woman like you,” he said, pointing to the backstage door. He gave the security guard a heads up that she was good.
The moment she spotted him, she reminded herself that this was business and she couldn’t let herself lust after this man. For heaven’s sake, she didn’t even know his name.
As she walked toward him, he turned around at the sound of her clicking heels. When their eyes met, she stopped dead in her tracks. The intensity she’d seen in the man on stage was nothing compared to his intensity right now.
With a heart-stopping smile, he greeted her. “Hi.” His voice was soft and raspy, like a well-aged scotch you’d want to enjoy down to the last sip. He held out his hand to her. “I’m Jarrod.”
So, her fantasy man’s name was Jarrod. “Patricia.”
“So, Patricia, what can I do for you?” Sexual innuendo filled his voice, and judging by the flicker of lust in his eyes, he meant it that way. She could only imagine the kind of indecent proposals this man received on a daily basis.
“You guys are really good,” she managed to say, without sounding like a complete idiot. Having this kind of instant reaction to someone was new for her. She didn’t know why, but there was something about him that drew her forward. He was like a magnet pulling her closer and closer.
“Thanks. So, I’ve never seen you around at any of our shows before. Is this your first time?”
She wondered how many women had done exactly what she was doing right now.
Heat caressed her cheeks as she reeled in her lust and dirty ideas before they got the better of her, and answered, “It was. Thanks for making it painless.”
“Always happy to pleasure a beautiful woman.” Somehow, she didn’t doubt that for a minute.
“I’m sure you are and that you’re very good at it, but that isn’t why I’m here, as tempting as the offer is.” She prayed her nose wasn’t growing, because that was a lie if she’d ever told one. She wanted this man like she wanted her next breath, but she had to focus on the task at hand.
“Sass, I like that. So if you’re not back here to test my skills behind closed doors, what can I help you with?” She kept her eyes on him as he leaned against the wall; the man definitely had a body made for sinful pleasure.
“It’s more about what I can do for you. Have you ever thought about getting a publicist? Because if so,I’m your girl.
Standing side-stage like she had done more times than she could remember over the last five years, Patricia couldn’t tear her eyes away from Jarrod Banks. As the lead singer of the hottest act in country music, he was one of the world’s most eligible and infamous bachelors, while putting his musical traditions to shame. The man was pure perfection. Without his shirt, she could enjoy the view of his tattoos; full sleeves on both arms, an angel over his left pectoral, and his family crest on his back. Women went crazy for those tattoos, something she understood all too well. His shoulder-length, dark brown hair dripped with sweat, and she swore the temperature in the stadium climbed a few degrees when he turned and winked at her.
She was a cerebral woman, and deep down, she knew nothing could ever happen between them. How would it look if word got out that she was having an affair with her client? It wasn’t a secret that her feelings for Jarrod ran much deeper than friendship, and no amount of denying it to herself or others would ever change that, but as the band’s publicist and long-time friend, it was her job to keep everything neat and orderly. However, she was also a woman, and if she couldn’t touch, she could very well look, and what a fine sight it was.
The show was about to end after two encores, and all she wanted was a good night’s sleep. They were on the first week of a brand new tour, and the interview schedule had been grueling for both the guys and her. Although she wouldn’t admit it to anyone, she had no idea how she was still standing. The last few days had been twenty-hour work days, and even though she loved her job, right then, all she really wanted to do was sleep. Working with Saints and Sinners was her entire life; it was all she knew anymore. The guys had become her family, but sometimes life would be easier if she didn’t have to see Jarrod every day.
She jumped when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Turning around, she smiled at Derek, their tour manager, as he offered her a tall cup of coffee. Inhaling its scent, she couldn’t remember ever being so thankful for caffeine. “Thanks, Derek. I needed this,” she admitted, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
“No problem, Trish. You looked like you needed it.” God knows he did too. For most people looking on, this life was all glamour, but if they could only see what it was really like, they wouldn’t think that for too long. Derek had been with them since the beginning, and she might be responsible for putting the guys on magazine covers, but Derek was the one who made the whole machine work.
“You have no idea. This is harder than the other tours—I must be getting old.” She loved this crew, because they weren’t simply that. They were a family, and there was no way she could ever walk away from them; but lately, some of the things she’d loved most about her job were the things she was starting to find less appealing. As the show came to an end, she could barely hear herself think over the screams of the 20,000 fans gathered in the stadium.
Tyler, Austin, Mike, Sam, and Jarrod stepped off the stage looking every inch like the superstars they were, all sweaty and high from the energy of the crowd. After every show, the first thing each of the guys did was walk up to her to give her a hug. It started after their first sold out show, and it was just one of those things that stuck. Tonight was no different.
Tyler Pipes was the sweetest person she knew. He had his share of dark clouds from a rough childhood, but that didn’t take anything away from the size of his heart. As he approached her, she took in his six-foot frame and light blond hair, which fell to below his shoulders. His bare chest and feet were covered in tattoos, and drove women crazy.
“Good show tonight, Tyler!” she told him as he hugged her. His sweat pressed against her clothes and when she tried to push him away, he snuggled her closer, making her giggle.
“A little off beat on some songs, but the crowd didn’t seem to notice.” She had to agree with him. She doubted the crowd noticed anything except how amazing the band’s live show was.
Austin Collins, lead guitarist for the band, was every female fan’s fantasy. His dark hair and light blue eyes made women fall at his feet. “Sweetheart, I swear you get more gorgeous every show!” he said, laughing and spinning her around as he always did.
“Put me down, you big idiot, you’re going to hurt yourself.” Smiling, he placed her on her feet, then before walking away, he leaned into her and whispered, “You could let me show you just how gorgeous I think you are.”
She erupted into laughter, pushing him away with her hands on his chest. “In your dreams, Austin. Now go shower, you stink.”
As Austin walked away, Mike Caves made it off the stage with more bras in his hands than she could count. “Popular man tonight, Mike,” she said to the guitarist as he hugged her tight against his sweaty chest.
“Yeah, but I’m still waiting for yours, baby.” She laughed his comment off just as Jarrod made his way to her drenched in sweat, looking so sexy she almost had an orgasm right there and then, just by looking at him.
“Let her breathe, Mike. You’re suffocating the poor woman, and it’s my turn!” Just the sound of his voice made her skin burn.
Over the years, her attraction to Jarrod had become something she couldn’t deny, but she would fight it until her last breath. When she looked up and saw him leaning against the beam, wearing nothing but those tight-as-sin jeans, her whole body shivered. There was a look in his eyes she had never noticed before a few months ago, something animalistic that made her ache with need; primal, almost possessive.
Standing there, he looked so lost in his own thoughts that she almost didn’t want to bother him. Whatever he was thinking about, he looked beautiful and at peace. “Where were you just now, Mr. Rock Star?” she finally asked him.
Walking over to her, he hugged her tightly against his chest. “Sorry, I was just taking a trip down memory lane, but this right here is much better,” he told her, kissing the top of her head. She loved it when he did that; it made her feel cherished.
“All right, smooth talker, get your sweaty paws off me before I’m the one who needs a shower.” Her voice was shaky to say the least. She hated how he had the ability to get to her with his words or just by being near her.
She was a professional, grounded woman, yet one word from this man and she was reduced to a pile of lust and dirty fantasies, which she had no right to have about someone she worked for. But Jarrod’s pull on her was something straight out of a movie. She just couldn’t draw away from him no matter how hard she tried.
He lowered his head to her ear and whispered, “You could always join me.”
Images of the two of them in the shower made her shiver. She knew she had to get a handle on her emotions before they controlled her actions, because nothing good would come of that, especially for the people around them. “You think you could handle me, Banks? I’m not one of your groupies,” she said, running her hands up and down his bare back.
She loved touching him; the feel of his skin against her fingers always captivated her. She was pretty lucky in that department, as he ended most shows shirtless. But tonight there was something in the way he held her, something different in the way he made her feel. She felt desired, like she was the only woman he had eyes for.
He pulled away from her just enough so he could look into her eyes. “I don’t know, babe, but if you keep doing that, we’re going to find out; because feeling your hands on my skin is making it fucking hard to control my impulses right now.” At the sound of his words, she stopped moving her hands, but didn’t pull them away. For what seemed like an eternity, they stood staring at each other, their breathing getting heavier with lust and sexual tension surrounding them.
“Hey, you two, go get a room.” At the sound of Sam’s voice, Patricia pulled away from Jarrod’s embrace.
Jarrod let her go and gave Sam a quick hug before turning his attention back to her, making her shiver as his voice washed over her. “One day.”