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Authors: Justine Elyot

Highly Strung

BOOK: Highly Strung
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A Total-E-Bound Publication

www.total-e-bound.com

 

 

Highly Strung

ISBN #978-0-85715-951-9

©Copyright Justine Elyot 2012

Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright April 2012

Edited by Amy Parker

Total-E-Bound Publishing

 

This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.

 

Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

 

The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

 

Published in 2012 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.

 

Warning:

 

This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
heat rating
of
Total-e-burning
and a
sexometer
of
2.

 

This story contains 148 pages, additionally there is also a
free excerpt
at the end of the book containing 7 pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food of Love

 

HIGHLY STRUNG

 

 

Justine Elyot

 

 

 

 

 

Book one in the Food of Love Series

If music be the food of love, no wonder orchestral life is so passionate.

 

The new violinist with the Westminster Symphony Orchestra knows she shouldn’t have a crush on its glamorous leader, Milan Kaspar, but Lydia just can’t help wanting a piece of the arrogant Czech virtuoso. Capturing his attention by refusing to play along with his plans for the orchestra, she soon finds herself drawn into his bed—a bed he shares with lovers of both sexes. But Lydia wants more than wild and inventive sex—she wants to get behind Milan’s sophisticated veneer, to find the man inside the performer. She seems doomed to failure, until a trip to his home country changes everything…

 

 

 

Dedication

 

 

To all the musicians, especially the viola player from the BSO I had a crush on when I was 14.

 

 

Trademarks Acknowledgement

 

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

 

iPod: Apple Computer, Inc

Converse: Nike, Inc

Armani Diamonds: Giorgio Armani S.p.A

Chappell’s: Chappell of Bond Street

Eudoxa: Scherl & Roth, Inc

Starbucks: Starbucks Corporation

Playboy: Playboy Enterprises, Inc

Sky Arts: British Sky Broadcasting

ICA (London): Institute of Contemporary Arts

Cabaret
: Allied Artists International

Café Gerbeau: Café Gerbeau

Bull’s Blood: Egri Bikavér

Advil: Pfizer, Inc

Staropramen: Staropramen Brewery

 

Chapter One

 

 

 

Of all the days for a bomb scare on the Victoria Line, they had to choose this one.

Lydia Foster hugged her new violin case, stripped now of all the shiny stickers and stars of her battered but beloved student number, as the strip lights flickered on and off. Despite the ominous situation, most of the occupants continued reading their newspapers and listening to their iPods, well used to sudden and inexplicable standstills in dark tunnels. But Lydia could not be so sanguine. She checked her watch, agitated, and puffed out her cheeks when the long and short hands gave her news she didn’t want.

“Are you late for a concert?”

She almost jumped out of her seat. People just didn’t talk to you on Tube trains, but the white-haired gentleman to her left didn’t seem to know this rule.

“Um, no. A rehearsal, actually,” she said, when she’d made all the usual lightspeed calculations—
Is he a maniac? Will he ask me weird, pervy questions? Would it be very rude of me to ignore him?

“I always wanted to play the violin,” the man confided. “Are you in a string quartet?”

“No, an orchestra. It’s my first day. First rehearsal. So I really don’t want to be late.” She sighed, looking up and down the carriage as if this might set the train back in motion.

“An orchestra! Professional?”

“Yes. The Westminster Symphony.”

The man took a breath and nodded, gratifyingly awed. Lydia loved the reception she got when she told people she was with the WSO.
I have arrived
.

“You’ll be working with that Milan fellow.” The gentleman chuckled. “Quite a character. Did you watch
The Next Big String
?”

Lydia blushed. Of course she had. Her massive crush on first violinist Milan Kaspar had been a large part of her reason for auditioning for the orchestra in the first place.

“Of course, they always have to have the Big Bad Judge on those talent contests,” mused Lydia’s companion. “I’m sure he’s nothing like that in real life. Rather difficult to work with otherwise, I should imagine. Oh, but I shouldn’t be saying this to you on your first day. I’m sure your nerves are bad enough as it is.”

Lydia coughed out a half-laugh. “Uh huh,” she managed to say. Her face felt as if it were on fire. All she could think about was the crafty morning orgasm she had teased out of her tense body, thinking about Milan Kaspar judging her playing, finding it wanting and giving her a little private lesson of his own. But why would he be interested in her, when rumour had it he had been seeing Tilda Fox-Boyce, the patrician and perfectly-coiffed presenter of the television programme? Of course he wouldn’t.

“Good-looking chap, though. I’m sure he has his pick of the ladies.”

Before Lydia could reply to this inflammatory remark, the train juddered into life.

“Due to a bomb scare at Victoria, all passengers are advised to alight at Pimlico. I repeat…” The intercom droned on.

“Fuck,” Lydia swore under her breath. She would have to walk the last part of the journey, since Pimlico Station didn’t link up to any other Tube line.

“Good luck.”

“Thanks. I’ll need it.”

As the curving, white-tiled station wall slid past the windows, she readied her violin case, preparing for a shuffle, then a sprint.

Out in the sludgy, grey cold of a January afternoon in London, Lydia raced up Vauxhall Bridge Road. Her heart pounded and her legs turned to mush, but she didn’t stop until she arrived at the building, just off the end of the road, which acted as the orchestra’s rehearsal space.

Reaching the door, she gasped for breath, doubling over her violin case. She was half an hour late.

“Fucksticks,” she panted, entering the empty lobby and following the muffled musical sounds coming from a set of doors halfway down a staircase.

Nobody noticed her when she pushed one door open and sidled in as unobtrusively as she could, hiding in an obscure corner until an obvious moment to introduce herself arrived.

She took the opportunity to watch the orchestra, her eyes settling quickly and naturally on the person she most wanted to check out—Milan Kaspar.

Oh, my God
—there he was, in the flesh. She could only see his back and part of the side of his head, his violin wedged between firm chin and broad shoulder, his caramel-coloured hair flying as he bowed. He always gave the music his all, thought Lydia, starry-eyed, her pulse jumping high. It was as if he and his instrument were one. What were they playing? Something Viennese and waltzy, by the sounds of it. Oh, yes—Weber’s
Invitation to the Dance.

The music made Lydia feel joyous and light-spirited. Despite the long run up Vauxhall Bridge Road, she felt an urge to twirl around and dance. If only she were wearing a flouncy taffeta skirt instead of jeans and Converse trainers. She bounced discreetly on the soles of her feet, swaying to the infectious beat, moving forward into the room until the woman at the back on percussion caught sight of her, turned and smiled a welcome.

The music stopped abruptly and Josh Clayton shook his head and folded his arms. Lydia recognised him as the conductor who had auditioned her, along with two of the trustees and a random violinist—Milan had been away filming.

“No, no, no, this is dragging. Some of you aren’t following my beat.”

“Some of us aren’t
seeing
your beat.”

The deep, accented voice was unmistakable. Lydia almost dissolved in a pool of lust on hearing Milan’s famously dark tones.

“Yes, well, we’ve had this discussion before,” said Clayton irritably. “And it always ends up the same way. Keep your eye on the baton and you won’t miss a thing.”

“But we do!” a violinist to Milan’s right objected. “I didn’t catch the change in tempo at
vivace
at all.”

“What do you want? A signpost?”

Lydia grimaced at Clayton’s obvious exasperation.

“It might help,” said Milan dryly.

“Listen, I can’t make this any more obvious! I’ve never worked with such a bunch of mules in my life. What is wrong with you people?”

“Mules!” A cellist stood up, shoulders back, spoiling for a fight. Despite the aggressive stance, Lydia thought he must have been one of the most beautiful men she had ever seen, if you liked pale, delicate youths with eyelashes like road sweepers. On balance, she preferred the more muscular Milan, but all the same, she found herself mesmerised by the cellist's bottomless eyes. “Do not insult us! We are musicians, not animals!”

“If you’re musicians, prove it!” thundered Clayton. Then, clutching his forehead, “Oh, you know what? Forget it. I’m done here. Fuck you. Good luck.”

He flung his baton to the ground and marched off, pushing Lydia out of his way with his shoulder so that she fell gracelessly to the floor in his wake.

“Oh my God, are you okay?” The female percussionist rushed over and knelt by her side, transmitting a strong waft of Armani Diamonds to Lydia’s nostrils.

“Yes, yes, fine, just a bump.” Lydia allowed the woman to help her up.

When she looked over towards Milan, she noticed him high-fiving the cellist, while a great deal of rowdy laughter and gossip seemed to be going on.

“Are you the new violinist? Sorry you’ve seen us like this, what an introduction.” The woman patted Lydia down, tutting. She was very Mother Hen-ish for such a sleek and glamorous-looking woman, Lydia thought. There wasn’t a hair of her black bob out of place, and her makeup looked professionally applied.

“I’m Vanessa, on percussion, as I’m sure you’ve worked out. Welcome to the WSO. Oh, dear. Milan’s so naughty.”

Vanessa shook her head as they both watched the first violinist hold court in the centre of the string section before mounting the conductor’s podium, taking his place as the orchestra’s leader.

He held his bow in the air and waved it with one powerful arm. Silence fell.

“Okay!” he said, eyes flashing, a picture of triumph and exuberance. “We are, once more, minus a conductor. But we still work! The music can still be played. For now, I lead from the violin. Yes?”

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