Authors: Jody Morse,Jayme Morse
Copyright © 2015 by Jody Morse and Jayme Morse. All rights reserved.
Our Song is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents in this book are products of the Authors’ imaginations or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and not intended by the Authors. The Authors hold exclusive rights to this work.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by electrical or mechanical means unless given permission in writing from Jody Morse and Jayme Morse. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts from this book in a review.
The sound of my cell phone vibrating startled me awake. I reached out for it, but it wasn’t there. I didn’t even feel my nightstand. What the hell. Had I been robbed?
My eyes fluttered open and I took in my surroundings. My nightstand was missing. The plain white walls weren’t mine. And while I’d always been a pretty light sleeper, I was surprised I could even
my cell phone vibrate over the rattling of the air conditioner.
I was in a hotel bed, and one glance under the thin white sheet told me I was butt naked. My head was throbbing from a hangover. And best of all? I had
freaking clue how I’d ended up there. My mind immediately jumped to the worst conclusion: I’d been kidnapped. There was just no other explanation.
I rolled onto my side. There was a guy next to me, snoring softly. His back was turned to me, his dark brown hair a ruffled mess. His upper back and shoulder blades were covered in tattoos, and just one look at his body told me he worked out. Curious to see if the rest of him was just as naked, I peeked under the sheets.
Who did that fine ass belong to?
I thought back to the night before. I’d gone out with my friend, Olivia. We’d gone to this club and then… Then I’d ended up here, apparently, with this hot naked man, who I didn’t remember meeting.
Sneaking out of bed, I tiptoed in the direction of the bathroom, hoping to steal a glance at his face on the way. I sucked in my breath, nervous he might wake up to find me staring at him. Yes, I may have been acting like a total creep, but I didn’t want
to know that. That was just stalker status 101.
Standing at the foot of the bed, I peered down at him… and tried not to puke. Of all the people I could’ve spent the night with, why did it have to be
Don’t get me wrong. I could’ve done far worse in the looks department. Colton was… well, he was gorgeous. He had chiseled, masculine features, a body most girls would kill to see naked in real life and, when they were actually open, the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen.
But Colton King was the
person I would’ve ever wanted to have a one night stand with. He was one of the most famous pop singers in the industry. I didn’t know him personally (well, not before I’d gotten up close and personal with him last night, apparently), but I’d heard he was an arrogant douchebag.
And not to mention, a total manwhore.
The Paparazzi loved him even more than Justin Bieber, which meant they were probably waiting for us in the hotel parking lot. Shit, forget about the parking lot; with my luck, they were probably camped outside in the hallway, anxious to know who Colton had hooked up with this time.
I didn’t want that sort of reputation for myself. I didn’t do this kind of thing. This was the first time I’d ever woken up with no memory of the night before. The last thing I needed was for my face to be plastered all over
or Perez Hilton’s web site for this one, isolated incident. I didn’t want to be the one to suffer the consequences of the bad decisions my vajayjay apparently made while I was drunk. I could just imagine what the headlines would read now:
Singing Sensation Viola Pierce Leaves Colton King’s Hotel room. How Long Have the Pop Stars Been Getting it on?
Yeah, I wasn’t having that. I had to ditch Colton’s ass before he woke up. Maybe people wouldn’t put two and two together if we weren’t seen leaving the hotel together.
I scanned the room for my clothes and spotted them lying in a heap right next to the door. Oh, god. Apparently I’d barely even gotten into the room last night before taking them off—though I had to give my drunken self a little credit; at least I’d taken my clothes off
we were inside and I wouldn’t have to worry about fishing them out of a hotel lobby water fountain or something.
I slipped into my dirty clothes and pulled on the pair of white spiked heels that had been lying next to them.
I was just about to hightail it out of the room, but then I figured I should probably at least see what kind of hot mess I looked like before I fed myself to the hungry piranhas—err, Paparazzi. The walk of shame is humiliating enough for anyone, but there’s so many extra things to consider when you’re a celebrity, like the fact that millions of people may actually get a glimpse of what your hair looks like the morning after you’ve all been sexed up while they’re standing in the magazine aisle at the grocery store with their grandma.
Just as I was about to head for the bathroom, I heard a vibrating sound and I remembered the entire reason I’d woken up in the first place: someone was calling me.
Following the noise, I spotted my cell phone laying on the floor, a few feet from where I’d been sleeping. Scooping it up, I made a mad dash for the bathroom and locked myself inside.
I glanced down at the name on the caller ID. It was Mads—as in Madeline Agossi, my manager. I should’ve figured it was her. She was the only one who ever called me before noon. Everyone else in my life knew better than to wake a sleeping monster.
I didn’t feel like dealing with her, so I hit the ‘Ignore’ button and glanced at myself in the mirror. Surprisingly, most of my makeup from the night before was still perfectly intact and my blonde hair wasn’t
messy. As I finger-combed it, my phone vibrated again.
Ugh. Mads again. Of course. She was fucking relentless.
Knowing she was only going to keep calling until I answered, I hit the ‘Talk’ button and pressed the phone to my ear.
“What?” I hissed.
you? You’re late.” Mads’ voice was screechy against my ear.
?” I had no freaking clue what she was even talking about. As far as I was concerned, the only thing I was late for was a date with my own bed, a bottle of Advil, a tall cup of coffee, and a greasy bacon cheeseburger—the world’s best hangover cure ever.
“The meeting.” She paused. “You
read the email I sent you about the meeting, didn’t you?”
I thought back to the night before. I
remembered seeing a message in my inbox from her, which I was ninety-nine percent sure I hadn’t even bothered to open before I’d gotten completely shit-faced.
“It must have been sent to my junk folder,” I said innocently.
“Of course it was,” she muttered. “Well, we have a meeting with people from the label at the Luxe Hotel. It was supposed to start ten minutes ago, but we can’t exactly start it without you.”
“Sorry,” I mumbled, even though it wasn’t
fault. Considering I hadn’t responded to her email, she should’ve known to call me before now. What did she think I was—a mind-reader? I was just magically supposed to know I had a meeting?
She must’ve sensed the lack of sincerity in my voice, because she completely ignored my apology. “Meet me in front of the hotel as soon as you can. I’ll be waiting for you.”
Before I could ask any questions, she ended the call.
I made a mental to-do list:
1). Escape from the room without waking Colton;
2). Dodge any Paparazzo that might’ve been waiting outside for me; and, most importantly,
3). Pull myself together enough to sit through a meeting without seeming like I was nursing a hang-over or letting it slip that I’d made one of the biggest drunken mistakes of my life.
Yeah, this was going to be fucking
Giving myself one final look in the mirror, I took a deep breath and flung the door open. As I stepped onto the crappy hotel carpet, my heel got stuck and I went crashing straight into Colton.
He reached out for me. His strong arms encircled my waist as he balanced me, preventing me from falling on my face. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Sorry,” I mumbled, pulling myself away from him and putting a few inches of space between us. Of
times for me to trip and fall, it just had to be straight into him. Fuck my life.
My eyes ran down the length of his body
as I took in his rock-hard chest and his muscular shoulders. I had seen him a few times from a distance at red carpet events, but never as close up as this. And
was he hotter up close.
As my eyes drifted up to his face, his light eyes locked on mine. My heart skipped lots of beats and I wondered if I was going into cardiac arrest or something. Being in his presence was probably a good reason to have a top-notch cardiologist on speed dial.
After a long moment, his jawline hardened. I couldn’t seem to get a good read on what he was thinking. Had he enjoyed the night before? Did he think I was a good kisser?
we even kissed or had we jumped straight to sex? Had I made him sign a non-disclosure agreement before dropping my panties? All of these things were so important, but I had no freaking clue what any of the answers were.
Ugh. I had to get the hell out of there. Even if I didn’t have a meeting I was already late for, I couldn’t be in the same room as him. It was just too weird to stare him in the face without knowing what had gone on between the two of us. There was a chance I made a total drunken ass out of myself and I didn’t even remember it.
“Excuse me.” I was pretty sure my tone came off as snappier than I’d intended for it to, but Colton didn’t say anything. He just took a step backward, allowing me enough room to brush past him.
Once I reached the door, I fled from the room.
was the most awkward post-sex confrontation ever.
To my surprise, there were no Paparazzi waiting for me when I stepped out onto the sidewalk. Thank goodness for that, considering I didn’t even have my sunglasses on me. As weird as it may have sounded, sunglasses were like my protective shield from the world. Aside from red carpet events, I wore them everywhere. I hated facing photographers without them. Not having them made me feel naked, but I supposed that as long as I wasn’t
naked, it was all good. Just saying.
I headed for the street to flag down a taxi. I hated taxis. It wasn’t even because I’d rather ride in my limo. It was just that taxi drivers had the tendency to annoy the crap out of me. Once they realized who I was—and they typically
—they always wanted my autograph. I didn’t mind giving it out, but their requests were usually ridiculous or borderline crazy. I once had a taxi driver legit pull his pants down and ask me to sign his boxers. Who the hell
But despite my hatred for public transportation, I knew there wouldn’t be enough time for me to have my driver, Eddie, come pick me up and drop me off. The last thing I wanted to do was piss off my record label by being even later than I already was—assuming they weren’t already pissed off at me.
Just as a taxi pulled over for me, I heard a familiar voice say from behind me, “
I turned to find Mads standing behind me, a look of relief on her face. “You got here quicker than I was expecting.”
“I thought we were meeting at the Luxe,” I said with a frown.
.” She raised her eyebrows at me and pointed up at the words written on the hotel I’d just come out of. Sure enough, it read
The Luxe Hotel
“Oh.” So, I’d unknowingly made the walk of shame at the same hotel I was about to have a business meeting at. Classy, Viola… really classy.
“Are you okay?” Mads eyed me curiously.
“I’m fine.” Well, as fine as one could be, given the circumstances.
“What are you thinking wearing
?” Her eyes ran down the length of my body in disbelief.
Along with the white heels, I had on a really tight pair of skinny jeans that gave you a pretty good view of my thong when I bent over far enough, along with a hot pink tank top that barely held my boobs in place. It may have been cute enough to go out drinking in—and apparently cute enough to catch Colton’s attention—but it was far from appropriate business meeting attire.
“It’s a long story. I didn’t get a chance to plan my outfit accordingly,” I said with the wave of a hand. It seemed like I didn’t care, but it wasn’t that. I just knew there was nothing I could do to fix it now.
you didn’t.” She sighed. “Well, I guess we’d better head inside then. The meeting is being held in the conference room.”
She led me back into the hotel. I followed
her through the lobby and to the elevator I’d been in only moments earlier.
“Mads?” I asked. “What exactly is this meeting about?”
Normally, the label scheduled our meetings weeks or even months in advance. I found it alarming that she’d only emailed me about it the night before. It had to mean
was up. I just didn’t know what.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. “They didn’t say.”
The elevator doors slid open and I let out a relieved sigh when I saw it was empty. Running into King Douchebag while I was with Mads would’ve been too embarrassing for me to handle before my meeting with the label that loved him.
As the doors closed behind us and Mads pressed the button for the third floor, I glanced over at her. It was hard to believe she was only a few years older than me. She was just so
. She took her professionalism to an entirely other level.
Today, for example, she donned a black pencil skirt with a matching suit jacket that she wore over a white camisole. Her naturally auburn hair was pulled into a neat ponytail at the nape of her neck. I wanted to reach over and pull her hair tie out. She was making me look worse than I actually did.
Oh, well. As long as there was no vomit, beer, or gum stuck in my hair, I didn’t really care. And yes, all of those things
happened to me in the past. And of course Mads had witnessed each and every one of them, since I had the shittiest luck ever. I mean,
, given my current circumstances.
When the elevator came to an abrupt stop, I felt my stomach lurch.
We stepped out into the hallway. A sign on the wall indicated that the conference room was at the end of the hall on the left.
As we walked toward it, Mads’ eyes darted over to meet mine. “Make sure you’re polite and respectful. And don’t ask
“I never do,” I muttered under my breath with an eye roll. I was
polite and respectful—except for when I was drunk. Then, you could pretty much expect me to make lots of dumb remarks, ask dumb questions, and just be dumb,
. Case in point: I would’ve bet money that Colton King was still in the hotel room I’d left him in, most likely showering off the sweat he’d undoubtedly worked up the night before.
I should’ve showered.
“Viola, I’m being serious,” Mads said quietly. “I don’t know what this meeting is about, but between your monstrosity of an outfit and your lateness, I have a really bad feeling about the way it’s going to go.”
I felt the same. But before I had the chance to agree with her, we were already walking through the door of the conference room.
Jimmy Jones, who was quite possibly the most influential music producer of our time, except for maybe Simon Cowell, was seated at the long conference table. He was gazing out the window at the city below us.
As we approached the table, Mads cleared her throat. “Ahem.”
Jimmy glanced up at us. His steel gray eyes fell on mine. “Viola, you’re late,” he barked.
“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “It won’t happen again.”
“That’s what you said the last time you were late.” He rose to his feet and motioned for us to sit down. “Please have a seat. We have a lot we need to discuss.”
I glanced over at Mads nervously. The same uneasiness I felt was reflected in her eyes as we both slid into chairs across the table from where he was standing.
He placed a piece of paper in front of me. “I’d like you to take a look at this.”
I glanced down at it, but it was filled with numbers—numbers that only seemed to make my head ache more. Math and hangovers were a painful combination. “What
“It’s your quarterly earnings. Your album sales are down by fifty percent,” he explained.
“I see.” I felt the sudden urge to puke, and I was pretty sure it had absolutely nothing to do with all the tequila I’d ingested the night before.
“Do you know
your album sales are down?” he asked, narrowing his eyes at me.
“No.” I fought the urge to make a sarcastic comeback.
Why don’t you enlighten me, Jimmy?
Of course, I didn’t actually say it. I may have been pretty outspoken and stubborn as hell, but I knew better than to piss off Jimmy Jones.
“As you know, part of your contract with us is that you get to maintain creative control. And while I understood the direction you wanted to take with your last album, it appears that no one else did. To be frank with you… everyone thinks it sucks.”
I glanced away from him, trying to hide how much his words stung. I’d poured my heart and soul into that album. It was the most personal thing I’d ever written. For him to just tell me that people thought it sucked without even giving two shits about my feelings?
Well, it fucking hurt.
“I see,” I finally managed to whisper, sinking down in my seat.
“Tell me something, Viola. You’re a fan of Pitbull’s music, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Of course you are. Who
? That man’s a freaking genius. He only puts out feel good songs. People party to his music. They ring in the New Year to it. Shit, someone somewhere right now is probably getting high to it.” He paused and glanced over at me. “You’re just like a female Pitbull, Viola. You might be in a different genre of music, but your first album made people feel good. But then your second album—”
my second album?” I asked defensively with narrowed eyes, trying to make a mental list of potential comebacks in rebuttal to whatever dig he was about to throw at me next.
“It’s the complete opposite of the name you built for yourself with your first album. It makes you sound whiny—”
,” I argued.
“‘Even if you died a thousand deaths, you still wouldn’t know how it felt when you killed me’?” Jimmy said, quoting a lyric from one of my songs. “It makes you sound really hateful, even if that’s not what you intended.”
“Okay, so what if it is hateful? Maybe I have a lot of hatred in me.” I blinked back angry tears. “Music is my therapy. Where’s the problem in that?”
“The problem is your fans want the
Viola Pierce—the fun, happy party girl whose music they fell in love with in the first place. If they wanted to listen to someone who they can cry to while they reminisce about their old boyfriends, they would just listen to Taylor Swift.” He paused for a moment and then glanced down at me. “And there’s also the fact that most of your listeners know
all the songs on your album are about.”
“There’s no way anyone can know for sure who they’re written about,” I insisted. “It’s not like I’ve made any statements anywhere to imply it’s about him—err, any specific person, I mean.”
Of course, everyone in the room already knew that by
, I was referring to Jake Palmer. Everything in my life revolved around Jake; he was both my reason for being and the bane of my existence. We’d broken up earlier this year and nothing had been the same ever since.
hadn’t been the same ever since. When he left me, he took a piece of me with him—a piece I’d never been able to get back.
How could I continue to write happy music when he’d taken my happy with him?
“You can say it’s not about anyone, but you’d only be fooling yourself. And the problem is that your fans like Jake better than they like you, pure and simple. They don’t want to listen to you bashing him.”
“How do you know that? Have you polled them all?” I asked defensively. Not that it would’ve been all that surprising if my fans decided to side with Jake over me. It was the story of my life. For whatever reason, everyone seemed to think he was this perfect angel and me? Well, I was just the devil who wore Jimmy Choo’s, apparently.
“No, I didn’t poll them, but trust me on this. You
want to Google yourself right now.”
Not like I planned to. You couldn’t have paid me enough money to Google myself. “Okay, so you’ve made your point. My fans hate my pathetic music, they like Jake better than me, and they’re no longer buying my albums. What do we do now?”
“Your next album needs an entirely new direction. That means you need to scrap everything you’ve come up with for it so far.”
? But that would mean I’d be losing months’ worth of work,” I protested. I knew I probably sounded whiney, but I didn’t even care. I had every right to whine, considering the amount of time and work I’d put into the songs I’d been prepping for my next album.
“Work that no one will ever buy,” he pointed out.
I folded my arms over my chest and shrugged. “I guess.”
He glanced over at me and let out a sigh. “I know this is all a hard pill for you to swallow, Viola, but you know that I see a lot of potential in you as a musician. I believe your career could go really far, but your third album is either going to make or break you. It comes down to this: are you going to be the feel good musician that you wanted to be from the beginning or are you going to disappoint your fans with songs that there’s already an oversaturated market for? What you decide will either make you sink or swim.”
“I understand.” I nodded, swallowing hard. I wasn’t going to sink. This career was all I’d
wanted. “So, where do we go from here?”
“I have a plan.” Jimmy stared at me evenly. “We’re going to bring in someone else to help give you more perspective, someone who will help you get back in the direction you need to go in.”
“You want someone else to write my songs for me?” I asked with a frown. I hated the idea of giving Regal Records
creative control over my music. I didn’t want to become some songwriter’s falsified, half-assed version of myself. I wanted to be Viola Pierce. I wanted to write my own lyrics, damnit.