Out of Time (Face the Music Book 3)

BOOK: Out of Time (Face the Music Book 3)
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Out of Time

Shona Husk

www.escapepublishing.com.au

Out of Time
Shona Husk

The fabulous New Adult series from Shona Husk continues.

He wants to shut out the world; she wants to invite it in…

Mike Peterson has learned the hard way that the good really do die young. He and his mum only have each other, and now she’s losing her second battle with cancer. He wants to stay with her; she wants him to keep following his dreams. He doesn’t have long to decide and the rest of the band is waiting on him. Whatever choice he makes, he will lose.

Living at home has become impossible for Ava Brand. Her very religious, very traditional grandmother would like to see her married off to a nice Indian boy. But Ava wants to make her own choices. Meeting Mike gives her a chance to rebel.

What starts off as easy rapidly becomes complicated, as their problems expand and emotions bubble to the surface. Neither has time for complicated, as Ava’s family discovers her extra-curricular activities and Mike has to make incredibly hard choices. But love never waits for the perfect time, and Mike and Ava are going to have to decide if they’re playing for fun, or playing for keeps.

About the Author

Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination, she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back.

With stories ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance. You can find out more at
www.shonahusk.com
,
www.twitter.com/ShonaHusk
,
www.facebook.com/shonahusk
Newsletter:
http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

Contents

About the Author

Bestselling Titles by Escape Publishing…

Chapter 1

It had to be forty in the shade. Mike’s nuts were sweating and they weren’t on stage yet. Twelve months ago they’d still been talking about playing the two-day music festival. Now here they were and somehow he’d forgotten how hot it could be in Margaret River in January.

Mike took another swig of water. Next year it would be nice to have one of the more prestigious evening slots instead the late afternoon sweat session. The crew was almost finished setting up. They had a minute or two before going on.

He rolled his shoulders, still tense from the drive down. He’d checked in with his mother as soon as he’d arrived. Leaving her alone was a mistake. But she’d said it would be the last time in her life that she would be alone and would have pushed him out the door if she’d had the strength.

He forced a measured breath out. He had to put that aside and think about the set. Forty minutes, that’s all.

He knew he could drive home after. But she didn’t want him to do that either.

His mother had asked that he let her enjoy the night and she’d do the same. But he’d seen the shakes in her hands and knew she’d surrendered her licence because she could no longer see well enough to drive. She was packing up her life as if it was just another chore with no significance.

He wanted her to stop. He wasn’t ready. He was still pissed that she’d waited to tell him the brain tumour was back. He’d found out four weeks ago—after she’d made all of her plans. Telling him was just another item to check off.

‘You right?’ Ed put a hand on his arm.

Mike blinked. ‘Yeah.’

No. He wasn’t. How could he be? But he didn’t know how to explain it to his band mates. After he’d told them, they’d arranged a meal delivery service. He’d had to tell his mother that it wasn’t charity, but a gift. One less thing to do. She’d still bristled. She’d never accepted handouts.

Not when his dad had walked out, not during her first fight with the tumour and not now.

‘We’re all glad you decided to come.’ Ed looked at him as though he wasn’t sure Mike was all here.

He was here in body, but he couldn’t get his thoughts in line.

‘Couldn’t miss it.’ He’d wanted to. When he got home he had to help his mother move out of the only home he’d ever known and into a hospice. They’d argued about that. He shouldn’t have argued with her. He’d felt like shit after. She was right. He wasn’t a nurse and by keeping him out of her care, they were both keeping their dignity. Cancer wasn’t taking that.

Or her single-minded determination.

Dan spat his gum into the bin as he walked past. ‘Let’s do this before I melt.’

Mike stripped off his shirt, leaving him in singlet, camouflage shorts and boots.

‘Man, do you know what a razor looks like? Your armpit needs its own stylist.’ Dan stepped away.

‘Jealous.’ Mike lifted his arms to give Dan a better view.

He hadn’t shaved his beard in over two months, had a haircut in closer to six and he knew he was looking more than a little scruffy, but he didn’t give a shit. He didn’t care that he now had the nickname of yeti … he kind of liked it.

‘Fuck, man. Put on a shirt. No one wants to see that.’

‘I can pick up faster than you any day of the week, pretty boy.’ Dan hated being called that. But he took longer to get ready than Gemma and spent more on clothes in a month than Mike did in a year. Dan liked to look good. But then his whole family was image conscious, from the right house to the right shoes. Lately Dan’s veneer of perfection had been starting to crack.

‘You’ve had more practise.’ Dan shot back with a sneer.

Was he jealous or looking to start an argument? Mike flexed his fingers; he was sick of dancing around Dan’s moods. Dan wasn’t the only person with problems. Cancer trumped girlfriend drama any day of the year.

‘Not what I heard.’ He had no idea if Dan had cheated on Lisa but that’s what the rumours said. While Mike held no love for Lisa—she didn’t care about Dan that much if she was willing to make being away from home even harder—he didn’t condone cheating. Fortunately he’d been single for the last two years and had enjoyed every chick who fell into his lap.

Dan took a step closer. A glint in his eyes like a mad dog about to bite.

Mike shouldn’t have said that. It was below the belt. He knew it, but the words had fallen out of his mouth too fast for him to stop. He was sick of Dan moping that it was over with Lisa. He’d fucked up, she’d found out. Move on.

Gemma stepped between them. ‘Stop swinging your dicks and be nice to each other.’

‘Yes,
Mum
.’ The hard edge was still in Dan’s eyes but it was the tone that made Mike pause. Dan and Gem were tight. He was never mean to her.

Gemma scowled and shook her head.

‘Get your ear pieces in and try and act as though we are professionals.’ Ed was already shoving the beige bud into his ear.

‘Yes,
Dad
.’ Mike said, with much the same attitude as Dan. He glanced at Dan.

Dan managed a smile at Mike’s comeback. They were cool, for the moment.

Ed gave Mike a one-finger salute for being a smart ass before walking out on stage.

Anticipation traced through his body. The crowd cheered as Ed took his place. Gemma, then Dan followed.

Should he have put a shirt on? Nah. It was too hot to wear any extra clothing. He walked out and while he knew the audience was there, he didn’t pay them any attention until he was seated behind the drums.

Ed was buttering them up already.

Mike checked that everything was set up right, that the set list wasn’t going to escape if a breeze sprung up, and that there was plenty of water. He couldn’t drink and drum, but he knew Dan would have a beer. He never used to. He’d been the squeaky clean one before Lisa had dumped him. Maybe that had been an illusion too.

Since Ed was currently dating and Gemma was dating Ed’s sister—something no one had seen coming—at least Dan would be on the prowl tonight so he wouldn’t be playing up on his own.

Ed glanced at him and Mike gave a nod. He was good to go. There was a good crowd, not as packed as it would be later but not as empty as it had been when the first band had gone on. That sucked. They’d been there.

He picked up his sticks and let everything else go. For the next forty minutes he didn’t have to think or worry, just play. He was glad to be here.

***

Later, when the equipment was packed up and he’d showered, Mike called home. It rang out. Had she fallen? Shit. All doubts about coming down south returned. Dan was still in the shower, then he’d be primping his hair and making sure that he was ready to score. Last one to pick up had to use the car.

Mike wanted the hotel room. He was four inches taller than Dan and four inches made a huge amount of difference in a car.

If his mother didn’t answer this time, however, he was driving home. He dialled again.

‘Hello?’ Her voice sounded the same as it always had. He’d known something was wrong when he’d gotten home after touring the eastern states. She’d been thinner, but she hadn’t said anything and neither had he. When the shakes had started he’d tried hard not to see. But he’d broken first and asked. It was exactly the same as last time. He’d been eighteen and about to jump on a plane to go to the Australian Defence Force Academy. He’d never got on the plane. His life had abruptly changed direction.

‘Mum, you’ve got to answer your phone.’

‘I was in the garden.’

‘Take your phone with you.’

‘I forgot.’

Forgot on purpose. She shouldn’t be out in the garden in this heat. But if he said anything she’d argue with him. He didn’t want to be keeping tabs on her any more than she wanted him to. What else could they do? He swallowed the lump that formed. There was no treatment this time. She couldn’t have any more radiation and chemo wouldn’t kill it, only slow it, and make her too sick to enjoy what was left. She’d decided what she was going to do while he was away. His opinion didn’t count.

Since he was a little kid it had just been the two of them. He had only vague memories of his father. But this time she was making all the decisions as if he didn’t matter. But he couldn’t say that without sounding selfish. This is what she wanted, and he had to find a way to be okay with that.

He wasn’t okay.

‘Michael, it’s one night. Go and have some fun. Ruth is picking me up in an hour and I’m going to have dinner with my friends. You do the same.’ Her voice remained calm.

He couldn’t speak. He nodded, but knew he had to say something. ‘Call me when you get home.’

‘I’ll leave a message if you don’t answer.’

‘I’ll answer.’ He would have a few drinks, but he no longer cared about picking up. He’d beg the floor in Gem and Ed’s room to keep clear of Dan.

The shower stopped.

‘Don’t let me stop you from going out,’ his mother said.

‘You aren’t.’

‘Michael, I won’t let you put your life on hold again.’

He couldn’t do this, not here. He rubbed his hand over his eyes, but there were already tears forming. He sniffed. ‘I got to go.’

‘Good. Have fun.’ She hung up.

For a few moments he sat and stared at the phone. How was she okay with this while he was being torn apart by a wood chipper? There was going to be nothing left of him.

Dan came out of the bathroom, dressed and ready to score. ‘Beer and babes?’

Mike glanced up.

Dan took one look at him. ‘You need a drink.’

Yeah. He did. ‘What are we waiting for?’

‘You putting on real shoes?’ Dan was dressed more for a nightclub than for a field of half-drunk people attempting to dance.

‘Flip-flops are shoes.’ He wasn’t putting boots on since he wasn’t working. They were heading back to the field where the festival was. That he had a shirt on and was still sober put him ahead of most of the guys there. The crowd had already been drinking for five hours.

BOOK: Out of Time (Face the Music Book 3)
11.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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