Authors: Rachel Van Dyken
Tags: #seaside, #rock star, #contemporary romance, #new adult
by Rachel Van Dyken
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and events are fictitious in every regard. Any similarities to actual events and persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. Any trademarks, service marks, product names, or named features are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if any of these terms are used. Except for review purposes, the reproduction of this book in whole or part, electronically or mechanically, constitutes a copyright violation.
Copyright © 2014 RACHEL VAN DYKEN
ISBN 10: 099112734X
Cover Art by P.S. Cover Design
Every curse word imaginable ran through my mind when I looked into her horror-stricken eyes. There was nothing on God’s green earth that I could say to make it better — nothing. Believe me, I tried. I was the king of pick-up lines, the 007 of smoothing things over.
And for once in my life I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. I’d messed up, royally screwed over my entire life — my entire future — all because I couldn’t say three little words.
Damn, One Direction. Screw them. It’s harder than hell and the minute I was given the opportunity to say exactly how I felt — that the sun literally rose and set on her light brown eyes — she was walking away. Out of my life — forever.
Granted, her walking was more of a stomp, and she had just mortally wounded my phone by slamming it against the ground.
But it was my fault.
All of it was. Story of my life. Oh look, One Direction again. I should call them maybe have them do a soundtrack to my misery. We could call it, “Jack ass.”
Her heels stomped against the hard floor and I watched her go. I looked down at my phone and froze. When Demetri Daniels, my half-brother, said I would fall, I had laughed in his face. I thought he’d been drinking again or at least smoking something. I’m one of those guys who knows himself. I can tell you exactly how many times I’ve ever been tempted to take it past a one-night stand or even just a quick hookup.
And I was staring at her pink cowboy boots as they walked in the opposite direction.
Every click of her heels was like a nail driving into my heart.
I opened my mouth to say something. I mean at this point even screaming her name would have been better than nothing!
But nothing was all I had.
Because in the end, when you screw up this bad. You know it’s going to take a hell of a lot more than words and yelling to get the girl.
I was going to have to chase.
Bloody hell, I was going to have to pursue.
Three weeks previous
“You’re a man whore.”
Not what I expected my manager and longtime friend to say to me after not only starring in three blockbuster hits last year, but successfully pulling off the longest summer of my life in Seaside, Oregon with boy band AD2.
I know what you’re thinking,
? OH. MY. GOSH. Seriously, shrieks aren’t my thing, so if you’re going to go all ape-shit on me, I’m out. Like, seriously out. To be fair, I’m incredibly done with both of them. I couldn’t care less that Demetri Daniels — seriously, stop screaming — is my half brother or that they made my life a freaking hell of a mess this last summer.
I don’t freaking care if the world is ending and the only place that’s safe is Seaside, Oregon. I’m not going. No chance in hell.
Wait, back up. Did my manager just call me a man whore?
“Pardon?” I tossed my cell in my hand and laughed as another text alert went off. Seriously. The girls loved me. Really, it’s not their fault I have an accent. Blame England.
WNNA MEET UP? CANDY
I hit ignore and stuffed the phone back into my pocket.
“As I was saying…” Peter cleared his throat. “You’re turning into a—”
“—whore, got it.” My phone went off again; I held up my hand. “Hold that thought, Peter.” My phone blinked another message. Candy again? Nope, this was from Brit. Ah, Brit. A man could get lost in those giant—
“—Jaymeson!” Peter snatched the phone from my hand and slammed it against the mahogany desk. “People want to like you, they really do. It’s just…”
My phone beeped underneath Peter’s hand. With his face turning an interesting shade of purple, he picked up my phone and threw it into the rubbish bin. Seriously? That was my fifth iPhone in three weeks!
“What the hell!” I lunged for my phone, but he moved to stand in front of the bin and glared. Uh oh. His nostrils were flaring; that only happened when he was royally pissed. Last time they flared, I spent the better part of my day getting lectured on why it isn’t socially acceptable to wear leather pants to a funeral. Shit, call it a culture barrier. I mean, the guy who died was a rocker; I thought I was being respectful. Then again, it was probably the Megadeath shirt I wore along with it that sealed the deal for me.
Maybe I should go back to England on an extended holiday. Anything to get rid of Peter.
So what? People thought I was a man whore. At least I wasn’t some drug-addicted madman running up and down Sunset Boulevard with my trousers falling around my ankles. I mean, really, there were worse things in life.
“We done?” I asked coolly.
“Not by a long shot.” Peter’s nostrils flared again as he pointed his finger in my direction. “You’ve gotta get your shit together, Jaymeson. I’m not kidding this time.”
“My shit is just fine. Thank you,” I retorted with a mocking grin.
He cursed and ran his fingers through his hair.
I stood and stretched. “Look, I’m the least of your worries. You’ve got celebrities shooting up heroin and snorting cocaine and slapping tattoos on their asses that have misspelled words. Compare me to them and I’m…” I exhaled. “Mother Theresa?”
Wow, good one.
“And now you’re blasphemous,” Peter muttered. “And if you think you’re in the clear, then you’ve got another think coming. Look.” He threw down a few of the tabloids. Pictures of me littered them, as they always did, but this time it hit me straight in the gut.
Drugs. It looked like drugs. Holy hell.
“You tell me.”
I was lying across a couch with three scantily-clad women. Each of them was taking pills.
It looked bad. As in bad enough to make my stomach clench and cause me to rethink the whole breakfast burrito with hot sauce idea after our meeting.
“I don’t do that shit, believe me. I know what it does to a person.” My step-mom being the prime example.
“I know that,” Peter sighed. “And you know that. But the media? They’ve just labeled you America’s newest English bad boy. They’re calling you the new British Invasion. My phone’s ringing off the hook with irate producers who are thinking very intently about not casting you, only because it appears that you’re not serious about your work. Now. Sit.”
Really, given no other choice, I sat this time and moaned into my hands. “What do I do?”
“Stop sleeping around.”
“Be reasonable.” I laughed. “What can I do that won’t make me want to kill myself?”
Seriously, was the guy a monk? I had needs. And so did the girls. Was it my fault that I became available every time they needed a little… attention?
With an evil smile, Peter answered, “Well, I thought you’d never ask.” He pressed a button on his phone. “Yeah, Patty, go ahead and book that trip to Portland for Jaymeson.”
Patty, what kind of name is Patty wait, did he just say…
“Portland?” I repeated, staring in disbelief. “Oregon?”
As in the large city next to Hell, also known as Seaside?
Peter folded his arms across his chest. “Nope.”
I wasn’t sure I wanted to know where he was going with this.
“Seaside, Oregon. You’re going back to Hell.” At least he labeled it correctly. Was it selfish of me to wish for a plane to crash?
Okay, I could deal with this. I was just going to be honest. “No.” I shook my head at least five times. “Hell, no.”
Peter held up his hand and ignored me and my pleas.
“Right. Okay.” The phone clicked. He lifted his head and grinned. “It’s all settled. Pack your bags, Jaymeson.”
“This is a joke right?” I stood and placed my hands on the desk. “You’re trying to scare me?”
“Nope.” Peter sighed heavily. In that moment it was as if I was able to see how stressed he was.
Was I driving him to that sort of behavior? You know the type where you feel like you have no other choice but to torture those you care about in order for them to get their shit together?
Was I now…
I backed up a step. Impossible.
Alec, lead singer of AD2, He was that guy. Demetri? He’d been hooked on drugs for years! I was the one who didn’t cause drama. Where the hell was my lawyer?
“I don’t have to do it,” I said smugly. Wow, I may as well have stomped my foot and yelled ‘you can’t make me.’
“You don’t. But Daniel Erikson says if you can’t clean up your act, you’re out.”
Don’t panic, don’t show fear.
“I’m not sure I understand? Why would he care about my personal life?”
Peter sighed. “Because the movie series is about young star-crossed lovers. It’s about the innocence of a first kiss.”
I grunted and rolled my eyes. Who the hell cared?
“My point exactly,” Peter said.
“What?” I looked up at him.
“When’s the last time you actually kissed a girl before going to the main course.”
Visions of the latest in my long string of conquests came to mind. Legs for miles, dark and sultry with a willing and quite vigorous attitude, painted a smug grin to my lips “I kiss them plenty…”
Aw, shit, he was using “the voice.” You know, the one parents magically know how to use when they’re trying to make you feel guilty as hell.
“You want this movie series? The one they say’s gonna be bigger than
? You have to clean up the image. I’m not kidding and neither is Daniel. This is your one and only chance. I won’t make you do anything. You’re a twenty-two year old adult. You make the choice.”
I hated it when they pulled the adult card. Freaking hated it.
The clock ticked in the background as if counting down to my doom. With a curse I rose from my seat and held out my hand. “Where’s my damn ticket?”
First things first, this isn’t me. I mean, seriously, this is not me. I’m not that guy. You know, the one that just does whatever someone tells him to do in order to get his paycheck? Hell to the no. I don’t do that. I don’t play that game, but when it comes to my career? I take it seriously, so if Peter says I need to go to Antarctica and mate with a penguin, I’d do it. Sure, I’d throw a fit the entire time, but I’d sure as hell do it in order to be able to keep doing what I love.
Making movies isn’t just my bread and butter; its my life, it’s my passion, and anything that stands in the way of that — whether it be a gorgeous girl or even a terrible rep — well, let’s just say I’d do anything to be rid of it. Anything legal, that is. I’m not that crazy. America may be labeling me the newest English bad boy, but I’m scared of my own shadow.
Case in point, last year Demetri had me convinced my room was haunted when he hid a timed night light to turn on at two a.m. every freaking day until I finally figured it out. I was one week away from calling Ghost Hunters.
With a sigh, I walked into LAX and tried to play it cool. Aviator sunglasses? Check. Jeans? Check. Passport into crazy land? Check. I took my luggage to the Delta kiosk and sent out a text to both Demetri and Alec.
Descending into Hell. Your fault.
“Sir?” a woman asked. “Over here.”
I wheeled my luggage over to the desk, pulled out my passport and gave her my confirmation number.