Authors: Karolyn James
Welcome back to the world of
Brothers of Rock!
A series built on love, life, and
rock n’ roll romance!
Brothers of Rock
– 5 follow rock band
You can visit
their blog at
Read about the band! Check out the
Don’t miss a single book in
Brothers of Rock
Cross – Book One)
– Johnnie, lead singer
Cross – Book Two)
– Davey, guitarist
Cross – Book Three)
– Danny, guitarist
Cross – Book Four)
– Chris, bassist
Cross – Book Five)
– Rick, drummer
Recently announced for 2014!
Brothers of Rock
will continue with the band
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better yet, sign up for the official
and you’ll never miss a new release!
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A brand new romance series set in a
small North Carolina town. Stories of love, redemption, heartache, and hope!
Stay social with Karolyn James
On Twitter @KarolynWrites
are you ready
for some more?
BROTHERS OF ROCK!
The Brothers of Rock novel series continues with the
fift book featuring Chasing Cross. A story of walking away, finding love, and
embracing the future...
The fifth Brothers of Rock
novel featuring Chasing Cross finds drummer Rick Saunderst living in a
personal hell. After walking away from Chasing Cross in the middle of
their tour, he tries everything he can to settle the demons in his
soul, but the all night parties, booze, women, and jam sessions cannot
silence the voice deep within...
Sarah is a small town
veterinarian, not quite sure where her life is going. She walks her
opinionated dog and lives her life in a simple routine. When a moving
truck disrupts her quiet street, she must learn to accept her new
neighbor's noisy habits and sexy stare.
For the first time ever, booze
can't mask his feelings. After over a decade of the Rockstar life, Rick
finally feels like he has a life off stage. Jamming in a garage with old
friends and getting to know Sarah, and her loyal dog, Molly,
is his definition of home.
The rest of Chasing Cross continue the tour, with help
from Fallen Tuesday’s lead singer, Luke, as their replacement
drummer. He brings life back to the band, but even
still, without Rick, the band feels incomplete.
In the final book featuring
Chasing Cross, choices will come to a head. Chasing Cross must decide whether
to move on without Rick and Rick must settle his own battles, personally
and professionally. Falling in love wasn’t part of the deal, but sometimes love
happens when a person least expects it.
A guy named Chuck was the
fifth drummer that afternoon. It was three o’clock in southern California and a
clear blue sky waited beyond the custom studio Chris had built in his house
that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. Chris rarely used the place since Chasing
Cross toured all the time. Lately, he had a different reason. The woman he
loved, his wife, lived in North Carolina.
Life was nothing short of
fast and crazy for the guys in Chasing Cross, but it was empty. Quite empty.
With the departure of Rick as their drummer, Chasing Cross had now become a
band that lost a member. Rick didn’t overdose or die. He just quit the band.
The more the guys thought about it, and talked about it, they realized the
writing had been on the wall for months, maybe years. His wild partying and
drinking. His idea of jamming in an old garage again. Rick had been begging to
step away from the limelight and get back to music.
Peter gave the guys one
day to decide whether they wanted to keep touring or just call it quits. It was
an unfair decision that Peter forced on the band, one that Johnnie knew all too
well. Peter wasn’t going to wait things out with Rick, not with another album
due to be recorded and Chasing Cross touring when they wanted, how they wanted,
selling out venues everywhere they went. Stopping the tour meant ending the
revenue supply that Peter had loved for so long. For the rest of Chasing Cross,
it wasn’t about the money. It was about the fans, the shows, and the music. The
bottom line was that ending Chasing Cross wouldn’t have been such a terrible
decision. Johnnie spent most of his time in New York with Jess, shoulder to
shoulder in a small apartment enjoying their life together. Davey hid away with
Anna in her house, claiming the domesticated life actually made him love his
job even more. Danny either had Liv fly out to be with him or he went back to
Bakersville, where the band began a long time ago. And Chris hadn’t had a
chance to wrap his mind around everything completely. He’d decided to stay
married to Becky, but he didn’t want to tear her away from her family bakery,
her deceased mother’s house, and the calmness that North Carolina provided her.
It was Danny who
suggested the band take a break. But it was Danny’s brother, lead singer
Johnnie, who said they needed to get back out there and finish the tour. For their
own sake and the sake of the fans.
Chasing Cross was on tour
with an up and coming band called Fallen Tuesday. The crowds for Fallen Tuesday
were growing with each show. The merchandise tables were growing and the loyal
fans of Chasing Cross were also becoming loyal fans of Fallen Tuesday. If
Chasing Cross just walked away, Fallen Tuesday couldn’t handle an arena tour by
It took a few days of
talking, arguing, getting really angry at Rick, but in the end they decided to
find a new drummer. It seemed easy, right? There had to be hundreds of good
drummers out there who would kill for a chance to play with Chasing Cross.
The fifth drummer that
day, Chuck, came into the room like a rock n’ roll nightmare. The holes in his
jeans were so big there really was no purpose for having jeans on at all. He
had big black boots. Boots that made Johnnie wonder if the guy could actually
hit the kick drum. His faded Chasing Cross shirt was ripped and stained. He
wore half a dozen chains around his neck, earrings in both ears, and his blonde
hair looked like a rats nest. When he saw Chasing Cross sitting there, he grew
visibly nervous. This was the problem with the last four drummers. They got too
nervous to play. The guys were getting annoyed. At the end of the day, they
were just four guys in a band.
Thinking that pained
Johnnie because he knew it should have been five guys. Rick was off somewhere
else, hiding. He hadn’t returned any phone calls or messages. Peter had
threatened to take legal action, but the rest of the band convinced him to give
Rick some more time.
“Chuck, tell us about
yourself,” Johnnie said as he leaned against a wall and pushed off to shake
hands with the nervous drummer.
“Yeah, man, yeah,” Chuck
said. “I, uh, drum in a band, but we aren’t going anywhere.”
“Why not?” Chris asked.
“Lead singer has some
girl problems,” Chuck said.
“Girl problems,” Chris
said and smiled. “Don’t we all.”
“Not me, man. I want to
get on that bus and travel and just play music, man. The ladies will come after
the shows. I’ll get what I want on the road.”
“Drugs?” Danny called
Chuck looked at Danny. He
grabbed the sleeve of his shirt and lifted it. There was an ugly tattoo on
Chuck’s shoulder that appeared to be homemade.
“That’s four years sober,
man,” Chuck said. “Never again, bro.”
“How do you know?” Danny
asked. “Have you ever been on the road?”
“A little,” Chuck said.
“We’ve gone up and down Cali. Went up to Seattle for some shows.”
Danny looked at Johnnie
and shook his head.
“Chuck,” Johnnie said,
“this isn’t a jam band, you know? This is Chasing Cross. We travel the world. Sometimes
by bus, sometimes by private jet.”
“Sometimes by a donkey,”
“A donkey?” Chuck asked.
“Don’t mind my brother,”
Johnnie said. “He’s bitter.”
“I can imagine,” Chuck
said. “Ditching the band like that, right? I’d never do that to you guys. You
guys are amazing. I’d be honored...”
“Okay,” Chris said. “Then
Chris grabbed a set of
drumsticks off the snare of the large kit and slapped them down in Chuck’s
sweaty palm. Chuck looked and took a deep breath.
“Shit,” he whispered.
“We’re just regular guys,
man,” Chris said. “Just guys in a band.”
“Cool,” Chuck said.
Chuck approached the drum
kit like an awkward teenager about to make his first move on a pretty girl. He
touched the cymbals and tapped his nails on them. He went around the kit and
sat down. Judging by the look on his face it was the largest setup he’d ever
been behind. It wasn’t that big of a drum set, at least not the kind of set
he’d have to play if he made it on tour with Chasing Cross. This kit had a
standard two tom setup with two floor toms (the extra tom added for those thick
hits during the catch choruses and bridges that Chasing Cross made famous), a
double kick pedal because Rick had insisted on trying one out about four years
ago, standard fourteen inch hi-hats, and a beautiful cymbal setup from an eight
inch splash to a large twenty inch ride with a sweet sounding bell.
In other words, any good
drummer should be able to sit behind the kit and play something.
The guys of Chasing Cross
tried to remain relaxed and cool. They didn’t want to pounce on Chuck and make
him more nervous.
“Here’s what we will do,”
Johnnie said. “You warm up for a minute and then we’ll play a Chasing Cross
track with drums and then without. You play along.”
“Okay, man,” Chuck said.
Chuck twirled the sticks
in his hands and then started to play. A kick and cymbal hit together took him
to the hi-hats and snare. A basic beat but Chuck added the hi-hats opening on
close with a nice sound to it. He continued the same beat, adding a cymbal hit
every fourth measure. Over and over.
Johnnie looked at Chris
and Chris raised an eyebrow. Danny pretended to play drums and air drummed a
tom fill, suggesting that Chuck should be doing something more than play what
any basic drummer could play.
Johnnie waved his arms
after a minute or so.
“Okay, Chuck, okay...
let’s throw the track on.”
“Yeah, bro,” Chuck said.
Johnnie nodded to Chris
who moved to the equipment and dialed up a song. The sound coming through the
mounted speakers was almost as good as being at a Chasing Cross concert. The
song began with a screaming guitar riff from Danny. Johnnie saw his little
brother smiling as they listened to the song. When the drums kicked in, it was
a standard Rick drumbeat, but deep down inside, all the guys knew it would
never be replicated or replaced.
Chuck missed his opening
cue, but he came in on the second measure. It didn’t take long to realize he was
having a tough time keeping up with the drumming. Rick used the bass pedal to
weave kicks and snares together magically.
Chris turned off the song
and Chuck kept playing. It was choppy, then it slowed, and when he tried for a
fill, his missed half the hits, smacking the rims on the toms.
“Whoa, dude,” Chuck said.
“It’s fine,” Johnnie
said. “Let’s do one without the drums. Can you handle it?”
“Yeah, man,” Chuck said.
“Hook me up.”
Chris dialed up another song
but turned off the drums on it. The song began to play and Chuck started to tap
the cymbals. A cool effect but it wasn’t meant to be in the song. He tapped on
the bell of the ride, another cool effect, but still not part of the song. When
the drums were meant to kick in, Chuck started playing, but it wasn’t the
drumbeat Rick had written for the song. He played decent, but his job wasn’t
supposed to be Chuck, the new drummer for Chasing Cross... his job was supposed
to be Chuck, the guy filling in for Rick.
The tabloids had already
torn Chasing Cross apart, offering story after story about how Rick was a
drunk, a druggie, how the band screwed him out of money, how they were all
suing each other... one article claimed Rick slept with someone’s girlfriend...
Somewhere in his heart,
Johnnie wanted a temporary fix because he thought Rick would come back. Rick
had to come back, right?
A minute or so into the
song, Chris stopped the song and that ended the audition.
To the past four drummers,
they all gave the standard
for showing up
we’ll be in touch soon
kind of thing. By now, Johnnie felt annoyed and hurt.
“Chuck, listen,” he said.
“You’re a good drummer, man, but this is Chasing Cross. We have music already written.
I mean, what you just played was good, but it wasn’t that song.”
“I just thought we’d make
it better,” Chuck said.
That caught Danny’s
attention. He stood and shook his head. “Better? Bro, stick to the beats here.”
“Danny, relax,” Johnnie
said. “Chuck, thanks for coming in. We have a lot of thinking and talking to do
“I didn’t get this, did
I?” Chuck said.
“No, man, no,” Danny
“Be honest,” Chris said.
“He’d ruin it out there...”
“On his own he’s good,”
Davey added. He looked at Chuck. “You just have to learn the music value of
drumming, man. It’s easy to sit behind a kit and make shit up. That’s fun.
That’s jamming. To actually write something that flows and have it stand the
test of time...”
“We appreciate you coming
in though,” Johnnie said.
Chuck put the sticks down
“Hey, guys, thanks for
letting me do this,” Chuck said. “I mean, come on, right? I get to tell
everyone I jammed with Chasing Cross.”
“Tell you what,” Johnnie
said. “Grab those sticks. We’ll sign them. You keep them. Cool?”
“Hell yeah, cool,” Chuck
Five minutes later Chuck
left the room with an autographed set of drumsticks stuck in his back pocket.
As Johnnie watched Chuck leave, he felt a small ping of jealousy. That was
ultimate freedom right there. Being able to come and go look the image, and pretend
to play the part. Johnnie couldn’t fully blame Rick for ditching the band.
Leaving like he did didn’t make it right, but Johnnie understood what Rick
wanted... it was just too late to do anything about it.
“We’re screwed,” Danny
said as he collapsed to the couch.
“Maybe I can play drums,”
Chris said. “We could find a bassist... just give him the basic lines to
“No,” Johnnie said. “We won’t
become a joke. If we’re going to keep touring, we do it right. We take the
stage as Chasing Cross. We play for the fans, for ourselves, and for Rick.”
“For Rick?” Chris asked.
“He’s hurting somewhere.”
“Well, we’re hurting
right here,” Davey said. “Peter said we have a show in a few days and we have
no drummer right now. Canceling that show would kill us.”
“Nothing will kill us,”
Johnnie said. “We just have to make the right decision here.”
“I thought we did that,”
Danny said. “Remember? When you stood there and said Chasing Cross would
continue. Glad you considered all of us.”
“Whoa,” Chris said
stepping between the brothers. “Everyone take a breath here. We’re all tired
“We need a drummer,”
Johnnie walked away to
the window. He looked out to the sandy beach and ocean. The white caps of the
waves rolled and crashed. Over and over. He thought about the first few times
the guys all practiced together. Everything in their lives was a mess. They
were kids who wanted to be adults. They were kids who wanted to be rockstars.
They wanted music, stages, women, and money. Ending Chasing Cross just didn’t
feel like an option. Neither did going after Rick. Johnnie knew Rick, so he knew
sometimes the man needed space. The only thing Johnnie could do was leave a
message and hope he didn’t do anything stupid.
Behind him, there were
three men half ready to play a show and half ready to board private jets to go
live their lives. The same could be said for Johnnie... he could be nestled in
a high rise apartment in New York City with Jess, or he could fly her first
class to Colorado and meet her for a few long nights in his cabin.
Johnnie looked over his
shoulder and saw Danny standing on the couch.
“Luke,” Danny repeated.
“What?” Johnnie asked.
“Luke... from Fallen
“The singer?” Chris