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Authors: Clara Bayard

Tags: #rockstar, #new adult romance, #series, #band, #steamy romance, #rocked, #rubenesque, #bbw, #sexy, #serial

Rocked in the Dark

BOOK: Rocked in the Dark
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Rocked in the Dark

By Clara Bayard

Rocked Series, #7

Copyright © 2013 by Clara Bayard

 

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

With everything to lose…
 

Julia has fought and struggled to get exactly where she wants to be. On a huge nationwide tour, singing her songs, living life on her own terms. After a lifetime of ups and downs, the curvy beauty knows all too well that fame and success are fleeting and nothing is certain. 

 Passion blooms… 

 Her immediate dislike for Dream Defiled’s drummer, Rick, adds to the stress on her shoulders. But when circumstances conspire to keep forcing them together, the pair discovers an inexplicable attraction that cannot be denied. 

 …In the dark.

 

ONE

Standing in the middle of the empty stage, everything felt right and perfect for an all too brief moment. The theater around me was dark and silent. All I could hear was the sound of my own breathing and the soft swish of my hair against my back as I opened my mouth to sing.
But before the first note could leave my throat, lights blinded me from every direction and the sound of stomping feet reminded me I was not in my own world. Every spotlight flared and rolled, sending a kaleidoscope of colors over the reflective floor. A small army of black-clad men wheeled and carried equipment behind me and three people, deep in conversation, crossed in front of me. Two men in business suits and a woman poured into a dress that displayed every bony inch of her body. Her voice rose above the others and drove my building irritation to anger.
“Yes, the effects are very dramatic, but that doesn’t help us. It’s a little small, is all I’m saying,” she said, making my mouth slam shut hard enough that my teeth ached.
“There will be plenty of rehearsal time in each city on the tour,” one of the men answered. “Think of this theater as just a regular practice space before we move to the arenas. The hotel was nice enough to let us use the place before it opens next month. That saves everyone commuting time.”
“Don’t talk down to me, young man. I’ve been in this business since you were still soiling your cartoon character pajamas.”
At that, I snorted. She spent so much money trying to look like she was half her age and then busted out with comments like that. Ridiculous. I must have been louder than I realized because all three of them turned to face me.
“What are you doing just standing there? Don’t you see everyone working hard around you?” the woman asked.
“I was trying to get a sense of the space,
Mom
.”
Even under the lights, fake tan and makeup, I could see her face go pale. “Silly, you always call me Laura.” Something dark flashed behind her eyes before she turned to the others and smiled broadly. “We’re really more like sisters than mother and daughter.”
“Of course,” the other man, in the too-tight suit and over-gelled hair said, nodding. “I bet no one believes
you
could have a twenty-one year-old daughter.”
Choking back bile, I rolled my eyes. “Isn’t there somewhere else you could have your meeting? I’d like to do some singing up here, if you don’t mind. And please tell them to stop with the lights. I’m getting motion-sick.”
My mother glared at me and then giggled in what I’m sure she thought was a girlish way. “Come along, fellas. The sensitive artist needs some privacy.”
The ensuing laughter made me wish I could pick up one of the crates behind me and throw it at them, but they did actually wander off slowly to the wings, so I just stood still, breathing and waiting, watching my mother’s freshly blown out hair retreat into the gloom of the backstage area. It was stupid in comparison to the millions of reasons I had to despise her, but I couldn’t stand the fact that she dyed her hair to match my natural shade precisely. And had been lying about it since my strawberry blond darkened to its current copper hue. As I struggled to make my gritted teeth relax I thought she might be right. We were more like sisters. The kind who plot to murder and torture each other on historical television shows.
“Get it together, Jules,” I muttered to myself. I’d been in such a good mood; I didn’t want to ruin it. I had to let go of the noise and confusion, the garish design of the theater.
Tuning out the lights and muffled sounds around me, I closed my eyes and relaxed my shoulders. Imagining an audience full of fans, I inhaled deeply and then began to sing. Each note floated perfectly across the air, soaring around the large, empty theater. “
In the dark where my strength hides, locked away deep behind my tears
,” I sang, letting the memories of writing those words take be back, infuse every sound with pain and resolve. I continued, running through the first two verses and chorus of the single that had finally gotten me back here where I belonged. It felt amazing and terrifying. My voice wasn’t as warmed up as it could have been, but it was strong and true and I ignored the nagging in the back of my mind about every imperfection.
“Good shit!” someone shouted from the middle of the theater, and there was a smattering of applause.
I opened my eyes and sighed. Another fucking interruption. Squinting out, I saw a bunch of people standing in the aisle. There were four guys and one girl, most of them close to my age and all dressed casually, so they couldn’t all be record label people. Probably college students on vacation or some such shit, who didn’t understand the sign on the door that said “Closed to the Public.”
“What are you doing in here? No one’s allowed in here.”
While I spoke they approached, climbing the stairs up to the stage as if I’d said nothing.
“Hey! Get out of here…” I trailed off as I realized they looked familiar.
“Sorry,” the one who’d spoken before said. He was cute, if a little skinny for my taste. He had spiky dark hair and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. “You sound great.”
“Gee, thanks,” I replied. “Now do you mind?”
One of the others shoved past the cutie, and this one was anything but skinny. “Do
we
mind? Who the fuck are you talking to? This is our goddamn theater.”
My face reddened and my eyes narrowed.
He stepped forward again, all swagger and bullshit. One of those guys who thinks just because he’s tall and built and, I couldn’t help but notice, really sexy in a jackass way, he can intimidate everyone. Did I mention really sexy? Short cropped hair, chiseled jaw and strong body barely contained by tight jeans and a black t-shirt that hugged every thick rope of muscle.
I don’t think I’d ever hated anyone on sight before, so that was an interesting experience.
“Excuse me?”
“You got a hearing problem, sweetheart?”
“Do you?” I strode over to him, glad my high heeled boots at least put the top of my head above his shoulder. Staring daggers doesn’t work as well when you’re a foot shorter than them.
“Jesus.” He shook his head. “Why am I cursed to be surrounded by mouthy bitches?”
Then there was nothing but murder on my mind. “Listen, asshole,” I spat at him before the cute guy jumped between us.
“Whoa, now. Let’s all calm down, okay? You’re Julia, right?”
I barely glanced at him, but nodded.
“I’m Joe Hawk. We’re on the tour with you?”
“Shit.” I unclenched my fists and looked at Joe. That’s why they looked so familiar. “You guys are Dream Defiled.”
He grinned. “Sure are. Nice to meet you.”
I cringed. “You too, I guess.” I was about to apologize for being rude, and explain about all the interruptions, but the big guy was still staring me down with a sneer. “Wanna call off your attack dog, Joe, before I put him down?”
Joe laughed, as did some of the others, but the big guy just stood there, fuming.
“Watch your mouth, sweetheart.”
“Watch this, shithead,” I said, flipping him off and turning on my heel.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t really anywhere to go. My mother was probably still backstage being annoying. But I couldn’t stay there or I’d kill this tall dark and idiotic guy. So I walked a wide circle around them and down the stairs. I didn’t need the theater to sing, so I figured I’d go back up to my room. At least I could lock that door, keep everyone away.
But before I got far, the girl with Dream Defiled caught up to me. She grabbed my arm and made me stop.
“Hey, I’m sorry about that,” she said earnestly. Which, of course, just bugged me more. So much for that good mood.
“Doesn’t matter.”
“Please, wait.”
I stopped and glared at her.
“I’m Becca, I work for the band. They’re just really keyed up to be here. Rehearsing in Vegas is kind of their idea of heaven.”
I looked her up and down as she babbled, trying to “handle” me. Becca was pretty in a girl-next-door way, with long blond hair she kept fidgeting with as if she wasn’t used to wearing it down. She was kind of pear shaped and made the mistake a lot of chubby girls do – wearing clothes too big for them. After spending most of my life with people analyzing everything I wear, it’s natural for me to do the same thing. I considered how cute she’d look in a nice bright body-conscious mini dress while barely paying attention to what she was saying.
But as I was about to write her off as a peon airhead, she said the magic words.
“…Though, none of that excuses Rick’s behavior. He’s just a dick, frankly. But good for you, standing up to him.”
I blew out a mild laugh. There was no question who she was talking about. “Honey, I’ve dealt with bigger assholes than him since I was a kid. Don’t worry; I’m not going upstairs to cry.”
She smiled tightly. “Okay. I mean, I didn’t think that. I just wanted to let you know they’re not all like him. And we’re sorry for barging in on you.”
In spite of myself, I softened. “It’s okay. I guess we’re all going to have to get used to being around each other.” I gestured around the space. “That’s part of the point of this, right?”
“Yeah. The label figured it would create camaraderie or something. Or they were too cheap to rent separate spaces.”
My laugh this time was fuller and real. “That sounds more like it.”
Becca smiled again. “Probably. Well, I’ll let you go. See you later.”
“Sure.” I crossed my arms as she walked back up to the stage. The eyes of one of the other guys in the band never left her and I wondered if they were together. I’d never be that stupid. Going on the road with the same people for months on end was hard enough without adding romantic drama to it. Of course, it helped that there was no one in the band I’d ever be interested in. Joe was too skinny. The guy gazing adoringly at Becca was kind of hot, but obviously taken. The tall, quiet one tuning his guitar and talking to one of the techs might as well have been invisible. And Rick, well, yeah. That was never happening. My eyes drifted over to where he stood, legs apart like the king of dipshit mountain, bitching about something again to the others.
I rolled me eyes and started back up the aisle again. This time I almost made it to the door before something stopped me. I was starting to think I was cursed to be trapped in a room with Dream Defiled forever.
What stopped me was all the lights went out. Pitch black for a second and then the eerie sickly glow of emergency lights barely lit the room except for a bright strip along the floors leading to the exit, no doubt for safety purposes.
A hail of laughter and curses from the stage and beyond made me smile for the first time all day.
“Everyone stay calm,” Becca called out. “Let’s give it a few minutes to see if the lights come back on.”
“No thanks,” I muttered to myself before turning to push the door open. When I made it out into the theater’s small lobby I saw the lights out there were out as well. I shrugged and walked carefully down the non-functioning escalator and back to the main floor of the hotel. From down the hall I could hear slot machines clanging and people’s voices. Obviously the power in the casino was fine.
BOOK: Rocked in the Dark
9.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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