Warning: get ready for a testosterone overload.
The guys are in the driver’s seat in Seduced – and the ride’s gonna rock.
Twenty-three year old Nick Crandall has one focus in his life: Oblivion, the band he formed with his best friend Simon Kagan. With gigs coming up and the band members lacking focus after losing their drummer to rehab, they’re out of ideas. Until Oblivion’s bassist, Deacon McCoy, poses a surprising suggestion.
Bring in someone new. Two someones.
One You Tube video gone viral later, Oblivion is poised on the brink of stardom. With their new hot drummer chick — who comes in a package deal with a talented guitarist who happens to be head over pick in unrequited love with her – it seems like everything’s falling into place. Or will the band Nick and Simon have fought to keep together disintegrate before their eyes?
*click me for an Excerpt*
Simon: Black Magic
Scars and curves, loss and gain, she’s the thief in the night that soothes all my fears
Simon Kagan stumbled against the brick wall behind him. The silk screen flags from all the concerts they’d been to stopped him from cutting the shit out of his back. He bounced his skull against the wall. Cold and solid, the brick jarred his brain and the flicker of pain helped snap him into the now. Through the quick sting of tears, a flash of coherence cut through the fog for the first time in months.
He tugged at the thin silver bracelet on his arm. The worn snake’s head fell into the grooves of his wrist where it had rested since Oblivion started ten years ago. The one remaining emerald chip glinted up at him from the eye of the pounded silver. His other bracelet, the banged up infinity symbol his mother had always worn, clanged against the snake head eating its own tail. Two of the few constants in his life.
He was rhapsodizing about a damn bracelet. Hallmark and Lifetime should just fuck in his head and get it over with. Maybe make romantic comedy babies.
He blinked away the last of the sluggish edges from the pint of vodka he’d had for dinner. It was easier to glide on the cool indifference of booze. Easier wasn’t going to get them through this intact. Easy would splinter this tinder box apart.
Maybe Deacon’s news would finally jerk Nick out of his safe little bubble of depression. Once upon a time Nick had been their constant well of creativity and all Simon had to do was sit across from him with a legal pad and the songs came. Sometimes faster than the ink could hit the page, and sometimes painfully slow scrawls, but the words always flowed.
How long had it been since a song had come together between them? He could count the months instead of the days.
Across from Deak, Nick sat on the sofa. Misery had carved grooves into his defiant face. His shoulders were stiff, and his straight spine would do Sister Mary Catherine proud.
The nun across the street at Saint Vincent’s was forever praying for their souls. At least that’s what he hoped she was doing when she crossed herself when they walked by.
At this point Simon’s soul didn’t need saving, just his sanity.
His brain was jumbled with words, drenched in alcohol to quiet them. It was all he could do to keep his shit together lately. Nick had always been the one to streamline the crap in his head and make it work.
He missed his best friend and the jam sessions. He missed the insults over chord progressions. Music had cemented their friendship, but now it was a wall between them.
Simon knew his strength was fine-tuning a song and finding the perfect blend of tone and inflection. He was the voice. The guitar was an instrument to write and the cool factor couldn’t be denied, but the mic had always been his best fit. And if he had to give up co-lead guitar he’d do it. Anything to save this clusterfuck of a band they’d become.
Deacon had been just as stifled, but he’d found an outlet. And Simon couldn’t blame him. Drinking and hiding had never been Deak’s style. He was the single moving force in the band. Leaving Nick alone to obsess was what got them into this mess. Snake’s addiction was a symptom of the cancer eating Oblivion alive. Nick was just too blind to realize it.
Deacon’s earnest eyes and fingers digging into his knees made Simon click in again. He’d missed something.
Simon scrubbed his palms down his thighs then sat next to Nick. They needed to discuss this like a band, not a bunch of nancy bitches that couldn’t face hard truths.
“Gray’s been playing for a good ten years. He’s a little younger than us, but his talent is solid. Even better, that drummer I mentioned?” Deacon pushed back a hank of hair behind his ear. “I’ve met her. She can play damn near any instrument, but this girl on the skins is a sight to see.”
Nick’s mouth dropped open. “A chick?”
Deacon held up a hand. “Yes, she’s a girl, but she’s a genius.”
“If she’s such a genius, then what’s she doing playing the Rhino?”
Simon tugged a rubber band from his wrist and tied back the top of his hair. He wasn’t sure about dragging a chick into the band either, but a drummer was a drummer. She would be behind the kit and out of the way. There was damn well enough drama at the front of the stage.
“Same as you,” Deak said, an edge to his normally even voice. “She’s just as talented and just as hungry to make it out of the shitboxes we play in. Between Gray and Jazz, we’d have a tight band.”
“You get this temporary, right? Snake will be back once he’s out of rehab.”
Deacon barely missed a beat. “Sure. If you meet them and they don’t gel, then we’ll walk away and figure something else out.”
Nick paused, his gaze cool. “Are you going to walk with them?”
Simon popped up from the couch. “Fuck off, Nick. No one is going anywhere.”
“I don’t know.” Deak’s low reply echoed in the room, and for an instant, Simon only stared at Nick.
I don’t know? After all they’d been through, Deak was ready to pack it in?
Simon expected Nick to blast Deak’s ears off for that one. But Nick just kept his eyes on Simon, as if somehow this was his fault for not reining Deak in.
Simon smothered a sigh. Hell if he liked taking on the heavy role in the group, but sometimes there was no choice. Like right now. “What the fuck, man?”
Deak scraped his hair back, leaving his angular face naked. There was strain along with dark circles under his eyes. “I can’t do this much longer. All we do is fight. You haven’t written a damn thing with Nick in weeks.”
“Months,” Simon said before he could shut his damn mouth. Fucking vodka.
Nick flinched and rose. “So a few bad months and you’re going to walk?”
“No.” Deak stood. “I’m just saying we need to do something. I don’t want to walk, but I am not going to live in this fucking basement for the rest of my life.” He paced the length of the living room, his long, muscular body tense as a guitar string. “I’m twenty-four years old and still eating Ramen noodles as a basic food group. I hustle pool three times a week just for beer money. I want more than shilling at the pier for loose change or begging for a set at the Rhino. I want to be in the band that gets the prime Friday night gigs in the best clubs on the Strip. I’m sick of waiting.”
“And he’s too good to hide away in this shithole,” Simon said quietly. Deacon was a damn good composer and he’d been content with that role in the band. Maybe they’d taken advantage of that. If Deak could make something out of the chaos that he and Nick came up with, there had to be words and notes burning in Deacon’s head same as the rest of them.
“I didn’t realize you were so fuckin’ unhappy, Deak.”
“Never said I was unhappy,” Deak replied, his gaze level on Nick. “Just saying the band has options that we’ve been ignoring. I have options.”
Nick slumped back against the sagging couch. “Then fucking walk.”
Deacon stopped in front of him. “I don’t want to. I want you to meet Gray and Jazz. There’s something there, man. I can’t define it. But it’s like we’ve been waiting to meet them.”
“You sound like you’ve already asked them to join. Since when did this become your band? I thought it was ours.”
Deacon loomed over Nick, his jaw and fists tight. Simon dropped his arms to his sides and widened his stance. Looked like fists were going to fly one way or another tonight. “We need fresh blood. Obviously we’re missing something. Hell, even just jamming with someone else might get the spark back. If you and Gray don’t hit it off, we walk away.”
“What about hitting it off with the drummer? That’s what we actually need, not another damn guitarist.”
A smile curved Deak’s mouth. “Don’t think you’ll have a problem with her, bud.”
Nick grunted. “And all of us will walk if I do?”
Simon hated the quiet nerves in Nick’s voice. Simon sat back down beside his best friend. “This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. All musicians jam out and talk. We’ve been staring at these brick walls way too much. We gotta do something to shake things up.”
Nick tipped his head back, his Adam’s apple bobbing with each hard swallow. Stubble and tired eyes told Simon more than words. Nick was as fried as the rest of them.
This was their Hail Mary to save the band. Nick had to see that.
Nick nodded and stood, then grabbed his jacket. “Set it up,” he said over his shoulder. He was already on his way out.
Simon crossed his arms in a jangle of beads and silver. “Where are you going?”
“Gotta walk.” The door slammed behind Nick.
Simon was halfway to his feet when Deacon clamped a hand on his shoulder. “Let him go. We sprang a lot on him.”
“I just hope he keeps an open mind.” Yeah, right. Fat chance of that happening.
“An optimist to the last, aren’t you?”
“Me? Hell no.” Simon jammed his hands into his hair, pushing the tie out to dig his fingers into the base of his skull. “I need a fucking shower.”
“Yeah, you do.”
Deacon’s lips slid into his usual wry smile. “I only speak truth, brother. You smell like a gym bag soaked in vodka.”
Simon sniffed at his pit. “Close enough.” Maybe a shower would sober him up. Or maybe he should just bring the bottle in with him and finish off the night in a blissful blackout.
“Don’t be long. I’m going to call Gray, see if he can meet us upstairs in the laundromat. He works overnights but he should be around now. I don’t think he starts until midnight.”
Simon sighed. There went the idea of oblivion, his kind rather than the band’s. He peered up at Deacon. He was only four inches taller, but damn if he made Simon feel like a midget. “You had this little meet and greet planned.”
Deak shrugged. “I’m going stir crazy, man.”
“All right. I’ll meet you upstairs in twenty.”
Four guys & one woman + more success than they ever bargained for = trouble, of the sexiest kind.
What people are saying about SEDUCED…
Relationships are tested, strengthened, formed, and broken – all in the pages of this story. The authors warn us right up front, this is only the beginning. I agree. I’m in line out front of the club and screaming for more.Harlequin Junkie
Seduced made sure that, by the end, I was fully invested in each of the characters, the band as a whole, and where the series was going to take me next. Really, this book is aptly named as it definitely seduced me.Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews
This story was one heck of a roller coaster ride. Cari and Taryn did a fantastic job of creating and really humanizing these characters. I could deeply empathize with their pain, suffering, triumphs and failures.Cocktails & Books