From author Kylie Scott and 1001 Dark Nights, an all-new novella in the amazing Stage Dive series is out this week, and I have a little sneak peek for you.
This was awful. A terrible mistake. I should have just texted him maybe. Or taken the money and never gone near him again. Much safer for my heart and soul.
“It’s really you,” he said, a line forming between his brows. About as much as he committed to being curious about anything outside of music. One small line. “What are you doing here?”
“You sent me that check,” I said, tone terse.
“Well, it’s a bit excessive, don’t you think?”
He just shrugged, pushing back the towel half covering his face. “Figured you helped support me while I was coming up. Plus, you were sort of the inspiration for some of the songs, so…”
“Sort of?” I just blinked. “Which ones?”
“What?” He blinked back at me. There was always something boyish in his gaze that got to me. Something pure, almost. He loved what he loved, and as far as he was concerned, it just was that straightforward and simple. Not that any of that mattered anymore. Right now, he just seemed tired and confused.
“Which songs was I sort of the inspiration for?” I asked, pushing onward.
He took a long pull on the bottle of Gatorade. “You know.”
“No, I don’t, actually. Though I’d very much like to.”
Nothing from him.
“I’m a little perplexed, Adam. You see, I thought you’d written the whole damn album about how abhorrent I was. All about what an utter backstabbing, Satan-worshipping hussy I turned out to be. I mean, you basically told the entire world I was the worst of the worst. But apparently, it was only some of the songs. What a relief. Phew.” I blew out a breath. “So, which ones?”
“How about Hard Little Heart? Did I inspire that one?”
I tapped a finger against my lips. “‘She’s solid rotten to the core, guaranteed to make your heart sore.’ Those are the lyrics, right?”
“And Devil in the Woman?”
“I kind of take inspiration from everywhere,” he blurted out, sounding all sorts of soundbite and desperate. The idiot.
I cocked my head. “That’s strange. I could have sworn in that interview for Music Monthly that you’d only ever been in one serious relationship in your life, and it was the basis for almost all of your recent music.”
“You’ve been following me online?”
“Right,” he said. “Well, I meant what I said. Almost all of the music.”
Mac gave us an amused glance in the rearview mirror. Beside him, Bon shifted in his seat slightly, all the better to watch me out of the corner of his eye. That the bodyguard considered me a threat was kind of cool. A huge bolster to my wounded ego.
“What about Better Off Gone?” I asked. “I like that one. It’s sort of bluesy. I mean, the woman you’re singing about obviously ruined your whole existence for all of space and time, but still…nice tune.”
His gaze skipped about the interior of the vehicle. “Um, yeah, I don’t really remember. Look, about the money—”
“Unless of course when you were talking about the songs being written about the most important and meaningful relationship you’d ever been in, the love of your life that broke your heart into a million tiny little razor-edged pieces, you didn’t in fact mean me. Was that it?”
He scowled, appearing truly put out. “You know I meant you.”
“Wow. Now we’re getting somewhere. Okay,” I said through gritted teeth. “Is this the same relationship where you sprinkled your assorted crap throughout the entire apartment like an indie-rock trash fairy, contributed to household finances solely in the form of cold leftover pepperoni pizza, and missed my birthday dinner because someone invited you to jam at the last minute?”
“I already apologized for that. And you like pizza!”
Bon turned a chuckle into a cough in the front seat. Very professionally done.
I just groaned. “Tell me you’ve achieved some small modicum of personal growth involving some healthy self-realization in the last year. Please.”
Streetlights and nighttime traffic flowed by outside as we made our way through Portland’s downtown area. I’d heard he had an apartment nearby in the Pearl District. If you wanted hip clothes, restaurants, or just the best bookshop in the entire world, it was the place to be. Not that I could afford it, usually.
And all the while, Adam just sat there, watching me with his dark eyes. “You’re still angry, huh?”