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About the author:
Paula Dombrowiak grew up in Chicago, Illinois but currently lives in Arizona. She is the author of Blood and Bone, her first adult romance novel which combines her love of music and imperfect relationships. Paula is a lifelong music junkie, whose wardrobe consists of band T-shirts and leggings which are perpetually covered in pet hair. Music is what inspires her storytelling.
What inspired you to write your book?
I watched this popular show on TV about a big country artist who had a complicated relationship with the guitar player in her band. Although their relationship was complicated, they made incredible music together. I was really inspired by that kind of deeply emotional relationship and wanted to explore that between two characters. I've been a lifelong music junkie and thought back to when I was a teenager in the '90s and thought about a band starting out in the '90s when grunge was just becoming popular. That is what inspired me to write Blood and Bone.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“Who ate my fucking yogurt!” Cash bellowed through the tour bus.
“Nobody ate your special yogurt, freak.” Jack kicked his feet up on the table.
“Get your feet off the table.” Wade smacked him and his boots landed with a hollow thud against the bus’s floorboards.
“All I want is to just enjoy my yogurt and I can’t because you assholes keep eating my shit.” Cash slammed the tiny refrigerator door closed.
“I kind of agree with him.” Wade crossed his arms. “There was a full jar of pickles in there last week and all I’m saying is that the jar is practically empty now.” He gave them all a skeptical look.
“More important,” Mia interjected, “is why I have to step over dirty underwear on the way to my room?” She gave all of them a disgusted look because no one could tell whose underwear it was anyway and none of them would admit to being the culprit.
“Why does she get the big bedroom, again?” Wade asked, hooking his thumb in the direction of the back master suite which was only slightly bigger than their bunks but it had its own bathroom.
Mia gave Wade an incredulous look. “Do I really have to answer that?”
“Can I just make a general statement?” Jack stood up. “Flush.” He made a pointed look at all of them. “All I’m gonna say.” He held his hands up and then sat back down.
“Why are you so worried about it anyway when you’re using Mia’s bathroom.” Cash said to him annoyed. “You practically moved in there anyway.”
“Don’t be jealous.” Jack said to him flippantly.
“Don’t be an asshole.” Cash said back to him.
“As if I haven’t heard that one before.” Jack rolled his eyes and put his boots back on the table. Wade eyed him and he moved them off the table again with a loud sigh.
“This is supposed to be fun.” He got up and moved around the bus. “Instead I’m living with my grandmother and the food police.” He looked pointedly at Wade and Cash.
“I just ask for a little common courtesy and you call me the food police?” Wade said.
“I think you’re the grandmother and I’m the food police.” Cash corrected Wade.
“Whatever.” Wade shook his head. “The fact is, those,” he pointed on the floor beside the bunk, “are not my underwear.”
“Well, they’re not mine!” Cash said immediately and they both looked at Jack.
“Babies, the two of you.” Jack shook his head and walked over to the underwear. Using a pencil to scoop them up he inspected them. With a broad smile, he said, “Could be mine.” He shrugged. “I was probably in rush last night.” He raised his eyebrows toward Mia.
“Pig, much?” Mia scrunched up her nose at him.
The bus stopped and the driver opened the door to tell them they had arrived. The Radio City Music Hall lights blared at them as Jack looked out the bus window. He should have been excited to be here, playing live for the MTV Video Music Awards, but disagreements over which song to play had tainted the experience. Jack wanted to play Blood and Bone but the producers thought it was too controversial and dark.
Bret was having a hissy fit about it being great exposure for the band and reluctantly got them to agree to play Shades of Blue. For Jack, it was the integrity of the band that was at stake, not album sales. Although the band had not been getting along lately, with the tight space and too much time together, surprisingly they all agreed with Jack.
“Shit, I need to change.” Jack said, looking down at his converse, jeans, and a stained tee shirt. He made his way to the back bedroom where Mia was standing but she shut the door in his face.
“Ouch!” Cash giggled, pulling a new shirt from his bunk.
“Burn.” Wade chimed in and Jack gave him a confused look, shaking his head.
“Come on, I need a new shirt.” He knocked on the door.
The door opened and Mia threw him a flannel.
“Let’s go!” Bret opened the bus door and barked at them.
Jack threw the flannel over his shirt and they piled out of the bus, Cash knocking into him as they both tried to disembark at the same time. Jack elbowed him in the ribs, taking the lead. Cash gave him a push as he stepped off the last stair.
“Prick.” Jack said, righting himself.
“Asshole.” Cash walked past him.
They were ushered down the chaotic hall where other bands and celebrities pushed their way through. Finally reaching the dressing room, Jack flicked at the hanging sign with the band name Mogo on it and entered. Jack was never into celebrities and didn’t really understand fame. Being recognized places other than at a concert was something he couldn’t get used to.
Today was only the rehearsal and Jack couldn’t fathom the melee that would be the live show tomorrow. At least they would be put up in a nice hotel tonight and he could escape his bandmates for one night.
Jack grabbed hold of Mia’s arm once they had a minute alone. “I’m sorry.” He said genuinely.
“Just don’t be such an ass. It’s hard enough to have a relationship in this chaos but to live together. All of us.” She motioned secretly to Cash and Wade who were inspecting the refreshments table. “That’s what this is right?” Mia said after seeing the look on Jack’s face.
“Yeah, I mean, I guess I never put a label on it.” Jack said to her. “It was always you and me.” He squeezed her hand.
“It’s just sometimes I don’t know and I need you to tell me what you’re thinking.” Mia looked up at him, thick black eyeliner accentuating her hazel eyes.
Jack didn’t like to express his feelings and Mia was constantly testing him. He needed that. He needed her. “You know what you are to me.” He said in a low voice.
“I need you to say it.” She pawed at his face, looking into his eyes, wanting something from him that was so hard for him to give. Maybe he didn’t know how to say it or maybe it simply wasn’t enough, he just knew what he felt.
“Everything.” He breathed. “You are everything to me.” His fingers brushed her cheek, playing with the braid she always wore in her hair.
He pressed his forehead to hers, breathing against the bridge of her nose. “You are a goddess and you deserve to be treated like one.” He said, languishing in the feel of her.
Jack kissed her, feeling the bond course between them. His connection to her was apparent in every song they wrote together. Kissing her brought him back to Payson and those familiar woods behind his house, when he felt stuck between the life he was running away from and the future he was running towards. Everything he felt for her was tied up in that moment when he wrote the lyrics to Blood and Bone on her jeans.
“I guess I wasn’t such an insecure prick after all.” Aiden said from the doorway.
Jack released Mia. “You have got to be kidding me.” He said as he stared at his old friend. Jack knew Aiden and Daphne had been doing very well for themselves, striking a deal with a big label not too long after their friendship imploded. What Jack didn’t know was that they would be playing at the same show.
“Surprised to see me?” Aiden smirked.
“Yeah, I didn’t know they were giving awards for the worst bassist.” Jack laughed.
“Real funny, asshole.” Aiden said. “Just make sure to use two fingers, not one. She likes it like that.” Aiden cocked an eyebrow directly at Mia.
“What the fuck did you just say?” Jack growled.
“Motherfucker!” Cash yelled and joined Jack who lunged at Aiden. The three of them landed on the floor. Jack and Cash fighting each other to see who could get to Aiden first. The security guards were quick to pull them apart and get the situation under control. “And I thought the rappers would be the problem.” Jack heard one of the producers say, shaking his head.
Security escorted Aiden down the hall to a different area to make sure Jack and Aiden were separated for the rest of the day and avoid any more fights.
“I can’t fucking believe that guy.” Cash pulled Jack from the security guard, his arm around his shoulder as he led him towards the couch. Jack was too amped up to sit and began to pace.
“This whole thing is bullshit.” Jack raised his voice. “These pricks telling us what to do.” Jack referred to the producers dictating what song they played. Aiden was just the catalyst to his ever-growing annoyance at the whole event.
“What are you thinking?” Cash leaned on the couch eyeing Jack.
Jack stopped pacing for a minute and gave Cash a mischievous smile.
“When the two of you agree on something is when I start to worry.” Wade looked between Jack and Cash.
“Wow, well I’m doing ok if anyone cares.” Mia said sarcastically with her arms over her chest.
“Mia!” The three of them mocked her while racing over to put their arms around her.
“To think you three are the ones defending my honor.” Mia laughed so hard she didn’t have the strength to push them away.
“They’re ready for you.” One of the runners came to retrieve the band.
Strapping the Fender Mustang around his body, Jack watched as Cash took his place next to him on stage. He looked behind at Wade getting set up on the drums and to the right was Mia on the keyboard. This was the stage they would play at tomorrow night’s live VMAs. They needed to make sure the equipment and sound were good. When they were given the go-ahead, Jack launched into Blood and Bone watching as one of the producers threw his clipboard in the air and stormed off. Bret stood behind one of the cameras and pinched his nose between his fingers in a God give me strength gesture.
Jack was still riled and took out his aggression on the Fender. Cash was on point with his Bass. They’d never played so well. His anger now having time to fester, Jack was keenly aware of Mia on stage with him. Maybe it was Aiden’s comments that got under his skin but he couldn’t seem to get the image out of his mind of Aiden and Mia fucking.
The last chord lingered in the air and Jack flipped the mic stand over. “Sounds fucking great to me.” He said as he stalked off the set.
“What the fuck was that?” Jack heard one of the producers yelling after him. “It was supposed to be Shades of Blue.”
“I’ll talk to them.” He heard Bret explain. “Don’t worry about it. All will be good for the live show, just like we planned.”
“If they pull that stunt on live TV, I will pull the Goddamn plug on them.” The producer yelled.
“Hey?” Mia trotted beside him. “Don’t let what Aiden said, get under your skin.” She matched his stride.
“How are you so fucking ok with it?” Jack asked.
“I’m not.” Mia touched his arm. “But he’s not worth it.”
They weren’t alone in the hall but he had an overwhelming urge to kiss her. “I don’t like the fact that you were ever with him.” Jack simmered.
Mia seemed to sense the shift in his demeanor and her eyes darkened. There was no other person on this earth that knew him better. All of the darkness and sadness inside of him like a reflecting pool and instead of running from him, she sank deeper into the abyss, pulling him in with her.
Mia understood what he needed, taking his hand in hers and leading him into a darkened room and shutting the door behind her. She handed him a small vial she had tucked into the pocket of her skirt. When he was finished with it, he handed it to her to take a hit. His mind now on autopilot, like floating in water, fluid, and rushing. He noticed his surroundings as some kind of utility room with packed shelves and tables. He could only see Mia’s outline as she pulled her shirt over her head, letting it fall to the floor. Her small breasts exposed, Jack realizing she didn’t have a bra on the whole time. It made his heart race. As if she were pulling on an invisible cord between them, he moved towards her. Mia placed her hands on his shoulders and gently pushed him down until he was kneeling before her. His cock pulsed inside his jeans as he placed kisses against her belly. His hands pushed her skirt around her waist as Mia ran her fingers through his hair. His mouth was on her, tasting her through the thin material of her panties, already so wet for him, and listening to her ragged breathing made him even more lascivious.
He rose before her, unable to slow himself down. Hurriedly he unbuckled his jeans and pushed her panties aside to enter her, pulling her legs around his waist as she leaned against a table behind her. Kissing her was like being lost inside those woods, halfway between the life he was running from and the one he was running towards. Mia was eager to take him to places he never knew existed. What he felt was not the lustful feelings of a teenage boy but the resolve of a man who knew exactly what he wanted.