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About the author:
I am a southern girl, born and raised in crawfish country. I love to write romance – and read science fiction and fantasy, horror, romance and erotic romance. I'm a bit of a poet, but mostly when I'm feeling emotional. My friends tend to come to me when they need poems. I've been all over the continental US. My fave state? Oregon, because it has it all – beaches, ocean, mountains, caves, valleys, desert. I've been to Canada. I've driven an 18 wheeler…I'm 5'1", lol. I wanted to be a race car driver, but my first love is reading/telling stories. Why? Because between the covers of a book, you can go anywhere, be anything, and do whatever you like…all in the span of a few hours.
What inspired you to write your book?
I've written stories ever since I was a kid, but only recently started publishing under pen names. For my birthday, my sister to me to an acoustical concert and purchased the VIP meet and greet package. It was Rick Springfield, my teenage crush. I used to daydream about him for hours, as a teen. I always hoped to steal his heart – like all young girls and their famous crushes. The concert brought it all back – the pounding heart, the butterflies, the lustful passion of first love – and spawned this story about an eighteen year old girl, Callie, and an up and coming rock star named Jessie.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The music thumped, and my foot had the accelerator mashed nearly to the floor on the familiar route. I was heading home from Natchitoches, and I was in a hurry to get there before my ice cream turned to slush. I pass by Bartholomew’s at least once or twice a week; I barely even glance at it anymore—but something caught my eye and had me doing a U-turn in the middle of the two-lane road, retracing my steps, and taking another, closer, look.
The oversized pasteboard sign in front of the dilapidated old bar read:
One Night Only
See history in the making!
He’s gonna be huge—get your bragging rights right here!
Eighteen and up, only! Twenty-one to drink!
But it was the accompanying photo that caught my eye, paused my heart and made my breath leave my lungs in a whoosh. Beneath a shimmering sweep of long brown hair were eyes the dark green you can only find deep inside the forest, where the sun barely penetrates the shadows, and the only sounds heard are the whispers of breezes through the branches of trees that have stood the test of time—and it was those eyes that ensnared me and pulled me inside the weathered doors. If eyes are windows to the soul, his soul called out to me, a glowing ember nearly extinguished beneath a mountain of pain.
“How much for a ticket?” I asked the burly bouncer standing just inside the entrance.
“How much?” I pointed at the sign, “For the concert?”
“Oh, the show? Oh, yeah.” He looked me over, a knowing glint in his pale grey eyes, “Ladies get in for free.”
“Thank you.” I moved deeper into the smoke-filled shadows to escape his disturbing smirk.
“No problem, darlin’.”
Slipping through the small crowd like a puff of smoke, squeezing through holes almost as they formed, I found my way to the bar and wedged into the narrow opening left by the waitress before it could close up again.
“What can I get for you?” The middle-aged bartender raised an enquiring eyebrow, adding, “And I’ll tell you right now, if it’s alcoholic, I’ll need to see proof of ID before I serve you.”
“Just a Dr. Pepper.” I blushed, looking down. Then, before he could move away to help another customer, “Is the concert really free?”
“Tonight’s show?” I nodded. “Yeah, it’s free. The owner’s doing a favor for the Chief.”
“You don’t seem too pleased about it.”
“I’m not. It has the potential to boomerang around and slap me upside the head.” He scowled. “But nobody asked me my opinion. He was tagged going ten miles over, heading into town on Highway 6—“
“Out where it drops from fifty-five in a blink?”
“Yup, that’d be the spot.” His expression turned morose. “Then one thing led to another, favors were called in, the ticket disappeared, and the Chief leaned on Bart to let the kid do an impromptu concert—as a kind of community service, see, so we’d at least get something out of the deal. He’s supposedly some fancy pants up and coming rock star in the making, and I hope they’re right. Bart ain’t the one who has to clean up all the broken glass after a no talent wannabe tries their luck—I am.”
“Oh, I think he’ll do alright.” I scooped up my glass and turned to go.
“Your lips to God’s ears, kid.”
I nodded, agreeing. The eyes I’d met on the poster out front couldn’t take too many more closed doors before the flame inside him would extinguish, and I had a sneaking suspicion that it’d be a tragedy for music lovers everywhere if that happened. He had to rock the whole house tonight. I whispered a prayer for his success, unsure if anyone up there was listening to the fervent pleadings of a shy, mousy girl down here, but hoping they were.
I felt like I won the lottery when I nabbed a seat at a tall table near the tiny stage. It was in the perfect spot, too—practically front and center. The elderly gentleman who was sitting there stopped me as I passed by, searching for an empty table.
“Miss?” A feather-light tap on my shoulder pulled me around. “You can have my seat…”
“You don’t have to get up—“ My momma raised me better than that. Senior citizens and pregnant ladies sit—unless your legs are broken, you’re young. You can stand.
“No, no, I’m leaving. Some young whipper snapper’s going to be playing, pretty soon, and I have no interest in all that modern stuff—but I suspect you might?”
“Yes, sir. Thank you.” I smiled at him and climbed up on the tall hybrid combination of cushioned stool and low-backed chair he had vacated, just as a couple of local guys came out onto the raised platform, performing last minute checks before the show started. The seat was still warm against the backs of my legs, from his body heat, and I was grateful for that small stroke of luck in the overly chilled pub. I rubbed my arms with both hands, wishing they’d turn the heat on.
“Can I please have your attention?” The bartender hopped up and stood at the mic, waiting for the muted roar of voices to quiet. He tapped it to make sure it was on, and I winced as he got a shrill squeal of feedback in response. “As I’m sure most of you know, we have a musician scheduled for tonight. He’s a newcomer, just starting out on the circuit—hasn’t made a name for himself yet. But we hope—“
“We’d rather listen to the jukebox!” someone called out from the shadows, and whistles and cheers filled the room.
“Well now, Todd, you’re more than welcome to leave and come back tomorrow…” he fired back, unsurprised and unruffled, even after being met with a rambunctious chorus of boos and jeers in reply.
An older redheaded woman at a table near mine, laughed, interrupting before Todd could volley back. “Hell, he’ll probably still be here, tomorrow. What you talking about, Benny?”
“You’re probably right, Jolene,” the bartender agreed, scowling at the thought. “Anyway, as I was saying, Bart told me to put him on the schedule, so if any of you drunk bastards act up and start throwing shit and causing trouble, I’m sending the video surveillance straight to him—then the troublemakers can find another bar to put up with their bullshit after he bans them.”
“Y’all hear that?” Jolene turned to scan the crowd, “Todd? Mitch? Andy? I don’t think any of you would care for the other choices here around town. There ain’t any! Y’all be nice to this kid.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever.” Todd scowled and turned away.
After making sure no one else had any smart-ass comments to add, Benny continued, “Hell, we don’t stand on fanfare around these parts. Come on out, kid. Everybody give a warm round of applause for Jessie Robertson.” He backed out of the way, tripped over the microphone cord, cursed, and stomped off the stage to a chorus of muffled snickers and outright laughter.
“Thanks for the welcome.” Jessie scanned the room, ignoring how half the patrons, maybe more, hadn’t clapped when he’d arrived onstage. His eyes touched on me and I felt my whole face heat up. I glanced down, and then back up, and caught a glint of interest in his forest green eyes.
“You’re welcome, gorgeous!” Jolene blew him a kiss. If looks could kill, I’d probably be in jail for murder, but she didn’t even notice. She was too busy ogling him.
Blushing, he continued, “I have a list of covers that I like to play, but suggestions are also welcome. Just write them down and toss them on stage, and I’ll pick them up in-between songs.” He winked at me and smiled, and my heart raced in my chest.
“Closing Time.” I recognized Todd’s surly baritone and wondered how Jessie would handle it. I shouldn’t have worried. He tackled it like a pro.
“Okay…” He chuckled. “We have our final song picked out. Appreciate the help. Here’s a song I like to start out with. I know it gets me in the right mindset. Maybe you’ll like it, as well.”
He grabbed his guitar, slung it over his shoulder, and soon I heard the distinctive opening to Sweet Home Alabama. The entire room fell silent, as if someone hit a switch. Could he do it justice? I held my breath as he stepped up closer to the microphone…and he aced it. He knocked it out of the park. He had a husky, honeyed quality to his voice that wrapped around the words, giving them a magical depth that reached out and grabbed the listener by the heartstrings. Mesmerized, we all held our collective breaths, as he segued into Highway to Hell, The Joker, Old Time Rock and Roll, and then An American Girl. It was like hearing them all for the first time all over again. When he announced he was taking a short break, I thought the roof was going to collapse with all the whistles and catcalls that went along with the standing ovation those old southern boys gave him.
“Hey, Jessie, hurry back from the pisser and I’ll buy you a beer,” Todd announced, as he jogged past, headed for the men’s room. “You ain’t too shabby for a young pup.”
I felt the tension in my shoulders ease. I relaxed even more when he came back out and several good ol’ boys vied for the privilege to buy him drinks—or I did, until Jolene stepped into his path as he headed back to the stage for another set.
“Hey, sweetie pie,” she purred, walking her fingers up his chest, “Got any plans for after your show, tonight?”
I could see the discomfort in his face. Hating it, I spoke without thinking. “Yeah, he does—with me.”
She spun around, her expression sour, looking me up and down. “And you are?”
“His girl. What’s it to you?” My heart pounded in my chest, threatening to beat its way out. I wondered if he’d call me out on my blatant lie.
“Is that true?” she dared him to agree with me. When he nodded, she huffed, her tone shrill and snarky, “Prolly wouldn’t be worth my time anyhow. Wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman.” Head high, she flounced back to her table.
“Thank you.” He smiled, his melancholy eyes lingering on the curve of my lips as I smiled back.
“Do I really have plans with you?”
I licked dry lips, and shrugged. “Only if you want to.”
“I want to.” An undefinable emotion filled his eyes, and I shivered. “What’s your name?”
“Callie…pretty name. I like it. You live around here?”
I nodded, shy. “Robeline, just west of here.”
He gave me a rueful grin. “I know where that is—quite well, actually.”
“So I heard.”
“That right?” He bit his lip and looked me over. “Do you have a special request that you’d like to hear tonight, Callie?”
“Maybe…can you play Jessie’s Girl?” As soon as the words left my mouth, I wanted to sink into the floor. How original—he probably got asked that all the time.
He nodded, a half smile causing a hidden dimple to dance in his cheek. “Great choice.”
I blushed, inordinately pleased that he seemed to approve of my selection. “It’s my favorite.”
“Mine, too,” he whispered, the heat in his eyes hinting that he wasn’t talking about the song. Back at the mic, he winked at me and announced, “I’m going to start off my second set with a special request from a very special young lady. Feel free to write any other requests on pieces of paper, fold them in half, and toss them up here—I’ll get to as many as I can before my show is done.”
Unlike at the beginning of the show, this time the offer incited a blizzard of requests.