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About the author:
Barbara C. Doyle grew up in a small town in Upstate New York, surrounded by a passion for writing, pizza, and cats.
Her journey started at the young age of fourteen, and grew as she pursued a degree in English and Journalism throughout college. She believes that the written word is best used as a mode to escape into a different reality, thus the birth of her novels.
Her other passions include binge-watching Netflix, reading, and hanging out with her cat.
What inspired you to write your book?
I wanted to write a book that was raw and emotional. I wanted to show how the rockstar life wasn't always full of glitz and glamour like it's portrayed. Fame takes a lot out of Ian Wells, and he seeks out peace in an old childhood friend that he hasn't seen in a long time. His solace is meant to bring him back to a reality that he never knew he cherished before his band Relentless became famous.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Just fucking great.
After a twelve-hour shift of waitressing at the diner, a two-hour long dance recital, and an hour-long chat with the last person on earth I wanted to talk to, I was stuck outside of my own apartment building. Guessing from the huge group of pushy men and women holding huge ass cameras and microphones, I assumed some lucky bastard won the lottery. Either that or the crazy cat lady had finally kicked it and her once-beloved pets started to get rid of the body themselves.
I shiver at the thought.
The thing is, I’m not a patient person. Especially after being on my feet nonstop and dealing with idiots. I’m tired. I’m cranky. I want to heat up some microwavable mac and cheese, and go to bed.
So I elbow my way through the crowd to get toward the entrance. There are a few murmurs, but I don’t hear anything that piques my interest as to why they’re blocking my building. To my surprise, there are two massive men barricading the door, and they look serious. Like, ‘try to pass us and we’ll shoot you’ serious.
I’m too tired to care though.
The blond one holds out his hand. “No entry.”
Between his stoic expression, massive biceps, and baritone voice, I don’t really think arguing will help. But I have a date with my bed that I don’t want to be late for, and I’m not going to let two bimbos stop me from the sleep I deserve.
“I live here.”
The brunet rolls his eyes. “Like we haven’t heard that one before. We checked the list, lady. Everybody who lives here is accounted for.”
Is he kidding me?
“Well you better check again,” I all but hiss at him.
Bimbo number one looks down at me. “Listen, lady—”
I am twenty-two years old, and I have a name. Do either of these men have manners? First, they refuse to let me enter my own damn apartment, and then they refer to me like I’m forty. That isn’t setting well with me.
“Listen here,” I tell them firmly, “I live on the second floor in apartment 2b. I pay an outrageous amount of rent per month, and I plan on getting as much as I can from it. And for your information, I have a name and it isn’t ‘lady.’ So I suggest that you and your goony friend move out of my way so I can make dinner and go to bed. Do we understand each other?”
I hear a click from a camera behind me.
I turn around and glare at them. “I don’t know what the hell you’re doing here, but go away! Nobody wants their goddamn picture taken.”
One of the bimbos behind me snickers.
One of the reporters steps forward. “We’re not leaving until we have a story.”
I eye them. “You want a story?” I hold up my middle finger to them. “Why don’t you report on how this overworked, underpaid adult is being harassed by a bunch of moronic reporters? Don’t think I won’t call the police.”
“We’re not doing anything wrong,” somebody in the crowd yells.
“This is private property,” I reply coolly. “By invading this property, you’re trespassing. I may not be a cop or anything, but I know my rights. I swear to God if you don’t leave this place in five minutes, my foot is going to be so far up your asses you can taste it.”
They all exchange looks.
I stand there with my arms crossed, making sure I make eye contact with all of them. I’m not going to back down, and they need to know that.
It isn’t until I pull out my cell phone and dial that they start to disperse.
When every one of them is gone, I hang up. I turn and face the men again. They both look highly amused at my act, but the exhaustion I feel drowns out every care in the world.
“Were you really calling the police?” the blond one asks.
“Nope. Now are you going to let me in?”
The brunet one shrugs. “She doesn’t seem like one of them,” he confers with his buddy.
“She could be playing us.”
I groan. “I’m not playing anybody! I don’t know why you’re here, and I personally don’t care. Whatever list you’re looking at has to be wrong, because I live here, which means not everybody is accounted for. And for the record, this is an apartment complex, not a club. We don’t need any lists or bouncers.”
They both tilt their heads back and start laughing.
“You’re a feisty one,” the brunet one muses.
“He’s going to hate it.”
My eyebrow raises. “Who?”
Blondie opens the front door. “If you really live here, you’ll find out soon enough.”
I have no interest in digging for details. All my mind can think about is getting out of my sneakers and socks and feeling the cool hardwood floor against my aching feet. Whatever is going on can wait until tomorrow.
“For the record, my name is Kasey,” I tell them, stepping between them into the building.
There’s no avoiding their sudden interest in my name, but I wave them off. I hear the door close behind me, along with their hushed murmurs, but keep walking without looking back.
My give-a-damn has thoroughly been busted after the day I had. I just hope they’re gone in the morning, and my life goes back to normal.
Boring, but normal. Just how I like it.
My alarm clock reads 1:42 when the music from down the hall grows louder. If it were 1:42 in the afternoon, I wouldn’t have cared. But it’s after midnight, and my sanity is wearing thin. Whoever the new person is who decided to wake me up in the middle of the night is not making a good impression.
It takes me three more tosses, a few more turns, and a pillow almost suffocating me before I realize that I need to get out of bed and visit the newcomer. I ignore the fact that I’m wearing cotton pajama shorts and a tank top with barely any support. I’m already out the door with my keys in my hand before I can think about what I must look like.
I pound on the door.
A third time.
The door opens, and a shirtless twenty-something-year-old guy is on the other side. He stares down at me, practically checking me out. His gaze starts from my painted pink toenails, up my toned pale legs, until his eyes land on mine.
His greeting? “All right, all right. I’ll give you my autograph if you stop banging on my door.”
My eyes widen as he grabs something from the table next to his door. It’s a picture of his face, along with a permanent marker. Is this guy for real?
“I don’t want your stupid autograph!” I inform him in disbelief.
He stops signing the picture to look at me. “What?”
I roll my eyes. “Wow. You must really think highly of yourself if you think the people who come to your door in the middle of the night want your stupid picture.”
He chuckles. “Most of the time when girls come by in the middle of the night it’s a booty call. Which, I suppose it could be now in those cute little shorts. What’s on those? Cupcakes?”
I narrow my eyes at him. “They’re puppies, and there is no way in hell this is a booty call. I came by because your music is too loud, and I want you to turn it down.”
He stares at me. “Really?” he draws out slowly.
I’m two seconds away from hitting him. “Yes, really! You obviously don’t care about anybody but yourself if you think there aren’t people trying to sleep around here. I get that you’re new, but—”
“You’re what, twenty? Twenty-one?” He scopes me out. “Shouldn’t you be out partying on a Thursday night? It’s thirsty Thursday every Thursday, am I right?”
I scoff. “I’m twenty-two, for your information. Unlike the college girls you’re describing, I’m actually responsible. I have this thing called a job that requires me to get up early in the morning. Do you know what that means?”
Smirking, he shakes his head. He leans his shoulder—his broad, muscular shoulder—against the doorjamb. I can’t help but notice his sculpted body, since it’s on full display in front of me. He must work out constantly to have the abs like that. And, as much as I don’t want to, I like it.
I clear my throat. “It means I need to get as much sleep as possible before my shift tomorrow.”
He nods slowly. “And where is your shift?”
Why did he want to know? “The diner.”
I find it weird that the new guy knows the local diner, but it’s a small enough town, so I shouldn’t be too surprised.
“Yes,” I answer. “So turn down your music so I can get some sleep. You’re not making a good impression on your new neighbors.”
“You’re the only one who has complained,” he claims.
How am I the only one who cares about how loud his music was? People in China probably heard the horrible music blaring from his speakers. Just standing at the door makes my ears hurt.
“Well you’re not making a good first impression with me,” I restate, hoping that would work. I’m sure other people would complain eventually if he didn’t stop. It can’t just be me who gives a damn.
“You really don’t know who I am, do you?” he inquires in amusement. I can’t help but see a twinkle in his annoyingly ocean blue eyes. It reminds me of the same twinkle I get when I’m up to no good.
I cross my arms on my chest. “Besides an egotistical asshole who has no respect for anybody and …” I sniff the air coming from his apartment, “likes to drink, no. Why, should I?”
One of his eyebrows raise. “First of all, I had two beers. Secondly, you don’t know me, which means you can’t assume that I’m an asshole. At least get to know me before you make that call. And thirdly, I’m not egotistical, I’m just fucking awesome.”
I gape at him.
He smirks, showing white teeth. “You remind me of somebody,” he notes casually. He looks at me like he’s trying to figure out my life story. “Have we met before?”
His eyes narrow as they travel around my face, taking in my features. Compared to his, I look basic. My eyes are a boring shade of yellow-green, my nose is pointed at the tip, my lips aren’t full. Yet, he looks at me like my flaws are actually my best traits, and something about that sparks a new feeling inside of me that I haven’t felt before
He shakes his head. “We’ve met before,” he states confidently. “There’s something about your snark that definitely hits home to me. I’ve heard it before.”
His eyes focus on mine, travelling over my face.
“I’m sure you’re thinking of half the female population you’ve encountered with your charm,” I answer sarcastically.
“You think I’m charming?”
“I was being sarcastic, idiot stick.”
He claps. “That’s it!” he exclaims loudly. He laughs this time, leaving me staring at him in complete confusion. Is he on crack?
I stare at him in wonder. “How do you know …?”
Without any warning, he pulls me into a hug. My face presses against the hard planes of his chest as he squeezes the air out of me. I let my arms dangle at my sides.
I’m not the hugging type.
He pulls away. His blue eyes crystalize as he looks down at me. The smile on his face makes me wonder what the hell just happened. And how does he know my name?
His smile remains as he says, “You used to call me an idiot stick in the fourth grade. I have never heard anybody else say that, so I’m one hundred percent positive it’s you.”
I try thinking back to elementary school, but besides eating glue and getting put in the corner for ripping off Barbie doll heads in first grade, I don’t remember much. Twelve years is a long time—it’s practically a different life.
He holds his heart like he’s offended. “You really don’t remember me do you, Kay? Not even that time when you were chasing me around the playground, then made me eat dirt when I fell down?”
Suddenly my ten-year-old days were coming back to me. Mainly because I used to nurse the longest crush ever known to man on the kid he was referring to. Back then it was hard not to tease the kid you liked. I remember the day he was talking about, because it was the same day he picked on me for being afraid of the monkey bars. When I finally worked up the nerve to try using them, I fell and hurt myself. His payback for laughing at me was eating dirt. If he was talking about himself … it meant my elementary crush was standing right in front of me twelve years later.
This time I really look at him. His brown hair is long and messy, and he has matching brown stubble lining his jaw. Somehow, he manages to work it, because I hate facial hair on guys normally. And the way his face is shaped is almost unbearable, because his cheekbones make me jealous. I mean, since when am I ever jealous over cheekbones?
What really got to me were his eyes. I have a weak spot for blue eyes, and his are the perfect shade. In contrast with his tan skin, they popped, especially lined with his dark lashes.
There is one way to prove it’s really him though.
“If you’re really Ian Wells, then you wouldn’t mind showing me your birthmark,” I bargain. “I seem to remember you believing that it was a mark the aliens gave you to track you down in the future.”
“My cousin told me that when I was five!” he defends. “And if you must know, it’s a heart located on the back of my shoulder. You want to see?”
He turns around to show me the mark, and sure enough it is clear as day. I’m tempted to trace the small mark like I used to when I was little. As embarrassing as it is to admit, every doodle heart I ever drew in my notebook as a kid was modeled after the one right in front of me.
But I made myself stop that a long time ago, and I wasn’t going to let this change anything now.
“So what are you doing back in town? I haven’t seen you since you moved in fifth grade.”
I don’t bother hiding my hostility from him.
He chuckles. “You’re a waitress in town, and you don’t hear the gossip? Huh, maybe small towns can change then.” He smiles. “I’m staying here for a while until I go back on tour.”
“You’re in a band?”
“Want to come in?” he replies, gesturing toward his apartment. “It’s kind of drafty in the hall, and that outfit you’re wearing barely covers you.”
To make his point, his eyes narrow in at my chest.
“I’m fine,” I snap defensively, crossing my arms on my chest. “You’re the one without a shirt on.”
“Well, you can take your shirt off to even things out.”
My jaw drops. “No way!”
He laughs, and this time it comes from deep in his chest. I don’t like being laughed at. In fact, I don’t need to keep talking to him. The whole reason I came over here was to get him to turn his music down. I need to go to bed.
“I have to go,” I tell him, turning to walk away.
“Come on, Kay—”
“It’s Kasey,” I all but hiss.
He stares at me. “I used to call you Kay all the time.”
“Well I don’t like it.”
“You did back then,” he notes. “In fact, I seem to recall you liked me back then.”
It isn’t some big secret that I liked him when we were younger. In fact, I remember sitting with him under the slide during recess and talking to him until recess was over. What made it real, even back as a child, was that he was my first kiss.
I blush at the thought.
“I think we’re thinking the same thing,” he mumbles, stepping forward. “Based on the color on your cheeks, that is. You always blushed a lot. Especially that day under the slide.”
I bite my lip.
He leans forward. “Maybe I can make you blush some more? It’s been a long time. I’ve learned plenty of new moves to make the ladies blush.”
My eyes widen.
“I have to go,” I repeat, voice hoarse. Walking toward my door, I shake my head.
Ian Wells is flirting with me.
Ian Wells is in a band.
Ian Wells is not my best friend anymore …
“I am,” he calls, as I slip the key in the lock.
I look at him in confusion. “You’re what?”
He smirks. “In a band,” he answers. He leans against the wall. “We have to catch up, Kasey. It’s been too long.”
Even though he sounds sincere, I don’t want to. Years passed and old flames died. I was just a kid with a crush that meant nothing.
First kiss or not, I don’t want to know anything more about Ian Wells.