The New York Times Bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series and PLAY ON returns to the world of the arts in this intense and emotional standalone romance about love, sacrifice, and surviving both.
Once upon a time Skylar Finch was the lead singer of a hugely successful American pop-rock band. But fame made her miserable. When years of living a lie suddenly ended in tragedy, Skylar fell off the map.
Eighteen months later she"s sleeping in a tent in a cemetery in Glasgow, making just enough money to eat by busking on the streets. She manages to avoid recognition, but not the attention of one of Glasgow"s ambitious A&R executives.
Killian O"Dea works at Skyscraper Records, Scotland"s most successful record label. Raised by his uncle and owner of the label, Killian"s upbringing would have been devoid of affection entirely if it wasn"t for his loving sister. Killian is unflinchingly determined to bring the label more success than ever, and the young homeless woman who busks on Buchanan Street is going to help him do that. Her music speaks to him in a way he refuses to over-analyze. All he knows is that if it can touch his dark soul, it"ll set everyone else"s alight.
Skylar makes it clear that she doesn"t want to sign with him. But when she experiences the dangerous reality of a woman sleeping rough, Skylar has no one else but Killian to turn to. An undeniable connection forms between them. But Skylar doesn"t want the career Killian is trying to forge for her, and when her past comes back to haunt her Killian will be faced with a decision that could ruin him. He must either free Skylar from his selfish machinations and destroy everything he"s ever worked for, or lose a woman who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible"Books in Series:Play On Series by Samantha YoungBooks by Author:Samantha Young Books
MY MUSIC FILLED THE AIR, creating a surrounding bubble of melody and familiarity in a city still strange to me in so many ways.
It was an overcast day on Buchanan Street. The gray clouds silvered the blond buildings and dulled the boldness of the red sandstone architecture that made up a part of Glasgow"s identity. Busking on the main shopping thoroughfare in the city center, I stood far enough from the shop entrance behind me to not bother the staff, but not far enough out that I"d feel in the way of shoppers passing by. I played my beloved Taylor acoustic guitar and sang. Unlike some of the buskers I competed with on a regular basis, I didn"t have their fancy portable PA systems with amps and mics. I had to rely on the quality of my voice and my playing to draw people in.
I never felt like a nuisance busking in Glasgow. It was the only time in fact the city didn"t feel like a stranger to me and I to it. I felt like a part of a city that loved its music. If red sandstone was Glasgow"s skin, music was its heartbeat. While I"d made peace with the idea that life had broken me down to dust, the joy of being a beat in the rhythm of Glasgow"s soul smoldered within me.
Sometimes, especially if I was feeling upbeat and decided to do a twist on a well-known pop or dance song, I"d draw in a crowd. That was usually on a Saturday, like today, when people were shopping and feeling relaxed, where they weren"t rushing past on their lunch break to get back to work.
Mostly, however, people either kept walking on by, or they dropped some change in my guitar case as they briskly marched on. I even had some regular workers who dropped the change in like it had become a habit. Not that I minded. Unlike those buskers with their fancy PA systems, I actually needed the money. I wasn"t trying to "get found" on the streets of Glasgow by having my bestie film me on his camera phone and upload it to my YouTube channel.
I was busking so I could buy a meal for the night. And if it was a particularly good day, money to get into the swimming center so I could use one of their showers and a hair dryer. On the days I didn"t make enough money, I had what the local homeless called a "tramp"s wash." I had to strip off in my tent and use baby wipes to clean my body as best I could.
Glancing down at my guitar case as I sang, I thanked God that today it looked like I"d have enough for that shower.
Nodding my thanks at a couple of teenage girls as they dropped some change in my case, I kept singing the melancholy song I"d chosen to fit the weather. "Someone Like You" by Adele. A firm crowd pleaser, it was drawing one like it always did. I pulled it out of the bag when I really needed the cash. I have a good enough vocal range to sing Adele but anyone can have a good vocal range and still not be able to sell a song. You have to be able to fall into the lyrics and sing a song like you wrote it. Which is much easier to do if you did write the damn song. For the longest time, I only ever sang my own songs so that wasn"t a problem for me.
Busking was different. People didn"t really want to listen to unfamiliar tunes. That might have been an issue for me a few years ago. I wasn"t very good at putting myself in someone else"s place. Or empathizing.
But now . . . well, now I could sing sad songs like my heart was truly breaking. I"d look into the small crowds gathered around me and see more than a few tears in strangers" eyes. I loved that part of performing. Making people feel like that. I just hated all the other shit that came with it.
As I sang about time flying and yesterday being the time of our lives, I felt those words deep in my soul. I controlled a voice crack on the word "lives" and found a familiar face in the crowd.
Ignoring the frizzle of awareness that zinged down my spine, I kept staring at him, singing to him, telling him with that stare I could give a damn that he was there. He didn"t scare me. He didn"t creep me out. Didn"t he know that I was unshakeable these days"
I didn"t know the man"s name. I didn"t know anything about him except that he had the kind of presence that made everyone else around him fade. At around six foot he wasn"t overly tall; he had an athletic build so it wasn"t really his size that made you look. It was a quality. I couldn"t tell what color his eyes were because he"d never gotten close enough, just that they appeared dark, and they were intense. There was a hardness to his expression, a remoteness that seemed at odds with his apparent interest in my performance. Today he stood apart from the small crowd, his hands in the pockets of his jeans, his head tilted slightly as he listened with that aloof countenance.