Connor Calloway was forbidden.
Rockstar. Bad boy. Heartbreaker.
My best friend"s ex.
Signing on as the headliner for his band was our chance,
We could make it big if I could just resist temptation.
I could stay away, keep my distance,
It would be easy, I told myself.
Boy, was I wrong. Dead wrong.Books by Author:Amy Brent Books
The melancholy melody crooning from Sam"s guitar washed over me. Casey laid out a beat that was deep and tribal, the bass drum reverberating in my chest in three-four time. It was a slow, sweet, chugging rhythm that swept me up in its moodiness as Tyler joined in on the bass guitar. The low notes grounded the song while Sam"s masterful licks drew it higher and higher.
Together, they took the music and wound it tight, like a rubber band stretched until it was just about to break. The tension became almost too much, pushing me toward an unknown edge as I held my breath.
The tension burst on a climax of sound, all of it blending so seamlessly together that I couldn"t tell one instrument from the other. All that was left was pure, heart-wrenching beauty. I still couldn"t breathe, and my lungs were starting to ache just as the musicians hit the same intense chord before letting it fall away into silence.
I stepped into that silence, leaning into the microphone standing in front of me, and everything vanished. The small crowd staring up at me, the nerves that had danced along my skin, the painful memories of the past and worry about the future"everything disappeared except the melody still echoing in my ears and the lyrics I"d written.
I opened my mouth and the words fell out like a spell as I sang, entrapping not just the people watching and my bandmates, but me too. I let my eyelids slide shut, blocking out the blinding spotlights and the sight of the people staring up at me. It was just me and the music.
This was what I loved more than anything else, that moment when I could lose myself in the song and nothing else existed. That one pure moment of total freedom. It drove me on to keep writing music and performing despite the nervous flutter of stage fright that had me shaking nearly every time I got up onstage.
When I started singing, though, everything changed. Every bit of fear fled and what was left was ecstasy, a rush like a drug flooding my veins and filling my ears. My voice rose on a wave of sound, filling the small venue as I belted out the last few lines.
There was thick silence for a moment before the sharp applause washed over me, drawing me back from the edge, and I blinked open my eyes as if waking from a dream. It took me a few minutes to unclench my hands from the mic and let them drop numbly to my side as I took a step back.
A quick glance around the coffee shop showed a good-sized crowd. I sent a tight smile at a few familiar faces but still felt a flutter of panic. It was much less intimidating than the bigger venues we"d been playing lately, though. Besides, this place felt almost like a second home to me.
Lunar Caf" was a staple in the Seattle coffee scene. This place had been around for almost twenty years before Mickey, the current owner, took over, and he"d run it successfully ever since even though he was now well into his sixties. Mickey had given us our first break right here on this small, intimate stage nearly five years before.
Hell, it was even where we"d gotten our band"s name, Moon. We"d come a long way since playing coffee shops and local dive bars. We had steadily gained traction, especially over the last year. But whenever Mickey asked us to play, we obliged. He"d given us a chance when no one else had. I loved the surly old man for that.
"Hey, Alice, you killed it."
I turned as Sam came over and draped an arm around my shoulder, squeezing me in a brotherly hug. I smiled up at him, taking instant comfort as I scanned his familiar features.
"You think so""
"Ha, you"re just looking for flattery now," Sam said, shooting me a lopsided smirk.
I shrugged, matching him grin for grin, "So""
"You know you knocked it out of the park. No one has a voice like yours, like an angel from heaven or a siren or a""
"Okay, all right, I get it. Enough already," I said with a laugh, giving him a good-natured shove.
"Or like a bat," he said, continuing anyway.
"Yeah, a bat. You know, there are some species that sing so their mate can find them in the dark."
I paused and gave Sam a sidelong look. "That"s actually kind of beautiful. Weird, but beautiful."
"Just like me." He grinned.
"Well, you"ve got the weird part right," Casey said, chiming in as he packed away his drum kit. "But beautiful is a bit of a stretch."
"Hey now," Sam said, shooting the drummer an exaggerated glare. "Don"t be mean. I am a gorgeous male specimen. Right, Alice" You think I"m beautiful, don"t you""