Published by Mischief HarperCollins
ASIN # B00DY0A2FQ
Publication Date: 29th August 2013
Contemporary Erotic Romance (mf)
On stage he’s dynamite. Off stage he rocks her world.
When red-hot, Goth-metal band, Black Halo, split live on stage, fate throws Daniella Fosbrook into the path of sexy vocalist Xane Geist. Initially, Xane’s only looking for a ride home, but Dani tempts him in a way a thousand other women haven’t. Determined to explore their heady chemistry and avoid hashing things out with the band, Xane whisks Dani off to Monaco for a steamy weekend.
There, Dani tries her best to hang onto her heart and some clothing, while Xane soon loses both. However, Xane isn’t being entirely honest about the reason for the band’s demise. When the truth comes out, can Dani accept the facts, or will everything come undone?
“I loved this book and i would sell my first born to get my hands on the next book in this series!” niccisbookblog.com
“Xane and Dani are characters with extreme personalities that open you up, make you sit on the edge of your seat, never letting you stop reading about their tale. Their sexual chemistry is off the charts and hot hot hot.” Whispered Words from Written Pages
Excerpt: Chapter One.
‘Leave it – leave it. Ginny, don’t.’
Daniella struggled to keep the excitement out of her voice as Ginny seized the lanyard and tugged. It slipped readily enough from beneath the handles of the half-open handbag and slithered into her palm bringing the prized backstage pass with it.
‘Bingo!’ Ginny took a moment to sway her hips in a triumphant wiggle, before the sound of the toilet flushing, caused her eyes to widen. She and Dani both lurched towards the exit, and somehow managed to squeeze through together. Where the corridor turned after a ten metre sprint, they both collapsed against the wall with stupid grins stretched across their faces.
‘Mmmwha,’ Ginny smacked a kiss upon the stolen pass. ‘We’re in, Black Halo all access.’ She gave Dani a thumbs up, only to roll her eyes a second later at the sight of Dani’s frown.
‘We shouldn’t have done that,’ Dani wheezed, still bowed from the exertion. ‘Are you insane? She’ll probably get into awful trouble for losing it.’ Not that her concern was entirely for the woman in the loos. What she really meant to say was that they’d get into trouble. Arrested, probably, and definitely escorted off site. Her mum would disown her or worse, exact sanctions, and she’d only recently managed to fly the nest and move into student digs. ‘Gin, why did you do that?’ Dani pushed away from the wall, and straightened out her skirt, which had somehow got twisted during their insane flight. Even set to rights, she wasn’t entirely comfortable in the ensemble, which was one of Ginny’s and far too short and clingy. She hadn’t shown off this much leg since her pre-teen days. ‘You’re going to get us into so much shit.’
Ginny stuck her head around the corner to check the way was clear. ‘Don’t be soft. It’ll teach her to take better care of her property. She’s lucky it’s only this little baby –’ Ginny wafted the laminated card before Dani’s nose, ‘–that she’s lost and not her purse and credit cards too. Admit it; it’s pretty dumb to leave your bag unattended in a public washroom.’
‘Suppose.’ Depressingly, that was true, no matter how much Dani might wish otherwise. Not that it excused their behaviour. Now the thrill of the moment had passed, she rather wished she’d put more effort into stopping the theft, instead of behaving like a teenage mug. She was older and smarter than that, and having a crush the size of a mountain on the Black Halo frontman didn’t excuse juvenile behaviour.
‘The main act’s starting,’ she said, thinking they could hand the pass in to one of the security guys working the doors before they found their seats. They could say they found it. They might even get a legitimate reward for their honesty. ‘Let’s go in now.’
‘What’s the rush?’ Ginny stalled, dragging her heels as they walked back towards the main foyer. She stopped before a poster advertising the tour to fluff her jet black hair.
Despite Ginny’s black only wardrobe, Daniella suspected that her friend didn’t actually like Black Halo’s music so much as the band members, or at least some idea of what they were like, or in fact just the notion of snogging them. She’d already vetoed watching the two support acts in favour of hitting the bar and then scouting around for a route backstage. Dani hadn’t been too bothered by that. Godwatch’s lyrics strayed majorly into uncomfortable territory for her, but, she hadn’t forked out for a ticket to miss seeing her favourite band. ‘I came here to see them, please let’s just do that,’ she pleaded.
‘Don’t you want to see where this baby can get us?’ Ginny kissed the laminate again. ‘Come on, admit it, an all access pass to the group is way more exciting than standing in a crowd and yelling “black is my heart” until you go hoarse?’
Actually, Dani had been looking forward to shouting along with the several thousand strong crowd. The resulting sore throat would be totally worth it. Plus, they had seats right at the front so she’d get to see vocalist Xane Geist close up. And oh, she had to squeeze herself just thinking about that, and how he might look at her even for a second.
Xane was Dani’s secret piece of rebellion, her Lucifer wrapped up in an unbearably erotic package. He was all tight muscle and temptation. His snaky-hips alone were an enticement to sin. Then there was his voice, unique even within the gothic metal scene, and his disturbing, but oh so very pretty face.
‘Dani Fosbrook, don’t pretend you’re not up for this, we both know how wet Xane gets your knickers. You’re literally dying for him to get into them.’
OK, her not so secret fantasy. Yes, she’d struggle to say no to him if he asked her to kneel and worship him, but that didn’t make the notion of sneaking into his dressing room and throwing herself at him any less abhorrent. That was the sort of stunt that was anyone to find out, would earn her one-way ticket back to St Agatha’s home for the benevolently disturbed. And she was so, so done with that messed up place.
‘Think on it, you can have him right after he’s walked off stage.’
Nnn-gh! Dani bit down so hard her teeth hurt. She ought never to have come with Ginny, who had the morals of an alley cat and the sex drive of a Duracell bunny. Her friend’s plan for the night appeared to be not only get laid, but to do every member of Black Halo before they’d even hit the showers.
Yet, Ginny had seemed the better option prior to this point. The only other people she knew in attendance were Ellen, Tony and Reg, and the thought of Reg accidentally on purpose nudging against her every few seconds so he could cop a feel of her butt gave her hives.
‘Come on, Saint. Don’t sweat it. Let me do the talking.’
Dani bristled at the use of her recently acquired nickname. Other people seemed to find it amusing that she’d been brought up in a religious commune. They hadn’t a blinking clue! There was absolutely nothing amusing about St Agatha’s.
Ginny linked their arms and swung them around. ‘You, me and Xane, that’s all you have to think about. Now, let’s go and grab a piece of his ass.’
And like that, Dani allowed herself to be tugged away from the auditorium.
There was a second, a single sprawling moment between two beats during which Xane genuinely believed he could make it through the show. He’d worked for this; no one could say he hadn’t. The crowd before him screamed his name, sometimes so loudly he could hear it over the top of the thundering guitars and the crackle of his own voice. But, he could only see them in snapshots between the curls of dry ice and the near blinding array of overhead lights, and that wasn’t enough to keep him grounded. The first time his voice cracked it was pretty easy to cover, the fifth not so much.
The lyrics, words he’d written, might sound like an incomprehensible growl to the critics, but they had meaning for him. Meanings that now bruised and bit, and which tore into his chest making him feel as though his heart would rupture. Where in the past those words had been an emotional, sometimes sentimental, sometimes cathartic release, they were now transformed into a poisonous rehashing of the last eighteen months.
He had to stop this charade somehow. If only to make them realise he wasn’t here to be used and abused.
When midway through Perverted Wraiths, their biggest hit to date, he skipped the first three lines of the chorus, the concerned looks bassist, Paul “Rock Giant” Reed, had been throwing him became truly alarmed. For a while the rest of the group were carrying him, but that couldn’t last long. The fans were watching, and they were used to a thumping, souped up horror show that Xane led. If there were monsters in the band, then he was the biggest, and made a point of dressing the part. Black leather, piercings, the sort of glassy-eyed stare that could melt steel (it certainly wet knickers), and other accoutrements of the shock horror genre all made up his guise. Then there was the stuff he could do with his voice – raising hairs on the backs of necks one second only to then change track in order to serenade them like a chorus of angels the next. What he actually was when you stripped away all the theatre didn’t matter. Folks didn’t pay to see the real Xane Geist. They paid for a spectacle.
Unfortunately, tonight the cracks in his disguise were showing.
Given the ratio of crap he endured on a daily basis, and the routine lack of respect, it was miracle he hadn’t reached this point sooner. One human being could only take so much, and being a rock god didn’t change that.
His nose stung, and his vocal chords refused to work in order to form the song lyrics. Hell, he couldn’t even scream, something he was particularly known for.
Elspeth ought to have held her tongue, but when did she ever.
Why had he ever believed she’d be good for him?
Maybe if he’d been more honest with himself and how he felt it would never have come to this?
There was no way of knowing now.
The sound of the audiences’ frustrated baying was a minor thing at first, easily masked by the crash of the drums, but soon not even Ash hacking away on lead guitar could entirely drown them out.
When he mouthed, ‘we’re done,’ to Steve, the drummer, he hadn’t counted on the big screen picking it up. The fact it did, brought things to an extremely swift halt.
Xane barely got off the stage before Paul and Ash were both in his face asking him what the fuck was going on. Xane was no weed but Rock Giant towered over him by a good four inches. He could probably bench press Xane and a Ford Fiesta combined.
‘What the fuck, man? Get back out there.’
‘Is summat up with your voice?’ Ash, their lead guitarist, muscled his way between them. He wasn’t quite Rock Giant sized, but he did know how to throw a mean punch. ‘You’ve been off key all night.’
‘He’s been giving one too many blow jobs,’ one of the roadies joked.
Xane threw the guy a scathing glance.
‘Keep your dickhead remarks to yourself, Liam. Unless you’d like me to review your working hours?’ Ash snarled. He returned his attention to Xane. ‘Do you need a break to gargle some tea, or something? We can say there’re technical issues?’
‘There’s nothing wrong with my throat.’ Xane wasn’t even going to pretend that was case. His problems were was far more deep routed than that. He could no longer work with these people. He didn’t want to be on the same continent as two of them. ‘Gig’s off.’ It wasn’t even a case of artistic differences. That they could have worked out. This—they’d never make right.
‘What the fuck!’ Spook Mortensen, who rarely muttered more than five sentences a week, launched into a string of Swedish expletives. Curiously, the only dozen or so Swedish words Xane himself knew.
‘You know he has a point, Xane.’ Ash tried to lead him off into a corner for a quiet chat, but the rest of the group followed. ‘There’s a stadium full of mad bastards out there. Do you really want to tell them the show’s over. They’re not going to slope off quietly to their homes and hotel rooms.’
He understood that. They’d come for a piece of him, and they’d insist on getting it. He, however, was damn sure they weren’t getting anymore of him tonight regardless of how many people insisted on staring at him as though he’d grown an extra head.
‘Xane, it’ll cost us millions.’
Hardly. This was one gig, and there was only one other date left on the tour. It might piss off a few people, but they’d get over it. Bands sometimes had to cancel shows at short notice. It happened. It rarely crippled anyone.
The guys parted to let Elspeth float to the fore. She looked as insubstantial as a wraith, but she had a banshee’s backbone and a scold’s tongue. Her lips were slicked red, and curved into a perfect pout around two sets of vampire fangs.
Xane’s hackles rose the moment the scent of her jasmine perfume wafted up his nostrils. He refused to look at her, focussing instead on the top of her head. She and Spook were the only two blondes in the band, only Spook’s white-blond mane didn’t come out of a bottle. Elspeth was showing a quarter inch of mousy brown roots.
When she curled her hand over his arm, he mentally pulled himself inwards. Xane stared at her black polished nails, and fought the urge to physically recoil too.
‘Look honey, I know you’re upset, but for craps sake think about this. You’re not just going to shaft us over this gig if you walk out. The press will hammer us into an early grave. We’ll all lose out. All of us.’
The problem was that ‘all’ didn’t seem to include him in any capacity other than as a cash cow. He knew for a fact that she didn’t give a damn about him as a person. She’d proved that resoundingly five minutes before they’d walked out on stage.
‘Black Halo’s dead.’
He hadn’t planned to say it, to make it so final, but as soon as the words were spoken, he knew it was the right decision. They were over in their current format anyway, because he couldn’t continue to work with either her or Steve. This was his band. Without him, Black Halo were nothing. He was their lyricist, their main composer, the motivating force behind it all. Their whole image had been created by him. Without his drive, nothing would ever happen. Maybe, now they’d even start to appreciate that.
Despite his bitterness, the shock that reflected in their eyes gave him a moment’s pause, but only until he realised the relief that came with the announcement gave his foul mood a strange little upswing. Oh yeah, screeched the bit inside of him that hurt. Chew on that lady.
When he jerked away from Elspeth’s grasp, to his relief, she didn’t attempt to touch him again.
‘No,’ Rock Giant groaned. ‘We are not done over a fucking lover’s tiff.’ He stared at them as if he expected them to lay aside their quarrel and to kiss and make-up.
It wasn’t happening.
Rock Giant held his head in his hands, which crushed several of the deranged spikes he’d moulded his hair into. ‘I can’t believe you’re doing this, Xane. The band’s more important than one individual relationship within it. Seriously, you’re throwing in the towel because she’s not warming your bed anymore?’
‘Paul’s right, Xane. You’re acting way out of proportion.’ Graham Callahan, the band’s manager had arrived. His twenty stone frame squeezed into a corporate suit.
He was not overreacting. This wasn’t only about him and Elspeth. It was about him and Steve, and the rest of the band too, and all their shitty attitudes, which were apparently about to see another airing.
‘You need to get back on stage.’
Not bloody likely. Xane gave a swift shake of his head.
Several of the roadies formed up around him like a squad of marines. As if marching him back onto the stage was going to achieve anything.
‘Seriously, I’m done.’
Would it have hurt any of them to ask him if he was OK? It wasn’t as if they hadn’t figured out the basics of what was going on. But no, all they were concerned about was what was best for them and their wallets.
Graham raised his hand. ‘OK, let’s talk.’
He didn’t fucking want to talk. He didn’t want to explain. He just wanted out. If any of them actually wanted to know what had caused this rift then they could yap amongst themselves and figure it out. That’s if the platinum band sat next to the ruddy enormous diamond on Elspeth’s finger didn’t clue them in.
He wasn’t the one responsible for this. Only the shmuck who’d been taken for granted and then unceremoniously dumped by someone he’d loved and trusted.
It was probably a good thing there were no windows backstage, because he felt like punching glass.
‘Xane, I’m sorry,’ Steve mumbled at him as Xane shouldered his way towards the green room. He wasn’t sticking around for a debate, and he sure as hell wasn’t singing, even if they dragged him back on stage trussed up like Christmas turkey.
Right now, he couldn’t sing. He was too fucking choked with anger.
Steve tailed him as far as the water fountain. ‘You know it wasn’t our intention to hurt you. It doesn’t have to change things between us. It can still be like before, if you want.’
If he wanted. Nice of Steve to think of him at last. Except of course, it was bollocks. No way could things we the same. Marriage changed things irrevocably. It involved commitment. It imposed limits. It stank of exclusivity. And Steve and Elspeth were hitched.
‘We’re forever man.’ Steve lifted his hand as though he intended them to brush knuckles. Instead, Xane snapped the chain he wore around his neck and dumped the contents into the callused hands of his former drummer.
‘Not anymore. I don’t want to see either of you again.’
Steve’s brow furrowed. ‘You don’t mean that.’
‘Weren’t you listening?’ God, it hurt his throat to speak. ‘The band’s done.’
Steve stroked his hand over his chin and his devilish goatee. ‘I didn’t think you actually meant it.’
‘We’re done.’ Xane replied to emphasize the point.
Steve crossed his arms over his chest. ‘What would you have us do, Xane? I love her. You know I do. Was I supposed to turn her down?’
Xane’s eyes narrowed. The sting in his nose had become almost intolerable. It made him physically ill to look at this man, who had been his closest friend for years. ‘Did you think for a second how I’d feel?’
Steve stretched out his arm, but Xane back stepped out of reach to avoid the contact, leaving his former friend shaking his head.
‘I’m sorry it’s happened this way. I really am. It’s not how I wanted it. I thought we were good, Xane. I thought you understood. I hope when you’ve calmed down we can — ’
‘Fuck off!’ Xane snarled, tightening his fists. ‘Seriously, just eff off, before I give in to what I’d like to do and wring your bloody neck.’