As I was trying to figure out a book to spotlight today I saw a FB post from Selena Laurance and went I’ll ask her. Selena shared this snippet and I have to tell you that after reading this one I’m adding A Lush Betrayal to my TBR pile. Also we’re get to show you the brand spanking new cover for this book.
Joss Jamison has it all. He’s the lead singer for the world’s hottest rock band, Lush. He’s wealthy, sexy, talented…and miserable. Twelve months ago, Joss lost his finely honed control and made a mistake he can’t undo. A mistake that could end up costing him his best friend, his band, and maybe his heart.
Mel DiLorenzo has it all. She’s been hired to document the world tour of her sister’s fiance’s rock band. She’s gorgeous, talented, loved…and sick of being the little sister. When she agrees to the summer job, Mel has no idea she’s walking into a minefield of friendships lost and hearts destroyed. She also has no idea what it means to be the object of Joss Jamison’s affections.
One hot rock star plus one life-altering mistake, add a dash of sexy younger sister and a handful of broken hearts, and you’ve got a recipe for fire. Life on the road can be hot, but for the boys of Lush, it’s about to get a whole hell of a lot hotter…
I’ve spent most of the day directing the freelancers on the kinds of things I want to capture as well as getting the layout of the auditorium and the logistics for the show. Tonight we’re going to shoot the opening performance of the As Lush As It Gets Tour. All four of the band members have been on site rehearsing and preparing since right after lunch. It’s amazing to me how professional they are. I still think of them as my sister’s raunchy high school friends. Offstage, they often still act like that, but when it’s time to work, they become every bit the mega-successful rock band.
The logistics of a large-scale rock concert are astonishing. There’s a crew of over fifty guys working nonstop today to set up this show, and when it’s done, they’ll spend the rest of the night breaking it down before they hit the road to meet up with us at the next stop tomorrow night.
As the sun sets outside and the event staff for the auditorium begin to clock in, the energy in the place shifts. I have two of my freelancers walking around backstage and catching the buzz of the place while the third is outside on the sidewalk photographing the crowd. Apparently they’re already lined up for several blocks outside the auditorium.
Backstage, Tammy is running around like a chicken minus the head. But if you really watch, you’ll find that she’s absolutely in control and there is an order to her chaos. I’m amazed at what she can keep track of and how much she seems to know about this business when she’s never had any sort of formal training.
The guys are each preparing in their own ways I guess. Mike is walking around backstage, chatting with the crew, and doing jumping jacks. He has knit gloves on, apparently to keep his fingers warm. It never occurred to me that a guitarist would have real problems if his fingers were cold and stiff.
Walsh’s normal easygoing personality and Colin’s constantly stoned one mesh nicely, and the two of them are hanging out in the green room eating snacks and chugging water. When he’s onstage, Walsh sweats about two buckets per performance. I’m glad he knows to hydrate. I’m also glad that I’m not the one who has to give him a kiss as he walks offstage. Gag.
And of course, the missing member is the ever-elusive Joss Jamison. Truth be told, I’ve worried about him all day since his blowup at Mike. The guy I saw this morning was so different from the one I’d spent time with the last few days. I’m not sure what to think about him. And as pissed as it makes me, my sister’s warnings keep ringing through my head. I wish like hell she’d never said anything because now I don’t know whether it’s my own gut telling me to be cautious or my inner Tammy.
I’m leading one of the freelancers back to the green room so he can get some shots of Colin and Walsh in all their binge-eating glory when I notice a door ajar farther down the hall.
“Go on in and take some shots of those two,” I tell the guy. He nods and goes on his way, while I head down the hall. As I get closer, I hear quiet singing and a guitar being strummed.
“She walked on water like down on the wind,
And all the while, my heart it did spin.
But when I followed, I learned the hard truth,
And I’ve been drowning ever since.
Drowning ever since.
I poke my head in the doorway and see Joss sitting on a chair, acoustic guitar in hand, singing a song I’ve never heard before. He stops and writes some things down on his iPad that’s sitting on the table in front of him then starts to strum again. I knock gently on the doorframe. He looks up abruptly, obviously so caught up in what he was doing that he had no idea I was standing there.
As he focuses on me, a smile spreads across his face, and it is so heartstoppingly beautiful I’m speechless for a moment. I can’t imagine how the woman Joss Jamison will eventually fall in love with will be able to go about her daily activities if he’s smiling at her. Because if this is the smile he gives an acquaintance, the smile he’d give the love of his life must be heaven-sent.
“Am I interrupting your pre-show routine?” I ask quietly.
“No,” he says as he stands and gestures for me to come in. “You’re never an interruption, Mel. You want anything? A soda or water?” He walks to the nearby table with food and drinks laid out.
“I’m good, thanks. You guys have more food around than a grocery store. I’m going to weigh two hundred pounds by the time the tour is done.”
He laughs and it sends a little ripple down my spine that settles somewhere low it shouldn’t. It ought to be illegal for someone to be as sexy as him.
“Well, you know, with four guys in their twenties, food is sort of essential. Although I imagine in a few more years we’ll need to cut back before we start looking more like Meatloaf and less like Jon Bon Jovi.”
“Just don’t tell that to Colin,” I smirk.
He rolls his eyes. “Yeah, well, as long as there’s pizza available 24/7, he’ll be okay.” He opens a bottle of water and takes a long drink. I watch the curve of his neck as his head is thrown back. Suddenly, with perfect clarity, I understand the origins of the term ‘sex on a stick.’ Someone who can make drinking from a plastic water bottle erotic is in a class by himself.
“So, can I do something for you, Miss Documentarian?” he asks when he’s done.
“Ah, no, I was just going around watching everyone’s pre-show routines, wondering what you all did to get ready and why.”
He chuckles. “So you got pics of Mike bouncing around backstage and Colin and Walsh bullshitting and eating the entire green room’s worth of snacks?”
I laugh. “Pretty much.”
“And now you want to know what the mysterious front man does to get ready, huh?” He scratches his head and looks kind of embarrassed.
“Only if you’re comfortable telling me,” I answer, although I’m really hoping he’ll share this part of himself with me. For some reason he is like a puzzle I’m intent on solving. There are so many facets to him. I want to discover each and every one and try to assemble an entire man from them.
He clears his throat. “Well, what I do to get ready for a show is, uh, not get ready.” He quirks an eyebrow at me, and I look at him questioningly. “See, if I think about it, I’ll get too nervous, so I do whatever I need to avoid thinking about it. That usually means sitting down and working. I was doing some writing when you came in. A new song for the next album.”
“Really?” I’m surprised. “So no special vocal warm-ups? No superstitions about what you need to eat or who you should talk to or anything?”
“Nope. Just work. I write songs and sometimes go over paperwork, listen to some tunes I enjoy, maybe even read a book. No special anything. Then, when it’s time to go up front, I go and walk on stage blind. I trust my crew to have everything set up the way it should be. I trust my band to be ready and I trust myself to put on the best performance I can.”
I watch him for a moment, blown away once again at the unexpected answers he’s given me.
“I figured you for a control freak,” I say frankly.
He laughs. “Oh, I am, but that’s what goes on days and weeks before the actual event. By this point, if it’s not right, it’s not going to be. I hire the absolute best people in the business and ride their asses like a fucking dictator. If we can’t pull it off by the time we get to the performance, then we all deserve to crash and burn in public.”
He walks over to where I’m leaning back against the makeup counter that runs along one wall. He leans next to me, peeling the label off of his water bottle.
“How about you, Mel? You’re pretty damn good at what you do. Are you a control freak?”
I ponder his question for a moment. “No. The youngest kid never has much control, especially with an older sister like mine. So I’m the one who can go along with all sorts of things and doesn’t need to be in control. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions or can’t stand up for myself. Just that I’m flexible.” I turn my head and he’s looking directly at me. His green eyes are so vivid. I know exactly what all those women wait in lines for. The possibility that you could get this close to those eyes and that face is enough to convince you to wait for years, let alone hours.
He leans in even closer to me and reaches out to tuck a piece of hair behind my ear. I’m breathless.
“That’s good to hear,” he says so quietly that it’s almost a whisper. “We’ll make a good pair, you and me. I can be in control, you can be flexible, and we’ll get along just fine.”
Holy crap. My heart is racing. He’s in my space, and I feel lightheaded. I can hear him breathing, and his velvet voice sinks deep into my gut.
“What if I don’t want to be controlled?” I nearly gasp out.
“Mmm. You might like letting me be in control. At least some of the time,” he rumbles.
“Five minutes to show!” a voice yells out in the hallway. Joss and I both jump back, and I can feel my face flush. He picks up his water bottle and chugs the rest of it in one.
When he’s done, he tosses it into a trashcan across the room. Then he turns to look at me. “You gonna watch from backstage?” he asks, a big grin on his face.
I nod, still not sure I can form coherent words.
“Let’s get you set up then.” He takes my hand and I walk to the tour opening Lush show on the arm of the lead singer, who might be the sexiest man in recorded history.