“I started reading it and couldn’t put it down! I love love loved the dynamic between Brent & DJ .. She definitely made him work for it and I loved every minute!”
“Well written, author Klein knows that words are her tools, and she wields her tools well.“
Everyone loves a rock star…
What country legend Brent Kane needs is a good old fashioned hook-up. With pressure to write his next album mounting and the sales from his latest album teetering, Brent needs to find his muse -female distraction with no commitment–fast. So when Brent holes up at his best friend’s ranch in Somewhere Texas to write his next single the last thing he expected was to find his muse in the form of his best friend’s little sister.
DJ Diaz, the nonsense part owner of the Double D Ranch, is not at all affected by Brent’s good looks and play boy charm. She’s fallen once before and learned firsthand the heartache of loving a rock star. But spending time with the man who let her down ten years ago shows her that something’s missing from her life–fun.
But will DJ be able to keep her heart from becoming involved in this “just for fun” relationship? And more importantly, will Brent?
“An Abusive lover?”
Brent raised a shoulder. “Super models are expensive. I was going broke.”
“Aren’t all rock legends?” Brent shot back. The table between them was a bit sticky and the beer in his bottle a bit warm, but the bar was dark and crowded, giving Brent a much-needed sense of normalcy.
But his friend wasn’t done teasing him about the latest article the gossip site had posted about him. Derrek looked up from his phone that he was reading from. “You’re going with legend now, huh? Well, what about her complaints about your small dick?”
Brent tried hard to keep the smile from his lips. “If one considers twelve inches small.”
Derrek bit back a laugh. “Only in your dreams, friend. Only in your dreams.” He scrolled a little more on his phone. “Okay, okay, this one’s actually in the article…how about, cheating man-whore?”
This time his grin turned sheepish. “That may be open to interpretation.”
Derrek winced, finally putting down his phone from where he’d been reading off the long list of insults Brent’s ex-girlfriend had sold to the gossip magazine about her tumultuous love affair with the famed country music star, aka Brent Kane. “Was that why she broke your nose?”
It was Brent’s turn to wince; his nose still hurt. “Now, that one wasn’t her fault. My face just got in the way of the wine bottle she’d been throwing.”
Derrek, his best friend since elementary school, shook his head. “Let me ask you, do you go looking for crazy…or do the crazies just find you?”
Brent laughed. It was good to be home. Good to be back in the one place he’d actually lived for more than a year. Good to feel his roots again. Funny, when he was a kid he thought nothing ever happened in the small town of Somewhere, Texas, but now, ten years since his last visit, he could see how things had changed.
Sure, there were the old-timers and the regulars, but the kids he’d gone to high school with had grown up; some even had kids of their own. The popularity of the University had increased jobs, and more families had moved into town. When Derek told him they needed to get to Everyday Joe’s early to get a table, he’d been shocked. The last time he’d been here, it was just a local dive, and getting a seat was never in question. Hell, by the looks of the rowdy crowd tonight, maybe Joe could afford some decent beer on tap.
Brent slouched down in the booth and raised his bottle to Derrek. “It will be good to get out of the lime light for a while. Let things cool down,” he said, then took a sip of his beer and made a face.
Derrek smiled. “Beer still sucks.”
Brent nodded. “I mean, seriously… it’s a damn bar. With only two things on the menu—beer and fried food—you’d think Joe would give a crap.”
Derrek shrugged in that everything-rolls-off-my-back way of his, and sipped from his own bottle. “Cheap beer always wins with college students, but crappy beer aside, I’m glad you’re here. Being on the road constantly must be tough. There are times I’ve felt sorry for you.”
Brent hid a grin. Derrek was probably the only person in the world who would feel sorry for him. As a country singer who’d successfully crossed over into pop music, whose recordings had gone multi-platinum, and who’d been on a world tour for the last two years, he pretty much had the jet-set life style people dreamt about. But seven years of working in Nashville and the last two out in L.A. could take its toll on anyone. That was why he’d flown back home, back to the small town of Somewhere, Texas—to take a breather.
“So, do you want to talk about it?” Derrek’s voice turned serious while his gaze darted around the crowded bar as if counting the exits for a fast get-away.
They may have known each other most of their lives, but that didn’t mean Derrek was comfortable with heart-to-heart conversations. Just not part of the man code. But Brent had already confided in Derrek what his real reasons for getting out of L.A. were.
Along with the rock star lifestyle came the rock star-seeking ladies, and Brent was definitely on their radar. Most of the time, things went smoothly. Well, smooth until the break up.
The problem was that Brent loved the idea of falling in love. The first glance, the first kiss, the first… everything. Brent was into women like some men were into sports cars, but just like a new car smell would eventually fade, so would his desire to be tied down. Of course, the trading-in process wasn’t as easy, and sometimes ended badly, like it had with the obsessed super-model, who’d splashed their break-up story across every major gossip magazine.
The whole thing had escalated to the point that he couldn’t even leave his front door without being mobbed by reporters. With his latest album not performing as well as he’d hoped, his agent and manager were pressuring him more than ever to write and record his next single. It hadn’t helped matters that he now had the worst case of writer’s block he’d ever experienced. He’d finally called “uncle” and reached out to his best friend for help. The offer to stay at Derrek’s ranch had been a godsend. He needed a place to lay low and get back to what was most important—his music.
Brent shook his head, declining the offer to rehash his problems. He just needed some time to let things blow over. He knew that both of them had crashed and burned in the relationship department, so Derrek was probably not the best person to offer advice.
Derrek looked relieved. “So, what are you planning for the week that you’re here?”
Brent rested his head on the vinyl back of the booth and took in the scents of french fries and leather. “A little R and R, write some new material, maybe flirt with a pretty girl.”
Derrek raised one eyebrow. “Really? The reason you’re here, lying low, is because of a pretty girl.”
Brent shook his head. “I write my best material when I’m in love—a little drinking, a little dancing, and a whole lot of tickle between the sheets. The best part about being here is that I’ll be gone before the first blush is even off the rose. You remember how that goes—or are you becoming too much of an old man to play that game?”
Derrek laughed and eased his tall frame further into the booth. His height he’d gotten from his father, but his dark Hispanic looks came from his mother’s side. “That was all you, man. You’re the one who had the way with the ladies. I’ve never seen anything like it. All you had to do was walk into a room and they would flock to you like flies to road kill.”
“You know what your problem is?” Brent continued, as if he had all his crap together and doling out advice to Derrek wasn’t at all hypocritical. “You never learned how to talk to women. You always played the silent, brooding type. Sure, some gals dig that, but most like a man who can sweet talk them and tell them they’re pretty.”
“Silent brooding type, huh?” Derrek said, brows arching above a pair of blue eyes—another trait from his father. But then Derrek just shook his head without comment. Derrek had always been the quiet one, the dependable go-to-guy. Brent wouldn’t be surprised if his best friend had a clock shoved up his ass; the man had never been late for anything. Reliable as the sun and almost as predictable was why Brent loved him—Derrek was everything Brent was not.
“Well, like my daddy said,” Derrek motioned to the perky waitress in a low-cut black tee-shirt and a push-up bra that he was fairly certain was responsible for more of her tips than her service. “Better to keep your mouth shut and look stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”
Brent turned his attention away from the plump backside of the young waitress and rolled his eyes. “That was Mark Twain, bro, not your daddy.”
Derrek smirked underneath the shadow of his Stetson as if Brent crediting the quote wasn’t impressive at all. “That’s right, I forgot. You were the smart one in high school, getting into honors literature and all that crap. And looky here where all that book reading got you.” He raised his bottle toward Brent. “Sitting right here next to me, drinking cheap beer, and checking out girls in push-up bras”
Brent laughed. It had been Derrek who’d received an offer for a full ride to the University of Texas. He’d turned it down after his parents’ death in a boating accident ten years ago to run the family ranch and take care of his baby sister.
Brent still struggled with guilt for not being there for his friend during that dark time. Not wanting to bring up the painful past, he brought the conversation around to what was really important.
“So, do you know of any hot girls new to town? Anyone recently heartbroken and looking for a rebound?” Brent glanced around the crowded bar, checking out potential targets.
Instead of potential hook-ups, he noticed the the Sloan twins, Chandler and Tatum, slumming it at Everyday Joe’s. Both were tall, dark, and handsome, if one took the “come-hither” looks all the ladies were tossing their way seriously. Maybe it had to do with their father’s money, or that the powerful family had their fingers in just about every business around town. Either way, the Sloans were at the top of the list for most “eligible bachelor” in Somewhere.
Brent did a head nod toward the Sloans. “So, what’s the story with them? Do they still own half the state and as rich as gods?”
Derrek shook his head. “You haven’t heard? Sorry man, forgot to tell you. Sloan Sr. has cancer, and not the good kind.”
Brent put down his beer. “Is there a good kind?”
“Well, if there is, it’s not this one. I guess Dixie, the younger sister, and the mom are taking it hard.”
Brent sighed. He remembered Dixie, a fresh-faced youth who always flashed her gap-toothed smile. She’d been younger than Brent and they hadn’t run in the same crowd, but she’d always been pleasant to him when they saw each other around town. “How about Chandler and Tatum? They seem to be hanging in there.”
“You know Tatum. Nothing affects him. He’s still strumming on his guitar and driving motorcycles around town. Has no interest in taking over the family ranching business. Leaves all of it to Chandler.”
Back in high-school, Brent and the twins used to hang out. At one point they formed a garage band that went nowhere, but when Brent moved away, he’d lost track of everyone. Now, seeing how much he’d missed, he felt guilty. “And Chandler?”
His friend’s brow arched in a way that spoke way more than Derrek ever would. “You remember Chandler and his dad never saw eye to eye.”
Brent nodded. “That’s an understatement.” He recalled some big rows between the two men. Even in this town they were legendary.
“But even before his dad got sick,” Derrek continued, “Chandler changed. He’s not the same cool guy we knew in high school.”
“Now, he’s a total dick.”
Brent laughed. If Derrek said that about Chandler, it must be true. “Wasn’t there another girl? The one who always hung out with the Sloans? She was kinda plain looking, really quiet. Like she was their sister or something, but wasn’t?”
“Jayne,” Derrek said.
Brent snapped his fingers. “Yeah. What about her?”
Derrek shrugged. “No one knows, man. The story is, one day she just up and left. No good bye, no nothing. No one’s heard from her since.”
Brent did a low whistle. “Yeah, and I thought I had issues.”
“Right.” Derrek nodded. “We’ve got nothing on the Sloans.”
Brent let his gaze quickly move on, not wanting to waste his energy on things he couldn’t change. He had more interesting things to do—women. “Anyway, hot girls? Rebound sex? Know of anyone who’d want to live out their fantasy of dating a rock star?”
“Don’t make me pull out the video of you throwing up on stage and were caught lip-syncing.” Derrek said, already picking up his phone.
Brent groaned and shook his head. “No, I was legitimately ill, and my agent assured me it’s been pulled down.”
“Oh no, I saved that mess on my phone. I’m going to be playing that video at your wedding,” Derrek laughed.
He had no doubt his friend would do just that. Derrek got his twisted sense of humor and knew half of what Brent said was just hype. He also had no issue using it to cut him down a peg or two. “Remind me not to invite you,” Brent mumbled into his beer.
“Sure thing, but seriously I don’t know of anyone,” Derrek said, finally getting back to Brent’s previous question. “But if anyone could convince a girl to hook up for only one week it would be you. Just remember, my sister is at the ranch, and I’m sure she wouldn’t appreciate feeding someone new each morning. Just keep it to the bunkhouse so I don’t have to hear about it.”
Brent was glad his low groan was covered up by the sound check from the three-piece band that had walked up on stage. He would’ve liked to say that he’d forgotten all about Danielle—Derrek’s little sister—but that wasn’t necessarily true. Danielle was just one of those people that didn’t quite fit in his life. There was something about her that made him feel… uncomfortable?
Maybe…oh God…was it guilt?
The feelings he had toward Danielle were mixed. There were those feelings of a teenager who held down the pesky little sister of his best friend while Derrek waved his dirty socks in her face, and then there were those feelings of later—of noticing those pretty red lips, big, doe brown eyes, a contagious laugh, and the mouth that tasted of apple pie and summer.
He shook his head, disgusted with himself that his memory of her was so vivid. He hadn’t seen her in close to ten years. Funny how he’d never asked Derrek if Danielle was dating anyone seriously. Maybe he hadn’t wanted to know. “So what did Danielle say when you told her I was staying with you for a whole week?”
Derrek suddenly had a hard time holding Brent’s gaze. “Umm… I didn’t. I told her it was just a weekend. Been real busy on the ranch and didn’t get around to letting her know. But she’ll be cool. She shouldn’t have an issue with it.”
Brent hoped not. What had happened between them was ancient history. Child’s play, really. If Danielle didn’t have a problem with that kiss years ago, then Brent shouldn’t either. He’d just have to remember to stay out of her way. The ranch was plenty big for both of them.
He planned to spend most of his time hunkered down in the bunkhouse, finishing his album. Brent pushed the thought of her out of his mind. If he hadn’t worked out his feelings about her in the last nine years, then he sure the hell wasn’t going to figure them out in the next five minutes.
Derrek carefully wiped the condensation off the table with the drink napkin provided and stood. “I’ll be right back, need to take the lizard for a walk. And I swear to God, if you ever see our waitress again, tackle her to get another round, will ya?”
Brent gave a mock salute and nodded. Spending time with his best friend felt good. Over the last few years they’d grown a bit distant. No one’s fault, really, just too much time and too many miles between them. He hoped to rectify that.