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Atlanta, GA, United States
I am the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best Selling author of The Proposition, Proposal, Music of the Heart, and Nets and Lies. I am represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich for all books except for Proposition and Proposal.
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The Proposition

The Proposition



Thursday, February 14, 2013

THANK YOU & Chapter Two of Music of the Heart

So what a coincidence that I reached 4K likes on my Facebook page on Valentine's Day! I can't thank you all enough for your love and support--especially Amber Vaughn for her HILARIOUS Jake Gyllenhal and Adam Levine pics encouraging you to like my page.

And here it is....Chapter Two of Music of the Heart--that releases March 25th. This is in Jake's POV. It's right after Abby nailed him in the balls to get out of his bed and then passed out...

Typical Drill of "This is a rough draft and subject to change..."

                                                                    CHAPTER TWO

Scorching pain ripped through my crotch, and I groaned in agony. One minute I’d been making out with an angel straight out of Heaven and the next a hellish wildfire raged through my junk.  

In my haze, I heard the angel screaming her fucking head off and then I heard a loud thump. Once I could see straight again, I gritted my teeth and staggered out of bed. I cupped my aching balls through my boxers and stumbled to the bedroom doorway.

The angel, turned raging bitch, lay in a heap in the hallway. AJ sat beside her, cradling her head in his lap, while my other band-mates, Brayden and Rhys, knelt down, staring at her in silent wonder.

When Brayden caught sight of me in the doorway, he narrowed his dark eyes. He rose up and took a step towards me, his jaw clenched tight. His 6’2, muscled form might have been threatening if I didn’t know him for the total tender-hearted pansy he was.  “Dude, what the fuck is going on?”

I threw my hands up. “How the hell should I know? I woke up to find her in my bed and then she nailed me in the balls!”

AJ shook his dark head of hair and snickered. “You gotta work on your game, man.”

I flicked him off before grinding the sleep out of my eyes with my fists. “I thought it was Bree, and then she was saying something about a dude named Gabe and her brothers putting me up to it.”

“That makes total sense. I mean, what sweet, straight laced girl like this is going to be getting in your bed,” Rhys remarked, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement as he twirled the diamond stud in his ear.

We all gazed down at the girl. Nope, she was definitely not groupie material. She reminded me of Brayden’s wife, Lily. They’d been high school sweet-hearts, and somehow their relationship had survived the last eight years of craziness as our band went from the garage to the biggest arenas in the country.  

Scratching the dark stubble on his chin, AJ grinned wickedly. “Hmm, with the sundress and headband, she’s kinda got a Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood look going on. Pure but sexy as hell.”

Rhys wrinkled his nose and shook his blonde head. “Oh hell no. She’s a hundred times hotter in the face than Sookie!” He motioned to the angel’s cleavage. “And damn, look at that rack.”

Brayden grunted in frustration. “Guys, could you stop thinking with your dicks for one minute, and focus on the fact we’ve got a poor, helpless girl passed out on the floor!”

“You’ve been married too long, Bray,” I mused, continuing to take in the blonde’s features. She had felt like heaven pressed up against me. Well, until she’d cock blocked me rather painfully.

At her moan, we all jumped back like we’d been caught doing something we shouldn’t have. She blinked her eyes a few times, bringing her hand to her forehead. Her brows furrowed as she rubbed her fingertips into her hairline. Then her eyes flew open, and she stared up at us. Her face crumpled with mortification. “Oh God, it wasn’t a nightmare.”

AJ laughed. “Ya know, chicks are usually a lot more stoked about meeting us than you are.”

Her dark blue eyes widened. “Oh, I’m sorry if I sounded rude. I didn’t mean that how it came out.”

I crossed my arms over my chest and snorted. “Kneeing me in the junk was rude, babe.”

She cocked her head to the side and gave me a death glare before pulling herself into a sitting position. “You wouldn’t stop molesting me. What else was I supposed to do?” she snapped.

Brayden bristled as he closed the gap between us. “Somehow you managed to leave that tidbit out of your story.”

AJ extended his hand. “Come on, Sookie, let’s get you up off that dirty floor.”

She gave him a puzzled look. “But my name’s not Sookie. It’s Abigail—well, Abby.”

Once AJ pulled her up, she fell against his chest, trying to steady herself. I rolled my eyes when he seemed to get a little too much enjoyment out of her pressed against him as her hands fisted his shirt for balance.

Brayden must’ve realized it too because he took Abby by the arm. “Come on over here and have a seat.” He motioned toward one of the Captain’s chairs.

“Did you have fun feelin’ her up, dickhead?” I hissed to AJ.

He grinned. “It was a little piece of Heaven right here.” He closed his eyes, swept his hand to his heart, and said, “Diablo linda, esas tetas se sienten increible. Me gustaria metertelo hasta que estes gritando.”

Abby froze in front of us. She jerked away from Brayden and whirled around. “Ni te lo pienses sucio!”

AJ’s eyes popped open, and his brows shot up in shock. “How the hell do you know Spanish?”

“My parents were missionaries. I spent most of my early years abroad—Mexico, Central America, and Brazil. My Portuguese isn’t as good as my Spanish though.” She cocked her head at AJ. “Pendejo!”

“Yeah, I am an asshole for saying that!” He roared with laughed. “My apologies, Sookie—I mean, Abby.” He then thrust out one of his hands. “I’m Alejandro Joaquin Resendiz, otherwise known as AJ—drummer extraordinaire of Runaway Train and your potential Latin Lova.”

Abby grinned as she reached out to shake his hand. “Abby Renard.”

AJ’s dark eyes widened. “Ha—Renard, like Renard Parish in True Blood? See you could totally be Sookie!” AJ joked.

“Quite a charmer, aren’t you AJ?” Abby questioned with a giggle.

“Anything for you, mi amor. I mean, do you know what a fucking turn-on it is to hear fluent Spanish coming off a pair of lips like yours?” His eyes rolled back in his head with delight.

“No, but I’m sure you’re going to elaborate for me, right?”

I couldn’t help snickering. The more Abby/Hell’s Angel spoke the more I started to dig her. She wasn’t star-struck by us, and she gave as good as she got—my sore balls were testimony of that.

Rhys stepped forward and offered Abby his hand. “I’m Rhys McGowan—bassist and if you’re looking for a real man, a much better choice than that douchebag,” he said, jerking his thumb at AJ.

AJ brought Abby’s hand to his lips. “Just remember. Latin men are the best.”

“I’ll try to remember that,” she murmured. As she took her hand from AJ, she brought it to her head. “Ugh, why am I still so dizzy?”

AJ dove into the fridge for a bottle of water and gave it to Abby while Brayden knelt down beside her. “Maybe put your head between your knees?” he suggested, in a calm, soothing voice. At the same time, Rhys snatched up a paper towel and ran it under the tap before handing it to Abby. I glanced around at my band mates with a mixture of disbelief. They were falling all over themselves to impress for Abby with their thoughtfulness. That never, ever happened with a woman on the bus. The chicks were there to wow and impress us with their sexual talents. As soon as they were done, they were sent unceremoniously off the bus.

Well, I guess, Brayden’s motives were different. He was the father figure and care taker of the band as well as being the father to four year old, Jude, and eight month old, Melody. And regardless of the tits and ass thrown in his face twenty-four seven, he remained true to his wife. Although I gave him shit about it, I really did admire him for being loyal.

Abby gave a ragged sigh. “I’m okay. Really, you don’t have to fuss over me.” She smoothed her hair back and wiped a few dust bunnies off her dress. “I’m hypoglycemic so sometimes I pass out when I don’t eat…that and well, the adrenaline rush of being in a stranger’s bed and seeing you all instead of my brothers.”

After taking a hesitant sip of water, Abby patted her cheeks down with the paper towel. When she glanced up, she found all of us staring at her. “So, um, I guess you’re all wondering how I ended up here, huh?”

Brayden motioned to the authorized pass nestled in her ample cleavage. “I’m going to take a wild guess and say you got on the wrong bus.”

Abby nodded. She then launched into a story about why she was even at Rock Nation. When she explained about the roadie and Jacob’s ladder, I sucked in a breath. “He thought you were looking for me.”

“Huh?” she asked.

“I’m Jake Slater. He probably wasn’t paying much attention, right?”

She nodded.

“I mean, Jake Slater and Jacob’s Ladder running together kinda sound similar—if the asshat even heard anything past J. He just assumed you were coming to see me.”

Abby’s eyebrows shot up. “And you often have random chicks coming to your bus with luggage and a guitar case?” she countered.

The grin I gave her caused pink splotches on Abby’s cheeks. “Never mind,” she muttered, looking away from me.

The sound of her phone vibrating on the table interrupted us. She grabbed it up and frantically brought it to her ear. “Gabe, oh my God, it’s so good to hear from you!”

The voice on the other line spoke frantically. She shook her head. “No, no, I didn’t get cold feet about the tour. It’s just…I, um, I got on the wrong bus.”

At the response, her face clouded over with fury. “Oh really? Well, maybe one you assholes should have come to meet me!” He said something else, and she sputtered with indignation. “Don’t you chastise me about cussing! I’m a grown woman, and I’ll say whatever I want to! I can’t believe you have me on speakerphone. Eli, if you don’t stop laughing, I’m going to beat the shit out of you the moment I see you! And if you think I can’t, just remember Costa Rica!”

I couldn’t help laughing at her fiery personality. The other guys were equally amused at the spit-fire in front of us.

“How did this happen? There were over a hundred buses out there, Gabe. When I asked about Jacob’s Ladder, they thought I meant Jake Slater.”

Gabe’s voiced screeched on the other end so loud we all could here it. “You’re on Runaway Train’s bus?!!!”

“Yes,” she replied. At his next statement, she snorted. “Well, I’ve only managed to do the drummer and the bassist so far, but I’m thinking I could get a threesome going and knock out the others. Maybe I’ll gang bang with the roadies when we stop for dinner!”

Rhys made a strangled noise in his throat while AJ muttered, “Fuck me,” under his breath. Even I couldn’t stop the below the belt stirring at her imaginative suggestion.

She rolled her eyes. “Gabe, would you give me a little credit? I’ve held on to my virginity this long. I think it’ll hold for awhile.”

We all exchanged wild glances. Rhys tugged so hard on his stud it came out of his ear and dropped onto the ground. AJ fumbled for the beer next to him and drained in a long guzzle—his chest heaving hard as he stared at Abby. Even Brayden appeared shell-shocked by her declaration. All of us had to be thinking the same thing. How was it possible for a smokin’ hot girl like the one before us to be a…virgin?

Abby whirled around and saw our expressions. A flush entered her cheeks, and she ducked her head. She sank back down into her chair and buried her head between her knees. “I can’t believe I just admitted that in a room full of men,” she whispered. When Gabe said something else, her voice broke with emotion. “Look, I just need to know how we’re going to fix this.” After sniffing for a few seconds, she raised her head and scanned our faces. “Yeah, one sec.” She handed the phone to Brayden. “He wants to know your tour schedule, so I’ll be able to get off the bus and onto a plane as soon as possible.”

He nodded as he took the phone and stepped away from us. “Hey Gabe, this is Brayden Vandenburg, and don’t worry, man, I’m gonna take good care of Abby until we can get her back to you guys—” He jerked back like he had been stunned. “That was so not what I meant. Besides, I’m a married man. Now here’s where we are…” His voice trailed off as he walked down the aisle.

Rhys patted Abby’s back reassuringly. “Hey, don’t worry. It’s going to be okay.”

With her head buried back in her hands, she mumbled. “Thanks. I hope so.”

Edging Rhys out of the way, I knelt down beside Abby. Taking her chin in my hands, I pulled her head up to meet my gaze. “Don’t sweat it, Angel. Your brother and Bray will figure it out. I promise we’ll have you back to your civilized little world as soon as possible and before you can get too traumatized by being in our presence.”

She smacked my hand away. “What do you mean civilized?”

I shrugged. “I just meant that it’s obvious you’re used to a certain way of life.”

Her blonde brows shot up so far I thought they might reach her white headband. “Are you insinuating that I’m some spoiled little brat who is used to having everyone bow to her every whim?


Abby narrowed her eyes at me. “My parents were missionaries. Do you even understand what that means?”

A smirk curved at my lips. “I know all about the missionary position, Angel. In fact, I believe I was trying to acquaint you with it earlier when you cock blocked me.”

“You’re seriously disgusting!” she cried popping up out of her chair. She almost toppled me over before I could stand up. Poking her finger into my chest, she said, “I’ll have you know that I’m not some prima donna who can’t survive without someone taking care of me. The lives of missionaries and their families is very simplistic, so trust me when I say, I’ve seen a lot of hard shit. Yeah, we lived in major cities like Rio in Brazil and Guadalajara in Mexico, but I’ve also tromped through the jungles and gone days without showers, least of all cell phones and wifi. So I can assure you that there’s nothing you and your band of merry miscreants can do that would shock or scare me!”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh please. You fucking passed out at the sight of the boys, not to mention that you flipped and got your lacy panties all in a twist when I made out with you.”

“Are you trying to say that I couldn’t make it on this bus?” she countered.

I cocked my head at her. “Come on, Angel. You would die a thousand deaths if you even had to stay one night on here with us and our raging sex drives, atrocious language, and bad table manners.”

“You seem to forget I have three older brothers. I’m well acquainted with unruly guys.”

Crossing my arms over my chest, I smirked down at her. “So you’re saying if you had the chance to get off the bus in the next few hours, you wouldn’t?”

She inched forward, standing toe to toe with me. “Are you saying I don’t have the courage to stay?”

“Yeah, I am.”

AJ held up his hands. “Whoa, what the fuck do you two think you’re doing?”

“What are the terms for me to prove myself to you?” Abby asked.

Without even thinking, I blurted, “One week on the bus.”

Her tough as nails resolved wavered a little. “One week?” she squeaked, her voice cracking.

Rhys tried pushing us apart. “Okay, that’s really funny, but you two can stop now,” he argued. When neither of us backed down, he said, “Let me remind you that Abby has a tour she needs to be on, and we have one as well. No one has to prove anything to anyone, okay?”

I tore my gaze from Abby’s to glare at him. “This isn’t anything to you, man. This is between me and Angel.”

“It’s Abby,” she growled.

I arched my brows at her. “So what’s it gonna be, Angel?”

Fury flashed in her blue eyes before she whirled around. She stomped over to Brayden and snatched the phone away from him. “Gabe, there’s been a change of plans.”