Claire Nixon is only twenty-one, but her heart has been shattered and put back together more times than she can count. Finding solace in meditation and a change of location, she thought she had buried her painful secret for good.
Then she met the persistent and sexy Adam Parker. Adam’s pursuit of Claire’s heart and her secret nearly destroyed them, but their love was relentless.
With no more secrets between them, Claire and Adam thought they had it all figured out. Though they knew they’d never be whole again, their love had survived the test. Until Claire’s rock star ex-boyfriend, Chris Knight, came back.
Now Chris has promised to mend the final piece of Claire’s broken heart as only he can. With Claire attending college a hundred miles away from Adam and Adam’s busy travel schedule, Chris’s offer looks more and more enticing.
“I’m telling you, that’s not my mic. That’s Jake’s. Mine is the 5200. Please get my mic.”
The new crewmember keeps mixing up my mic with Jake’s. This is the third time he’s done it this week and I’m about to lose my shit. Xander had the brilliant idea of hiring local sound and backline crews we’ve never worked with for this Home Sweet Home tour, to support the local economy, but I don’t need this kind of stress right now. I just want this tour over with.
I’m nervous as hell. Not only am I going to be jamming with the legendary Neil Hardaway, but Claire will be out there watching me. My palms are sweating and I haven’t even tuned up.
Keith brings the correct mic this time and I slide it into the mic stand. I sit down on my stool and rest Lucille, my Gibson SG electric guitar, in my lap. I only use the stool for acoustic sets, but I’m feeling a little unsteady on my feet today. Keith hands me the amp cable and I plug in.
I brush my fingers lightly over the strings and the sound echoes through the empty club. Nothing in this world is more soothing to me than holding a guitar in my hands, except being inside Claire or even lying next to her. The worst part of being apart from her this past year was the knowledge that I probably never would have gotten where I am if we’d stayed together. My songwriting improved by a million percent after we broke up. There really is nothing more inspiring to an artist than a shattered heart.
By the time I’m done tuning the guitar, Jake and Tristan are on stage and ready for a warm-up. We’re not performing any of my songs today. The studio put too hard of a pop spin on most of the songs on the Relentless album. Neil Hardaway is a local blues legend. He can’t play that shit. He actually called me himself last night, and I nearly pissed my pants, to tell me what we would be playing. We rehearsed last night in his home studio and I swear I had an out-of-body experience, as if I were watching someone else living their dream.
“Firefly,” I say over my shoulder and I immediately hear the clack of Jake’s drumsticks behind me and the shuffle of Tristan’s feet to my left as they prepare.
“Firefly” is one of the many songs I wrote about Claire where I changed a lot of the details so she wouldn’t know it was about her. This song is about a girl I call Firefly who writes me love notes and leaves them in random places for me to find. Of course, in the end, she leaves a note that’s not a love note at all. Claire used to send me random texts with random words—anagrams. I had to rearrange the letters to figure out what she was trying to tell me. It was one of our favorite games. She always tried to use the longest words to make it difficult for me to guess. The last text she sent me after we broke up was a one-word text, but it wasn’t an anagram: Sorry.
When we finish warming up, Neil Hardaway strolls in looking like a fucking pimp. He’s got more soul than any white man I’ve ever met. And, man, is he white! I don’t think Neil Hardaway’s face has seen a ray of sunshine in fifteen years. He’s wearing a midnight blue suit with a thin black tie, sunglasses, and black newsboy cap. I hope I’m that cool when I’m fifty-seven years old.
“What’s up, brother?” he says in that smooth, soulful twang. “You ready to turn these girls inside out?”
We shake hands then I nod at Keith for him to take my stool off the stage. Neil laughs, a raspy laugh, as another crewmember races up the steps onto the stage and hands him his guitar: a baby blue ES-345.
“Them girls waiting outside are about ready to tear the doors off this mother,” Neil continues.
I’m a little star struck, though not as bad as I was when I first met him yesterday. “Not interested,” I mutter as I pull a fresh pick out of my pocket and rub it between my fingertips to warm the plastic.
I’m not interested tonight, not when one of those girls waiting outside could possibly be Claire. I told her to come through the rear entrance, but she insisted on not getting special treatment. She probably doesn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about us, afraid it will get back to surfer boy.
Keith is looking at me weird as if he’s been trying to get my attention.
“There’s a girl out back asking for you.”
I can’t help but smile as I toss the pick to Keith and he catches it in one hand. “Take me to her.”
***** I'M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK***** Angie E
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