The help only he can offer…
Cypress Pointe, Florida, is a long way from LA, where pop singer Cassie Branford needs a hit to prove she’s not a two album wonder. But her case of writer’s block could be over when the struggling songwriter meets Luke Hastings at a family wedding.
The legendary musician walked away from success at the height of his career. Yet Luke is already inspiring Cassie with his dedication to building a permanent community outreach center for troubled teens. Volunteering to help bring music into these kids’ lives is also bringing her and Luke closer. Maybe they’re not as different as he thinks…
What had she been thinking? How had she expected to pull off a full-blown concert in two weeks’ time? Therein lies the problem. She hadn’t been. Her only thoughts were to impress Luke.
How’s that going?
Cassie paced the stage, clasping her sweaty palms together as the tech team buzzed with activity around her. A late afternoon coastal breeze picked up, swirling the ankle-length sheer skirt around her high-heeled boots, carrying with it the scent of salt water sweetened by the newly blooming orange blossoms. Her entire outfit, a black mesh with gold embellishments around the waist and hem, fit over a black tank minidress. She’d even dyed the pink streak in her hair black to match.
“Watch out for the loose cords,” one of the tech guys commanded as he hurried over with tape to secure the cable snaking out from beneath the keyboard she’d be playing tonight. The sustain pedal kept sticking, giving her problems all during sound check. The team investigated and fixed the issue, a relief after a messy preconcert hour on stage coming right on the heels of a strained two-week practice. Just remembering made her want to jump in her rental car and drive away.
As promised, Sandy Palms filled in as her backup band. From the get-go things were tense. At first the guys were thrilled to work with her. Sonny and Brian friendly, Ryan, not so much.
“Have I done something wrong?” she’d wondered out loud.
“Nope,” Sonny had slapped her on the back. “He’s always like that.”
As they practiced, nerves got the better of all of them, which made Cassie mess up her own melodies, adding to her already strained confidence. And Luke? He’d been a rock.
“Hey, guys, watch the temp on the first song. It’s a beat slower than you’re playing. This is a particularly difficult transition. Once you nail it, you’ll be fine. Just have fun with it.”
His encouragement had bonded the practices together. But now?
Okay, she’d cornered Luke with this concert idea. So far her plan wasn’t going as…planned. She could only hope the turnout for the concert was a success so Luke wouldn’t see it as a huge bust.
“Miss Branford?” one of the organizers approached her. “Mandy Rose from the Cypress Pointe Weekly wants to know if you have a few minutes.”
“Please ask her to drop by Kid’s Klub tomorrow morning.” Cassie had planned a breakfast blowout to thank all the concert volunteers. “I can give her a few minutes then.”
“And your father wants to speak to you.”
Just what she didn’t need. She’d rather have a root canal. “Not now.”
The woman nodded. “I’ll let him know.”
“Here’s your mic,” another member of the team walked to her, holding up her personalized, bedazzled microphone. As a dare from her sister, she’d used pink crystals to jazz up the piece of equipment. After positive comments from fans, she kept it as part of her trademark style.
Luke chose that moment to walk by, eyeing the mic. Today, he’d chosen a well-worn pair of jeans, a pale blue button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and boots to complete his very casual, very male concert look. His hair, artfully messy, appeared lighter blond in the late afternoon sunshine. His smile, when he chose to share it, hitched her heart rate up a notch.
“A bit much, don’t you think?”
Right now, she was inclined to agree. “Part of my look.”
He stopped, gave her a nerve-wracking once over. “You look nice.”
Wow. A compliment. From the man who mostly kept his opinions to himself, except when it came to Kid’s Klub.
Other Books in the Series
About the Author
USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn’t come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.
March 12th: Launch
March 13th: Falling Leaves
March 14th: Reading Is My SuperPower & Book Lover in Florida
March 15th: Hearts & Scribbles
March 16th: Christy’s Cozy Corners & Rainy Day Reviews
March 17th: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium & Bookworm Lisa
March 19th: Heidi Reads…
March 20th: Katie’s Clean Book Collection, Mel’s Shelves & Rockin’ Book Reviews
March 21st: Wishful Endings & Getting Your Read On
March 22nd: underneath the covers & Hardcover Feedback
March 23rd: Harlie’s Books & Becky on Books
March 24th: Grand Finale
– US PRIZE PACK: Signed copies of the first three books in The Business of Weddings series by Tara Randel, a $25 gift card for Dunkin’ Donuts, a coffee mug with an inspirational message: “Something beautiful is on the horizon,” and a Harlequin Heartwarming tote bag. (US only)
– $25 Amazon eCard (open internationally)
– Ends March 28th