The rock legend’s daughter…
The musician with a dark past…
Deacon Chastain plays a blue guitar to match his rock idol, the man that saved him from a path of destruction. His life revolves around music; it’s the only thing that saves him from the darkness.
Hearts beat to the same rhythm…
Broken and scarred by their pasts, can they find a way to heal and move forward? No matter the adversity, even the hardest of hearts can be softened by love – music is easy; life is hard.
“Deacon! Deacon! Deacon!” the hoard of girls chanted, as they pushed and shoved, trying to get closer to the empty stage.
The unmistakable sound of a Fender Stratocaster echoed through the small arena, inciting the masses even further. The crowd was a living, breathing entity all its own that swayed and surged with every note. As the opening guitar solo edged forward, I could smell sweet excitement filling the air; unfortunately, the scent was dampened by sweat and stale beer.
“C’mon, hurry your ass up!” I shouted to my friend, Willow, before I started weaving through the flesh-hungry mob. Willow wrapped her arms around my waist trying not to get trampled.
After elbowing every single person in our path, we finally reached the barricade a few feet from the stage. Immediately, we were greeted by a snarling security guard that wasn’t happy to see us ascending into sacred territory. He held up his hands in a silent plea for us to stop, which did nothing but make me roll my eyes. I’d never felt entitled to things in my life; however, free reign at this place was a given, and the only thing I ever demanded.
I flashed the sweetest smile I could manage, and was just about to inform him who my dad was, when a man dressed in a business suit gestured for the guard to let us pass. I smiled at the suit and he returned the gesture with a nod of his head just before he disappeared behind a door leading under the stage. Realization of who I was, or actually who my dad was, flooded over the guard’s face. His eyes grew wide and reverence appeared – with a touch of pity.
“That never gets old.” Willow yelled in my ear over the screams and hollers for the concert to begin.
“What?” I shouted back.
“When they finally realize you’re someone important and retreat.” She laughed.
I shook my head. “But I’m not.” I informed her.
“Yes, you are, Elizabeth, and it won’t be long ‘til I’m someone special, too.” She said with a wink.
I rolled my eyes at her before turning my attention back to the stage just as a single light began to rise. The guitar solo slowly faded and was followed by the pounding of a kick drum. Boom, boom, boom. I could feel my heart mirror the slow, methodical beat. Boom, boom, boom.
Anticipation built within me causing heat to cover my body, and sweat to roll down the middle of my back. Music always had a way of exciting me. I’d grown up with it - I’d never known anything different. Even when I’d been shielded from its harsh glare, a constant rhythm still flowed through my veins.
A shadowy figure appeared at the center microphone directly in front of us.
“Oh shit there he is, there he is!” Willow screamed, jumping up and down.
I burst into laughter because I’d never seen her act like this before.
“Damn girl, calm down! He’s just some lead singer. We’ve definitely met our fair share before.” I placed my hands on her shoulders forcing her to calm down.
She pointed toward the stage, “Duke’s different—dear Lord is he different. Just wait ‘til you hear him sing and you’ll be ready to rip his clothes off, too.”
“Fuck me, Duke!” echoed behind me. I turned to see a leggy blonde with the brightest red lips I’d ever seen, flashing her tits at the stage. I’d never understand how any woman thought that would help her chances at snagging a man. Sleazy desperation was never attractive on anyone, no matter how much lipstick you tried to cover it with.
A low, sexy growl came through the sound system, drawing my attention back to the stage. Standing center stage was a towering man wearing nothing but black leather pants. His long blonde hair hung down his back and teased the crowd by subtly camouflaging his muscles that appeared to bulge in all the right places.
“That’s him, that’s him.” Willow shouted, digging her nails into my upper arm.
I shrugged my shoulders, “Yeah, he looks good, but I need to hear him first.”
“He plays guitar, too. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t drag you here for a singer that didn’t play, too.”
I smiled at my best friend because she knew me well. Although I tried hard not to pass judgment on him before I actually heard him sing, his cliché appearance was definitely a strike against him. He was too flashy for what I wanted. I wanted old fashioned musicians that played for the love of their craft. Not someone that was just in it for the glitz and glam.
Willow dragged me here tonight in hopes I’d sign her favorite new band to my dad’s management company; technically, it was my management company now, even though I refused to call it that. Savage Man had become mine four years ago on my eighteenth birthday. Before that my mother almost ran it into the ground from the day her guardianship of me granted her the right.
My dad hadn’t been a part of my life since all the glitz and glam took him from me when I was barely thirteen years old. Not nearly old enough to know how his absence would affect my entire world, let alone how he’d want me to lead his brainchild.
Willow’s band, The Elle’s, was the first band I signed when I officially started working at Savage Man full time last month, after graduating college. An all girl rock band, no one could go wrong with the way these girls looked, not to mention their amount of talent. Simply, they kicked ass. The only problem was the estrogen induced drama that occurred on a daily basis. But Willow had been the only constant in my life, and I’d do anything to help her achieve her dreams.
“Hey, are you even listening to him?” Willow whined.
“I’m listening,” I snapped. I was definitely listening, and his voice was impressive. Clear and smooth, just like she’d said it was.
The bridge of the song played and the lead guitar picked up, sending chills dancing across my skin. I moved to my left and on to my tiptoes, trying to peer over the tall stage, but couldn’t see the guitar player. His half of the stage was too dark; the only beam of light focused on Duke, who was busy grinding his hips in the direction of every female he could find.
“Deacon Chastain.” Willow said with a huge smile. “That’s who you’re looking for over there. He doesn’t come out of the shadows very often. Apparently he likes to sulk back there and be all broody.”
“He’s damn good. Why didn’t you tell me about him?”
Her eyes gleamed with orneriness. “Because I wanted you to discover him for yourself. Just wait; there’s a hell of a lot more to see.”
Song, after song played and I still hadn’t seen more than a glimpse of Deacon through his shroud of darkness. Still, the sounds that came from his guitar kept me entranced. I’d stopped listening to the song as a whole, only feeling the vibrations of his picked guitar strings darting through my core. They felt so familiar, like I’d never listened to anyone, other than him, play.
“We are Unforgiven, and we hope we rocked you as hard as you rocked us tonight. If not, be sure and let us know, so we can tell you to go fuck yourself.” Duke shouted and the crowd cheered. “Ladies, don’t forget the line for the backstage freaky train forms to your left by the big bald security guard. As always, the last song of the night goes to our fearless founder and leader, Deacon.”
I expected the crowd to go wild with more sexual favor declarations from the half-naked Barbie’s all around me, but there was only complete silence. Duke dropped the mic with a shrill shriek, and the entire room immediately went black.
A dim light from the back of the stage slowly arced across the venue, stopping and illuminating someone sitting on a bar stool with a black hoodie pulled over his head. Now backlit, the figure became a dark and menacing presence. A microphone stood in front of him, waiting to be used, while a large guitar rested on his leg. Willow pulled on my arm and moved closer.
“That’s Deacon.” She said softly into my ear. “This is their end of the show tradition - same song at the end of every show.”
The sound of his knuckles cracking filtered through the stillness as a bright spotlight illuminated the front of his guitar. I gasped. It was my guitar; my dad’s guitar. I knew every single inch of my dad’s guitar and this was identical, even down to the bright blue details. I felt my heart fall to the floor, shattering into a million jagged pieces. He was another one, another guitar player obsessed with my dad. I found them everywhere, or more accurately, they found me. I think some of them had a tracking device attached to my ass with how quickly they could locate me. I’d spent my life fighting off Kirk Savage wannabes. Which never made sense to me—I’m his daughter, so their path to becoming my “Rock God” dad should not include them vying to be in my pants.
I heard Deacon slowly inhale then let out a long, steady stream of air. Not a nervous gesture, but a prayer for strength. He lightly strummed his guitar and the sound invaded my senses. He played a slow, light melody that had tears burning my eyes.
His fingers moved over the smooth strings, creating one of the most genuine sounds I’d ever heard—every movement of his hand giving voice to the desires of his heart. I’d been around enough musicians to know that was the only way a mere human could compose such a melody, and in that moment, our hearts were beating to the same rhythm.
His voice rang through the calm bar and every eye was turned, hanging on his every word. His voice was light and rough, his words ran together, just barely clear enough to understand.
Take her now; you need her more than I
She hasn’t ever truly been mine
Strike your claim; it’s been too long
I’ve been fighting, but you’ve won
There’s no way, don’t hide your eyes
Unused, unwanted, unclaimed
Some of my earliest memories were of me, sitting cross legged in the middle of my dad’s studio, intently watching the faces of musicians as they poured their heart and soul into their gift. My dad used to say, if the fans didn’t feel like they’d lived an entire lifetime in his shoes after he performed, then he needed to find another job. “Maybe an accountant,” he’d joke, “they don’t need emotions.”
Music has always been the driving force in my life. It soothed my fears when I was overcome, and guided the way when I was lost. I looked to music like a religious man looks to his God – and it had yet to let me down. If Deacon’s face wasn’t covered by the darkness, I knew I would see every emotion evoked by his words. Music was easy, life was hard. Each haunting syllable he uttered crawled deep into my soul.
“Holy shit, are you crying?” Willow shrieked from beside me, and then laughed.
I touched my cheeks and felt wetness; I hadn’t even realized I was crying. I wiped it away before turning to look at her.
“No, I wasn’t crying. Are you crazy?”
“Bullshit Elizabeth, you were freaking cryin’ and don’t try to deny it.” She pointed her finger in my face and shook her head at me.
“Whatever, c’mon.” I said, looping our arms together and heading toward backstage. “Do you, or do you not, want to meet Duke?”
“Damn right I’m gonna meet him; gotta meet him before I can make him put a ring on it.”
She said with a laugh.
Sarah Dosher was born and raised in rural Oklahoma where she currently resides with her cowboy husband and twins (one cowboy and one cowgirl). She spends her day slaving away in healthcare and her nights pouring her heart out to her keyboard. She is addicted to books and The Golden Girls. Her love for reading inspired her to start her writing journey.
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Review: 5 stars!
An amazing book!! I got hooked from the start and didn't want to put it down. The twist blow me away. You will not be disappointed when you read this book! Get ready for something that will keep you in!