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Advance Search

Love Song

Published by: eXtasy Books

Author : T.S. McNeil

ISBN :978-1-4874-4107-4

Page :87

Word Count :21027

Publication Date :2024-01-19

Series : #

Heat Level :

Available Formats : Love Song (epub) , Love Song (mobi) , Love Song (pdf) , Love Song (prc)

Category : Contemporary Romance , What's New

  • Product Code: 978-1-4874-4107-4

A little help from my friends.

Introverted, low-key misanthropic singer-songwriter Leah Ainsley, tired of getting kicked around, and yearning to revive both her creativity and her fading career, retreats to her manager’s isolated lake house to record her new album with no interruptions or interference. 

The best laid plans rarely work out, however, and a surprise meeting soon teaches Leah just how wonderful and rewarding inspiration and collaboration can be.

Leah leaned against the wheel as the car shook like a paint-mixer, every rock and root finding its way under the tires of the rear-wheel drive along the rough road winding toward the sprawling Victorian lake house. Three floors high and just as wide, the house had an ambiance to please any Romantic poet. For Leah it was a place to be alone. 

The trunk jumped open like a jack-in-the-box to reveal a Tetris game of rolling suitcases, kept rigid by internal frames. 

Two at a time she rolled the cases inside, leaving each pair by the door before going back for more. Leah’s father had been a major-general, and the lion’s share of his regimental ways had passed down to his daughter, as opposed to her wastrel of a brother. 

Echoing through the antique excess, Leah set out in search of the perfect space for her studio. Nearly half the cases held her specially selected gear to get just the right tone out of every note.

One by one she rolled the cases in and set their contents, in the perfect arrangement. The order put her at ease just from being in the space. Jack’s job was as much to be a facilitator and a friend as managing her career. 

Along with the solitude came an utter absence of roadies, leaving Leah to shlep and set up everything herself. It was a small price to pay in the end, her perfectionism often outpacing her common sense when it came to matters creative.

Leah retrieved her guitar last but not least, easing it out from the back seat, where both seat belts were secured around it like a beloved toddler. 

“Come here, baby,” Leah cooed. 

Holding the anvil case to her chest in a double-arm embrace, bending forward a little at the waist from the added weight, she cradled the case until it could be laid upon the bed, then opened each of the locked latches with a clack. 

Far from the commercial music store fare, sweet Katie was both perfect and rare, a prototype Gibson Hummingbird, one of maybe a dozen in existence, every bit as pristine as it had been when it first came off the line in 1960. 

Leah  had cried the first time she spied it lying in the velvet-lined case. It was a signing bonus from her agent, and the first sign he wasn’t just after the money she could have made, or indeed, her immortal soul. 

With Katie in her loving arms, supported by a thick leather strap, Leah sat on the antique chair before the Queen Anne desk on and around which the rest of the gear had been set. 

Sonar-style sounds sprang from the professional quality monitors meant for mixing music tracks, amplifying everything by about a thousand. 

“Gah.” Leah lurched, covering her ears. 

With the reflexes of a jungle cat, she grabbed Katie before she could take a truly terrible tumble. 

“What’s wrong?” Leah’s manager asked over the aether. 

“Katie almost fell, you jerk!” Leah screamed, like Katie was a baby.

“Oh, sorry about that, is she okay?”

“Yeah, I was wearing the strap.”  Thanking her lucky stars,  Leah stroked Katie’s thin and polished neck as if to calm the poor thing after the close call. 

“Thank goodness for small miracles.”

“What do you want, Jack?” Leah asked. 

“Only to see how my esteemed client is doing.”

“She’s in Japan getting eyelash implants.”

“No, no, my darling, she isn’t my most esteemed. The most profitable, but not my most esteemed.”

“Isn’t that the same thing?” Leah asked pointedly. 

“Not for me.”

“I see, so you stick with me, despite dropping album sales,” Leah teased. 

Jack Flash Flannigan was never short of explanations, even when he had to make them up. Managers, even more than agents, needed to be masters of improv.

“Thank you for your honesty,” Leah said, through gritted teeth. 

“Are you mad? You sound mad,” Jack said. 

“No, just disappointed.”

“In me?” Jack asked. 

“No, just my life, the universe…everything.” 

“So you’re quoting Douglas Adams?”

Leah surprised herself by laughing out loud—Jack Flannigan was the only man in the world who could still make her laugh. Most of the levity had been beaten out of her years before. 

“Yes, and you better not tell anyone,” Leah faux threatened.

“My lips are sealed.”

“Are you quoting the Go-Go’s?” 

“They’re a good band!” Jack objected. 

“Whatever, 80s baby.” 

“It’s not my fault my sister was ten years older.” 

“No, just unfortunate,” Leah said. 

“She also introduced me to The Cure, Oingo Boingo, and Pixies, even if it was accidentally.” 

“Touché,” Leah conceded. 

Memory lane stretched out the front door of the lake house and all the way back to the party where they’d met back in the day. Leah had been starting her first year as an English major doing her best to look cool and comfortable at her first party as Jack stood between the speaker stacks at the back playing DJ for fun and profit.

Sounds like she’d never heard filled  her ears that fateful night, drawing her to the booth like a magnetic field. He knew music better than anyone she’d ever met, so when he encouraged her to do something with the songs she’d been working on between multi-page essays, she hadn’t thought twice about throwing herself into it. In a spirit of mutual assistance, she was his first client when he made the move from a barely-getting-by DJ to absurdly successful manager.

“So all is well out there in the middle of nowhere?” Jack asked. 

 “Absolutely fine, aside from the road. I thought my car might shake apart.”

“Yeah, sorry about that. I think the idea, at least back in the day, was to keep the riff-raff away. Only the cars the rich could afford were able to take the shake.”

“Interesting theory, even if it does put me in the ranks of the riff-raff,” Leah said.  

“Everything is relative, hon.”

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Tags: Contemporary, Sweet Romance, Comedy