Lexxie Couper shares an exclusive bonus scene she wrote for BLACKTHORNE….
And The Whispers In The Night
A Heart of Fame Story
The roar from the waiting crowd rumbled through the packed-to-capacity stadium, damn near louder than the wild thunder of the late-summer storm brewing overhead.
A man could find himself believing all of Sydney was out there, braving the crazy weather and possible threat of torrential rain. All just to hear him sing.
Damn, even after the last twelve months, it still messed with his head.
Josh Blackthorne shot a look over his shoulder, the churning knot in his gut tightening. “Fuck no,” he laughed at the man walking towards him. “I think I’m going to be sick. The very first look the world gets of Synergy performing live may very well be of me throwing up all over the stage.”
Samuel Gibson returned his laugh. Synergy’s lead guitarist moved like oiled smoke, sinewy and graceful and somehow lyrical. Josh wondered how the older man radiated such confident energy and smoldering charm. Josh himself could never move that way, no matter how much he tried. Of course, Josh walked with a subtle limp so there was that. And unlike Samuel, Josh had never performed live to over 80,000 screaming fans before.
God, this was lunacy…
Stopping at Josh’s side, Samuel clapped a hand on Josh’s shoulder. “Your old man used to be the exact same way. The only time I didn’t see him throw up before hitting the stage was when your mum was in the crowd or backstage with him.”
A wry chuckle bubbled past Josh’s dry lips. “So what you’re telling me is until I find the true love of my life and drag her to every gig we do, I’m going to be a sick mess before each show? Awesome. Wonder if it’s too late to accept that offer to coach the Newcastle United Jets soccer team?”
Samuel rolled his eyes. “And you’re just as dramatic as your dad as well.” He laughed. “Just wait until you get up there. Trust me, the nerves will vanish. Promise.”
Josh let out a ragged sigh. He turned back to study what he could see of the crowd beyond the stage, the sight hindered somewhat by the band’s gear. Noah’s elevated drum kit alone hid most of it. Nothing however, could drown out the crowd’s frenzied screaming.
Josh’s gut churned some more. “They know Dad’s not performing, right? I still can’t believe that many people paid money to see me p—”
A sharp slap to the back of his head cut his statement dead.
“I’m going to beat the crap out of you if you keep going on like that, Joshua William Blackthorne,” Jaxon Campbell, the band’s keyboardist declared, grinning at him from his left. “You know what I had to go through to get you here? As your dad’s replacement as the band’s front man?”
“Lots of sex, if I remember rightly,” Samuel pointed out, eyebrow cocked. “With the love of your life.”
Jax smirked. “Ah, but do you know how draining a gazillion mind-blowing orgasms are on a man? I could hardly get out of bed for a week after young Josh here finally agreed to—”
A drumstick spun through the air like a lazy ninja star and struck Jax on the chest, silencing him.
“Shut up, Liberace,” Synergy’s drummer, Noah Holden said as he crossed to where they all stood. “Or I’ll tell Natalie you’re complaining about all the sex you two have.”
Jax reeled back in mock terror. “Jesus, don’t do that to me, mate. Otherwise I’ll tell Pepper you’re complaining about the same. Reckon you could go a day without bonking that beautiful wife of yours?”
“Are you seriously comparing who has the most sex over here?” the final member of Synergy joined them, wry amusement on his face.
“We are,” Jax answered, grinning at Levi Levistan, the band’s bass guitarist. “And I just pointed out how I took one for the team to get Josh here with us.”
Levi snorted. “Took one for the team, eh?”
“All that sex…” Jax let out a melodramatic sigh. “In all those places.”
Levi cast them all an enigmatic look. “Two people having sex a lot is impressive, but you know what beats that on sheer mathematical logic? Three people having sex a lot. Three. Which means, me, Corbin and Sonja beat the lot of you.”
Jax burst out laughing. So did Samuel and Noah. It wasn’t often Levi allowed his mischievous sense of humour out to play, but when he did…it was priceless.
Josh shook his head with a grin. “And here I was thinking guys stopped being obsessed with sex when they hit their forties?”
“Fuck that for a joke,” Jax burst out.
Levi threw back his head and laughed.
Samuel clapped Josh on the shoulder again. “We’re not just guys, Josh,” he stated, a devilish light in his eye. “We’re rock stars. And rock stars never stop thinking about sex. Trust me.”
Josh couldn’t help but laugh. His dad’s old band members, now his band members, were like his extended family. He’d known them since he was fifteen. Had idolized them before that, before he ever knew rock-god Nick Blackthorne was his father. Now, after a year of their very first album breaking damn near every chart record on history, from biggest selling album to longest album at Number 1 to highest grossing single, the world was about to see Synergy perform live. For the first time, the world was about to see Josh perform live on stage with the band his father had created over twenty years ago.
Now, a twenty-three year old guy, who’d planned to be a professional soccer player, was about to take the stage with a band of rock legends.
And what were those rock legends doing?
Making jokes about sex and giving each other shit.
It was perfect. It had made Josh completely forget his nerves. And the fact he hadn’t got laid in a long time.
Maybe you’re just waiting for the love of your life to come along? Like she did for Samuel, Noah, Levi and Jax? Maybe you’re just—
Josh jumped at the soft female voice with its distinct New York accent behind them.
As one, all five men turned to look at the pocket-rocket who was the band’s manager.
“Babe,” Noah said, grabbing Pepper in a bear hug and hauling her off the ground.
She laughed and then whacked him on the shoulders. “It’s time, you guys.”
Josh’s gut knotted. His throat slammed shut.
Before he could utter a word, the rest of the band—seasoned performers, ready to put on a show in a heartbeat—deserted him. With murmured words of encouragement, they left him. Alone.
Well, not alone. Pepper still stood before him, her lips curled in a slow smile.
“You know they’re most likely going to kill you after, right? When you all get off the stage, they’re going to take turns making your life a living hell for what you’re going to do?”
A weak chuckle fell from him at her question. Christ, he was nervous.
“I do,” he answered.
Her smile stretched wider. “As long as you’re prepared.”
He chuckled again. At least, he thought that’s what he did. Truth be known, he was so damn nervous his brain had stopped communicating with him.
A flash of white light split the night in his peripheral vision. A thunderous roar followed. Josh glanced up at the sky, wondering if the impending storm was about to break.
How would that be? Synergy’s first live performance flooded out by a fierce summer storm?
Pepper laughed. “It’s not the weather, sweetie. It’s your fans. Waiting for you. Are you ready for them?”
He returned his gaze to her calm face. His stomach lurched. “I don’t know.”
She smiled. “Yes. You do, actually.”
Beyond the stage, the crowd roared again. Louder. Wilder. Frenzied and ecstatic.
The sound of Noah pounding out a crazy beat rumbled through Josh’s body, telling him the rest of the band had taken the stage. Had begun the night’s show.
Samuel’s intricate guitar riff joined Noah’s beat. Levi’s throbbing bass did the same, as did Jax’s dancing rhythm.
Josh’s gut churned some more. His mouth turned to chalk. His chest crushed.
Time. It was time.
Before he could stop himself, Josh flicked a look towards the deep shadows behind the stage.
“Kick off time,” he murmured, smiling at the darkness.
At the man no one else but him, Pepper and Josh’s mum knew was standing there. At the man who was going to come out of retirement and join Josh on stage during the very last song of the night.
At the man who had written that song, Whispers in the Night, for Josh’s mum, the woman he loved more than life.
Nick Blackthorne. Josh’s father.
Before Pepper could reply, Josh turned, grabbed up his own guitar, and bounded up onto the stage.
Ready. More than ready.
It was time to rock the fucking world.
Rhythm is in his genes. She is in his heart.
Heart of Fame, Book 8
Caitlin Reynolds doesn’t care if the rock star lookalike trying to get into her bar is who he says he is. Sticking to the rules is a big reason the Chaos Room is the hottest velvet rope in Sydney.
Okay, so he’s freaking hot, but she’s been ignoring her hormones since her fiancé left her to go be a doctor in Somalia and then went missing.
After a shattered knee ended his promising soccer career, it seemed only natural for Josh Blackthorne to follow in his father’s rock-god footsteps. Now he’s a megastar, lusted after by women—and men—the world over. But he’s been in lust with Caitlin since he saw her picture years ago.
When Caitlin realizes Josh is who he says he is, she’s the first to make it right. But no matter how badly his seduction makes her want to melt into his arms, there’s a ghost hanging over their heads. A ghost who turns out to be not so legally dead after all…
Warning: Contains a rock star who’s livin’ the dream and livin’ it large, a self-made businesswoman with a weakness for a cheeky smile, and a red-hot battle of tormented wills. May stimulate a desire to throw your panties onto the nearest stage.
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