by T.D. Hassett
Love and Music series Book One
Who didn’t know the biggest rock band in the world?
Singer and front man Thomas Morgan was destroyed by the loss of his brother and total destruction of his marriage. To avoid entanglements with others, even his young son, Thomas focused on promoting his music and newly formed record label. He thought he had everything at a safe distance, at least until Isabel literally slammed into his life.
High school teacher Isabel Warren finds herself falling head over heels in love with the sexy-as-sin singer for the rock band Becket. Soon Isabel’s orderly world of lesson plans, thesis writing, and student loan debt is competing against desire, passion, and her vulnerable heart. As the sex sizzles, the two lovers will have to decide which parts of their dreams they will sacrifice for their fledgling relationship. Note: Originally published April 2013 by Liquid Silver Books. It has been extensively re-edited.
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Thomas Becket Morgan was cranky and bored with this place already. His band was playing two shows in this tiny state over the coming weekend, and the small city lacked decent lodgings for the first night’s engagement, so the tour manager had set them up in this suburban hotel from hell.
The town appeared to be a bedroom community, ritzy houses set in quiet neighborhoods and one main road crowded with shopping malls, gas stations, high-end eateries, and designer outlet stores. Drive six miles down the road, and the view became tenement houses just like those in the depression-era book a photographer he admired named Riis had put out. This place was reasonably close to New York City—its one redeeming value—and had he known how close it was in advance, he would have commuted here for the show from his flat in the city.
Gordon, or Gordy as Thomas preferred to call him, acted as both babysitter and tour assistant. He stood in a ridiculously long line at the Five Guys burger place while Thomas looked for something to read. He was sick of hotel food and just wanted bangers and mash but would settle for a decent burger and fries. It had been dreary and raining all day, and they couldn’t even set up and do sound checks at the stadium until Friday morning. Today had been a wasted day.
He envied Rick, the bassist. Fucker. He was staying in his own home with his wife and children and just showing up to do the area shows. That bloke had brains and talent.
Thomas’ most prized possession, a 1963 Fender Telecaster custom guitar, had traveled with him to thirty-two states and twelve countries over the last twenty-four months, and he was sick of it all. He missed his boy and his house, which was now owned by his ex-wife, Sasha, the cheating coke-whore bitch. Thinking about Sasha left a bad taste in his mouth. At this point he even wondered if crazy should be added to the litany of insults against her. He had been receiving odd postcards mentioning his personal skeletons and offering to keep quiet in exchange for joining the sender in “making a real family.” She’d been just unhinged enough since the divorce to try mess with his head and send him that kind of shit.
He’d slept on the plane from Toronto today for too long and woken up with a kink in his neck and an urge to read the next book in a series he’d started reading some years back. Thomas didn’t know why he loved Herbert’s Dune series. Maybe it was the made-for-television movies they’d done on two of the books but whatever. All the desert scenes made him want to visit the Sahara or some big sandy place and ride a camel or some such foolery. Besides, for the rest of the East Coast portion of Becket’s tour, he would be stuck on buses with hours of boring highway scenery with few days off in between shows.
He grabbed a couple of books off the shelf and read the backs to kill time; he was already holding what he’d planned to buy.
The place was quiet; some soft pop canned music played over the store speakers. Sounded like a fucking Justin Bieber song. The walls were the standard beige with framed prints of famous books and movies scattered about. The DVD section had the largest number of shoppers, so the section with the science fiction novels was all his, although he thought he should buy some movies since hotel selections could be trying. He wouldn’t mind picking up the director’s cut of THX.
Just as he switched books, he saw a young woman walking toward his area. She was tall, early twenties or maybe late teens trying to look older, with wet hair hanging out of what he thought must have been a bun-sort of updo, that or one of those new styles. She looked so distracted in her wet blouse and severe long brown skirt. He idly wondered if she would bug him for an autograph and gush like so many of the others her age did. For the first time in forever, he actually hoped she would. It was not something he usually liked; he detested fan meet and greets. But this girl… She just looked yummy.
Her breasts were full. They were practically falling out of her bra through the thin, wet shirt, and her hips were what his granddad would have called “good breeding hips” in his day. She wasn’t all stick shaped and harsh angles like his ex; this girl was curvy and feminine. Her mouth was overfull, with lips that most women would have had to pay a surgeon to pump full of silicone, but somehow, he just knew they were natural. He didn’t think she was wearing makeup, and her skin looked so milk-pale and flawless. Absently, he wondered if she realized that the long, tight skirt down to her ankles made men think more about what was underneath than if she had been wearing a tight mini with fishnet stockings. He watched her like some sort of stalker while pretending to decide between two books.
She walked down the aisle, coming closer to him, and the whole thing was like an auto accident in slow motion. He knew she was going to fall but couldn’t believe she didn’t see the librarians’ step stool in front of her. One, two, three, and down she went, barreling into his chest as he reached forward to try to stop her headfirst descent. She landed in a partial kneel, breasts—oh those breasts—plastered right onto his stomach. He grasped her upper arm and elbow and tried to bring her back level. He slid her body up his shirt and felt hard nipples through the fabric of their clothes. As she stepped back and righted herself, he could see why. Her soaked shirt clearly showed her tits as if the shirt wasn’t even there. Her bra must have been ripped because her nipples were swollen and visible in all their pink glory. Oh, how he loved the pale girls. Such lovely contrasts they had.
She spoke, fast and nervous, but with a young voice. He couldn’t help but feel bad for her; he could tell she was mortified. Thomas pushed her back to her feet gently. He really would have preferred to keep those tits pressed to his chest a bit longer, but instead, he gave her the polite response his mum would expect. Twelve years of all this rock-and-roll shit and a whore-bag of an ex hadn’t left him totally jaded, just mostly.
She spoke, but it took his head a minute to let the words sink in. He couldn’t take his eyes off her face. This girl didn’t need cosmetics. Adding anything more to such kissable lips would be fatal to mankind. They shared a couple more inane comments and…
Oh fuck, she’s going.
He didn’t want her to go. Why had she come down this aisle anyway? Books, yes, books. Ask her about the books, his distracted brain hinted.
Well, fuck me, he muttered silently. She reads Herbert.
And now she was going, just walking away. He couldn’t explain an exact reason for all the proverbial tea in China, but he wanted to see her again and just couldn’t let her walk out of the shop. If he couldn’t get a girl’s attention with free concert tickets then it was time to pack up his guitar and go home for good, wherever that really was.
He followed her toward the register and had to call her name twice before she realized anyone was speaking to her. When she turned, her expression resembled a nun sucking a lemon slice before downing a tequila shooter. Not a good sign.
“I was wondering if you wanted to go to the concert tomorrow night.”
Her blank, sort of confused expression stared back at him.
She flushed so red it made her eyes—a deep green or maybe they were more gray in color—stand out.
“You want me to go to a concert?” She froze then flushed even brighter, and then after a quick pause, she said, “Oh, you mean you have some tickets you need to sell?”
Thomas realized that Americans sometimes had trouble with his accent, but he certainly didn’t think he sounded like a fucking scalper.
“She gets down, she climbs up, she goes round and round.” —Becket
Well, this was a surprise—a chick in her twenties who didn’t know much about modern rock music. Thomas couldn’t help but correct her. He wondered if she was playing him. She seemed sincere enough, obviously not the debutante type judging by her clothes and book payment method. Maybe she couldn’t afford to attend concerts and stuff. Some of the ticket prices could be quite high; fucking resale bastards caused the biggest problems.
The cashier handed Isabel a bag with her book, and now the lady was scanning his books for purchase. He wordlessly handed her his credit card and waited for Isabel to say something else that would shock him.
And then she did it, saying, “Imagine that, an Englishman named Thomas playing in a band called Becket. Sort of a fun pun, you know because of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury and all.”
“Well, actually my middle name is Becket. My mum’s a history buff, and, well, I guess she inspired me,” Thomas gamely explained surprising even himself.
His charge slip was signed, and he followed her out to the parking lot with high hopes of seeing those breasts peeking through her still-damp blouse. He was not disappointed. He felt himself still a bit heavy in the jockeys from the sight of her damp shirt and slender skirt. Hell’s bells, this was awkward but fun.
“Could I get your number?” he asked her as his tour manager, Gordy, came out of the shop next door with bags of burgers and fries in hand. The Five Guys’ burgers were a go. Thank goodness for breaks from hotel food.
The girl was a breath of fresh air that he wished to suck in and hold onto. He’d spent days on this tour depressed and missing the smell of Newcastle upon Tyne, his hometown in northern England. Fuck, he even missed the smell of the river and fish markets. Most of all he missed his brother, Chris, and the way all once was.
He tried to be nonchalant about the rest of the exchange with Isabel but he was suddenly burning with curiosity. It had been too long since he felt that way — good about himself for a moment. Did she have a boyfriend? What music did she listen to?
Despite an intriguing distraction his reasons for his dark feelings came back in a flash to dampen his mood.
Chris was gone now, dead for these last five years. Perhaps he would call his sister tonight, see how things were going. She lived outside of town with her husband and three boys. It was always faster to catch up with her than talking to his parents.
His parents still blamed him for Chris’ death; they believed it was accompanying Thomas on tour as a marketing manager that exposed Chris to the drugs he overdosed on. They didn’t point fingers or scream at him. It was more of a subtle undercurrent of fault that he felt when he was around them. I’m fucking twenty-seven years old and still avoiding my mother for fear of a good guilting. Ah shite, he loved his folks, but his mum could outtalk a fucking car salesman, and his da only talked sports, namely football.
This summer he would take Christopher back home to Newcastle. His son lived with his ex-wife, but he had visitation rights during all the traditional school breaks. He was turning only five, but Thomas knew England meant a visit and some spoiling by his gram and gramps. Maybe Thomas would actually take the time to look for a house of his own; he had not had a home in so long. Even the properties he’d lost in the divorce weren’t real homes, just places selected and decorated by his ex where he would stop in between tours.
Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me. He needed to let the old pain and guilt go. Let life be enjoyable again.
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