Tag Archive | Angst

New Teaser Tuesday!

December, December, December! Happy Holidays and Almost 2016! Here’s a Teaser Tuesday to tug at your heartstrings. Vance Idol (a.k.a. Jersey Boy Vincent Violetti) and Lorelei make some deep emotional confessions in the calm before the storm.

 

Want to know what happens next? Grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric today!

 

***Excerpt***

 

“You okay, sugar?”
“Sure. I’m great. Why do you ask?”
“You should cut the bullshit, Lorelei. It’s not your style. Tell me what’s on your mind.” He hated to kill the mood, since they were having a really nice, really normal, low-key evening out. He’d asked her if she wanted to walk down to the bar at the local marina for some food and music. Sometime during their third tango between the sheets last night, he’d gotten the itch to see those long legs move across a dance floor with him.

 

The marina bar and restaurant was bigger than some of the hole-in-the-wall joints he’d played in the past, but not by much. It looked as though someone had stacked a few ramshackle kid clubhouses side by side over some wooden dock planks and called it an eatery. For what it lacked in size and amenities, it more than compensated for with some out- of-this-world steaks and a killer view of the lake at sunset. Most of the boat owners had docked their expensive toys and abandoned the marina for other watering holes, so he and Lorelei pretty much had the run of the place.

 

They’d enjoyed dinner and drinks, though naturally he’d opted for soda instead of alcohol and earned a smile full of pride and affection from his lady. Still, between her fidgeting and lowered gaze, he knew something was up. Whatever it was, it made his heart race and the hairs on the back of neck stand on end.

 

Maybe now that she’d had time to think about what he’d told her the day before, about Maggie, maybe she was having second thoughts. Not that he blamed her. His baggage wasn’t pretty, and even he knew it would be a hell of a lot for anyone to take on. But she had seemed so sincere in her acceptance and desire. He hoped she’d be willing to give him a chance. Though he tried to stay calm and wait for her to open up, he couldn’t help but worry that she was preparing herself to tell him goodbye.

 

It would kill him if she did.

 

She looked up at him, her blue eyes blazing, and said, “We need to talk.”

 

Ah, hell. Here it comes.

 

Vance Idol had never begged for anything in his life, not even when he’d just been Vincent Violetti. Now he was prepared to say absolutely anything to keep Lorelei from walking out on him.

 

“Look, I know what you’re going to say, but before you do, let me tell you this. I know I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m committed to seeing this thing through. I can be a better man. I want to be a better man, Lorelei. For you.”

 

He hated the desperation in his voice, but he couldn’t help it. He was a man in love. He hated the glassiness in her eyes and the way her shoulders slumped even more. He didn’t want to guilt her into staying, but he couldn’t stand to let her go, either. Not without a fight.

 

“I, look, I know we haven’t known each other that long, and maybe you’re worried about that whole counselor- patient line we crossed, but if you could just trust me enough to give this thing we’ve got between us a chance, to give me a chance—”

 

“Vincent, I’m not really a counselor,” she blurted out.

 

“Lorelei, please—”

 

“Wait a minute,” she said, looking like a light bulb suddenly went off in her head. “You think I’m…you think I’m leaving you? You think I don’t want you?”

 

He cleared his throat and said, “Well, the thought had crossed my mind.”

 

“Oh, Vincent! It’s not that at all. I just….”

 

He breathed a huge sigh of relief, but decided to press on. Her confession gave him pause, though it wasn’t all that surprising in retrospect. Still, whatever she was, therapist or healer or even some New Age guru, she’d managed to reach into the very core of his heart and soul to find something of the man he used to be—the man he wanted to be again, because of her. And he wanted her to tell him all of her troubles and let him share the load, to show that he could give as well as take.

 

“Just what, Lorelei?”

 

“I have to tell you some things that you might not like. Some things about me.”

 

He didn’t know what shocked him more, the notion that he could not like anything about her, or the quiver in her voice. He wondered if he should let her know that he and Jack had talked a little about her family, assuming that’s what was bothering her. A man-hating mother he could handle. Hell, he could just turn on the rock star charm.

 

Of course, Mama might not find the details of his past problems all that charming, especially considering how he was still struggling with them, but he’d own up to it and work to earn her family’s trust.

 

He reached across the table and took her hand, rubbing his thumb over her knuckles. “Nothing you say will change how I feel about you.”

 

“How can you be so sure? You don’t even know what it is yet.”

 

He frowned, but didn’t let go of her hand. “Well, why don’t you just tell me now and we’ll start dealing with it.”

 

She looked back at him and her expression stabbed him through the heart. Sorrow, longing, and something akin to pleading painted her lovely features. He wanted to pull her into his arms, kiss and hold her and erase the uncertainty he read in her gaze.

 

“I’m done running, Lorelei, and I won’t run from you, no matter what you tell me. You’ve seen the worst of me, and you’re still here. You’ve brought out the best in me, too. I’m asking you to trust me enough to do the same for you.”

 

She drew in a gasping breath and exhaled with a shudder. Nodding, she said, “I’ll tell you everything tonight when we get back the lake house, I promise. But right now, I want to spend time just being with you. Please.”

 

“I have an idea,” Vance said. “Hold that thought.”

 

Strolling over to the classic jukebox in the corner, he fiddled with the machine until it allowed him to select a song. He made it back to the table by the time the first haunting notes of “Sleep Walk” floated out around them. The steel guitar chords thundered almost as loud as his heart.

 

He held out a hand to Lorelei and asked, “May I have this dance?”

 

Her blue eyes widened and she smiled. When she gave him her hand, some of the tension bled out of him and he was glad for it. He led her to the small dance floor next to the open windows that faced the water. Someone had turned on the string of white Christmas lights adorning the rail of the dock.

 

They were almost as bright as the light in her eyes.

 

He pulled her close as they slowly swayed to the bittersweet tune. Feeling her warmth, the slow cadence of her heart beating in time with his, surrounded by the cool air and lapping waves in the background, he experienced something he hadn’t in a long, long time.

 

He was at peace.

 

Pressing soft kisses along her temple, over her forehead, in her hair, he took a leap of faith and whispered, “I love you.”

 

A minute stretched out into eternity as his heart started racing. God, he didn’t want to push her, didn’t want to force a confession of love out of her by pressuring her, or worse. He couldn’t abide her pity. He came close to pulling away.

 

No, I promised I wouldn’t run. I’m not that man anymore.

 

Instead, he forced his breathing to slow and bid his body relax. When she leaned into him and rested her head on his shoulder, he sighed and let a wave of relief wash over him. At least he hadn’t scared her off. She moved her hands to his shoulders as she pulled back, her head lowered, not meeting his eyes.

 

Jesus, here it comes.

 

She looked up into his eyes. Hers were full of tears. Slowly, she slid her hands up to cup his face and said, “I love you, too, Vincent Violetti.”

 

*****

 

As she leaned in to kiss him, Lorelei wondered if this was how the sky people felt when they spoke of soaring.

 

No, it couldn’t be. Nothing compares to this.

 

This man loved her, and she loved him back. That was a miracle. He’d heard her song and survived. That was a miracle. No other obstacles they faced would prove insurmountable.

 

When she pulled away from the kiss, she smiled at him and then steeled herself to face their next obstacle. “I’m ready to talk now, to tell you those things about me that you might not like.”

 

“I’m listening.”

 

She glanced around the restaurant to make sure they had enough privacy for the conversation they needed to have, and for Vincent’s likely reaction. Just as she turned back to face him, she sensed a change in the atmosphere around them, an energy surge that could only come from an elemental. Worse, it was an emotionally charged elemental, too, if the drop in air pressure, temperature, and choppy waves breaking in the roiling lake around them were any indication.

 

Oh no!

 

She pulled away from Vincent and rushed to the window so she could look out over the expanse of water. Seized by panic, her first thought was getting her mortal out of there. They had no car, so she’d have to convince him to take off on foot.

 

Spinning around, she took three quick steps and grabbed Vincent’s hand, pulling him with her toward the door.

 

“Lorelei, what the—”
“We have to go. Right now!”

 

“But I haven’t paid—”

 

She conjured some money and plopped it on the hostess stand on the way out. She registered his hesitation. He stiffened when she conjured the money, though she continued to pull him. She imagined his eyebrows were probably stuck somewhere in the vicinity of his hairline, but explanations would have to wait.

 

After they’d made it out of the restaurant and stood dockside, Vincent tugged hard on her hand and brought them to a stop.

 

“We have to go,” she urged. The hairs on her arm were standing straight up. Something major was about to happen.

 

He crossed his arms in front of his chest, nostrils flaring. “Not until you tell me what’s going on. You’re freaking my shit out right now, you know that right?”

 

“I’m sorry, I—”

 

“Gal, we’re in trouble,” said a familiar disembodied voice.

 

Lorelei spun around as Jack appeared. Vincent was about to get even more freaked out. Then again, she was having a hard time holding it together herself.

 

Vincent paled and his eyes widened when Ondine materialized beside Jack in a shimmering series of waves that coalesced into her human form. Well, almost human—her eyes flashed silver and her skin rippled with scales that hovered just beneath the surface. She was either agitated or influenced by the water energy surging around them. Lorelei’s own flesh itched to morph into her true form.

 

“Where the hell did you two come from?” Vincent asked, taking a step back and nearly tumbling over the side of the dock.

 

“Son, I ain’t got time to explain,” Jack said in a lazy drawl that belied the urgency of his request, “but y’all need to either high-tail it outta here or get ready to face the wrath of Lorelei’s Ma.”

 

Mother? Here?

 

“I didn’t tell her, my darling,” Ondine said. Her face was tight and she seemed almost… apologetic.

 

“Where do we go?” Lorelei asked.

 

Jack looked back and forth between her and Vincent. “It’d be faster if y’all hit the water. We can stall her for a little while.” He shrugged. “Maybe even talk her down.”

 

Fresh panic coursed through Lorelei. “But I haven’t told him yet. How’s this going to work?” she asked, nodding toward Vincent.

 

Jack took Vincent by the shoulders and gave him a serious stare down. “Vincent, you’re just gonna have to trust our gal here to see you safely home.”

 

Vincent’s eyes went wide with panic. “Can you just please tell me what’s going on? What are we running from?”

 

“You ain’t running, son. You’re swimming.”

 

Lorelei took Jack’s cue, grabbed hold of Vincent and said, “I love you. And I’m sorry.”

 

“Sorry for—”
She leapt and pulled him with her. Once airborne, she willed her fins to replace legs and summoned a protective bubble of air around Vincent’s body.

 

Then together they plunged into the depths of the lake’s dark water.

Teaser Tuesday – Angsty Rocker with a Dark Past

Happy December!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday is all about Vance Idol, an up-and-coming rock star battling demons on the eve of his band’s big break. When we first meet him in Lorelei’s Lyric, we find a troubled man in a very, very bad place. No wonder his heartache calls to the healer and nurturer in Lorelei.

This one’s for all of the angst junkies out there!

If you like what you’ve read, grab a copy of Lorelei’s Lyric to read more! You can also sign up for my Author Newsletter to get bonus content, as well as updates on new releases and fun giveaways!

Excerpt

 

 

 

“Hey Vance, we’re on in ten, okay?”

 

Vance Idol nearly jumped out of his skin. The sound of his bassist’s knocking ricocheted through his pounding skull. Mark Rogen’s voice, on the other hand, sounded muffled and distant though he stood right outside the bathroom door. Vance cradled his aching head in his hands, brow slicked with sweat underneath trembling fingertips, and let out a low groan.

 

“You okay in there, bro?”

 

“I’m fine,” Vance managed to croak. He hoped he sounded more convincing than he felt.

 

“Look, I know it’s been tough…but we can’t blow this gig. Mags would’ve wanted us to go on.”

 

“I know,” Vance snapped. “Just give me a sec to get it together, okay?”

 

“Okay, but if you aren’t out in five I’m grabbing Josh.”

 

Heavy footfalls echoed down the corridor, and Vance’s nanosecond of relief faded with them. He needed to get a grip. He couldn’t afford to screw this up. The band had been working their asses off in every dive bar, shit hole, and roadhouse from New York to Cali and back again for the past five years. Nashville was one of their last stops on the long and winding road to discovery and a shot at the big time.

 

After all those years of paying dues, they’d wrangled a tour/production manager, a couple of regular crew, and plum gig at Marathon Music Works. Along with a loyal fanbase, Internet buzz, and a lot of self-promotion, The Rivermen, with Vance Idol billed as the frontman, managed to attract a sizeable crowd. The frontman bit happened on account of the small sliver of “fame” Vance garnered on a television talent show. He didn’t make it to the finals but got far enough to be remembered. Yeah, that fame was about fourteen minutes, thirty seconds and counting, but it apparently still helped. Their lead guitarist, Joshua Rollins, had even spotted a couple of producers in the audience just before Vance excused himself.

 

I need a drink.

 

Okay, technically, he couldn’t chalk his misery up to withdrawal anymore. That nightmare passed shortly after he’d quit drinking cold turkey. No, the oh-so-clinical term for this special brand of hell, according to the docs and counselors, was post-acute withdrawal syndrome. PAWS, they called it. Yeah, real cute and clever. Only there was nothing cute or funny about chronic insomnia, soul-sucking depression, or cravings that never went away. Then there was the joy of panic attacks and mood swings, though the latter fit with the surly rocker image. Good thing he’d picked a profession that allowed him to channel his inner black-hearted bastard.

 

He’d been warned, to be sure. His stint in rehab had been short, if if not sweet, and the staff thought he’d left too soon. But hell, the band needed him and he didn’t want to let them down by bailing for a few months, not when he was convinced he could deal with his problems all on his own. Now, faced with performance pressure and the ghosts of his past, he was on the verge of blowing it.

 

He stood and paced around the small room. Sweat seeped from every pore as anxiety pierced his gut like a thousand knives. His innards protested at the sudden change in equilibrium, forcing his left hand to grip the cool porcelain in front of him as his right strummed along the surface of the sink.

 

Perched on that sink was the key to oblivion, the bottle filled with amber liquid that would ease his pain and steal his soul. Again.

 

“Aw, hell!”

 

Everything had been fine. Scratch that, it had been shit, but the manageable kind of shit that still allowed him to drag his sorry ass out of bed, sleepwalk through his day, and pull himself together long enough for a gig. But then he’d walked into the dressing room and found a fifth of Jack sitting front and center on a small table, gift-wrapped with a damned purple ribbon. Someone must have sneaked it in while the crew was busy. Those guys knew alcohol was a no go on account of their lead’s little problem. But hell, he should’ve been prepared for the possibility. For staff, groupies, sleazy execs—anyone on the scene who wanted to get in good with the band and grease some wheels with social lubrication—booze was the go-to. Just like the pills some skank out on the floor shoved into his palm, some kind of free sample as she breezed by, chilling him to the bone in her wake. He hadn’t been on the wagon that long, and dealers knew how to sniff out desperation.

 

Not that he was into pills.

 

Yet.

 

Jesus, this was bad. Really bad. He should’ve turned around and bolted out the door as soon as he spotted the bottle. But no, he’d stuck around long enough to let his old mistress start whispering her pretty lies, tempting him to sneak off to the bathroom and take a swig. He was such an idiot for jeopardizing his recovery and his band’s last shot at the big time, but a combination of nerves and  grief had him clinging to his old crutch. He could have poured it down the sink, but then that sweet scent hit him, almost eased him. At first, he thought knowing it was there would be enough, buying into the delusion that he could always get rid of it as soon as they wrapped up their show.

 

Instead, he now stood at the precipice of disaster, overlooking a downward spiral from which he might never emerge.

 

He slammed his fist against the sink as anguish, frustration, and shame forced the strangled cry from his throat. The pain of the blow might have made him throw up, but he hadn’t eaten more than a bag of chips the entire day. He couldn’t risk it. Three bottles of Pepto and a Dramamine over the past twenty-four hours served as insurance against the messier symptoms he could ill afford on stage.

 

Just one more time, and I swear I’m done with this. I gotta get through tonight and then I’m done.

 

Hating himself, Vance picked up the bottle and pressed it to his lips. He’d had the lid unscrewed by the time Mark started banging on door. His eyes were already bloodshot, and he could chase the hooch with a couple of uppers and still make it to the stage. He’d have to scarf down some breath mints if he didn’t want Josh to find out he was drinking again.

 

No, damn it, this is the last time!

 

Staring in the mirror, he wished he could punch the guy glaring back at him. He still had his looks, but weight loss and insomnia had taken their toll. His already prominent cheekbones jutted out from a gaunt face he barely recognized, and the hard set of his jaw told of a life lived too hard and too fast. Though bloodshot, his green eyes blazed with all the rage and pain he carried inside. He looked dangerous.

 

Yeah, you’re real fucking glamorous, asshole.

 

He took a swig, letting the sweet taste and slow burn assault his senses as the liquid filled his mouth, but stopped short of swallowing. He closed his eyes, and waited, savoring the sensation before shame could drown it. The sweet oblivion he craved wouldn’t come, not without a lot more. But maybe he could get through the next few hours. The ache in his back and legs would ease, and his hands might stop trembling. All he had to do was let it roll down his throat.

 

A vision of Maggie flashed in his mind, smiling, healthy, and whole—so very different from the strung-out junkie he’d last seen at the morgue after losing her to her demons and a poison not unlike the one he was about to swallow. Different from the ruined man he saw every time he looked in the mirror.

 

He couldn’t do it. He wouldn’t do it.”

***

Will he or won’t he? To find out, grab your copy of Lorelei’s Lyric (Southern Elemental Guardians Book 1) today!