Read Outlaw country Online

Authors: Davida Lynn

Outlaw country

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Copyright © 2015 by Davida Lynn. All rights reserved. 

Cover design byMayhem Cover Creations, Cover model Connor Smith, Photography by R+M Photography.

This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Also By Davida Lynn:

The Rising Sons Universe:

The Rising Sons Motorcycle Club

Rising Sons - The Virtues Series:

Book One:Hope 

Book Two:Faith

Book Three:Charity

Rising Sons - The Davis Chapter

Book One -Patience

Book Two -Temperance

Book Three -Reverence

Detroit Heat:

Book One:Kade’s Rescue

Book Two:Rico’s Recovery

Book Three:Jonah’s Rescue

Standalone Work:

Brutal

Visions of Tomorrow

Acknowledgements

A big shout out to my writing partnerRayna Bishop, my faithful companion in telling stories. She keeps me honest and true. To Donna and Jill, my rocks when I need a foothold! For Sonya and Amanda for telling me I wasn’t crazy! To all of my beautiful advanced readers. Thank you all!

“Great show boys!” Colton’s voice was ragged, but it was always ragged. It was his voice. It wasthevoice. Colton Wade was the new voice of country music.

Roy Boy and Lee raised a red Solo cup, other members of The Guilty Party were already too distracted by the groupies to take notice. After all, they played a great show every night. The Guilty Party were one of the tightest bands in the country, and Colton led them with both pride and power.

He threw back a double shot of SoCo, then abandoned the red cup in favor of the bottle. Looking around the green room, Colton took in his empire. The six men in his band had been slowly getting some name recognition over the last two years. A constant string of shows with albums recorded in between had taken them from bar-band openers to a rising contender for country act of the year.

Colton’s heart was still racing from the screams of the fans. It was mostly women who had pushed and shoved their way against the fence just beyond the front of the stage. That’s how he liked it, too. He and the boys had seen their share of tits flashed throughout the two hour show. It was becoming a tradition among his female fans. The band hadn’t started that tradition, but it was one that everyone in The Guilty Party sure encouraged.

Ain’t this life?Colton thought, looking around him. His best friends, booze, and beauties.Ahh, the beauties.

Some blonde with legs for days was coming towards him. The legs seemed to go for days because all that stopped them up top was a pair of Daisy Dukes.Nah, Even Daisy Duke, herself, wouldn’t wear them tiny things.Colton had seen underwear that covered more. When the blonde turned around to slap the bass player, Lee Watts, playfully on the shoulder, Colton’s eyes went wide.

He took a pull from the SoCo without taking his eyes off her fine, fine ass. He couldn’t pry his eyes away.I do believe they call that underbutt or a half moon. God damn, ain’t this the life?

She turned back around and gave Colton a confident and naughty smile. After all, they both knew why she was there, so why bother pretending?

“And what might your name be, little lady?” Colton’s raspy voice only sounded deeper after the swig of booze. He liked her already. He liked parts of her, anyway.

“Brandi.” There was just enough twang in her voice for Colton’s taste.Alabama or Arkansas? It wasn’t quite sweet enough for Georgia, meaning she had traveled all the way to Atlanta to see them.Nice.

He closed his eyes for a second and took in a deep breath. When Colton opened his eyes, he was staring at her tight stomach, bare beneath the cut-off T. Bare except for the sparkling jewelry dangling from her navel. He could already picture his tongue circling that on its journey south.

“Brandi, I can’t tell you how glad I am to meetcha.” He patted his lap, and her underbutt half-moon was soon pressing against his growing cock.

Roger had one phone to his ear as he pecked out an email on another. “Yeah, everything went one hundred percent. No contract issues. The crew just needs another hour for teardown, and we’ll be ready for loadout. Two days off before Jacksonville.”

“About that, Rog.” Arvin didn’t waste time dumping the bad news on Roger’s lap. “We’ve scheduled a quick studio recording for the boys. Three hours, tops.”

After hearing the response from the other end, Roger stopped hitting the screen on the email. “Two days off and you want to throw Colton in the studio on one of them? Arvin, James Brown is dead, and Colton Wade is now the hardest working man in show business. You realize that, right? The band hasn’t had two days off in nearly two months.” 

Arvin Greenburg wasn’t going to take no for an answer. “It’s for charity. Flood victims, I think. It’s a duet. Real PR gold.” 

“I don’t care if it’s for charity. Charity would be giving my guys the time off they’ve earned.” Roger Ellery let out a sigh. He could already sense Arvin Greenburg’s counter argument coming. 

“Colton could use some good publicity after what happened in Charleston. You don’t get to drunkenly smash up a cop car and not suffer consequences, Roger. This is a business to everyone but Colton.”

In the two years Roger had been Colton’s manager, there had been a dozen some incidents. Some were pregnancy scares with groupies, others were run-ins with the law. Not once did Colton clean up his act. Roger knew he never would. The manager could name fifty artists whocalledthemselves outlaw country. Colton didn’t need to call himself anything because fans, critics, and anyone who came in contact with him did it for him. Some called him a true artist. Others just called him an asshole.

“Don’t bring that up, Arvin. Colton issued an apology,”Which I wrote.“And he’s donated ten grand to the Charleston PD to make up for it.”Which he doesn’t know I did in his name.

“You know there’s no such thing as bad publicity, anyway. You guys pay hundreds of thousands for advertising, and my boys go out there and get all kinds of publicity for free.” Minus lawyer fees, minus fines, minus property damage, but that wasn’t important.

Roger Ellery had worked with Moonshine Records long enough to know when the A&R man wouldn’t back down. If he could find a way to sell it to Colton, he’d live to work another day. “Just give me the details.”

Abandoning the email he was writing, Roger pulled up a fresh one, addressed to himself. He wedged the phone against his shoulder, ready to type with both thumbs.

“Muscle Shoals Studio, July 19th. Duet of Jackson with…Gracie Hart?” His voice rose in victory when Arvin told him who Colton would be singing with. His heart twisted and turned.

“Will she actually be there, or are we just gluing their vocal tracks together?” Roger had the bait, but only if she’d be there in person. At the mention of Gracie Hart, Roger knew Colton would be on board. He ignored the cymbal crash and laughter that came from the other side of the green room door. He’d worry about whatever that mess was later. He didn’t hear glass shatter or any screams, so it couldn’t have beenthatbad.

“With bells on.” There was a smile in Arvin’s voice. “Produced by T-Bone himself. This will be the highlight of the album, hopefully the lead single. I want you to know that I pushed for Colton. We’re taking a real chance on him here.”

“Yeah, I got it all. Is T-Bone going to be there, or is he just mastering everything?”

“Sorry, Rog. He’s working remote.” 

Working with a world-class producer would be the icing on the cake, but it wasn't meant to be. “Okay, too bad, but that’s all right. Shoot me the engineer’s info, and I’ll confirm with him.”

Roger could already see the charity album shooting to the top of the country charts. Hell, with Gracie Hart on board, it had a shot at hitting the pop charts, too. She had blurred the line between country and pop in her meteoric rise to the top, and with the right moves, Colton’s audience could increase tenfold overnight.

The reminder email was sent to himself, and Roger was ready to tell Colton the news, but Arvin had one last bit of info. “I’ll confirm with everyone, and you’ll be there at eight sharp.”

Roger had to put his foot down. “No, no. That’s a deal breaker, I’m afraid.” After hearing another crash, Roger sighed. This one sounded much bigger and more destructive. The cheers were louder to match. Turning to the door, he was curious and afraid at the same time. “Sorry, Ar, but I can guarantee you that he won’t be ready to work at eight in the morning.”

Kathleen Hart was panting. The five-mile run in the dense heat felt more like a marathon to her. She slid open the refrigerated drawer next to the sink and pulled out a Veen. At thirty-eight, Kathleen was proud that she could run distances most teenagers couldn’t. She unstrapped the armband that held her phone and set it down on the long, cool countertop.

After a long pull of the water, she called upstairs, “Gracie, you up yet, girl?”

While her main phone synced the run, Kathleen snatched up a second one from the counter. There were no running apps or family pictures on the phone in her hand; it was strictly for business. It had reminder apps, calendars, schedules, and the most important thing: daily updates of Gracie’s album, single, and digital sales.

Kathleen could almost count on hundreds of new plays every time she hit refresh. Her daughter was at the top of the tops, but together, they still found ways to climb higher. Gracie had been begging for a new Jeep, and Kathleen thought with the charity tribute album coming up, it might be enough to boost Gracie’s sales across the board. Time to find out what color she wants, Kathleen thought with a smile.

She heard a rustling upstairs that answered her question. Pulling up the calendar, Kathleen double-checked the studio time for the next day. Eight in the morning. Muscle Shoals. A studio with legendary history. Kathleen struggled to remember the illustrious history of the studio, but she knew it was important.

As Kathleen stood in the vast kitchen, she reminded herself how quickly fame, success, and the large house had come to them, and how quickly it could all disappear. It was hard to stay humble, but Kathleen tried.

When Gracie was born, Kathleen liked Michael Jackson and Garth Brooks enough to know their names. All other music sort of traveled in one ear and out the other. In the eight short years that Gracie had been singing, though, Kathleen had been forced to learn. She learned about music, business, and managing a rising pop sensation. It was a far cry from managing a Gap as a single mother.

Kathleen heard the reverberation of footsteps coming down the staircase. She shook her head.The foyer needs something. It echoes too much.The home had only been bought six months earlier, and Gracie had been on tour for five of those months. Kathleen hadn’t had the time to properly decorate anything but their bedrooms.

Kathleen laughed as Gracie came into the large kitchen. At first it was in her head, but soon she couldn't contain the fit of laughter.

Her hair jutting in all directions, Gracie looked up at her mother. Her voice was anything but pop-star, “What?”

Kathleen shook her head. “If your fans saw you first thing in the morning, I don’t think you’d ever have a hit again.” Kathleen leaned against the countertop, enjoying the cool feeling on her hot skin. “Let me Instagram this, please.”

As her mother laughed and reached for her phone, Gracie stuck her tongue out before quickly covering her face. “Quit it!”

Kathleen had always worked hard as a single mother, but she was overjoyed to discover that she and her daughter had become so much closer since Gracie’s fame. They looked out for each other, mother and daughter against it all. Kathleen put her phone down and brushed a strand of hair from Gracie’s face. “All right, all right. We’ll keep the secret between you and me.”

Gracie smiled through smeared make-up and messy hair. She plopped down onto a stool at the long granite island. “You can make it up to me, Mother.” Gracie coughed away the sleep from her voice. In a voice that Kathleen could only describe as sarcastically sweet, Gracie said, “A nice cup of coffee would be just peachy.”

Kathleen shook her head and switched on the espresso machine. “You’re not too bad, girl. I think I’ll keep you.”

Gracie smiled every time her mother said that. It was a little something that she and her mother shared. It was something that they always left out of interviews, and something that never popped up when the cameras were around. In those moments, Gracie didn’t feel so overwhelmed with her life. It never lasted long, though.

As the machine brewed the coffee, Kathleen held her phone up, so the screen faced Gracie. “Busy day starting around one. Up for it?”

Gracie looked at all the interviews. Two on the phone, one online, and one at the house. She gave her best smile. “No choice.”

“How do you feel about the song for tomorrow?” Kathleen had heard Gracie strumming her Martin acoustic and finding her melodies and harmonies. Gracie didn’t sing in front of Kathleen. The older Hart woman knew when something sounded good or bad, but that was the extent of her musical ear. Gracie’s vocal coach was the one who got private performances.

The young singer’s heart beat hard for a second. How did she feel about recording with Colton Wade?Conflicted, she told herself. Gracie knew all about him. She admired Colton just as much as she despised him. He was a decent songwriter and an even better singer, but it was his stage presence that she couldn’t help but envy. He could command any crowd...as long as it was predominantly female.

Colton did nothing to hide his love of the female gender. Gracie had friends in the music business that had clued her in, but her duet with him would be their first face-to face-interaction. She knew he would try to get into her pants. She justknewit.

That thought was what sent Gracie’s heart into a panic. She was disgusted by Colton’s womanizing tendencies, but not as disgusted as she would have liked. She didn’t like the hard-drinking attitude, she didn’t like all the tattoos, and she didn’t like his droll lyrics about jean shorts and bonfires. The problem was she didn’t hate them nearly enough.

“I’ll be ready.” She tried to focus on the song they’d be singing together rather than all the things about Colton that she found so distracting.

Gracie must not have covered up her real thoughts enough. “Ready with the song, or ready to deal with that bronco?”

Can’t hide anything from her,Gracie thought as her cheeks flushed. “He’ll be fine. I can handle him.”

Kathleen handed her daughter a cup filled to the brim with strong, liquid caffeine. “That’s exactly what I’m afraid of.” Gracie knew that her mother would be looking for some weakness on her face. She strayed strong as her mother went on, “You know what he’s like. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen his name on the news, we could pay someone to make this coffee.” Both Hart women knew they could pay someone, but despite the new mansion, Gracie’s mother was still stuffing plenty of money away.Every wave crashes to the shore sometime,she often said.

“Mom, it’s one song. Probably three hours of studio time, and then we’re gone. After that, I can go on avoiding him for the rest of my life.”

Kathleen smiled. “Oh, girl. You don’t have to avoid him for the rest of your life; just until you’re married...to someone else.” She winked at her daughter, who immediately covered her face again.

“Mother! Come on!” Gracie didn't want to talk about Colton anymore. It got her thinking about all kinds of stuff she’d rather push away. Her short-lived relationship with Shepard Green came to mind. Other than an album and a half of good material, the young actor had been nothing but trouble. He split quickly when Gracie refused to give up her virginity to him.Good. I’m better without him.

Gracie smiled thinking of just how high “Better Without Him” had climbed on the charts. Shep had a hard time answering questions about that song in interviews, and it gave Gracie more than a little satisfaction.

Kathleen knew exactly what it was like to fall for a boy far too young. Eric had been a bad boy just like Colton. Gracie’s father had been a Triple A ballplayer with the swagger of a New York Yankee. It had worked like a charm on Kathleen. She could see her daughter falling into a similar trap.

She had been nervous when the record label suggested the duet with Colton, but in the end, she knew it would be a one and done recording. Kathleen would watch the boy like a hawk, and everything should be just fine. She had lived the last twenty years trying to provide a better life for Gracie, and she wasn’t about to let someone as greasy as Colton destroy her little girl’s career.

What’s the phrase? Young, dumb, and full of cum.

Kathleen reminded herself to keep a close eye on every one of the band members at the recording session as well. Any one of them could be too much of a temptation for Gracie to handle. 

“I’m just looking out for my little girl, that’s all.”

Gracie nodded. “Or your biggest client?”

Her mother couldn't help but smile. Gracie was always too smart for her own good, “You’re my only client, girl.” She may have been smart when it came to the stage and the song, but Kathleen had kept Gracie far too sheltered to let the girl develop street smarts.

Gracie gave a face that reminded Kathleen of when her daughter had actually been a little girl. “Mhm. I’m gonna get my yoga in before Alice comes over. She says I’ll be ready to show that unskilled redneck a thing or two about vocal performance in the studio tomorrow.”

“Good girl. There’s a reason you’re on the cover of Rolling Stone next month and he’s on the cover of America’s Most Wanted.” Kathleen watched her sweet girl head back upstairs to get her exercise in for the day. Every day that Gracie grew older, Kathleen became more worried about the Colton Wades and Shepard Greens of the world. Shepard had taught her a valuable lesson. They may look wholesome on the outside, but they are all rotten on the inside. With Colton’s messy hair and myriad of tattoos, she wondered just how rotten Colton was on the inside.

“He’ll be there, I promise.” Roger hated making promises, especially when it came to Colton. In Roger’s two years managing Colton, the kid had never missed a show, but he’d been damn close too many times to count. He had missed more than one date at a recording studio, however.

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