This is a from my next release, an erotic romance (of course) called Whispers in the Night. It’s the sequel to my next Samhain release, Tropical Sin (available September this year). I’m not sure what it is about this WIP, but there’s something…magic…in the way it’s coming together. I hope you feel the same way. (And remember, this is the first draft of a work-in-progress, so there’s bound to be mistakes a plenty and changes to come *grin*)

Whispers In The Nights

Chapter One

Today

“Plus One.”

Nick read the two words written in ornate gold-embossed script again—for the umpteenth time in fact since receiving the invitation currently in his hand.

Plus One.

The list of viable “Plus Ones” he could ask to McKenzie Wood and Aidan Roger’s wedding was long and colourful, the stuff of a celebrity mag’s fantasy—he was Nick Blackthorne after all, the world’s biggest rock star, a man with a reputation for dating and bedding only the most famous and beautiful women on the planet. A gossip-rag journo would be likely to have a wet dream over any possible Nick Blackthorne “Plus One”. The thing was, of the bevy of beauties and starlets and award-winning personalities Nick knew would be more than happy to accompany him to Mack and Aidan’s wedding on the island resort of Bandicoot Cove, he didn’t want to ask any of them.

“Nicky?”

The gruff, deep voice sinking directly into his ears through his headphones made him blink. He lifted his stare from the wedding invitation in his hand, giving his record producer an apologetic grunt through the studio’s glass petition. “Sorry, Walt,” he spoke into the mic hanging from the ceiling. “Guess I was wool-gathering.”

Walter Winchester, record producer and soulless mercenary from Hell gave him a steady look. “Still trying to decide who you’re going to take to that wedding? You could take my daughter?”

Nick rolled his eyes, shoving the invitation into his jean’s hip pocket. “Your daughter’s my agent, Walt, and married.”

Walter curled his lip. “Yeah, to a gardener.”

Nick laughed. “To a world-famous gardener with a client-list you’d kill for. I think it’s time you accept the fact your daughter’s not a chip off the old block and actually has a heart. Unlike you.”

Walter snorted. “Unlike us both, Blackthorne, although I have to admit you’ve been a bit soppy since that weekend you spent on that island, thank fucking God. Otherwise I’d be thinking you’d never record another fucking album again.” He narrowed his eyes. “What exactly went on at that resort? Whatever it was, there’s been sweet fuck-all mention of it in the press.”

Nick’s heart thumped hard against his breastbone, hard enough he had to wonder if the sound technician sitting beside Walter registered it. As always, the memory of his time at Bandicoot Cove Island Resort made his pulse quicken and his heart fill with warmth. If it wasn’t for that weekend, for his time with Mack and Aidan he never would have found the music in his soul again.

If it weren’t for Mack and Aidan, who knew what state he’d be in now?

“Nicky?”

He started at Walter’s sharp voice, his focus returning to the control room on the other side of the glass petition. The record producer studied him, charcoal-grey eyes narrow, his stare drilling. Aslin now stood beside Walter, a worried expression on his light-brown face. The man had evolved from a detached “yes man” with muscle to a loyal and honest friend—at times Nick teased him with the title Uncle As, a term the year-older ex-special forces commando pretended to scoff at. Today he looked very much the concerned family member—if a somewhat larger and far-more-menacing one—his black eyebrows drawing together over eyes both sharp and inescapable. He leant forward and activated the comm. between the control room and recording space where Nick now stood. “What’s up, Nick? Need me to get you anything?”

His voice rumbled, an almost flat timbre Nick thought sounded like distant thunder—or artillery detonating, quite fitting for an SAS officer.

Nick shook his head, offering both Aslin and Walter a wide smile. “Nah, I’m okay. Just trying to remember the words to the next track.”

Walter punched the comm. “Well, hurry the fuck up and remember them. For fuck sake, Nicky, its only a reworked version of Night Whispers. Surely you can remember the words to the first fucking Platinum record you ever wrote?”

Nick blinked. Every muscle in his body coiled. Grew tight. “Night Whispers?” The song’s title felt like dust on his tongue. He frowned at Walter. “Who said anything about a re-release of Night Whispers? I thought the next song was Clouds of Pain? I didn’t agree to recording Night—”

“I thought it’d be a nice touch,” Walter spoke over him, his teeth flashing behind his lips, his eyes glinting—hard as ice and twice as cold. “It’s been fifteen years since your first album, Nicky. Since your first success.”

Nick’s gut clenched. He swallowed, staring at his record producer. Walter Winchester stared back, his expression set. The man didn’t top Australia’s Most Infamous List for nothing—Walter knew Night Whispers would make a truck-load of dollars with a re-release, especially after Nick’s two years of self-imposed recording and performing silence. The predatory, hungry gleam in Walter’s eyes almost made Nick laugh. Almost.

If it wasn’t for the song Walter wanted him to sing now.

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