“Be prepared to swoon, giggle, sigh, get hot and bothered, cry and have all the feels with this book. Shaken Dirty certainly go through a lot in this book but they do it together as only they can. Jared, Quinn, Ryder and Jamison all get behind Wyatt as only a band like Shaken Dirty can. This reader for one would love for this band to be real.”—Book Ninja
She’s one addiction he can’t resist.
Wyatt Jennings has been called a lot of things by the media. Bad-boy rocker. Intense drummer. Addict.
Finally out of rehab and desperate for a fresh start, Wyatt rejoins his mega-platinum rock band Shaken Dirty as they prepare for their world tour. But Wyatt’s demons are never far behind, always nipping at his heels for one. More. Fix.
Enter Poppy Germaine, the band’s new social media consultant. A beautiful bombshell who somehow manages to get underneath Wyatt’s skin, Poppy’s an addiction Wyatt can get behind. And even though she’s with the label—and therefore off-limits—he craves her. Needs her.
Except Poppy isn’t actually a social media consultant. She’s the daughter of the label’s CEO, sent undercover to babysit Wyatt and keep him from falling off the wagon again. Proving herself to her father is Poppy’s only goal—until she finds herself in Wyatt’s bed. But if Wyatt discovers the truth, it could send him spiraling all over again
“Now as much as I loved the previous two books, it’s safe to say that this one was my favorite in the series … Fade Into You is a super sexy read, but it’s much more than just steam.” – Dirty Girl Romance
It had been months since he’d played any kit, really. He’d only played once since he’d gotten out of rehab—on stage at Antone’s the first night—and that had been for the band. For the crowd. For the show.
It seemed like he was always playing for one of those reasons. But as he stood there, running his hands over his prized hi-hat cymbal, Jace’s words came back to him. The way you hit the sticks, the way you beat that shit out…thanks for being the drummer that made me want to be a drummer. Without it…I probably wouldn’t still be here.
Fuck, he knew exactly what Jace had been talking about. Knew exactly how he felt when he’d said banging on the drums had saved his life. When had he lost touch with that? When had he gotten so caught up in the bullshit—in his head and with the label—that he’d forgotten what it felt like?
Once upon a time, his aunt had bought him his first drum kit as therapy and it had ended up saving his life, too. As he stood here, looking at one of his three beloved kits, he wondered—if he let them—if they’d do it again.
Because there was only one way to find out, he crossed to the bookshelf, where he kept dozens of extra sticks for when he needed them. He grabbed four, then shoved a couple into his back pocket in case he broke the first two before crossing back to his drums.
And then he was settling himself behind them, striking each a few times to make sure they were all in tune, all sounding like they were supposed to. They were, so he took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and let the first song that came to his mind flow through his brain and out of his hands.
The song was “Seventeen Again,” one he’d written a couple of years back about choices and mistakes and roads not taken. It had done well for them, had hung out on the top music charts for nearly six months, two of those at number one. It had always made him uncomfortable that this song was so popular—hell, it had even made him uncomfortable that the guys insisted on putting it on the album. Because it was so personal. So honest. So real, when so much of what he showed people was anything but.
He could still see Poppy’s face from earlier today, when she’d asked him if any of his bio was actually true. He’d been tempted to point her to this song, to tell her that every verse, every word, every note of it was him, laid bare for public consumption. But in the end, he hadn’t done it. Instead, he’d let her get inside his head and had spilled everything to her. Had told her things no one but the other members of Shaken Dirty knew. Things he hadn’t planned on ever telling another living soul. He still didn’t know why he’d done it, except maybe he’d wanted to push her away. He was falling for her, had been pretty much since he’d laid eyes on her, and when she’d pushed, he’d figured what the hell. He’d show her. He’d let her see just how fucked up he was and then she’d go running in the other direction.
Except she hadn’t done that, had she? No, she’d stuck instead. Had gotten right up in his face and made him look at things he hadn’t examined in way too long. Had tried to make him see things in a totally different light.
He didn’t know yet if she’d succeeded, didn’t know yet how he felt about what she’d said. But for the first time in longer than he could remember, he wanted to hold on to something, wanted to feel something for someone other than his bandmates.
For a man who’d spent years, decades, running from his emotions, it was a strange place to find himself. It scared him.
She scared him.
Eyes still closed, he laid down the first of the drum fills, adding a few extra flourishes because that’s how he was hearing it in his head. Played through the whole song from memory, then did it again and again, embellishing it a little more each time through.
It didn’t take long for his arms and pecs to start aching—it had been too long since he’d played the drums on a daily basis—but he played through it, pounding away at the skins with everything he had in him.
Fourth time through the song, he switched to “Closer,” then to “In the A.M.,” then to “Deified.” By the time he’d run through those a couple of times, his biceps were burning, his hands throbbing. And still he didn’t stop.
Instead, he switched on the recorder he always kept next to his drum kit and started wailing away, playing the beat that had been in his head since he’d seen Poppy waiting for him in her doorway last night, arms open and face welcoming. The melody had started then, in the back of his head, and by the time he’d had her up against the wall it had been a towering crescendo of drumbeats that he couldn’t ignore even if he’d wanted to.
Which he hadn’t. It had been too long since music had burned inside him like that.
He played the song through the way he heard it, keeping a fast thirty-two-beat rhythm on the hi-hat while he worked the snare, the bass, and the floor tom in alternating rhythms. It sounded good, really good, and as he banged out a long, elaborate fill on the toms and crash cymbals, he knew he was onto something.
Though all he was doing was laying down the beat, he could hear the song in his head so clearly. Jared coming in with a quiet but pure guitar presence while Quinn took front and center with his keyboards. Bass—whoever the fuck that turned out to be—would hang back with Wyatt, playing low to underscore. And Ryder…fuck, Ryder’s voice would own this song. He would destroy it. Just the thought sent excitement rioting through him.
Usually, Wyatt and Quinn were the music guys, while Ryder and Jared did most of the lyrics. Every once in a while, though, a song would come to him fully formed, like “Seventeen Again” had, an early version of the lyrics tearing through his head even as he pounded away at the drums.
This song was like that, the words running through his brain like a rain-swollen river, pouring out of him as fast and powerfully as the music had. Even knowing they weren’t perfect, he sang them aloud, let the recorder get every syllable.
When it was over, he ran through the song over and over again while everything was still fresh in his mind. Playing and singing, singing and playing, until his shirt was drenched in sweat and his arms felt like they were going to fall off.
And still he played. Still he wailed away at the drums like the demons of hell were after him. Or worse, like the sins of his past had finally caught up to him after all the years he’d run and all the drugs he’d used to keep them at bay.
And maybe they had. Maybe they had.
Since he couldn’t do anything about it, he played instead.
Long after sweat rolled into his eyes and poured down his face.
Long after his shoulders and biceps and pecs cramped up.
Long, long after blisters formed between his fingers.
He played and played and played, like these drums were the only thing standing between him and hell. And like getting this one song right was his only chance at salvation.