Treat Yourself to 10 Romance Ebooks for $0.99 Each!

I don’t know about you, but here in Connecticut, it’s been cold and windy, and Mother Nature keeps dumping snow on us. This Valentine’s Day, I’m collaborating with nine other authors in an exciting $0.99 sale. Diving Into Him (South of Forever, Book 1) is only $0.99 through February 18th.

Warm up with 10 romance ebooks for $0.99 each—and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

Click here to get started »

Read the South of Forever Series FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Extra, extra, read all about it—the South of Forever series is now available on Kindle Unlimited! It’s also got some updates.

  • The prequel novel is now a free bonus when you join the South of Forever email list. I’ve long struggled with finding the proper place for this story; it’s important to the SOF series, but I think a lot of readers were confused. No more! Readers get it free. Click here to get your copy.
  • I’m testing new cover designs. What do you think? My favorite is SOF3. Poppy looks like she’s having the time of her life! And her rockin’ hair is love. 😍
  • Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the entire series at no additional cost. Learn more about KU and sign up here! You’ll also get the first 30 days for free.
  • I’ve resumed working on SOF4. More info on that soon!
  • Paperbacks back in stock in 2017. More details soon.

Start binge-reading the South of Forever series now!


Book 1: Diving Into Him

Jett might be sober, but she can’t kick her addiction to Koty.

Read a Sample: Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5

Buy Now: Amazon US · Amazon CA · Amazon UK


Book 2: Savannah’s Song

Savannah’s forever has a secret that could destroy them—and the band.

Read a Sample: Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5

Buy Now: Amazon US · Amazon CA · Amazon UK


Book 3: What Happens on Tour

South of Forever’s first tour is about to begin, and so is Poppy’s career—if she can keep all her lies straight.

Read a Sample: Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5

Buy Now: Amazon US · Amazon CA · Amazon UK


Happy reading!

8 Reasons Not to Date the Band

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

Last night @SeriousGirlGang threw one of their usual hashtag parties. They’re always a blast, and often trend, but #ReasonsNotToDateMe was especially fun. There are a lot of reasons not to date me, but since Mike took care of that problem three years ago, I thought it’d be fun to tweet from the point of view of the South of Forever gang.

It was way too easy to riff on these guys.

If you want to see all of my #ReasonsNotToDateMe tweets, click the tweet below to see the thread.

Since they were so fun, I figured I’d do a few more.

Reasons Not to Date Jett

  • I’ll spend all of my money on boots… then all of your money on more boots.
  • If you like hot showers, don’t hold your breath. I take long, hot baths.

Reasons Not to Date Koty

  • Because of my stint with the boy band ESX, I never have to work again, and I’ll always try to rescue you with my cash.
  • I have zero taste in home decor, unless you count stainless steel and leather.

Reasons Not to Date Savannah

  • I’ll put your kid in daycare behind your back so that I can focus on my painting career.
  • Most of the closet we’ll share will be occupied by half-finished paintings.

Reasons Not to Date Max

  • My ex is crazy. Like, legit crazy. She’ll sneak attack you without you ever even seeing her.
  • I have a B.S. in education, but I impulsively moved to Boston and joined a band instead of finding a teaching position.

Reasons Not to Date Poppy

  • I will always look more put together than you. I have outfits for days.
  • The first time I ever drove on my own—licensed, of course—was in a snow storm. Wearing wedges.

Reasons Not to Date Griff

  • Since I’m pushing thirty, I have a bad case of family fever.
  • If things with the band don’t work out, I’ll go back to playing minor league hockey. Or just retire early with my trust fund.

Reasons Not to Date Krista

  • I’m not looking for a relationship. To quote Group X: I just want bang-bang-bang.
  • Hos over bros. Sisters before misters. Period.

Reasons Not to Date Perry

  • I enjoy long walks to the liquor store and relaxing one-night stands.
  • My hair will always be cooler than yours. Fuck yeah, dreads!

For more of the South of Forever gang, pick up your free copy of Diving Into Him.

Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More

End of Year Paperbacks Clearance Sale!

via Unsplash
via Unsplash

And just like that, it’s officially autumn. There are so many things I love about this time of year: hayrides and apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks, cozy sweaters over soft leggings… I could go on. It does sting to say goodbye to summer—I am an August baby, after all—but I’ve always seen fall as a new beginning. Maybe it’s because I could never wait ’til the first day of school so that I could start using all my new notebooks and pens.

I’m an office supply junkie. What can I say?

For whatever reason, the change of season triggers a mindset in me to grind down and get busy, in preparation for the new year (and the coming winter). Since I’ll be re-releasing all of my paperbacks in 2017, it’s time to clear out my current inventory. This, of course, totally calls for a clearance sale!

Shipping within the U.S. is free; if you live outside the U.S., please email me to discuss shipping options. You can email me at elizabethbaronebooks@gmail.com.

Diving Into Him (South of Forever, Book 1)
1st Edition, Maietta Ink, 2015
Regular: $14.99, Clearance: $7.99

Only 1 copy left


The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos
1st Edition, Maietta Ink, 2015
Regular: $14.99, Clearance: $7.99

Only 5 copies left


The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos
2nd Edition, Booktrope, 2016
Regular: $11.95, Clearance: $9.99

Only 6 copies left


Sade on the Wall
2nd Edition, Booktrope, 2015
Regular: $11.95, Clearance: $9.99

Only 3 copies left


Please email me at elizabethbaronebooks@gmail.com if you live outside the U.S. and wish to purchase a signed copy!

Can We Reach 50 Reviews for Diving Into Him?

50 Reviews Blitz (Diving Into Him)

In case you missed it, Diving Into Him went FREE on the same day that What Happens On Tour came out. As of today, the book has eight reviews on Amazon (special thanks to everyone from Rockstars Among Us who reviewed)! This is fantastic and I’m so thankful to everyone who’s taken the time to post your thoughts. However, now that Diving Into Him is FREE everywhere, I really want to make a splash with it!

In order to do that, I need to do two things:

  • advertise with Bookbub (the holy grail of indie publishing)
  • trigger Amazon’s built-in support

Bookbub requires books to have at least 10 reviews to be accepted, and rumor has it that Amazon starts emailing customers about your book when you reach 50-60 reviews. This is where you come in. I really need your help!

If you’ve already posted your review on Amazon, thank you so much. (When you have a second, if you could copy/paste your review to Goodreads, iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc, I would really appreciate it.)

If you’ve read Diving Into Him, but haven’t posted a review yet, please do. You can post your honest review here.

If you haven’t read Diving Into Him yet, grab your free copy here!

Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

For every five reviews posted, I’m giving you a special gift!

  • 5 reviews: live video reading of a scene
  • 10 reviews: giveaway—swag pack (U.S. only)
  • 15 reviews: Koty’s POV of Tyler interlude
  • 20 reviews: post-epilogue short—a date night
  • 25 reviews: bonus sex scene of Jett/Koty
  • 30 reviews: giveaway—signed 1st edition paperback (U.S. only)
  • 35 reviews: alternate ending in Koty’s POV
  • 40 reviews: giveaway—signed poster (U.S. only)
  • 45 reviews: video reading of a chapter
  • 50 reviews: live Q&A
  • 55 reviews: post-epilogue short—Jett and Koty discuss their future
  • 60+ reviews: giveaway—ebook copies of entire series

Now here’s where things get crazy. 😜 We only have one month to reach our goal! If we don’t make it, the blitz machine turns into a pumpkin. I know we don’t have to worry about that, though, because you rock!

Step 1: Grab Your FREE Copy
Kindle · iBooks · Nook · More
or read on Wattpad

Step 2: Leave an Honest Review
Post Your Review

Step 3: Spread the Word
Use the buttons below to share this post!

Not sure how to write a review? All you have to do is rate the book on a scale of one to five stars, then write one or two sentences saying whether you liked or disliked the book.

Diving Into Him: Chapter 5

After a quick stop at home to grab her guitar, Jett arrived at the studio. She climbed the steps three at a time. When she inserted her key into the lock, the studio doorknob twisted easily. Biting down on her lower lip, she nudged the door open.

Piano music floated through the air, light and haunting. She paused in the doorway. Koty sat at the studio’s grand piano, back bent. He leaned over the keys, fingers splayed, dancing with the stroke of each note. His voice floated to her through the air, strengthened by the light accompaniment of the piano.

“And I can’t even cry, because you were never mine,” he sang.

Recognition flowed through her. She had scribbled those lyrics down on a scrap of paper, unable to do anything else with them. She hadn’t even showed him.

Koty wore headphones, a notebook balanced on his lap. He held a pen between two fingers, playing with one hand.

“And I can’t even cry,” he sang, slower, drawing out the notes. His voice was husky, resonating through the small space. He repeated the line over a four-note piano melody, singing at a higher note. His voice sent shivers down Jett’s spine.

Heart twisting in her chest, she shook her head. It was ironic that he was working on that song—two lines that came to her one night when she couldn’t sleep. It was one of the first nights they spent in Boston, in a hotel room with two beds. She had stared into the darkness across the divide between them, wishing things were different.

Koty had never been hers, though. She had used him as a rebound when Phillip died. Then she’d chosen her old band over whatever it was they’d had.

Swallowing the lump in her throat, she leaned against the doorframe as he launched into the two lines again. He dropped his voice even lower, testing out different levels and throwing in nonsense lyrics. His free hand never stopped scribbling notes.

She needed to let him go. He deserved better than the hot mess that she was. Blinking her sooty lashes against her olive skin, she decided to stop pining for him. It would be easier said than done, of course, but she had to at least try.

Crossing the space between them, she sat on the piano bench next to him. She slipped on a pair of headphones and dropped in, playing a harmony with his melody. He glanced over at her. He removed his headphones, letting them dangle around his neck. Sitting that close to him, she could smell his sweat and deodorant—or maybe it was cologne. He smelled amazing, a blend of cool and spicy. His smile sent a tingle through her body. Heat bloomed low in her belly.

She needed to focus. She nodded at the notebook in his lap. “Any luck?”

“Sorry for taking off.” His blue eyes bore into hers.

She blinked. “What?”

“I know that you don’t need a guard dog.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I guess I just got used to it being you and me against the world.” He blushed.

She couldn’t take her eyes from his. She felt herself lean toward him. Her heart swelled, warmth washing over her. He might deserve better, but she wished that she could have him.

Ducking his head, he leaned down. His lips brushed hers. Her breath caught in her throat. As her eyes fluttered closed, the door to the studio banged open. She jerked away from Koty.

Max stood in the doorway, chest heaving. “Am I late?” he asked.

Jett hoped the guilt she felt wasn’t evident on her face. “No.” She sighed.

“Chloe wouldn’t stop crying when I tried to leave, so I thought I might be late.”

She glanced at Max as he entered the studio. Pushing his hair back from his face, he looked from Jett to Koty. She had no idea whether she should try to distract him from what he had almost seen, or if she should tell him that he was perfectly on time.

Perry strode in behind Max, hands jammed into his pockets, and his bass strapped to his back in a soft case. He wore earbuds. His head bopped to the music. Brushing past Max, he strutted deeper into the room. “I’m here,” he purred. He plucked his earbuds from his ears and gave Koty a nod. The nod he gave Jett held a deeper meaning. Heat laced his eyes.

Max cleared his throat. “Are you in the band, too?” He held his hand out to Perry. “I’m Max Batista, keyboards.”

Raising an eyebrow, Perry stared at Max. “Where’s your keyboard?”

Max’s mouth dropped open.

“You didn’t bring your equipment?” Perry snickered. “This is a professional band, you know.”

Jett cleared her throat. “Thank you for coming, gentlemen.” She wanted to look at Koty, to see what he thought, but she was afraid that what she might see in his face would have nothing to do with the band. Standing from the piano bench, she jerked a thumb toward the large instrument. “Max can use that.”

“We were just working on a piano-driven song,” Koty added from beside her.

Without turning her head, she could feel the heat from his body. She took a step back.

“Still.” Perry sniffed. “What kind of musician travels without his instrument?”

“I didn’t think I’d need it tonight.” Max shrugged. “Plus, with Chloe screaming, I was mostly focusing on getting out of the house.”

Perry crossed his arms. “Have you ever even been in a band?”

Max’s eyebrows furrowed. “Who are you?”

Jett opened her mouth, then shut it, unsure whether she should play referee or let them get it out of their system.

“I’m Perry Armstrong. I just finished touring with King Riley—you’ve probably heard of them.” Perry swung his bass down from his back and knelt on the floor, unpacking the instrument.

“I’ve seen some posters,” Max said. He crossed his arms. “Do you only play their tours?”

Perry blushed, his cheeks turning bright red under his dark skin. “I recorded their first album with them.” He gritted his teeth, glaring at Max.

Lifting her hands, Jett tried to change the subject. “Let’s get started, guys.”

Both men ignored her. “Only their first album?” Max cocked his head. “Why aren’t you working on their second album?”

“Why don’t you run back to your little high school band?” Perry stood. He towered over Max.

Max held the other man’s gaze. “What are you trying to say?”

Perry jerked a thumb toward Koty. “I’m saying,” he said, pointing another finger at Max, “that neither of you belong here.”

“Whoa,” Koty said. He crossed the space between him and Perry. “How do you figure?”

Perry snorted. “You used to sing in a boy band.”

Eyes wide, Max turned toward Koty. He gaped at him. “Wait, what?”

Jett stomped her foot on the hardwood floor. Their heads all snapped in her direction. “We have three weeks to write and practice four or five songs. We don’t have time for this testosterone shit.”

“Can’t we just use some Perpetual Smile songs?” Max nodded toward the piano. “I can figure out the melody for a few more.”

Perry muttered something under his breath. He plugged his bass into the studio’s amplifier, shaking his head.

Jett ignored him. “No, Max.” She inhaled slowly through her nose. She had picked these men. She needed to remember that they weren’t her first picks, and needed some conditioning. “Simon 1056 owns the rights to Perpetual Smile’s music. I’ll probably never get those songs back.” Koty’s arm brushed hers. She flinched. Shooting him a look, she moved away. Her boots clicked against the floor as she paced. “We have a drummer, but he’s on the West Coast at the moment. He won’t be able to join us right away. We’ll have to start writing without percussion.”

“That doesn’t matter.” Perry smirked. “All of King Riley’s songs are piano driven.”

Gritting her teeth, Jett looked him in the eye. “I don’t care what King Riley does. We are South of Forever, and we’re going to do things our own way.”

“You mean your way?” Perry gave her wide, innocent eyes.

Her fingers curled. Glancing at the door, she resisted the urge to walk out. Instead, she addressed the others. “Do any of you have any songs written or started?”

“Everything I wrote belongs to King Riley.” Perry sighed, drawing it out. “And by ‘everything,’ I mean all of their songs to date.”

Jett lifted her eyes toward the ceiling. She probably should have researched Perry before seeking him out, she surmised. She would have bet her last cigarette he’d been thrown out of the band. She needed to work with what she had, though. She turned to Max. “What about you?”

His cheeks flushed. “I have something,” he stammered.

“Want to share?”

He shook his head quickly.

She sighed.

“Why don’t we keep going with what we were just working on?” Koty asked. He stood next to her again.

She pressed her feet into the floor, resisting the urge to move away from him. If the other men noticed that Koty was practically chasing her around the room, they might think that something was going on. She needed to not repeat her mistakes. There would be no dating within South of Forever. “We’re starting from scratch,” she announced, as if she hadn’t heard him. “Let’s pick a theme for our first song.” She wished that Phillip was still alive. He had been a genius at writing songs on a whim. Stuffing the ache in her heart away, she reached for Koty’s notebook.

Moving to Boston was her fresh start, not a relocated pity party.

“Let’s start strong,” Perry said, “and write a song about sexual frustration.” He wiggled his eyebrows at Jett.

“That would be easy for you, wouldn’t it?” She gave him a smirk. “Let’s make it bass-driven. Give me a strong line.” Pride thrummed through her. Poising a pen over a fresh page in the notebook, she nodded to Perry. Maybe starting with nothing wouldn’t be so hard after all.

“No way,” Max said. “It should be a piano-driven song.”

“Why don’t you shut up?” Perry strapped his bass on. “At least until you have more songwriting experience.”

Jett watched as Max’s jaw worked. He gritted his teeth, his eyes narrowed.

“Piano can be sexy,” Max said. He turned to Jett. His eyes pleaded with her. “I can work something that’s deep and slow.”

Lips parting, she started to tell him that it might work. Perry was the more experienced songwriter, though. Besides, Max looked more like a kid who wanted to impress his new friends than someone itching to play a melody. She closed her eyes. Maybe she had made a huge mistake.


Jett might be sober, but she can’t kick her addiction to Koty.

Diving Into Him, Book 1 in the South of Forever series, is now available.

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Character Inspiration for the South of Forever Series

CHARACTERWhere did Jett, Koty, Savannah, Max, and the rest of the gang come from? I’ve talked before about how I name my characters (two guesses who inspired Jett’s), but not so much about the characters themselves. Sometimes it’s a lengthy process; others times, a character starts “talking” to me and won’t shut up. (Quinn was like that, and Max, too. I’ve also got another one jabbering in my head, for a way down the line project that I want to write yesterday. My production schedule is already full. Writer problems, sigh.)

The characters from the South of Forever series kind of just showed up. Jett, Koty, and Griff all crossed over from Playing for You, and Max and Savannah migrated from The Nanny with the Skull Tattoos. I knew when I wrote these standalones that they were going to spinoff into a series. I love giving my readers little Easter eggs like that, and I really wanted Jett and Savannah to meet.

I borrowed some of Perry’s womanizing personality from someone I used to know. (He’s a softie underneath, which you’ll see as the series progress.) I knew I needed to fill the bassist slot, and immediately I had this vision of an incredibly sexy man with dreads piled into a bun on top of his head, giving me a sultry look. The closest I can get to who I see in my head is Isaiah Mustafa. He swept me off my feet back when he did all those Old Spice commercials.

Poppy and Krista were a package deal. I knew right from the second Poppy stepped on scene with her printed pixie pants and wedges and on point marketing skills that she had a fantastic bestie. These two are each other’s ride or die. I’m getting to know Krista much more now that I’m pre-writing for SOF4! (The last in the series, sniff sniff… Or is it? I’m a little sad at the thought of wrapping everything up for good.)

Even when a characters pops in and announces themselves, I still have a lot of work to do to make them a living, breathing person. They may be inspired by real life people or partially borrowed from my own personality, but then they need to become their own entity. Once I have a basic idea of who they are and their name, I start molding. For example, I gave Jett fears, hopes, likes, dislikes, and quirks. She’s afraid of falling into obscurity. She’s also afraid of commitment. She adores her father. She wants to be a musician, even if it means forgoing a label and taking the indie road. She loves long baths and coffee. She’s had the same tiny amplifier since she was a teenager. She’s got a temper and she’s passionate.

Things like that.

I want my characters to be full of flaws. Sorry, but I don’t believe that everyone is perfect—especially when going through the growing pains of their early twenties! I sure as hell made some bad decisions and could be overdramatic at times. Especially when I was 18-23. Now I’m older and wiser and never whine. 😉

At the end of every book, my main character has learned something and grown from their experiences. I think this is the whole point of this ride we’re on. Life may throw some shit at you, but you sure as hell become agile.

LifeBooksWriting Blog Challenge

Who is your all-time favorite literary character? Tell me in the comments below! Mine would have to be Susannah, from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. She overcomes a traumatic accident and oppression and becomes this courageous, brave, strong warrior woman. Oriza!

Next Friday: A day in my life!

Note: I’m jumping in late with this challenge. I’d planned on participating after one of my book managers suggested it to me, and then things kind of blew up and it got sidelined—which I really feel bad about because it’s a great challenge. I’m hoping to eventually go back and do the first three prompts, because I was really looking forward to them!

· · · KEEP UP WITH ME · · ·

If you’d like to keep up with me and what I’m working on, sign up for my (FREE) email newsletter. You’ll also get exclusive access to my secret reader group on Facebook.

Video Reading: Diving Into Him, Chapter 3

We reached 100 people RSVPed to the Savannah’s Song release party! Thank you so much to everyone who came. As promised, here’s the reading of Diving Into Him Chapter 3—with a special bonus!

*drumroll* And here’s the reading!

Jett snorted. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She glanced at Koty. He eyed Perry like an exterminator staring down a cockroach. She tapped her lip, considering her limited options. She needed a bassist, immediately. Even if Perry wasn’t being dramatic, going head to head with King Riley would keep her motivated. It would be a fun challenge. She turned back to Perry. “We’re going to be at Malden Street Studios tonight. Meet us there.” Giving him the address, she marched through the front door.

“Whoa,” Koty called after her as she jogged down the front steps. “Hold on.” He caught up with her and shot her a perplexed look. “Why did you invite him?”

Pausing, she flipped open her notebook. “Why not?” She scanned the list of names. She still didn’t know Boston well enough to tell who was closest to Perry’s neighborhood. Pulling her phone out of the pocket of her leather jacket, she typed the address into her GPS.

“He’s trouble.” Koty touched her arm.

She tilted her head at him. “What do you mean?”

Follow along with the full text here.


Update, June 3rd: The South of Forever series is back! Shop all retailers here, or use the sexy widgets below to one-click your way to steamy musical heaven.

Diving Into Him: Chapter 4

Sweat beaded Jett’s hairline as the phone rang. She clutched the phone tighter, walking faster with each ring. Stomach clenching, she took a deep breath in through her nose, then let it out slowly. She needed to get a grip. She was a professional, not a scared child in trouble with her parents.

Straightening her shoulders, she paused in front of a gas station. The phone rang again. She dipped her fingers into her pocket and retrieved her pack of cigarettes. She was almost out, and Koty was the one with the cash. She sighed. She had become the kind of woman she never wanted to be.

“Yeah,” Griff said, cutting into her thoughts.

Jumping, Jett dropped the cigarette. She stooped to pick it up. Fumbling for words, she lit the cigarette. As soon as she inhaled, she felt better, more in control.

“Did you butt dial me?” Griff sighed.

“No, I’m here.” She blew out a slow stream of smoke.

“What’s up?” Unlike the last time she spoke with him, there were no sirens in the background. She wondered where he was.

She dropped onto a bench at the Ashmont T station. Her mouth opened, but no words came out. Mind racing, she tried to think of something to say.

“Are you there?” An edge of aggravation crept into Griff’s voice.

She didn’t have much time to waste. “You said you were in LA.” She took another drag. “What are you doing out there?”

“What does it matter to you?” His voice was light, teasing.

Relief swept through her. He sounded more like the old Griff, the way he had been before things started falling apart in Perpetual Smile. He was suddenly the same person who had held her while she cried on the floor of Phillip’s hospital room after they lost him. It felt like ages ago, yet little more than a year had passed. Shaking the memories away, she took another drag off her cigarette. “We didn’t get to chat much this morning.” She kept her voice light, despite the ache in her chest.

He laughed. “Yeah, how did you make out with the band?”

“That depends on what you’ve been up to.”

He paused. “Just dealing with some hockey stuff.” She heard the flick of a lighter as Griff lit his own cigarette.

She missed sitting with him, smoking cigarettes and talking about the band. Her heart sank. “Hockey stuff,” she repeated. “Are you training for this season?”

He cleared his throat. “What do you want, Jett?”

She sighed. It was time to kill the small talk. “We’re going to play the show.” She paused, waiting for his reaction. He said nothing. “I’ve got a bassist and a keyboardist. We’re meeting tonight to rehearse.”

“You’re serious.” Griff laughed, a short, incredulous bark that was more merry than condescending.

“Of course I’m serious.” She tossed the rest of her cigarette into the street.

“So . . . what do you want from me?” he asked, his tone still light.

Her heart raced. Wiping damp palms on her thighs, she plunged forward. “I need a drummer.” She let her words sink in. He was probably going to say no. When Perpetual Smile crumbled, he had left without a single word. He hadn’t even called to see how rehab went.

“Why are you telling me this?” He exhaled a long breath. She couldn’t tell if he was still smoking or sighing.

“You’re the best drummer I know.” She watched as the train rumbled to a stop in front of her. Watching as people boarded and stepped off, streaming past each other, she crossed her legs.

“You couldn’t find anyone else?”

“Not on such short notice.” Her lips curled into a rueful smile. She wasn’t sure if he was teasing her again, or if he was being sarcastic.

“Shocking.” He lapsed into silence.

A lump formed in her throat. “When does the season begin?”

He snorted. “You still don’t know the minor league hockey schedule. How long have you known me?” He chuckled. “The season already started.”

She wanted to stick her tongue out at him. She thought of one of the last times she had seen him. They had sat where Perpetual Smile’s tour bus had once been parked, smoking cigarettes until she was ready to go to the rehab facility. Tears sprang to her eyes. He had been the one to organize the intervention. He had even convinced Koty to team up with him, against her. Sucking in a deep breath, she pushed the pain away. The past was in the past. “So, what are you doing in Los Angeles, then? Shouldn’t you be playing a game?”

“I’m officially retired,” he said, a smile curving through his words.

Her eyebrows shot up. “Why?” she blurted.

“Thank you for the congratulations,” he said.

“I didn’t mean it like that.” She lit her last cigarette. “I’m just surprised. I figured that after the band went south, you would focus more on hockey.”

Griff sighed. “Jett, I’m not getting any younger. It’s a rough sport. It would only make sense for me to stay in the game if I’d gotten picked up by a pro team by now. That hasn’t happened, and it isn’t going to.”

Her shoulders slumped. “I’m sorry.” She wished she had been able to attend more than a couple of his games.

He laughed. “I’m not. I get to focus on music now.”

“Is that why you’re in LA?” She looked down. She should have known that Griff would try to sign with another band. He was too talented not to.

“Sort of. You said you need a drummer.”

“I was going to ask you.” She shrugged, even though he couldn’t see her.

“I figured,” he said. “I’m broke, and I want to play. I don’t want any drama, though.”

Her heart raced. He couldn’t possibly mean that he was going to join her. It couldn’t be that easy. She swallowed hard. “Are you saying you’re in?”

Griff cleared his throat. “I’m saying that, if you can stay sober, this could work.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I’ve been sober for months. If you’d bothered to call once in a while, you would know that.” Her hands curled into fists. She stared down at the dwindling cigarette, wishing she had more. “Why don’t you trust me?” She wanted to ask him why he had sent Koty to pick her up from the treatment facility instead of coming himself. Tears sprang to her eyes as she remembered looking up to see Koty instead of Griff. He had been the last person she expected to ditch her. She squared her jaw. If she was ever going to truly start over, she needed to let go completely.

“Did you hear me?” Griff asked, cutting into her thoughts.

“What did you say?” She bit down on her lower lip, cheeks blazing.

“I said, I’ll join your band on one condition.”

Her heart leapt into her throat. “What is it?”

“I’ve been in LA, talking to different booking agents I knew from when we were in Perpetual Smile. One of them has agreed to scout your show.”

Jett’s jaw dropped open. He knew her better than she’d thought. “How did you do that?” The tears dribbled faster, splotching onto her jacket.

“If we can land the agent,” he continued, “I’ll stay.”

She blinked, still processing his words. “Wow.”

“I’ll take the next flight out.” She could hear the smile in Griff’s voice as he said goodbye. “See you soon.”

She remained sitting in the shelter of the T station, staring down at her phone with numb hands. Her cigarette dangled from the corner of her mouth. She let it drop to the ground. It rolled past the toe of her boot and into the street. A smile broke out across her face. Griff was joining South of Forever.

Jett wondered why he was going out on such a limb for her. He could have signed with any band he wanted. He could have secured the booking agent for himself. Relationships, she decided, were confusing—even friendships.

Keeping her head down was the safest bet, even if only for a little while.


Jett might be sober, but she can’t kick her addiction to Koty.

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Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5

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Diving Into Him: Chapter 3

Jett snorted. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” She glanced at Koty. He eyed Perry like an exterminator staring down a cockroach. She tapped her lip, considering her limited options. She needed a bassist, immediately. Even if Perry wasn’t being dramatic, going head to head with King Riley would keep her motivated. It would be a fun challenge. She turned back to Perry. “We’re going to be at Malden Street Studios tonight. Meet us there.” Giving him the address, she marched through the front door.

“Whoa,” Koty called after her as she jogged down the front steps. “Hold on.” He caught up with her and shot her a perplexed look. “Why did you invite him?”

Pausing, she flipped open her notebook. “Why not?” She scanned the list of names. She still didn’t know Boston well enough to tell who was closest to Perry’s neighborhood. Pulling her phone out of the pocket of her leather jacket, she typed the address into her GPS.

“He’s trouble.” Koty touched her arm.

She tilted her head at him. “What do you mean?”

“He was cocked.” His eyes bore into hers. “Do you really want to be around him?”

Frowning, she pocketed her phone. “He’s an experienced bassist.” She crossed her arms. “Why wouldn’t I want him around?”

Koty took a deep breath. “Didn’t you see his apartment?”

She sighed. “It was a real hole in the wall. What does that have to do with anything?”

“There were empty whiskey bottles all over the place.” Koty ran a hand through his hair. “He’s an alcoholic, Jett.”

“How do you know that?” She narrowed her eyes. “You heard him. He got kicked out of his band.”

Koty sighed. “He’s living in a shit hole with no furniture, yet he can afford all of that booze. The place reeked of it.”

Following the prompts from Jett’s phone, they headed away from Perry’s apartment. “What’s your point?”

“My point is,” he said, jogging to keep up with her, “being around him might trigger you.”

She halted. Whirling on her heels, she nearly crashed into him. “Trigger me to do what?”

“I don’t want you to start drinking again. You’ve been doing so well.” He smiled.

She glared at him. “I’m not an idiot, Koty.”

He lifted his hands. “I didn’t say you were. I’m just trying to look out for you.”

“I don’t need you to babysit me.” She pulled her cigarettes out of her pocket, plucked one from the pack with her teeth, and lit it.

His shoulders slumped. “I didn’t say you did.”

“How about you don’t say anything at all?” She blinked away tears. “I know what I’m doing.” She walked faster.

“That’s not what I meant.” He dropped behind. “Can you slow down?”

Ignoring him, she surged forward.

“Fine,” he called. “I’ll just see you at the studio later.”

Swallowing the lump in her throat, Jett walked faster. She forced herself to keep moving without looking over her shoulder. What he thought shouldn’t matter. She had been sober for months. She wasn’t going to fall off the wagon. She was stronger than that. She was a Costa. Her father had taught her better.

The thought of her father made her eyes sting even more. She hadn’t seen him in almost a year. Guilt gnawed at her stomach. She hadn’t so much as bothered to call him—not even when Simon 1056 dropped Perpetual Smile. She would catch up with him the second she got her life together, she decided. It had been too long.

She was striking out with all the men in her life, lately.

She moved through the Boston streets, immersed in her thoughts, replaying her argument with Koty. Her fists curled even as her chest tightened and tears sprang to her eyes. She wished he could just trust her. When they’d been hooking up, his faith in her had been unwavering. She had screwed up majorly with him, over and over again. It was a miracle that he still stuck around.

Frowning, she turned onto Adams Street. Glancing around, she slowed her gait.

A sign welcomed her to Adams Village in Dorchester, a neighborhood of the city of Boston. Raising an eyebrow, she stared at the sign. It seemed that she would never understand Boston. In many ways, it was like a whole state of its own.

The apartment complex where her potential keyboardist lived sat across from a funeral home and next to a gas station. Still, it was a far cry from Perry’s neighborhood. Concrete islands filled with mulch and bushes that would flower as the weather warmed decorated the complex. Boots clicking on the pavement, she walked toward the building, the parking lot free of debris.

Still, she felt out of place in her leather jacket and boots—designer items that she had bought with her first royalty payments at a store that she would have never been able to afford otherwise. While Koty looked good in his jeans and T-shirt, he also looked more down to earth. She wished that he had come with her.

She sighed, thinking of the way his jeans hugged his body.

Heat exploded through her. “Focus, Costa,” she told herself. She stepped into the lobby. Rather than waiting for the elevator, she took the stairs. Some sort of air freshener released the fresh scent of linen, and she sneezed.

Emerging onto Max’s floor, she stalked the hallway until she found his apartment. She wondered if Koty would actually meet her at the studio. She didn’t think he would just leave her in Boston. Their argument hadn’t been that bad. They’d had worse fights while on tour with Perpetual Smile. She shook her head, thinking of the time they had almost been caught making out on the tour bus. She had wanted to end the whole affair before her other bandmates caught on. Something about Koty kept her from completely breaking things off, though. Something about Koty always kept her from walking away.

She hoped that he felt the same. Raising a fist, she knocked.

The door to Max’s apartment creaked open. A young woman stood in the doorway. She held a little girl’s hand. The girl’s fingers tugged at the woman’s long black hair. Raising an eyebrow at Jett, the woman tilted her head. “Can I help you?”

Jett hesitated. She might have the wrong address or, even worse, her keyboardist might have moved. She gave the other woman a bright smile. “I’m Jett Costa.” She held out her hand.

The other woman glanced at her hand, then narrowed her eyes. “Yeah?”

Jett almost rolled her eyes. The woman was acting as warily as she would have, though, if they switched places. “I’m looking for Max Batista. Does he live here?”

Tossing long, inky hair over her shoulder, the woman’s eyes hardened. “Why?”

“He auditioned for my band a few weeks ago.” Jett jerked a thumb in the direction of Malden Street. “I tried calling but didn’t get an answer.”

“Our cell phone got shut off,” the woman said. Her arm tightened around the toddler. “What do you want?”

“Maybe I have the wrong place.” Jett took a step back. “Sorry to bother you.” She turned toward the stairwell.

“Wait.”

A familiar young man with brown skin and spiky dark hair appeared over the woman’s shoulder. “Please come in,” he said.

“The house is a mess,” the woman said, eyes narrowed at him.

“Savannah, chill.” Max grinned at Jett. “Is this about my audition? Did I make it?”

Jett opened her mouth to tell him that she had the wrong address. When he had played at the studio, he hadn’t seemed so young. She had pegged him at maybe twenty-five. Studying him in the afternoon light, he looked closer to twenty-one. With the way he grinned at her, practically bouncing on the balls of his feet, he could still be in high school.

“Come on in,” he said, turning and going inside. Sighing, Savannah followed him.

Jett hesitated, then followed them inside. Toys littered the carpet. Bowls of half-eaten cereal sat on a banged up coffee table. A laptop sat on a desk in the corner, a cartoon paused. Savannah sat on a threadbare couch. The little girl climbed out of her arms and ran into the part of the apartment that Jett couldn’t see.

Max closed the door. Still smiling, he lifted a hand. “Sorry about the mess.” He jerked a thumb in the direction that the little girl had gone. “Chloe is a tornado these days.” He hooked his thumbs in the loops of his jeans. “So, when do I start?”

He reminded Savannah of a more hyper version of Koty—if that was even possible. She restrained herself from groaning out loud. The last thing that South of Forever needed was a second Dakota Jackson. He had forced his way into her old band and still drove her crazy. She doubted that she would ever sleep with Max—especially not with his territorial wife or girlfriend or whoever she was—but she definitely didn’t want to get stuck with another overeager kid who knew nothing about the music industry.

A painting hanging on the wall caught Jett’s eye. A younger version of Chloe smiled back at her. Jett took a step forward, eyes tracing the clean lines. “Who did that?”

“Savannah,” Max said, pride lifting his voice.

Jett studied a large abstract painting of sugar skulls. “Are any of these for sale?” She didn’t exactly have the money for a painting, but she could probably convince Koty to buy one for their condo. The place needed a little bit of color. He had brought all of his black and stainless steel furniture from his bachelor pad in New York; Jett had left behind most of her furniture at her New York apartment, except for a dresser that had been her mother’s.

“Sale?” Savannah’s eyebrows furrowed.

“You don’t sell your paintings?” Jett gaped at her. “You totally should. I bet you could get into galleries around here. The South End has a ton of places with wall space.”

Savannah’s lips twitched. “I guess I never thought about it before.” She glanced at the paintings on the walls and shrugged.

“I told you,” Max called from another corner of the living room.

Jett pivoted toward the sound of his voice. He sat at a keyboard, fingers poised. The second their eyes met, he launched into a Perpetual Smile song. Her jaw dropped. Her old band had never used keyboards. Neither she nor Phillip had written music for piano. Hearing their old song in a new light sent a shiver down her spine. She closed her eyes, letting the melody carry her away. She could almost feel Phillip’s shoulder under her head after a long night of songwriting. Those nights had been some of the best of her life.

The music faded. She opened her eyes.

Max grinned. “So, am I in?”

“You composed that?” Jett joined him at the beat up keyboard. It was hardly professional equipment. She bit her lower lip.

He nodded. “Does that mean yes?”

She sighed. She didn’t really have much of a choice. Running her fingers over the keys, she nodded.

“Yes!” Max jumped up from his seat. Racing toward Savannah, he lifted her from the couch. He spun her in a circle, peppering her cheeks with kisses.

Jett smiled. She wished that she and Koty could be that affectionate.

Max put Savannah down. “Thank you,” he said, extending his hand to Jett. “This means so much to us. You have no idea.”

“Yeah, well, our first show is in three weeks.” Jett clasped his hand. “Are you going to be able to play with us?”

“Are you kidding?” His grin widened. He pumped her arm up and down. “You can count on me. Thank you.”

She pulled her hand away. “You won’t be thanking me after tonight. Meet us at the studio later.” She gave him the address. “Be prepared to spend the night.” She tossed a glance at Savannah, whose eyes narrowed. Then, before either of them could say anything else, Jett saw herself out of the apartment.

Shoving her hands into her pockets, she stepped into the spring afternoon. She almost had a complete band. At least there was that. She could worry about getting them into shape later. A smile broke out across her face. Pulling her phone from her pocket, she redialed the phone number of the drummer she hoped to recruit, and began walking back the way she came.

The phone rang over and over. She frowned. She really didn’t want to make any more house calls. Besides, the clock was ticking. In just a couple of hours, she had to figure out how to write enough songs for a twenty-minute set with a group of people that she had never written with before. Even though she had performed with Koty in her old band, that hardly counted.

Chewing on her lip, she tried calling the drummer again. Still no answer.

Staring at her phone, she took a deep breath. Her heart slammed in her chest. She knew exactly who to call. The question was whether he would be willing to join her.

Throwing caution to the wind, she dialed Griff’s number.


Jett might be sober, but she can’t kick her addiction to Koty.

CONTINUE READING
Chapter 1 · Chapter 2 · Chapter 3 · Chapter 4 · Chapter 5

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