“Rock Star’s Girl” by Jennifer Farwell
Blurb: Emily Watts just wants a weekend break from the workaholic hours she’s taken on to keep her business—a popular fashion-snark website—up and running. What she gets is overnight celebrity and a career-killing media scandal.
While taking time out to attend a concert in support of friend Jesse Cinder, a struggling musician, Emily meets Cory Sampson, the lead singer of a chart-topping rock band. When she agrees to a date with Cory, making entertainment headlines is the last thing she expects. Even so, it’s a minor surprise by comparison to her discovery that in the music world, media notoriety trumps all. Tabloid allegations erupt when Cory and fame-hungry Jesse use Emily for personal gain, and her tarnished image spells disaster—personally and professionally. To save the website and writing career she’s made her life and dream, Emily must go from being a pawn in the Hollywood headline game to becoming the media mastermind.
“I wouldn’t want to be that guy,” Cory commented, sitting down.
“That was fast,” she said, trying not to look startled. “What guy?”
“The guy who invited us here. You were just giving him the death stare.”
“Did it look like a death stare?” She fought to keep her tone light. “My mind must have just drifted off.”
“Whatever you were thinking about, it couldn’t have been good.”
“It was about the piles of work waiting for me to tackle at home,” she said, offering him the first explanation she could think of.
“On a Friday?” he asked. She nodded, scrunching her face into what she hoped passed for an exasperated look. “What do you do?”
“I’m a writer, and I run my own website.” She tried to guess what his reaction would be before he spoke. Most of the people she met in L.A. first assumed she was an actress or a singer. She was never quite sure if her lack of being part of the entertainment world worked for her or against her in a city where make-believe was the main industry.
“A writer and a website,” he repeated. “Anything I know?”
“Maybe,” she answered. “I run Zeeked. It’s a fashion website. I do a regular column for Sweltry, too.”
“Oh, nice. That’s definitely different for this town.” To his credit, he looked impressed. “Sweltry does music reviews, right?”
She nodded again, wondering if he was genuinely interested in what she did or if he was simply being polite. “Among other things. I don’t write the reviews, but I know the guy who does.”
“Next time you talk to him, please thank him for me. Sweltry gave my band’s last album a great review.”
Great. He was a musician. If Wednesday night had taught her anything, the last thing she needed was to get involved with another boy in a band.
“So, you’re a musician, then?” She struggled to keep the disappointment from flooding her voice.
“I’m a singer.” She may have imagined it, but the look on his face seemed expectant of something.
“Huh,” she mused, trying hard to sound indifferent.
“What?” he asked. She could tell that wasn’t the reaction he’d been hoping for.
“What, ‘what?’” she answered, feigning ignorance.
“Is there something wrong with me being a singer?” he asked.
“Not if it makes you happy,” she said. “Just so you know, though, I’m not.”
“Not what? Happy?” He looked slightly confused, and, she had to admit, absolutely adorable.
He gave her a curious look. “I know that. You just said you were a writer.”
“Yeah, I know. It’s just that if you’re a musician, and especially if you’re a singer, you should probably be flirting with another singer right now, or an actress. Maybe a model.” She paused when their margarita and chips appeared in front of them, and leaned in to sip from one of the two straws that peeked out of the giant glass.
“What makes you say that?” he asked, not making a move for the food or their drink.
“Experience.” She took another sip and looked him squarely in the eyes, silently daring him to tell her she was wrong.
He leaned back in his chair, laughing. “You’re probably right, but I’m not flirting with a singer, actress, or model right now, or sharing a drink with one. Does that count for anything?” He held her eyes with his, taking a drink from the other straw.
“Not really.” She watched him try to contain another laugh while swallowing.
“You have something against singers, I take it?” he asked, once he’d recovered.
“Well, singers, guitarists, bass players, drummers, keyboardists, and possibly cellists, so I wouldn’t take it personally.”
“Drummers, huh?” He raised an eyebrow. “Even bongo players?”
“Especially bongo players.” She picked up a chip from the platter in front of her and dipped it in the small bowl of guacamole.
“Well, while you’re at it, don’t forget about anyone who plays an accordion.”
She swallowed the chip she was chewing. “Why’s that?”
“Equal opportunity. If you’re going to slam us, don’t limit yourself to alt, rock, and country. Polka’s pretty badass too.” He took another sip from their glass.
She knew he was teasing her and could tell that her wariness amused him. Finally, she could only shrug. “No offense,” she said, looking down at their margarita and stirring its melting ice cubes with her straw. “I’m not a big fan of musicians.”
“I’m getting that,” he replied. “Why is that, anyway?”
She kept her eyes down. “I know too many of them,” she offered.
“Me too. Funny.”
Emily could feel the corners of her lips move while she fought a smile. She knew Cory had seen the change in her expression when, appearing encouraged, he stretched out one of his arms and laid it to rest on her shoulder. She didn’t move away.
“I thought maybe I’d switch it up a bit and hang out with a stunning writer,” he said. “Is that okay by you?”
She smiled in spite of herself. “I guess mass amounts of tequila must work in your favor. So what’s your band’s name?”
“Blistering Twilight.” He watched her while he answered.
She nodded and took a sip of their drink, aware that he was waiting for her reaction. From what she knew of Blistering Twilight, they had at least one album that had made it to the number one spot on Billboard and a few singles that had hit the top of the American Top 40 charts. She wondered if he expected those two words to be the magical key to getting her to retract everything she’d just said about musicians.
A long silence followed while she pretended to be incredibly thirsty. Finally, he spoke. “You don’t look impressed.”
She released the straw from her lips. “Are you used to girls looking impressed when you tell them what band you’re in?” she asked.
“I’m actually used to girls knowing what band I’m in before they meet me.” For a split second, he looked the slightest bit sheepish.
“I guess I’m not your typical girl.”
“I’ll drink to that.” He took a sip from their glass, moving the hand that was on her shoulder to play with a strand of her hair. “So now that my occupation is out of the way, can I go back to hitting on you?”
“Is that what you were doing?” she asked, unwinding her hair from his finger.
He put his hand back on her shoulder. “Before I realized telling you what I do for a living would be a turn-off, that’s absolutely what I was going for.”
“Hmm. What other lines have you got?”
“I’m afraid to try, given how badly that one bombed. It’s usually foolproof.”
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**About author, Jennifer Farwell:
Jennifer Farwell has been writing since the day she picked up a navy blue Crayola as a toddler and began scribbling on her parents’ freshly painted white walls. She’s the author of SEVEN WEEKS TO FOREVER and ROCK STAR’S GIRL. When not writing novels, she can often be found at a Kundalini yoga class, cheering on the L.A. Kings during hockey season, or curled up with a good book. Her love of storytelling led to completing a Bachelor of Journalism degree and a Master of Arts degree in English, both from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She grew up in Thunder Bay, Canada, and now lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Pico.
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