Title: Cadence
Buy the Book: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Published by: The Wild Rose Press
Release Date: 8/28/24
Pages: 221
ISBN13: 978-1-5092-5683-9
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From a young age, aspiring musician Jessica Baker has made it a point to never rely on anyone other than herself. After all, in her experience, people, along with success, are both fleeting. However, when Kai Halara joins her tour, all of her preconceived notions are demolished.

 Kai is a failure in the eyes of his industry. Intending to use Jessica’s tour as a distraction while he determines his next move, he’s soon at war with himself. His mind tells him to stay away, but his heart—and body—demand the opposite.

 Can their happiness survive when misunderstandings collide with electric attraction, and past drama resurges to threaten to destroy all they have created?

Kai’s first sight of Jessica had hit him like a freight train.

He watched her as she focused on each speaker. Her manager should have been there but, for whatever reason, either hadn’t been invited to this particular meeting or hadn’t shown. Her questions showed that she’d done her research and wasn’t relying on those around her to advise the correct steps.

That much poise in a woman twenty-five years old was remarkable. The haunted maturity in her didn’t match the shining blonde hair and full lips. He didn’t go for blondes as a matter of preference—or women as young as Jessica. Though some might not think so, ten years was a big difference.

“Will the fans be expecting CDs at the merch table? Or is it a waste of time? In the past, artists would sign them at their table after the show, but all the teens download stuff, not buy physical copies.” Gordon focused on Kai.

He started to answer when Dirk cut in.

“It’s never a bad idea to have bespoke merchandise. The buyers for that will skew older, but we might draw in some who are younger. We’ve got T-shirts, stickers, and koozies. Those are what I have found move the needle more than the music. Though CDs are faded in popularity, some still want them. If we had more money, I would have done something in a limited edition but didn’t have the funds.”

“What do you think, Kai?” Gordon’s voice echoed across the conference table, almost as a challenge.

Country was a form of music Kai wasn’t that familiar with. Apposite had been a rock label, specializing in hard rock and speed metal. Apposite. His failed venture. It had been a long shot when he started it, but he had always been persistent and assumed he could tough it out and make the endeavor a success in time.

In that, he’d been wrong.

He cleared his throat, surprised that Gordon had addressed him. Kai studied Jess’ picture on the back of the CD. The picture wasn’t like the real-life woman. This was every bit a professional portrait, with her hair teased out and blown straight, the wind lifting it just back from her face. She had a white dress on, creating a sexy yet virginal effect.

The real Jessica Baker had her own raw sensuality that called to him in a way he had no business entertaining.

“I am with Dirk. She can sign the liner notes on the physical copies. We will have postcards and download cards for those who buy it online. Dirk’s got the right idea for merch. Patches are good too, if you are still searching for suggestions. Those should cover our bases.”

Gordon nodded and started speaking to Dirk in low tones.

Studying the real-life woman in front of the conference table, Kai decided he liked her better today than in the glamour shot on the CD. Her hair had a natural wave to it and curled down her back. She had more makeup on than he was expecting, with a smoky liner around her lids and mascara. Her peasant blouse was in a muted green that complemented her skin, jeans and cowboy boots completing the outfit.


He focused on Ally Wilson with the CD still in his hand. “Yes?”

“Did you have any input on the set list? We’re going to end with ‘Susan the Magician,’ of course, since that’s the first release, but any opinions about the rest?”

He reviewed what they had said about the song choices, though he hadn’t been giving it his full concentration. “I would move the third song to be second so you’ve got a break between tempos, but it’s a short set, so it won’t make that much of a difference either way.”

“Great. Thanks. I’ll talk to her manager. Appreciate the input. Jess, will you sign the CDs?”

If it wasn’t his imagination, Jessica’s attention flicked to him before landing on Ally. Kai struggled to keep his face neutral.

“Of course I will. Give me all you have. And a pen.”

The meeting broke, and Kai wondered why Gordon had forced all of them to attend this thing in person. Perhaps the label president meant it as a flex to show his power.

Ally lingered as the rest filed out of the conference room, leaving Kai and Jess behind. Those folks had offices, but Kai did not. He worked from home, making this even stranger. The entire thing had been unnecessary.

He approached Jess as she signed. He resisted the urge to turn on his heel and walk away when she raised her head to acknowledge him. No matter his reason, she would take it a different way.

You should have kept your distance.

Too late now.