A Dreamspinner Press States of Love book
Just hours before Brandon Harris is supposed to head home to Cincinnati for a Labor Day family picnic, his boss at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame forces him into giving a private tour to bratty British pop rock star Lucas Black. Before he knows it, he finds himself swept up in a whirlwind road trip through Ohio with Lucas riding shotgun.
Lucas grabs hold of this wild opportunity to run away—even for a few precious days—from the gilded cage that is his carefully managed life. He's just looking for a little fun and freedom as a normal person. From roller coasters to a college football game, Brandon begins to see the real Lucas Black buried under the famous persona. But by the time he and Lucas discover their mutual attraction, they only have one night left before both of them have to go back to their real lives. The fun is over...unless Lucas can run away for real this time and keep their adventure going.
- 1 To Be Read list
- 1 Read list
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 5
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Tropes: Coming Out / Closeted, Famous / Not Famous, Opposites Attract, Trapped Together
Word Count: 29536
Languages Available: English
Item #22535: T-shirt—Ozzy Osbourne, worn onstage at Ozzy’s solo concert in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 20, 1982
Historical feature: Ozzy bit the head off of a live bat after a fan threw it onstage.
Notes: Blood spatter on front—DO NOT CLEAN!
BRANDON’S HANDS hovered over the computer keyboard in front of him, and he involuntarily grimaced at the words he had just typed. Working at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was definitely a job like no other. How many other assistants in how many offices, drudgingly doing data entry, were cataloging items with blood splatter from a bat? Assuming it was real blood splatter. Wendy, one of the curators, was arguing that there was no way that was the real shirt he wore that night, because really, who wouldn’t just burn or destroy their clothing once it’s covered in animal blood? “Who saves that shit?” was her actual quote.READ MORE
Apparently someone did, and they swore the shirt was authentic. A rock memorabilia collector had sent the museum several boxes of items for an upcoming exhibit it was planning for Ozzy and Black Sabbath, on the heels of their final tour.
“Attention all visitors. We regret to inform you the museum will be closing an hour early today. Please conclude all purchases at the gift shop and cafeteria in the next fifteen minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience. On your way out, please pick up a free entrance pass for your next visit.” There was a brief pause before the message began to repeat over the loudspeaker.
Brandon frowned as he looked up from his computer. What the heck was going on? Was there some sort of emergency in the building?
His office door burst open, shattering his peace and quiet with the cacophony of noise from the museum halls. Madeline Capshaw, the head curator, strode into his office and shut the door behind her firmly, silencing the space once again. Her posture and facial expression were all business, but her eyes glittered, indicating that something big was going down.
“What’s going on, boss? Why the emergency shutdown?”
“Lucas Black is in town for a show at the Q, and he wants a private tour.”
Brandon forced himself to remain impassive and not give away his true reaction. The Q was Quicken Loans Arena, and Lucas Black was a bratty privileged pop rock star who clearly thought it perfectly okay to demand the entire museum shut down so he could get his own special private tour. Never mind that the museum was a public place and hundreds of music fans that had come to visit the hall today were being thrown out unceremoniously to cater to his whims.
“Wow.” Brandon decided a safe one-word answer was best.
“I want you to accompany him.”
Brandon lost all reserve. “Me? Are you kidding? I’ve got hundreds of items to get typed into this catalog for Wendy—”
“Back burner, you can finish that later. Lucas Black is top priority.”
Clearly, since they were emptying the place out for him.
He gave his boss a sour look, and she quickly shut him down.
“Keep your personal opinions to yourself. I don’t want to hear it. Put on your best smile and give him the million-dollar tour. This is important. I’ve been trying to get him to donate his glow-in-the-dark guitar and some of the props from his tour for the Right Here, Right Now exhibit this winter. Anything would be great but… I really want the guitar.”
Lucas Black’s glow-in-the-dark Fender with electric lights was his trademark.
“So why aren’t you giving him the tour?”
“Normally, I’d love to, but I’m up to my armpits in e-mails, trying to get this year’s nominations finalized. Besides, you and he are the same generation. You’ll have more in common with him, be able to point out things in a more youthful presentation.”
Brandon bit his lip to keep from saying anything. He already knew there was no way he and Lucas Black would have anything in common. Lucas was a spoiled teen phenom who’d grown into an arrogant asshole—as all the magazine articles and TV interviews portrayed, anyway. Brandon was from the quiet suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio, and had grown into a college graduate with a BA in Business from the University of Cincinnati.
Lucas Black released album after album of the same pop drivel and had probably never even heard of Bo Diddley or Eric Clapton or even the Clash. His songs had such Shakespearean lyrics as “Ooh baby, your love drives me crazy. Goin’ insane, can’t get you outta my brain.” That one had been a multimillion iTunes download.
Madeline was giving him the evil eye, so Brandon sighed and hit Save for the file he was working on. A big smile of relief crossed her face. “Wonderful!” She glanced at her watch. “He should be here in about fifteen minutes, give or take, twenty in rock-star time. And I think his tour manager, Nathan, will be with him as well.”
She patted Brandon’s hand sympathetically. “He has to be out of here by six thirty, so that’s only a couple of hours. It’ll be over before you know it.” Leaving, she paused at the doorway and wagged a finger at him. “Just remember you are a representative of this museum. And I want that guitar!”
Twenty minutes later, Brandon paced back and forth in the front of the museum entrance. His phone buzzed with a call from his mom and just as he was about to answer it, a black SUV pulled up on Ninth Street and stopped. An older man with graying hair got out of the front passenger side and opened the back door. A tall, lean man stepped regally out of the SUV. His chin-length messy hair blew in the breeze, showing off high cheekbones and a well-defined jaw. His eyes hid behind dark Ray-Bans. He wore a faded T-shirt under a well-worn black leather jacket, and ripped denim jeans that stretched for miles over his long legs. He started down the lengthy walkway to the museum in a gait that Brandon could only describe as requisite rock-star swagger. The manager lagged behind, having been detained by closing the SUV door and talking to the driver inside.
Brandon stopped pacing and straightened his shoulders, preparing to present his most professional self. He wasthe face of the Rock Hall for this tour. He loved the museum, and he was going to show it off as best he could.
As Lucas approached, Brandon stepped forward and opened one of the glass front doors.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Black. Welcome to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.”
Lucas Black strutted through the door without a glance at Brandon. His manager followed, and he acknowledged Brandon with a nod at least. Gritting his teeth, Brandon locked the door behind them and took a breath before turning around to face the rock star with a sugary-sweet smile plastered on his face.
Lucas strode around, looking upward at the vast space that was the main entrance hall of the museum. Finally, his Ray-Bans landed on Brandon.
Brandon cleared his throat and extended his hand. “My name is Brandon Harris, and I will be accompanying you on the tour today. We’re so happy to have you visit the Hall, Mr. Black.”
Lucas lowered his shades just enough to look at Brandon directly. Brandon felt his body flush at the intense stare coming from Lucas’s sparkling green eyes. A second later the green dulled and his eyes disappeared again behind the Ray-Bans.
“Lucas. I fucking hate Mr. Black” were the words Lucas uttered before ignoring Brandon’s hand and turning his attention upward again.COLLAPSE