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Authors: Heather Jensen

Fangs And Fame

BOOK: Fangs And Fame
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Fangs And Fame

 

Blood And Guitars #3

 

Heather Jensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fangs And Fame

 

Blood And Guitars #3

 

Heather Jensen

 

 

Copyright 201
4 by Heather Jensen

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

 

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To each and every one of the readers.

Thanks for sticking with me through this entire journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fangs And Fame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             
                            Chapter 1

 

Trey

 

I WASN’T SURE WHAT to expect as I walked out onto the stage for my first big arena show as a vampire. In fact, I was a bundle of anxious nerves, which really isn’t like me, but mostly I was just excited to have come this far. Here I was ... a vampire, but I was standing on stage in Orlando tonight, a massive horde of chanting fans waiting below. The houselights were down, and I stood, hiding in the shadows. The five big screens behind me were black as night while I strapped on my guitar and waited for the cue from Chase. We played the opening notes of Midnight Poison. The crowd went completely berserk. Lights swept across the surface of the black and white tiled stage and into the crowd. Images lit up the giant screens, syncing perfectly in time with the music. As the intro wrapped up, I took my place front and center behind a microphone stand that was stocked with enough spare guitar picks to make a handful of fans in the front row very happy. I sang the first line of the song.

 

“It used to be that I would dream

Of things that I can now call mine

Successes are a funny thing

There
’s always something else to find.”

 

As I sang, I scanned the front of the crowd and found Aurora there with Kacie. She was glowing with pride and mouthing each word as I delivered it. Surrounded by twelve-thousand screaming teenagers and twenty-something’s, she still had the power to make the crowd fade and my heart jump. I smiled at her, and the girl to her other side bounced up and down enthusiastically, cheeks pink as she grabbed the hand of her friend in misdirected excitement.

 

“What good is all the fortune found

With no one here to share?

My heart drums a familiar sound

A pain I cannot bear.

 

My dad was there, too, which was something I never would have believed possible a few months ago. We hadn’t been close in years, but I was going out on a limb and giving him a chance. He beamed up at me with pride, and I realized that I just needed to let myself enjoy the fact that he was here. My dad was watching me perform on stage, and nothing could ever take that away from me, even if it only happened just this once.

O
’Shea grinned at me, nodding his head with the beat. Any musician who has performed live will tell you the intense rush of adrenaline it brings is indescribable. Next to being in love – and, the vampire in me would add drinking fresh blood – it makes you feel alive like nothing else can. It had been more than six months since we’d done a big show, and I hadn’t realized just how much I missed being in front of the fans. Some things hadn’t changed at all. For instance, the way the bass from Chase’s kick drum reverberated through my entire body; the vibrant, yet ethereal glow that comes from being under all those colorful lights, and my view from the stage of a sea of people, their lit cell phones waving in time with the beat.

But some things were different all together. Tonight the nonstop adrenaline surging through me acted like a direct link to the fans in the crowd. Every ounce I gave of myself, they gave back to me in full. At first, it caught me by surprise. Catalyst fans were intensely loyal and engaged, but I couldn
’t remember stage energy ever feeling quite like this. It was on the verge of being too intense to handle, which just made me want more.

Was it just because this was the first time I
’d been on a big stage in a while?

This
was
the first show of the tour. Maybe being on stage as a vampire was just like this. Maybe it would always be like this now. This was the closest thing to playing a show in our hometown, but even then it was hard to imagine that another night – another town – could live up to this. The fans sang every word with me, and I couldn’t help but feel like they were all a part of the band in a way. They were making the show just as much as any one of us on stage. I wasn’t one to complain about an uber-receptive crowd, so I did the only thing I could. 

I tried to deserve it.

All of the passion, the enthusiasm. And it was obvious I wasn’t the only one feeling it. The other guys were giving one hundred and ten percent of themselves. Whatever was going on with the stage energy tonight, it was undeniably infectious. We played like our lives depended on it. In a way, I felt like mine did. Something about nailing this first show, despite all the changes I’d been through, would make it easier to believe that I might actually pull this whole thing off long term. We played five songs from the new record and a few fan favorites, including the singles, from our two previous albums. At one point, I realized it might seem strange that I wasn’t sweating, so I dumped a bottle of water on my head. Problem solved. Jonas followed suit, except that he dumped his bottle on O’Shea, who really didn’t seem to mind at all.

When we
’d finished the last song of the set, I thanked the crowd, and the guys and I made our way off stage for a short break before the encore. I handed my guitar to a roadie and felt O’Shea’s hand squeeze the back of my neck excitedly.


It feels so good to be on stage again!” he said, talking over the sound of the crowd cheering behind us.


I know. I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed it.”


Is it just me, or are the fans completely insane tonight?”


I noticed it, too,” Chase answered before I could. He tossed me a bottle of water and I opened it, downing half and wishing it was something more satisfying. I stared out at the stage, enjoying the fans as they pleaded with us to come back out, chanting
Cat-a-lyst! Cat-a-lyst!


What is it?” Jonas asked after a moment, pulling my focus back.

I shook his head a little and blinked, looking at him.
“Nothing,” I said. “I just ... I don’t know. I feel like the set’s not complete.”


It’s not,” Jonas stated. “We’ve got two more songs.”


That’s not what I mean.”


We’re playing seventeen songs with the encore,” O’Shea stated. “That’s a long set.”

I nodded.
“Yeah. I know.” But something was definitely missing. I was just going to have to mull it over until I figured out what it was. Jonas gave me a look of understanding. He knew I was being a perfectionist, but he wasn’t surprised in the least.


You’ll figure it out,” he said, encouragingly. “This is just the first show.”


You’re right.”


And what’s up with you?” O’Shea asked, narrowing his eyes at me expectantly.

I raised my eyebrows at him, my vampire heart clenching in paranoia. What had I done to make him suspicious? I couldn
’t imagine.... “Nothing’s up. What do you mean?”

O
’Shea’s expression changed from stonewall to mischievous grin, and he bumped my shoulder with his fist. “You were dead on with every freaking note tonight,” he said with a laugh. “And not just your vocals. To think I was worried your shoulder wasn’t going to hold up through a whole set.”


I told you my shoulder’s healing up nicely.”


I don’t know how you’re doing it, but keep it up,” he added

A breath of relief escaped my lips and I smiled.
“Don’t act so surprised.” My worst fear was that the guys would realize that something was different about me, and not just ‘I got a new haircut’ different. I was still trying to recover from my moment of panic when Neon approached, thumbs in the air.


You’re killing it out there, guys,” he said enthusiastically. “Is it always like this? The fans are eating it up.”


What can I say?” Jonas added. “That’s how we roll.”

I laughed at him and finished my water, mostly because I didn
’t know what else to do with it.


Well, what are you waiting for? Get back out there.” Neon waved us back in the direction of the stage and the crowd erupted as we took the stage again for the two-song encore. We played “You Only Live Twice” and then finished off the night with our first hit “Filtered Ache.” I’ll admit I was sad to go when the time came to leave the stage for real. We thanked the fans and said our goodbyes before heading backstage where I found Aurora waiting for me enthusiastically. She’d snuck out during the last song to get back here in time to meet me.


You were amazing,” she said, wrapping her arms around my neck and kissing me. I held onto her, ignoring Chase’s whistling as he walked past us. Having her here with me took the show to a whole new level. I wondered how I’d ever done this without her – without feeling like something had been missing. When she pulled back she looked a little dazed, and I realized she’d just taken a ride on the emotional roller coaster I was still coming down from. “How was it?” she asked, looking up at me through dark lashes.


It feels great to be on stage again,” I told her.


Well, you looked and sounded great up there.” She raised up on her toes and kissed me again. Then she laced her fingers in mine and pulled me toward the long hallway. “Come on,” she urged. “Your dad and Kacie are in the lounge. They want to congratulate you before we head out.”

Dad was almost speechless when he saw me walk into the lounge.
“I don’t know what to say, son,” he told me, shaking my hand and then pulling me in for a hug. I hugged him back, still trying to get used to the idea that he was here to begin with. “You boys sure know how to bring the house down.”


Thanks, Dad,” I said. “I’m glad you were here for it.”


I know you’ll be gone a while,” he said, forcing a smile. “But I’ll be here waiting when the tour is over. Maybe we could take a little fishing trip or something.”

I nodded.
“That would be great, actually. It’s a plan.”

He smiled, and I thought for a second that his eyes might have been watering as he turned to go. I wasn
’t sure how to deal with that, so I shouted a greeting to Kacie instead.


Kace!” I said, holding my arms out expectantly.

Kacie hopped up off the couch and gave me a big hug.
“That was amazing,” she said. “Thank you for letting me be here.”


Are you kidding?” I told her. “You’re like the sister I never had. Of course you had to be here.”

She smiled so wide I was afraid her face might crack in half before O
’Shea pulled her back down onto the sofa next to him. Aurora gave me an appreciative smile and a little silent communication to let me know I’d just made Kacie’s night.

Pretty sure O
’Shea’s the one doing that,
I thought back, making her grin.

Aurora glanced around the room, furrowing her eyebrows.
“Hey, our bags were here earlier.”


They’ve probably already been loaded,” I told her.


Loaded?”

Before I could answer there was a knock on the lounge door and Chase hollered,
“Come in.”

The door opened from outside, and Neon was waiting there with the guys from Crosstalk. We all exchanged greetings, and what Aurora would call
‘man hugs.’ before Neon disappeared again, and Crosstalk joined us to eat and talk about the show. Aurora and I relaxed on a leather sofa, my head still swirling from the show.


I heard some of your set,” O’Shea announced as he piled food onto a plate. “You guys sounded great.”


Thanks,” Evan, Crosstalk’s lead singer said. “The crowd was good to us, but we didn’t get near the reception you guys did when you walked out there. It’s pretty obvious who they came out to see. The screams were deafening, even from back here.” He laughed, and Aurora and I shared a glance.

Weirdly great reaction tonight
, I thought, knowing she’d hear me.

You mean that
’s not normal?

I shook my head almost imperceptibly.
I don’t know.... It’s hard to explain.

BOOK: Fangs And Fame
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