Authors: Lisa Mondello
Josie Tibbs was a good sound engineer. He wasn't
shining sunshine on her when he'd made the compliment. With so many musicians clamoring for their
chance to be noticed by studio executives, Brock had
heard a lot of knockoff bands trying to imitate the same
sound as whatever was the current trend in music, hoping for the same success.
That wasn't the way Brock wanted to go. Based on
what he'd heard of her studio work, he knew Josie was
the ticket to getting the sound he envisioned for himself.
"Don't you think you're a bit out of your league,
cowboy?" she said, her chin lifting just a fraction of an
He laughed, tipping his hat. Darn if he didn't feel the
blush creep up his cheeks. "No."
Cocking her head to one side, she smiled. "You forgot the ma'am."
He looked directly into her eyes and said, "No, I
didn't. I wouldn't make that mistake."
"I have to go. I'm not sure why you're here and what
you want from me, but Grant Davies was a long time
ago. Brian should be able to help you out with what
you're looking to do." She picked up his cowboy hat
from the table and handed it to him.
"I don't think you've heard me right," he said as she
started to walk away.
Turning back, she chuckled. "Look. I've seen a lot of guys come into the studio over the last few years. I'm
flattered." Good grief, she'd used it twice in one day.
"Not many people remember the studio work I did with
Grant. Unfortunately, the record company didn't agree
with my vision and Grant seemed to share their opinion. If you really want to make something of yourself
in the music business, you don't need me. You need
someone who can give the record companies what they
"Now see, that's the reason I'm here. I don't want
what they're looking for. What I want is you."
osie tried not to flinch at Brock Gentry's words.
She'd heard them before. At one time, she'd even been
naive enough to believe them. Oh, when had she
become so jaded?
Sighing, she took a step toward him. "What makes
you so sure of that?"
"Lady, you haven't been listening to me. I know what
kind of music is coming out of Nashville these days.
But I'm not looking to be some face on a bubble gum
card. I just want to play my music my way. Like I said,
I like your work. I think we can make something good
Josie's insides hummed with his words. It was all she
could do to remember the vow she'd made to herself
four years ago. She wasn't getting involved with another
music man. She was steering clear. No way, no how.
The only thing it brought to her was heartache good
enough for inspiring song lyrics. She didn't want songs or words. She wanted a true man to love her. Some boring blue suit man who'd wear a tie and go to work
every day and come home to her and her alone every
"Blue suit," she whispered to herself.
"I beg your pardon?" Brock's eyes twinkled with
light at her slip.
"Nothing. You've got me intrigued. I don't see a
whole lot of your type come into the studio. And even
then Brian snatches them up before I get a chance to
say a word."
"I gathered that about him. So what do you say?"
"I say I should have my head examined." Wasn't
Brian always talking about some shrink he visited?
She'd have to remember to get the name. If she was
seriously contemplating working with this cowboyand she was-she was going to need some serious help.
Sighing, she said, "See Brian about booking some
studio time in the evening. That's all I have available.
And just so you know, I charge double time for evening
work, so I need you to understand that right off the bat."
"Tell Brian how many songs you'll be doing and
whatever time he says you need to get the job done, tell
him to book half. He has a way of broadsiding a person. He's good at it."
"I've got a lot of songs. Enough for at least a full CD,
maybe more. I figure I might as well get them all down
on tracks and give the record company its pick."
Nodding, she said, "I hope whoever is bankrolling
this project knows what he's gotten himself into. I
don't want to run out of funds halfway through the session." He was naive, this man with the sparkling
blue eyes and a smile that could force a woman to
make an utter fool of herself. She was going to have to
"It's covered. It won't be a problem."
"Great. I'll see you then."
"What about dinner?"
"Dinner's not part of this gig. I told you, I have
plans." Dexter would love this. She was sure he'd love
Brock Gentry too. There was something about the man,
something that had her head turning to just look at him.
It wasn't just that he was handsome with his sunstreaked hair, or how his lopsided smile tilted ever so
slightly to give him that boyish charm. He was different than the other cowboys she'd seen come strutting in
through these studio doors. Sure, he had the twinkle in
his eye, the dream of something big. But what was life
without that dream?
Oh Lord, she was in trouble. Blue suit, blue suit.
She fought hard not to have the sudden breathlessness
she felt show. But she feared Brock Gentry saw it anyway. "Why don't you leave me a few tapes in the office,
kid," she said, packing up her things. It would do her
good not to even look at him. "I'll listen to them, see
where you're going, and then we can talk again when we
get into the studio."
She lifted her head and saw the smile of triumph on
"Thank you," he said as he tipped his hat. "And just
so we're clear-I'm not a kid."
She stuffed her sweater into her bag, not bothering to
fold it neatly, and looked at him. "I know," she said.
And she headed for the door before she made an
even bigger fool of herself.
Brock sat on the black leather sofa in the control
room, twiddling his thumbs as Josie worked around the
studio, plugging in lines to the control room panel. He
hadn't been able to get his mind off the woman in the
last few days. He'd been so focused on finding Josie
Tibbs and then getting her to agree to work with him
that he hadn't thought at all about his reaction to her.
And boy what a reaction. He'd met pretty women
before, sure. There was a certain attraction that had
women gravitating to him regardless of the man he
was. It was the image, the idea of being with a country
singer. It didn't matter that he wasn't famous or even if
he was any good. None of them seemed to look beyond
that to see the man. He was just a face and a name.
Someone they could swoon over when he stepped off
the stage. They didn't really care about his music or
what he wanted from it, what it meant to him. They just
wanted the image. That always left him cold.
He'd watched Josie earlier as she listened to some of
the rough demo tapes they'd made from some live performances back in Steerage Rock, the town he'd lived
in his whole life, embarrassed by the crude sound and
technical difficulties. But when it was over, Josie just
smiled and said, "Let's get to work."
What that meant, he wasn't quite sure. At any rate,
he was eager to get some tracks down and get to
singing some of the songs he'd written over the last few
years while he'd perfected his craft.
She was keeping her distance. That much Brock was sure of. Every time he walked into the control room,
Josie seemed to move in a different direction. He reasoned he should just stay the heck out of her way. He'd
sought her out for a purpose and he had to let her do
what she did best. But the woman was like a magnet
pulling him to her.
"I hope you didn't get too bored," she said, coming
into the sound room.
"Not at all."
She nodded. "We have a break room where clients
usually hang out while I do some of the more tedious
setup. We even have some arcade games in there to
help pass the time."
He shook his head. "If it's all the same to you, I'll
stick around and see how things are done in here."
She gave him a quick smile and shrugged. "Okay.
Well, if you're going to be hanging around in here, I'm
going to put you to work."
"Your wish is my command."
Josie tried to concentrate on her work. But with
every move she made, she felt Brock's piercing blue
eyes following her. It shouldn't have affected her at all,
she thought as she dropped the master reel onto the tape
player. She'd had attention from men before. In this
business, there was always someone with a quick come
on and enough sweet charm to put a sensible girl in a
But there was something about the way Brock was
watching her. There was interest in his eyes as they followed her, an eagerness, anticipation even, as if they
were both part of doing something great.
And he was interested in her. She wasn't quite sure
if that interest only went as far as his admiration for her
work with Grant Davies or if it were fueled by something more personal. Josie wasn't sure which one she
The early part of the session moved by quicker than
Josie had anticipated which went a long way toward
keeping her attention focused on what she was doing.
Laying the music tracks could sometimes be tedious.
Unlike her work doing commercials, she always wanted
to get the music right. That meant spending the time up
front to get a clean, crisp sound and then letting the
musicians do their thing. Her job was to make their
sound come alive without producing the life out of it.
Brock was alone in the studio, sitting on a stool in
front of the microphone she'd set up. All the musicians
had gone through a few songs earlier, laying the basic
tracks. Now it was time to add Brock's vocals. Given the
hour of the evening, the rest of the band members had all
decided to head home for some sleep rather than sticking
around to hear how the vocals blended in with the music.
That left Josie alone with Brock, leaving nothing to separate them but the thick glass wall between the control
room and the studio.
"I wrote this one the other day. I hope you like it,"
Brock said, the headphones covering his ear.
It was important to him that she like his music. Why
that would make a difference, she wasn't sure. She'd
seen Brian work with musicians before. They all wanted
their egos stroked and no one was better at that than
Brian. But it wasn't heartfelt. Brian couldn't care less
as long as the session was paid for in full.
But it meant something to Brock. As he looked at her
from the other room, she could see it in his eyes.
Josie cued the tape and pushed the record button.
The sound of his guitar came over the speakers. Their
eyes locked. With his hand holding one side of the
headphones, Brock began to sing.
She loved his deep, smooth voice. The sound of his
words as he sang plucked at her heartstrings as if he
were strumming the steel strings of his guitar. Poetic
and sincere. She couldn't help but wonder about the
woman the song was so obviously written about. It was
a song of new friendship, new love that seemed to have
So deep into the song, Josie hadn't been paying
attention to the meters at all. She had no clue if any of
the levels had peaked. And when the song had ended
and the music died down, she was startled when Brock
pulled off the headphones and just smiled at her.
"You liked it, didn't you?" He didn't need to question that she had indeed loved the song. She knew it
was written all over her face. It was then she realized
she was still staring at him like an idiot.
Shaking off the feeling, she dragged her gaze away
to the control panel. Her hands were trembling as she
hit the buttons to rewind the tape and then punched the
"Why don't we listen to how it sounds in here?" she
said. This time she'd pay more attention to what she
was doing instead of to the man who was driving her