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Authors: Sean Michael

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No Regrets

BOOK: No Regrets
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No Regrets
by
Sean Michael
Amber Quill Press, LLC
http://www.amberquill.com

 

No Regrets
An Amber Quill Press Book

 

This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author's imagination, or have been used fictitiously.
Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

 

Amber Quill Press, LLC
http://www.AmberQuill.com
All rights reserved.
No portion of this book may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the publisher, with the exception of brief excerpts used for the purposes of review.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Sean Michael
ISBN 978-1-61124-709-1
Cover Art © 2014 Trace Edward Zaber
Published in the United States of America
Also by Sean Michael
Art And Snowflakes
Blue Collar
Carved In Wood
Crouching Vegan, Hidden Werewolf
Digging For Gold
Dirty Kisses
Full Disclosure
The Good Life
Living The Dream
Making Your Own Luck
Office Hours
Recipe For Love
Revving It Up
Royal Line
Serving Mr. Right
Silver Edges
Spot The Difference
Wallflowers
Welcome Home
The Wizard And The Thief
Working It Out
Working To Win
Prologue

 

Drake sat on the leather couch in his office, going through the piles of mail on the coffee table in front of him.

There was the to-be-signed pile, which contained the original letter, a brief synopsis of the letter and an eight by ten headshot. All he had to do was read the synopsis, sign the headshot, maybe include a bit of a personal message and move on to the next one. That was the biggest pile, maybe sixty in it, and he was nearly done. Thank God Molly, his personal assistant extraordinaire, signed his name on the headshots that went out in response to the majority of his fan mail or he'd never be done.

The next pile was smaller, maybe a dozen letters that Molly thought he'd want to read himself. There was a headshot and a blank sheet of paper with each of those, just in case he wanted to write a letter back or give her instructions on it. There'd be stuff from the Make a Wish Foundation and crap like that in there, folks who wanted his personal attention that Molly thought he'd maybe want to participate in.

The third and smallest pile was the real mail, as best as Molly could figure.

He made his way through the first pile, trying not to look at the picture--the blond fly-away hair and his own blue, blue eyes staring back up at him was a little freaky. It looked like him, but not, just like the huge picture from his second album cover that hung behind his desk. He groaned, throwing a pillow at the radio when his latest single came on. He was so fucking sick of the whole thing.

Drake loved the singing. There was nothing better than writing the perfect lyric, or being in the studio laying down tracks, or up on stage, connecting with fifty thousand people.

But he hadn't written in months, and his last two albums had been ninety percent material by other people. The passion of it, the fun, was slipping through his fingers like so much dust and he just...

He needed to get away from it all. From the media and the label and the fans and all the things that pulled him from a hundred different directions.

He finally finished the first and second piles of letters, leaving them on the side of the coffee table for Molly, and started to look through the three letters in the last pile. Two were from his label and the third was from a Scott Dean.

Scott Dean.

Damn, why did that sound so familiar?

He flashed back suddenly to middle school and a skinny kid with a shock of hair, in creative arts class, seventh grade.

Damn, he hadn't seen Scotty since two weeks before their final exams when he'd quit school in order to go out on the road as the opening act for Van Halen.

Curious, he read the letter.

The scribble was dark and hard to read, but familiar as hell. "Hey, man. Saw you on the TV. You look tired as hell. You ought to come see me and chill some, take a rest. You always did work too fucking hard. Grins. Scott Dean."

God, Scotty Dean. Drake leaned back and let his eyes close, let some of the memories flow over him. He could remember the poster Scotty'd made for the concert he and his band had given in Perkin's barn back in the ninth grade. And they'd both played on the baseball team a couple years, though not all the way through--coach hadn't been impressed when he'd found out baseball wasn't number one for them.

He wondered if Scotty was still painting.

Drake must have dozed off because the next thing he knew, Molly was buzzing him.

He staggered over to the desk, feeling half-drunk from the interrupted nap and hit the intercom button. "What?"

"Oh, that's nice."

He rolled his eyes. "Hi, Molly, what can I do for you?"

She chuckled. "Better. I've got Bob Andrews on the line for you."

"Tell him I can't take the call."

"And why not?"

"I don't care what excuse you give him--tell him I'm not here, tell him I died, I don't care."

Bob wanted him to confirm a dozen appearances between now and Christmas and to set up another world tour starting in the spring, and he didn't want to do it. Oh, he likely would, like he always did--it would be good for his career, yadda yadda.

"I'll tell him you're indisposed." He could hear the disapproval in Molly's voice. She didn't like lying for him.

"You could just tell him I don't want to talk to him."

She snorted and disconnected the intercom. He shook his head and stretched, T-shirt riding up out of his jeans. God, he was tired.

He was supposed to be writing a new album so he could go into the studio in December, and it was starting to look like he was going to be using outside material again. Especially if he was showing up at this show and that festival and... Wait.

Why exactly was he going to give in and do these appearances and the tour? Because he needed the money?

He didn't need the money. He was richer than God.

What he needed to do was take a vacation. An honest to God vacation. A month on the beach or a few weeks in the mountains or...some time with an old friend who nobody knew about.

He went back to the couch and found the letter from Scotty where it had fallen on the ground. Bless Scott Dean's heart, there was an address there, along with directions to some little town he'd never heard of in South Carolina to Scott's place in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Perfect.

He searched out the envelope and pocketed it, just making sure he had all the evidence of where he'd be with him, and headed out the door.

"Molly? Call Bob back and tell him I'm going on vacation."

Her dark hair was piled on top of her head, her fingers full of more rings than any one woman needed, her blouse a god-awful lime green with loads of frills. His assistant had a style all her own, but it worked for her.

"A real vacation, Drake? Or another one of those take my picture circuses of yours."

He resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at her. It wasn't his fault that he had a whole cadre of paparazzi on his tail wherever he went. The times he got drunk on vacation and pulled stupid stunts they took pictures. On the other hand...

He shook his head. "An honest to fuck break. I'm not even telling you where I'm going."

That set her to spluttering, and she hung up the phone and put down her pen, entire focus turning on him. "You have to tell me."

"No, I don't."

"Sure you do."

"Nope."

He leaned against the side of her desk, crossed his arms and grinned down at her. "I don't have to and I'm not."

"But I'm your assistant! What if something comes up that needs your attention?"

"Then you won't have to lie when you tell whoever that you have no idea where I am."

Her lips pursed and her fingers tapped on her desk. "What if it's an emergency?"

"Deal with it."

She shook her head. "You can't just disappear."

"I'm sure as hell going to try." He leaned over and kissed the top of her head. "Book a dinner for two under my name at La Farge tonight, and take that nice young man of yours out for a high-class meal." The booking would draw the paparazzi to the restaurant and hopefully give him a chance of slipping away unnoticed.

"Well, how long are you going for?"

He shrugged, checking his pocket for his keys and coming up with his cell phone. He passed it over to her. "I don't know."

"But..."

"No buts, honey. I'm going and I don't know when I'll be back--you'll see me when you see me."

"How will I know you're all right?"

He snorted. "I'm sure if anything happens to me the damned vultures will find out and tell the world. I'm serious about this, Molly. I need out for a while before I wind up babbling like a loon. I know you can keep things running along nicely here without me."

"Well, I will certainly do my best."

"I know." He came up with his keys. "Thank you, Molly."

"Take care of yourself, Drake."

"You too, honey."

He headed out the door, leaving Drake the Rock Star behind him, that letter burning a hole in his pocket.

Chapter 1

 

Lord, for a man on vacation, Drake felt tired and strung out.

It hadn't taken him any time at all to pack up a bag and toss it into his truck. He'd even lost the bulk of the paparazzi on the first day. Then they'd picked up his trail again and he'd had to trade the truck in for an older, more beat-up model that wouldn't link back to him. He got cash advances on all his credit cards so he could pay cash wherever he went--Molly would pay the bills and he had more than enough to cover it.

Four days later it was nearing sunset and he'd been hopelessly lost for the last two hours, trying to find Scotty Dean's house.

He was bouncing over a dirt road and, damn, this beat-up old thing he was driving had nothing on his truck. He
missed
his truck.

He turned a corner onto a new dirt road, still no signage, nothing. The road curved, and the trees that lined it thinned and suddenly there was a big old farmhouse right in front of him. A truck nearly as beat-up as the vehicle he was driving was parked next to a large shed.

Could this be Scotty's place?

He pulled up next to the truck and turned off the engine, then headed for the front porch. "Hello? Anyone home?"
Please be Scotty's place. Please.

"Well, well, well, if it ain't the prodigal son." That low, deep drawl rang out, bright blue eyes dancing at him from under a black cowboy hat. "Goddamn, you're a sight for sore eyes."

Jesus Christ, Scotty'd grown up well.

Drake found himself grinning as he admired the lanky form, some of the weight falling off his shoulders. "Scotty Dean. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I got your letter."

"Yeah, I saw your ass on the TV and thought you looked like you were being hunted. I didn't reckon anybody'd hunt you out here in the boonies." Scotty headed over, grinning from ear to ear. "You gonna really be able to stay awhile, honey?"

Oh, that drawled
honey
did something to his insides. Something his lady fans would be shocked to know.

"I can stay as long as I like. I ran away from it all, Scott," he admitted.

"Good on you. I got a whole room ready for you." He got a full-on hug, back slapped good and hard. "Come on in, honey. I was just fixin' to put a chicken on the grill."

He held on to the hug just a moment longer, craving the human contact of a friend, someone who didn't want anything from him, didn't want to be in his life because of his money or his fame or what he could do for them.

It might have been high school since he last had that, too. His disastrous marriage had been a sham on both his and his wife's parts.

He let go and grabbed his bag out of the truck, hoisting it over his shoulder. "You cook?"

"Hell, yes. Otherwise I'd starve." Long and lean, Scotty looked even better from the back than he did from the front. Damn. Old, tissue-paper thin jeans that were painted on. "I go into town once every two or three weeks for supplies. Otherwise? I grow my own or trade for it. It's a good life. You like artichokes?"

"I like food, period." Though he was tired to death of fancy crap that barely filled you and the last four days had been pretty much all fast food. "I'll eat whatever you put in front of me." Hell, even burned food would be a small price to pay for not having anything to do and not worrying about anybody jumping out from behind a bush to take his picture.

"Well, there's grilled chicken and artichokes and some rice in the kitchen steaming." Scotty took him around the back of the house, the porch huge and screened, with a hammock and a few big cushy lounges. "Let me get these off the grill, and I'll give you the tour."

"Oh, this looks comfy." It smelled damned good, too. He didn't sit, worried he'd crash right out if he did. "So what are you up to these days?"

BOOK: No Regrets
11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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