Rock My Christmas (FlameSmith in Love Book 1)

BOOK: Rock My Christmas (FlameSmith in Love Book 1)
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ROCK MY CHRISTMAS

 

 

by

 

 

Laura Kitchell

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or deceased, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

A Quality Novelists Coalition book

FlameSmith In Love Series

Book One:  Rock My Christmas

 

Copyright© 2014 Laura Kitchell

E-book Version

ISBN-13:  9781311456717

 

Cover Artist: Lara Nance

Editor:  Karen Webb

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.

 

 

Quality Novelists Coalitio
n
QNC. All rights reserved.

DEDICATION

 

For my mother, whose faith in me never flags. For Sara, my best friend in the world. A big thanks to Karrie for helping me decide on a title and back cover blurb. And a special thanks to the members of the Quality Novelists Coalition who work so hard to make sure you, my reader, get a first-rate book every time you buy my stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Her stomach fluttering, Kendel gave her dorm apartment a final once-over to make sure she hadn’t forgotten anything. She slung her laptop carry-case over one shoulder and said, “I shouldn’t be this excited. It’s only a job.”

“Ready?” Her taxi driver stepped inside and collected her two suitcases.

“Yes.” Flipping her door key on her palm, she took hold of her carry-on and followed him out and downstairs. Amazing how she fit six years of university life into two bags. She offered her neighbor a parting wave and smile then handed her key to the building supervisor.

By the time she reached the cab, her driver had her luggage stowed in the trunk and headed for his door. She climbed into the back and put her laptop next to her on the seat.

“What time’s your flight?” he asked, starting the engine.

“Ten.”

“You’ve got plenty of time.”

Kendel sighed. He had it right on a few levels. True, she had plenty of time to get to the airport, check her bags, and go through security before they began boarding for Los Angeles. From another angle, however, she had plenty of time to get rid of this restlessness that had kept her on edge this past year. At twenty-four, she had her whole life ahead of her.

She had already itched to explore the world when she ignored it to stay in school and work toward her master’s degree. Then a car accident in the summer had landed her on her back. Her professors had showed tremendous kindness and generosity in helping her regain her momentum after recovery and physical therapy, but it had still taken her an extra four months to graduate. She didn’t mind. She’d lived, after all. That mattered most.

She shivered, reaching into her pockets for her gloves. Would Los Angeles be chilly? Somehow, she doubted it. She tried to imagine Christmas in a warm climate but couldn’t. In fact, as many times as her family had moved through the years, she couldn’t remember a Christmas spent anywhere but here in Indiana.

Her favorite was when her mother had taught her how to make her grandmother’s traditional cookies. That had started her love of cooking, and she’d never lost it. If she had more of an inclination toward risk, she might have gone to culinary school. But no. She refused to regret or second-guess. She headed toward an adventure, and she wanted this experience to engross her with nothing to muddy it.

She would go be some guy’s lackey for a year or two, get the travel itch out of her system, then settle into a career somewhere quiet where she could marry and raise children in a secure, solid home. It was what she’d wanted as a kid. She’d do it, too. As soon as she shed this pesky wanderlust.

 

*    *    *

 

“Bloody hell!” Burn tossed his phone on the coffee table and stalked the length of his condo.

“Your mum?” asked Dan, fingering an unplugged electric bass guitar, his plucks creating a tinny, ghostly music.

“Yes, damn it. I’ve told her I can’t go home for the holidays. Why does she keep asking?”

His roommate shrugged and ceased his playing. “It’s fucking freezing in Manchester.”

Burn raked his nails across his scalp. “I have to make it up to her.”

“You’ve got money now. Buy her a diamond. She’s always wanted a genuine one.”

“True. I can’t very well order her jewelry online. She’s liable to get a piece of shit.”

Dan set his guitar aside and brushed past Burn on his way to the kitchen. “What then? Will you go shopping?”

“When the devil am I going to go shopping? Our next week is booked.” He joined his friend in the kitchen, waving to decline an offered can of soda. “I need a PA.”

His roommate snorted. “As much as I enjoy the entertainment of watching you abuse your aides, maybe you should give it a rest.”

Burn leaped into a sit on the counter and peeled a slice of cheese off a stack Dan had next to his sandwich under construction. “Fine. I’ll use yours then.”

His roommate went still then slowly faced him, his features drooping in disbelief. “Fuck no! Marty’s the best aide I’ve ever had and I’m not letting you run her off. If you so much as cross your eyes in her direction, so help me God…”

A key turned in the front door, and Marty yelled, “Hey, guys.”

“In here,” said Dan.

“Speak of the devil.” Burn rolled his eyes as his friend’s assistant came in carrying grocery bags.

A new stud dotted her nostril, and she used her teeth to toy with her tongue piercing as she cast him a wary glance. When he tapped his nostril, she put a finger to her new stud. “Early Christmas present. Thanks again, Dan.”

“Considering all you do for me, it’s the least I can do.” His roommate smiled smugly then took a bite of his completed sandwich before putting away his mess.

Marty placed her bags on the kitchen island, her black knotty dreds swaying stiffly across her back. “So Burn, since you made Jen quit, I took the liberty of hiring you a new assistant.”

A flash of anger blinded him a second. “Jen was an incompetent git.”

“Whatever.”

He hopped off of the counter and went nose-to-nose with her. He had to bend since his height made him taller than most, and he could almost tell where she’d dragged an eyeliner pen around her lids to form a black, muddy shine. “Say that again.”

Her goopy eyes narrowed. “You don’t scare me, so stop acting like an asshole. I said I hired you an assistant. I’m not taking on Jen’s work. Especially with two concerts in a few days.”

Irritation straightened him, and he crossed his arms over his chest.

She rubbed her black lips together then said, “Say thank you.”

“Tell me you hired a man. One with sense. I’m still trying to forget the advances the last man made.”

“Can’t.” She began moving items from the bags into cabinets. “She’s not a guy.”

“Damn it, Marty.”

“Suck it up.” She shot him the bird.

“I’m not thanking you. I can’t believe you saddled me with another twit.” His stomach churned, and he regretted eating that piece of cheese.

“I don’t think she’s a twit, dude. She’s a grad student at one of the good schools.”


Good
schools? Which
good
school?”

“I don’t remember. Ask her yourself. She should be here any minute.” Marty tossed the empty bags in the garbage then backed from the room. “Oh, and she’ll need a place to stay, so I told her she’d be staying in your guestroom.”

“What?” he and Dan shouted simultaneously as she raced out the door.

 

*    *    *

 

Thank goodness Kendel had thought to print out Marty’s email with her security code or she wouldn’t have made it past any of the Ganon Square condominium complex’s intensive security checkpoints. While a uniformed guard took her picture from behind an office counter then went about creating a permanent ID badge for her, another telephoned Marty.

She accepted her card, which the guard had placed in a plastic sleeve and attached to the end of a plain black lanyard. The security office door opened, causing a high-pitched electronic squeal that put her nerves even more on edge.

A pierced, tattooed woman in shredded black clothes and gothic makeup came to stand next to her at the counter.

“Hey, Marty,” greeted the guard at the switchboard.

This was Marty? Why had Kendel assumed her contact was a man?

“Hey, Bill.” The woman turned to her. “Kendel Price?”

“In the flesh.” She offered a weary smile and a hand. “Nice to meet you.”
I think.

“Yeah.” The Goth girl glanced at her hand but didn’t shake it. “Let’s save the greetings until after you meet your employer.”

The two guards shared a look then snickered. Uh-oh.

Marty took a suitcase and the carry-on then opened the door. “This way. You work for Burn Shatterly. Are you familiar with the band, FlameSmith?”

“I can’t say that I am.” She settled the strap of her laptop case on her shoulder and followed the woman onto an elevator, rolling her second suitcase into a corner.

The goth-woman stared hard at her then said, “Maybe that’ll work in your favor. Okay, so there are five. V sings lead, Jay plays drums, Air is keyboard and guitar, Dan plays bass, and Burn is lead guitar. I work for Dan, and you work for Burn. They live together, so you and I’ll be seeing a lot of each other.”

Kendel blinked. “Five in the band. Got it. So if someone besides Burn asks me to—”

“Forget it. These guys are fiercely protective of their assistants. You fetch and carry for Burn and only Burn. Here.” Marty handed her a card brandished with a flaming guitar and the name of the band in gothic font. “Put this in with your security card so it faces out. When you’re running around town doing errands for Burn, you’ll get first dibs as a celebrity’s assistant.”

“Cool.” She slid the card into her plastic sleeve.

“Yeah, well it’s more about necessity. You’ll see. You’re not going to have time to wait around to get what you need.”

So she would be racing. Sounded exciting…and stressful.

“Are you sure you can handle this?”

“Of course.”

“Because these guys can be demanding. They’re spoiled.”

“I assure you—”

“And Burn’s really had to work for.”

Kendel began to lose patience. “I don’t think—”

“I mean, you’re just finishing school, and this is real life—”

“Alright already, Marty,” she snapped. “I’m the youngest of four, all boys but me. I don’t take crap and I don’t quit. In case you failed to notice, I’m a redhead, too. It’s as genuine as my temper. So ease up. Damn.”

A slow smile stretched the woman’s mouth and made a lip ring stand at attention. “That’s more like it. You’re going to need that backbone.”

The elevator doors opened, and she glared at Marty’s back on their walk to a door at one end of a long hall with no other doors. Weird.

“Here’s where I leave you,” said the woman, parking the second suitcase. “Put your badge on. Always wear it. Make it a habit.”

Kendel knocked on the door then slipped the black lanyard around her neck.

“I’m out of here.” Marty speed-walked toward the elevator. “If you’re still here tomorrow, we’ll exchange phone info.”

Good Lord. Kendel tapped a foot and faced the door with a trepidatious tremble. That woman had completely psyched her out.

The door flew open. “It’s about fucking time— Shit.”

A pair of angry brown eyes from an impossible height settled on her then proceeded to size her where she stood. The man was incredibly tall, and she retreated a step to prevent a crick in her neck. Deep brown hair swept smoothly across his forehead, long enough to cover his eyes if it fell free of the rest, which hung straight until the ends curled just past collar-length. He wore a sleeveless black shirt that might once have been an actual T-shirt. Tattoos of dragons, flames, and swords decorated his arms from wrists to broad, muscular shoulders.

She sniffed. “Nice to meet you, too. I’m Kendel, the new assistant.”

“You’re not staying here,” he said, his British accent thick but refined.

“Excuse me? Where—”

“You can go to hell for all I care.” Daggers shot from his gaze.

She hoped this was Dan.

“It’s not V?” A shorter, leaner man wearing his brown hair long with blond highlights came to the door and clapped a hand on the tall one’s shoulder. “Go easy on her, Burn. She can stay a few nights until we find her a flat.”

Great. So the jackass was hers. She said to the kind one, “You must be Dan.”

“Indeed, I must.” He took the suitcase from her hand then grasped the handle of the other and led the way inside. “I have no choice in the matter. Don’t call me Dan the Man, though. I hate that.”

“Duly noted.” She followed him through a huge living room furnished in black leather and walnut. The front door slammed, and she jerked on a wince. What had she agreed to by taking this job?

The further they went, the clearer it became that the entire eighth floor consisted of their condo. The bass player showed her to a bedroom the size of her old college apartment. It took every ounce of her self-control to prevent a jaw-dropping gawk.

A queen-sized bed shared a wall with a large window covered by wooden blinds. Two massive closets formed nearly an entire wall, and their mirrored doors added to the room’s openness. A large dresser led to a plush chair that sat next to a bathroom door.

When she went into the bathroom, she couldn’t hold in a delighted squeal. Floor to ceiling, the entire room boasted white marble veined with gray. A whirlpool tub sat separately from a glass-enclosed shower, and a vanity stretched the length of a long mirror. At the end near a fancy bowl sink, a white toilet sat next to a bidet.

BOOK: Rock My Christmas (FlameSmith in Love Book 1)
7.83Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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