The complete rockstar se.., p.1
The Complete Rockstar Series, p.1Heather C. Leigh
The Complete Rockstar Series
Heather C Leigh
Shelbyville Publishing, Inc.
Adam Reynolds wants to make music. It’s his only chance to escape London’s most dangerous borough.
Naïve Ellie Palmer moves from a posh flat to the rough side of town. She only has to hear Adam sing once and she knows he’s destined for greatness.
When Adam prevents Ellie from becoming the victim of a horrific sexual assault, they discover something that two teenagers never thought they would find in such a depressing place. Each other.
***This is a standalone novel in the Rockstar Series***
***This book contains graphic abuse, loads of British slang, and a drama that plays out from London to Los Angeles.***
Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
You didn’t know that I’d never let go. Memories replay in slow motion. Hidden thoughts tapping on the door. Of my unconscious devotion.
-Adam Reynolds, Unconscious Devotion
To Drew and Sydney. Where it all began.
I would just like to clarify what you will be reading in Adam Reynolds’ story, Incite. Adam is British. I am not. I have done my best to keep the language true to his heritage, however, keep in mind that I will not be using British spellings or always use the British vernacular for certain words.
I will be using friends from the U.K., for reference now and then, but I can’t ask people to repeatedly edit my book and fix every single Briticism. Yes I know ten years ago, kids finished school at 16 not 18 unless further education was the plan, but really, who wants to read about 16 year olds having sex and making life decisions? Let’s not nitpick the small stuff.
Happy reading! Cheers!
The screams from the flat next door start up like clockwork at ten p.m., just like they do every night. After six months of listening to the couple argue, I know that there’s nothing I can do to shut out their voices, not a pillow over my head, not cotton wool stuffed in my ears, not even turning up the ancient radio on the filthy floor next to my crappy mattress will stop me from hearing them.
Instead, I do what I always do when the neighbors get loud. I pull out my well worn, second-hand guitar and create. As the music flows from my calloused fingers and through the strings beneath them, I swear to myself for the millionth time that I will get the fuck out of this hellhole someday.
As usual, my crackhead mum is out for the night, probably on a piss up or selling herself for drugs. If I’m lucky, I’ll see her once a week, maybe twice. My dad, well… who the hell knows where that tosser is? Whenever he graces us with his presence, all he does is beat the shite out of me and my mum. Not that she gives a crap if he does. She sits there with her drugged-up eyes and lets him pound on her or me until he’s bored.
Unable to block out the neighbors, I add words to the strumming. Softly singing as the yelling escalates next door.
“I’m not going to die in this pit of despair…”
Something or someone slams against the wall behind me. The sketches I have plastered all over it flutter outward from the shaking. I’ve learned not to cringe anymore, so the trembling wall doesn’t cause me to react, not even a blink.
“I’ll pull myself out…. Get the fuck out of here….”
One more term until I’m done with school and can leave this shitty town, this shitty flat, and this shitty life.
I play until it’s quiet on the other side of my bedroom wall and my fingers are numb, then collapse under the covers passing out instantly.
* * *
I don’t even need to look back to know that my best mate Dax Davies is rushing to catch up to me in the hallway. A dozen or so girls leaning on lockers turn their heads to watch him walk by. Yeah, he’s popular with them, we both are.
“Dax.” I remain unaffected, pretending not to notice the sighs and giggles that are thrown our way.
His heavy hand slaps my back, making me stumble a bit before regaining my footing. “Tosser.” I sound angry but I’m unable to keep the smile off of my face. Dax is a huge guy, all muscles and intimidating scowl, but he’s been my best mate for so long I don’t even notice how terrifying he can be anymore.
“First day of our last term, right?” Dax speaks as we dodge other students who are making their way to their respective classes. We make sure to avoid eye contact with hopeful girls, saving that for after school not during. It’s too distracting if you let them get close during school hours.
“We still heading to town Saturday to see if we can get that gig?”
“Fuckin’ hell! Of course we’re going!” I point at his swollen eye. “Nice shiner by the way.” It’s hard to miss Dax’s various bruises since he usually has at least a few. Then, I’m not one to talk, since I show up with plenty of my own from time to time, for totally different reasons of course.
“Hey, Adaaaam.” I cringe when I hear a female voice sing my name out from the sea of students. My body immediately tenses up as Lucy Collins weaves through everyone, ending up uncomfortably close.
“Lucy,” I reply in an indifferent tone, not wanting to give her any sliver of hope that she has a chance. Christ, I gave in to my better judgment and hooked up with her once at the end of last term. Unfortunately, her obsession with me has only gotten worse. Silly me for hoping that the holidays were enough to make her forget about me and move on. I should have known better, the way she acts around me that she wasn’t going to let go that easily. Lucy knows I don’t get with the same girl twice and she’s already had her turn, so I haven’t a clue as to why she thinks she’s different, because she’s not.
Bastard that he is, Dax stifles a laugh and backs away. His shoulders shake in enjoyment at my predicament. As always, he’s amused by girls’ persistence, as if it’s some kind of game to him.
“After school, Reynolds. Practice, at our usual spot.” He points at me, spins on his heel, and takes off, leaving me stuck with a clingy Lucy.
Useless fucking twat of a mate he is!
Lucy flips her long brown hair and sticks out her lower lip, pouting and trying for sexy. As hot as she is, it’s not working, it never works.
“Adam, I was hoping we could meet after school.” She drags her nails up my arm and grips my bicep tightly, going for a display of ownership that only manages to piss me off.
I reach up to carefully pry her fingers off of me, resisting the urge to grimace. Gotta keep that happy, smiling façade for everyone so no one realizes what a fucking disaster my life is.
“Can’t, you heard Dax. I’ve got plans.” I duck into the classroom and leave her standing alone and infuriated.
Lucy knows I don’t do girlfriends. Most of the girls I’ve been with know that and seem to be okay with it. You get me once, that’s it. I don’t do attachments, that way there’s no attachments when they inevitably let you down. The problem is that I always stay friends with them afterwards. It’s my nature, I think, to be overly nice. Probably because I’m afraid of becoming my dad. A cold, violent, unfeeling bastard.
With a sigh, I drag my hand through my hair and make my way to the last row of desks. First period always seats us alphabetically for attendance, so you don’t get to choose your seat. I drop into the chair behind Jeffrey Owens, a weird kid that I’ve sat behind for the last two years, and throw my bag on the tiny desk.
Five minutes into the term and I’m already bored and twitchy. I yank out my notebook and begin sketching. It’s just a random design, sort of like tribal artwork, all black swirls and jagged edges. Ever since I saw some massive Samoan guy on the street covered in similar tattoos, I haven’t been able to get the design out of my head.
“That’s lovely. Are you an artist?”
Jesus! I jerk at the voice, slam the book closed, and shove it in my bag. I don’t show anyone certain drawings, not even Dax. They’re too personal.
Scowling and annoyed, I look up to see a gorgeous, pale girl with wavy blonde hair staring at me expectantly with her wide blue eyes. She’s literally breathtaking.
And I turn into the world’s biggest tosser.
“No,” I bark rudely, embarrassed to have been caught spacing out over my drawings.
The beautiful girl’s cheeks redden from my outburst, deep crimson slashes hiding the small freckles that dot her tiny nose.
“Sorry. I just… I think you’re sitting in my seat.” Her soft voice wavers, as if she’s about to cry. The girl starts chewing on her thumbnail nervously, staring at her shoes so she doesn’t have to look at me.
What a knob head I am, shouting at some random girl. Silently, I grab my backpack and stand up, looking around the room, unsure where I’m supposed to go. I always sit behind Owens and his manky brown hair.
“Mr. Reynolds, you’re behind Miss Palmer now.” Mr. Graham walks over with his clipboard and gestures to the seat behind the new girl. “Sharma, move back one,” he says to Prescott, an Indian kid who sits behind me.
Great. I trade nods with Prescott and drop into the newly vacated chair, stuck staring at the back of the new girl’s head. Her long golden hair brushes against the edge of my desk whenever she fidgets, which is often.
Ugh! I cringe at the sound of Callum Murray’s obnoxious voice. Sliding my eyes over, I watch as he leans out of his chair and across the aisle towards the new girl, a disgusting leer on his face. “I’m Callum, and you’re not from around here.”
It takes a lot to keep my expression calm and not show how furious his words make me, even though I’m an expert at controlling my features to hide my emotions.
No shit she’s not from around here stupid. Besides looking high class and polished, her accent is all public school proper and zero East End cockney.
“No, I’m not. I’m Ellie. Ellie Palmer.” She turns to face Callum and her hair swishes over my desk again, sending a wave of vanilla shampoo my way. The scent hits me hard, luscious and sweet, which makes my dick begin to fill in my jeans.
Jesus, I’m such a bastard. Getting a stiffy for the new girl right after almost making her cry.
Despite my best intentions to not be an arsehole, I’m dreaming up the many different ways to charm my way into Ellie’s knickers until I hear Callum speak again. “Well, I’d love to show you around. What’s your next subject? I can walk you there.”
He gives her a lecherous smile that makes me want to bash his teeth in with my history book. I’ve heard about his ‘walks’ and I know damn well that his idea of showing her around is to corner her somewhere alone and force her into things she might not be willing to do. Unfortunately, Ellie doesn’t. His victims are always too afraid to call the authorities, so he gets away with it time and time again.
Studying her profile, I watch as her face reddens again and she gives that bastard Murray a smile. “That would be lovely, thank you.”
Ellie turns back to the front of the room and focuses on our teacher, bringing another soft gust of vanilla my way. She’s so focused in fact, that she doesn’t notice when Callum’s prick of a best mate, Ryan Mason, gives him a knowing look and smirks. It’s the kind of look that lets me know Ellie Palmer is in way over her head.
My new school hasn’t been as all together awful as I expected. Moving suddenly from our nice flat in Shepherd’s Bush to our shabby council flat in the East End was traumatic, but when dad lost his job in construction management and our money ran out, well… we had no choice. Hackney is scary, full of crime, graffiti, and abandoned buildings that are rife with shadowy figures. I spent the entire summer hiding in our dismal new home for fear of getting jumped.
A nice boy in first period, Callum, showed me around the school and introduced me to his mates at lunch and I met a girl named Kate in one of my classes who seems okay. The only embarrassing thing that’s happened to me so far is when I found someone sitting in my seat and complimented his drawing. He acted like I was mental and couldn’t get away from me fast enough.
I noticed him in several of my other classes as well, and how could I not? It seems all the other girls were noticing him too. They’re always surrounding him and vying for his attention, practically begging
Oddly, it seemed as if every time I glanced in his direction, it felt as though he had just been staring at me, even though I never once caught him doing it. I’m sure I’m just imagining things. The hot guy that can’t be tamed sneaking looks at me… yeah, right.
The last bell finally rings, and I got through the day in one piece. Tired, I gather my books, sling my bag on my shoulder, and head into the hall.
“Ellie, I can walk you home.” Surprised, I whip around and see Callum leaning against the wall outside my final class, eyeing me thoughtfully.
How did he know where I’d be?
Intimidated by his presence, I feel the familiar rush of blood in my neck and cheeks and focus on my winter boots so he won’t notice how red I am. “Okay,” I mutter, just loud enough for him to hear. Callum begins to walk, so I follow, and we head out into the bright January sun.
“So, where’s your place?” He taps a pack of cigarettes and pulls one out, lighting it by cupping his hand around the flame to deter the cold wind.
I squint in the bright sun, wrinkling my nose at the smell of the smoke, and zip up my overcoat when another blast of icy air hits me. “Off Well Street.”
When Callum raises his eyebrows at the location of my crappy flat, I have to look away. It’s just about the worst part of town, littered with drugs and prostitution. “What?” My defenses are up, I’m angry and embarrassed by his reaction. I want to chew on my thumbnail, a nervous habit that I can’t seem to ditch, and end up with the fabric of my winter glove in my mouth. Shoot. I lower my arm uselessly.
The Complete Rockstar Series by Heather C. Leigh / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes