My first love broke my heart when I was sixteen. James Tyler was everything I’d ever wanted, until he up and left. That’s what I get for falling for a musician whose plans for world domination never included me.
My second love, photography, would never let me down.
Or so I thought until I discovered that making it as a music photographer is a lot harder in reality than in my dreams – and my savings account can only take a beating for so long until I have to swallow my pride and start grovelling to my arrogant, estranged father.
And if things couldn’t get any worse, James is back…
Arriving with a job offer I shouldn’t refuse, and a confession big enough to send shockwaves through the past, he throws my entire life upside down.
But I don’t care how successful his band is or that he insists I’m the one for him. If he thinks I forgive him tossing me aside ten years ago, he’s got another thing coming.
To anyone else, James is a second chance wrapped in muscle and black ink. Too bad for him, I’ve never believed in second chances.
Published: September 28, 2021
Publisher: C Bevan Publishing
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-9196091-0-2 / 978-1-6685912-2-2
“So what are you doing in this part of town?” I glanced over my shoulder at him.
What I really wanted to know was whether I needed to quit my jobs at Axel’s and Jackson’s. Not really a doable task, but I might take it under advisement if he was living here. Maybe I could move to Bristol. That would make my decision on The Salamander job easier. Plus, there were loads of music venues there. Surely, I could land at least one.
“I was at Axel’s for their fortnightly show,” he said, smirking like he had a secret. “They’ve pulled in some class talent, haven’t they?”
I agreed, my voice weak. He was playing me. I wasn’t inconspicuous at those shows. I spent half of it crawling around the stage and the other half balancing on chairs, trying to get the best crowd shots.
The cashier called me forward, and I turned back around. My shoulders nearly sagged. Almost there.
“Can you believe it’s been ten years since I played on that stage? Remember the last time?” If he meant the question to be disarming, he should have picked a different one.
I gritted my teeth and focused on the cashier. With just two items, it was seconds before I was stuffing my treasures into my handbag and tapping my card. Freedom was in sight.
I’d lost my virginity that night. I was sixteen and my parents were away at some conference. James was riding a high, convinced that this band was going to be it. As first times went, I’d got lucky with him. But that didn’t mean I wanted to be thinking about what had been an emotional moment, in the checkout line of all places. Or the fact that he’d left me two months later.
I muttered a noncommittal response as I stepped away from the checkout. “Well, I’ll catch you another time.” I didn’t see his expression, my focus zeroed-in on the exit.
“Wait! Give me a second to pay for these and we can catch up.”
Despite myself, I turned back to him. I didn’t know what his wide smile and eager eyes meant; I didn’t want to know. Why could I never resist this man? He’d proven that he was nothing but a wrecking ball for my heart. I needed to get a clue.
I backed away, shaking my head. “Sorry. I’ve got to get home. Early morning plans.”
The light of memory lit his eyes. I braced myself for his next curveball. “Saturdays on the beach with a camera still a thing?” At my nod, he smiled. “Some things never change,” he whispered, his expression soft, wistful.
When the shop door shut behind me, I was shaking. I’d run an emotional relay in under ten minutes. He’d dragged too many memories to the surface, too many contradictory feelings. Some were beautiful and I would always cherish them, but I had to be in the right frame of mind to look at them. Exhausted and sweaty from a long night at Axel’s was not it. My defences were low enough without time to accept that I could turn a corner and walk into him. Throwing sweet and painful moments from our past into the mix was just playing dirty.
And the timing! What were the chances he’d sought me out?
“Unlikely,” I muttered, startling a woman walking past. I stomped to my car, stopping short of running outright.
It had been nine years. No way did I hold a feature spot in James Tyler’s mind. He was a rock star now. He must have women throwing themselves at him. Seeing him here was just a coincidence, a weird fluke. And after today, I’d get over the shock and lock down the memories.
Anyway, I might never see him again. One can hope.
And then another thought occurred to me.
How many musicians actually attend gigs full of unknown bands once they made it? Not many, I’m sure.
1 – Shot Through the Heart – Bon Jovi
2 – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift
3 – Chasing The Sun – Sara Bareilles
4 – Give Me What I Want – Kids In Glass Houses (Lover’s Knot performance)
5 – No Fooling Me – Ward Thomas
6 – Stereo Hearts – Gym Class Heroes
7 – Ride – Twenty One Pilots
8 – Book of Me and You – The Maine
9 – Just A Memory – Train
10 – For You, and Your Denial – Yellowcard
11 – Paris – The Chainsmokers
12 – Contender – Lacey (Rhiannon performance)
13 – My Thoughts on You – The Band Camino
14 – Get Over It – Lower Than Atlantis
15 – No Filter – Ward Thomas
16 – 1 by 1 – John Adams
17 – Lightning Strikes – The Shires
18 – Favorite Place – All Time Low
19 – Punk Rock 101 – Bowling For Soup
20 – Tonight – Lacey – labels
21 – Faster – Matt Nathanson
22 – Undercover Lover – Kids In Glass Houses (Lover’s Knot performance)
23 – My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark – Fall Out Boy
24 – Bat Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf (James’s ringtone)
25 – The Truth Is a Terrible Thing
26 – Somebody Else’s Heart – Lady A
27 – Kiss Me Slowly – Parachute
28 – Smile Like you Mean It – The Killers
29 – Coney Island – Taylor Swift / The National
30 – Uma Thurman – Fall Out Boy – Sophie’s ringtone
31 – Fallout – Marianas Trench
32 – Salamander Street – Callum Beattie – general ringtone
33 – Uh Oh – Junior Doctor
34 – I Wanna Get Better – ATC
35 – Where It Stays – Charlotte OC
36 – Check Yes Juliet – We The Kings
37 – Hell of a View – Eric Church