Authors: Faith Gibson
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book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual events, locations, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners
of the wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction.
Copyright © 2016 Bramblerose
Published by: Faith Gibson
Editor: Jagged Rose Wordsmithing
First e-book edition: April 2016
Cover design by: Simply Defined
Photo: iStock Photos
book is intended for mature audiences only.
book is for all of you who knew that Cade was redeemable, even before I did. As
an author, you fall in love with certain characters, and others, not so much.
Until you asked for Cade’s story to be told, that was how I felt… not so much.
But once I started writing his story, I fell in love with both him and Mal.
Everyone deserves a second chance at redemption and love.
always thank my writing posse – Alex, Candy, Jen, Kendall, Nikki, Rebecca. All
of these ladies are special in their own right, and each one brings something
different to the table. Without them, my books wouldn’t be what they are. As
with Deliver Me, there are too many beta readers to list, and I’m afraid I’ll
leave someone out. So, thank you all who took the time to read Cade’s story and
offer your feedback.
was searching for the perfect cover photo. One day, Golden Czermak of Furious
Fotog posted a picture of Chase Ketron and that was it. I fell in love (with
the photo). I sent the photo off to Jay Aheer of Simply Defined Art, and she
put together the beautiful cover. It does my heart good to know that my love
story is wrapped up in such an awesome cover.
Thank you so much to Enticing
Journeys Book Promotions for setting up the release blitz, and to all the bloggers,
especially the ladies at Tasty Wordgasms, who helped get
there. Your support means so very much to not only me but all the authors.
To all the readers who take a
chance on my stories… Thank you. You have no idea how much I appreciate each
and every “click”. Without you, I would be telling these stories to myself.
Table of Contents
Anderson, along with his 7’s Mistress bandmates, was sitting in a conference
room in Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Standing across from them with his
hands planted on the table was Cortland Reed, CEO for MG Records. Taggart Lee,
the band’s lead singer and Cade’s best friend and former lover, was the object
of Mr. Reed’s attention. Cade had loved Tag as long as he could remember, but
Tag had a new lover and a new life, bringing them to their current situation.
only had Tag found a new lover, he had also been given a new responsibility.
His sister passed away giving birth, and Tag became guardian over the baby
girl. His newfound fatherhood trumped his priorities to the band. When Tag sat
the band down and told them his plans for the future, it didn’t surprise Cade
that those plans didn’t include him. He had tried and failed to sabotage Tag’s
relationship with the hot pediatrician, Erik. When he realized what Tag and
Erik had was the everlasting kind of love everyone dreamed of having one day, he
did everything he could to make amends.
forgave Cade, but their relationship remained strained. Pauly and Sloane, their
lead guitarist and bass player, took Tag’s side in the whole debacle. When Cade
had time to reflect on his actions, he didn’t blame them. He had acted like a
Cortland asked Tag the same question he had asked at least four times already,
Tag had had enough. He stood up, slamming his hands on the conference table,
mirroring the CEO’s pose. “I tell you what, Mr. Reed. Here’s the deal – I quit.
Is that plain enough for you? After tonight, I will no longer be in your
employ. I have recorded my last album as lead singer for 7’s Mistress. My band
members are welcome to form their own band under another name. Now, if you’ll
excuse me, I have a show to get ready for.”
sat unmoving as Tag stormed from the conference room, Pauly and Sloane on his
heels. When they were alone, he looked into the eyes of his father’s best
friend and his own godfather. The band had no idea when they were signed by MG
Records that Cade knew Cortland Reed personally. Over the years, they figured
out Cade came from money, but he assured them they got the record deal on their
own talent. And they had. 7’s Mistress was a solid rock band from the beginning,
and fifteen years later, they were going out on their own terms. Well, Tag’s
the fuck was that?” Cortland demanded, running his hands through his salt and
was Tag growing up. He decided he wants to make a good home for Delilah, and
that doesn’t include touring nine months out of the year.” Cortland knew all
about the baby since they had to take a break from the road when she was born.
about you? Where do you fit in?”
blew out a heavy sigh. “I don’t. I fucked up, Cort. This is the end of an era.
Tag’s starting his own production company. Sloane and Pauly will probably do
something creatively together. They’ve been inseparable lately. I’m going to
take a month and find my head, and then I’m going to find another band. I’m not
ready to give up my sticks. I need to keep busy and put this shit behind me.”
sorry, Son. I know you loved him.”
I still love him. I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It’s why I need to keep busy.
I’m sorry I didn’t call you before and tell you our plans, but this is still
raw for me. Please don’t tell Dad.”
rounded the table and held his arms open. Cade stood and walked into the
comfort of his godfather’s embrace. “I won’t, but you need to. Your mother will
want you home so she can coddle you.”
laughed, even though he didn’t feel it. His mother was a lot of things, but a
coddler was not one of them. She even had Cortland fooled to the fact. Cade
pulled back from the older man and said, “That’s exactly why I don’t want you
to tell Dad. He’ll tell her, and they’ll want to do an intervention. I just
gripped the back of Cade’s neck and squeezed. “I understand. But don’t stay
away too long. I’ll keep my ears open for bands needing drummers and keep you
I need to go get ready.” Cade left his godfather and walked silently down the
long hallway until he got to the side stage area. He hesitated as he got his
emotions under control. Fifteen years, hundreds of cities, millions of fans,
and this was it.
his reserve, he stood next to Tag and told him, “It has been an honor to play
with you. I’m sorry I caused dissention these last few months, but I’m ready to
go show Nashville just who the fuck 7’s Mistress is.”
pulled Cade into a tight hug. “Love you, Cade.”
couldn’t breathe. His heart felt as if it was going to explode. “Love you, too,
Tag.” He squeezed his eyes shut, willing the tears to stay where they were.
When Tag touched their foreheads together like he used to do, Cade lost it. He
had to get away from the one who had his heart and probably always would. He
wiped the tears from his face and strode across the stage, making his way to
his massive drum kit to play their hit songs one last time.
Three months later…
call, Bud,” the bartender stressed, clearing the glasses and wiping the now
empty space beside Cade. Glancing around, he noticed he was the only patron
left in the hole-in-the-wall redneck joint. He shouldn’t have worried about a
disguise. Nobody recognized him with his blond hair tucked under a cowboy hat.
When he put on the ridiculous clothes earlier, Cade thought he would look like
every other Joe in a honkytonk, but he was sadly mistaken. Wherever the hell
he’d ended up was filled with men wearing flannel, whether the weather called
for it or not. Everyone except the bartender. The gorgeous man serving alcohol
wore faded blue jeans topped by an equally faded Metallica t-shirt that
stretched nicely across his firm chest. The worn ball cap covering his hair
suited him. Cade would bet his last twenty the guy wore shitkickers instead of
someone asked, Cade could give a detailed description of the man who’d served
him drinks for the last few hours, but he’d be hard pressed to tell what any of
the countless women looked like who’d tried – and failed – to get his
was somewhere in Tennessee, close to Nashville. He had come to the Music City
to audition with a band that needed a drummer. More like he was auditioning them.
After being in one of the world’s most famous rock bands for the last fifteen
years, those in the music world knew what Cade could do with a pair of
drumsticks. Now that his band was no longer together, he longed to get back on
the road. He downed his whiskey and threw enough cash on top of the receipt to
cover his tab plus probably five more. When he bobbled getting to his feet, the
bartender asked, “You need a ride?”
need a blowjob. Got one of those on speed dial?” he replied sarcastically.
could have had that plenty tonight if you’d have paid attention. What’s your
pleasure? Redheads? Big boobs? Long legs?” The bartender inquired, his muscled
forearms propped against the now clean bar.
laughed internally at the man’s use of the term boobs before telling the truth
of what he wanted. “A brunette with soulful green eyes, pouty lips, and ink.
Lots of ink.”
she must have done a number on you.”
sighed. “He sure did.” He waved off the bartender and stepped out into the cold
January air. He pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit up, wishing it was
something besides nicotine.
crunched, and two men stepped into his space. “Give me your wallet,” the
shorter of the two demanded. Cade wasn’t a small man. At six-four, he was
pretty stout, but he was drunk. If he’d been sober, his brain would have kicked
in before his mouth did.
you,” he taunted, taking another drag from his smoke.
two men looked at each other, grinning. “I don’t think you understand what’s
happening here, pretty boy. I said
give me your wallet
.” The taller one
had yet to speak. He must be the muscle.
.” Cade took one last inhale from the cigarette before
tossing it to the ground, crushing it out with the toe of his boot. As he mentally
prepared for an ass whipping, the slide of a shotgun sounded in his ear.
. That was a game changer.
you and Roland get the hell out of here. If I see you anywhere near my bar
again, I’m tellin’ Stan what you’re up to.” The bartender moved around Cade as
he spoke, pointing the sawed-off weapon at “Randy”
you, Mal,” Randy sneered, as he spat in the direction of their feet. Randy
thumped Roland on the chest, and they stormed off across the parking lot.
bartender leaned the short barrel of his shotgun against his shoulder, watching
rednecks one and two until they were out of sight. “You all right?”
to you. Are all the locals that friendly?”
everyone around here’s okay, except the Yoders. I don’t reckon one of the whole
bunch has worked a day in their life. Come on, Cowboy. I’ll take you where you
need to be.”
not a cowboy,” Cade mumbled as he followed behind Mal. His eyes drifted down to
the tight jeans that were beautifully molded to a round ass. His whiskey addled
brain didn’t alert him to the fact Mal had stopped walking and turned around.
Cade plowed right into the bartender who caught him around the waist before he
could knock them both to the ground. “You sure you’re okay?”
might have had a smirk on his handsome face, or it might have been a grimace.
Either one would be because Cade was a drunken fool. Before Cade untangled
himself, he caught a whiff of the subtle aftershave on the bartender’s neck.
Cade removed his hat and ran a hand through his hair. A swift intake of breath
came from Mal, but he quickly looked away. He unlocked and opened Cade’s door,
waiting on him to climb inside. Once Cade was seated, Mal ambled to his side of
where are you stayin’?” Mal asked as he turned over the ignition. He placed the
shotgun on the seat between them. Country music blasted through the speakers,
and he quickly lowered the volume.
there’s not a Hilton for miles. Are you sure about that?”
sure. I checked in to the one close to the arena.”
over fifty miles from here,” Mal exclaimed, staring at Cade.
wanted to unwind somewhere out of the way. This is out of the way.”
say. Listen, it’s really late, and I need to get home. Either I drop you at the
local motel, or you can stay at my house tonight. I’ll give you a ride in the
mornin’. I have to go downtown anyway.”
it was Cade’s turn to stare. This man was either a too trusting saint or an
know I’m too trustin’. It’s one of my downfalls. But unless you’re a psychotic
ax murderer, I think we’ll be okay for one night, and I don’t see an ax hidden
in your tight jeans.”
in his inebriated state, Cade had the good sense to take the bartender up on
his offer. It was late, and he needed to crash and not in some roach infested
motor inn. He let the ax comment go. He didn’t want to think about Mal thinking
about his tight jeans. “If it’s not too much of an imposition, I’ll stay with
didn’t reply. He stared into Cade’s eyes for a beat before he nodded. Cade
leaned his head back against the headrest, but his driver managed to find every
pothole and rut in the roads. Mal turned into a gravel driveway and parked his
truck. He jumped out, unlocked a chain from around a metal gate, and pushed the
gate back, securing it against a log post. Cade kept quiet as Mal pulled the
truck far enough down the driveway that he could close and lock the gate behind
the truck. As dark as the roads had been, the house that came into view was lit
up like a Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
parked and got out, not waiting on Cade. A couple of dogs ran up to greet their
master, butts wagging with excitement. Cade slid out of the passenger side, and
those same two mutts ran over to inspect Cade’s legs. He knelt down, allowing
them to sniff him out while he slid his hands through their thick fur. He’d
never been around dogs much in his life. Growing up, his mother had been a cat
person, and being on the road most of the time didn’t allow one to have a pet.
He thought about Erik’s dog, Duke, and wondered how Tag was doing. Tag and Erik
offered for Cade to join them for Christmas, along with their crew and friends,
but Cade didn’t want to be witness to all the love he was missing out on.
lied, telling his friend he had plans to go home for the holidays, but in
truth, Cade was still hiding out, licking his wounds. He had gone to LA but not
to see his family. It was easier for a rock star to walk around a big city and
not be bothered. After about a week, he drove his way across the country to
Nashville, close to where Tag was living happily ever after with his doctor
husband and their baby girl. Cade had spent the last three months
soul-searching as well as band searching. He also fucked just about everything
that moved. When fucking Tag out of his system didn’t work, he tried drinking
the pain away. Instead of the memory of his friend fading, Cade found himself
unable to see past the beer mug or whiskey glass. Until tonight. For the first
time in three months, a different dark-haired man caught his eye. Then again,
Cade was drunk.
whistled. “Moe, Curly, get over here,” he commanded, calling the dogs off and
bringing Cade back to the present. The mutts immediately obeyed, leaving Cade
on his knees. He stood back up, careful not to pitch over, still inebriated
from all the whiskey he’d consumed over the last few hours.
he took in the country-style house, Cade asked, “What do you have against
Larry?” A porch covered the length of the front, wrapping around one side.
Cade’s knowledge of country homes was lacking at best, but this one looked like
it needed a facelift. A worn-out barn sat off in the distance, also lit up like
a holiday treat.
replied sadly, “Nothin’. He died last year.” He unlocked the back door,
punching in a code on the alarm as soon as he entered the house. Cade wasn’t a
snob, but this didn’t look like a home that held much of value.
muttered, “I’m sorry.” He had meant it as a joke, but some people’s pets were
as important to them as people were.
is that you?” an older woman’s voice called from somewhere in the house.
live with your mother?” Cade whispered, sobering at the thought of being in a
strange woman’s home.
on, I’ll introduce you.” Again, Mal didn’t wait for Cade to follow. He strode
through the kitchen into a small den, where his mother sat in a recliner with a
blanket covering her legs.
brought someone home?” she asked wistfully with a sweet smile on her face.
ma’am. I saved him from the Yoders.”
Oh, dear. Well, come here and let me look at you,” she said, holding her hands
out. Cade realized then she was probably blind. He wasn’t sure what she wanted,
but he stepped towards her, stopping about a foot away. Mal motioned for him to
get closer, so he closed the distance and carefully squatted in front of her
chair, doing his best not to breathe in her face. “My son seems to have lost
his manners. I’m Suzette.” The woman gently but thoroughly inspected Cade’s face
with her fingertips.
Cade.” He remained still while she ran her hands over his shoulders and down
aren’t you a strong one? Do you work on a farm?” she wondered until she got to
his hands. She felt his palms then his fingertips. “Hmm, you have callouses but
not the kind I expected. What do you do for a living, Cade?”
stop.” Mal shifted from one foot to the other. He had his hands shoved in the
front pockets of his jeans. For a twenty-something man, Mal reminded Cade of a
little boy in that moment.
took Suzette’s hands in his own and kissed her knuckles. “It’s okay, Malcolm.
I’m a musician.”
frowned, whether from Cade using his full name or the fact he played music for
a living, he wasn’t sure. Cade released the woman’s hands and stood.
a handsome one at that. I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable by being forward.
I take liberties with being old. Malcolm hasn’t quite got to that point in his
might be drunk, but he was pretty sure Suzette wasn’t really that old
“It’s okay. It’s a pleasure to
meet someone as charming as yourself.”
stop it. Now go on, you two. I’m missing my shows.”
turned to see what she was
on the television. It was some sappy
Lifetime movie. Mal reached out and touched his arm, motioning for Cade to
follow. Mal stopped in the kitchen and asked, “Are you hungry? I can fix you a
sandwich or somethin’, you know, if you need to soak up some of the alcohol.”
begged his stomach to stay quiet. He definitely could use some food, and he
would love to see
moving around the kitchen, but he had already
put the man out by invading his home. “Nah, I’m good. You’ve already gone to
too much trouble by bringing me here. I’ll just crash, if that’s okay.”