Read Rock and Roll Country (Jesse's Girl #1) Online
Authors: Kandice Michelle Young
Rock and Roll Country
Jesse’s Girl Part 1
Kandice Michelle Young
Text copyright © Kandice Michelle Young
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Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Nothing’s as hot as Beale Street on a Friday afternoon in late June. Breathing heavily in protest from the humidity, I park my car, a nineteen ninety-two Honda Civic with no air conditioning, in the lot a few feet from my job. Skin pinching against the cracked leather seat, I pull myself out of the car. Blonde hair caked to my neck with sweat, I drag my exhausted body toward Tony’s, the bar and grill where I bust my ass working for next to nothing in the hopes of one day having it all.
On Friday nights we have open mic night, and Tony usually lets me play for free at some point during my shift. Otherwise, I would have never agreed to the double. I’ve been up for 32 hours straight, and worked 24 of those. People think I’m crazy for working like I do. They don’t understand that I don’t have a choice, not since TJ anyway. TJ or
That Black Boy
as my momma called him came into my life at the best/worst time possible.
We met at a nightclub after my friends and I snuck in with fake IDs. I was pissed at my momma and daddy for reasons that I can’t even remember now. All I know is that TJ was the perfect payback. I wasn’t counting on falling for him, but I fell fast regardless. Within three months of that meeting I was head over heels. It didn’t matter that he was older, I didn’t care that he had more life experience. All I knew was I would follow him wherever he led. He led me straight to being knocked up at sixteen. Even then, he tried to do the right thing and marry me. Well-bred southern gentlemen couldn’t have their daughters dating African Americans though. There was no way my daddy was going to tell the fellas at the country club that his baby girl was pregnant by one. He insisted that I take care of the problem. Momma agreed.
TJ and I couldn’t do that. It was a baby — our baby — and we loved it no matter what. He took on a second job to help out with things, but that wasn’t enough for my daddy. He swore he’d handle the situation and he did. TJ died in a car accident on the bridge just shy of the Tennessee/Arkansas state line. I was eight weeks pregnant at the time. The official report claimed that his transmission got stuck and the car accelerated on its own. I’ve always known it was more though. No one crosses men like my daddy, especially not when those men play golf with the mayor on Saturdays. Even if I can’t prove it, I know without a doubt what’s true. Hair rising on the back of my neck, I try to erase the thought from my mind. My daddy, once known to me as the greatest man who ever lived, had TJ murdered.
Regardless, I had our baby, Marcus Kenton James. We left my momma and daddy’s just a few weeks after the accident. I had nothing and no one but myself, my guitar, and a backpack full of clothes. That’s how I ended up in Prospect Park. It’s where TJ was from, and I only wanted to be close to him again. His sister let me live with her until I could scrape up enough to live on my own.
One night alone, listening to gunshots just outside of my crummy little one-bedroom apartment was enough for me to know I didn’t want to spend any more there. It’s been five years now, and I still haven’t saved enough to get out.
“Earth to Sophie.” I hear Lacey, my coworker, say.
“Huh?” I ask, tying my apron around my waist.
“Dreaming about Nashville again?” She teases.
“You know it,” I reply.
Rolling her eyes, she laughs. “Get your head out of the clouds, Country, and take your ass to table six.”
Lacey is TJ’s sister, Markita’s, roommate. They call me Country because of my dreams of moving to Nashville and starting my music career. To people like them, who’ve lived in Prospect Park all their lives, escaping seems unfathomable. I know better though. I’m always on the lookout for my moment, and when it comes I’ll be ready.
If someone would’ve told me how bloody country the damn bar would be, perhaps I wouldn’t have chosen to eat here. To make it worse, the entire night has been filled with amateurs taking the stage and pretending to sing. I’ve been in Memphis, Tennessee for all of sixteen hours, and I already can’t wait to get back on the bus and off to another city. Truth be told, I didn’t even really feel like coming out tonight, but my mates wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Beale Street,” they said. “There will be loose ones lining up to fuck the one and only Jesse Lee.”
They got two things right. I am Jesse Lee, one of the biggest rock stars on the planet, and plenty of women have made passes at me tonight. None of them are worth much, though. Frankly, I’m getting tired of not having to work for it. I miss the thrill of the chase, and as of late I’ve been reconsidering many things about my life. The constant partying and random hookups being one of them.
Noticing the empty mugs lingering about the table, I call, “Excuse me. Can we get another round, please?”
The brunette waitress nods as she passes our table, and I hope that’s confirmation that she’ll handle it. Placing my lips over the rim of my glass, I settle into the back of my chair as the stage lights go dim again.
“Please welcome to the stage, our very own Sophie Westbrook,” the house switchboard monitor calls.
“Should be fun, ay mate?” Tag, my band mate and best friend asks.
“A blast,” I reply, sarcastically. “I’ve always wanted to watch a waitress pretend to be a starlet.”
He laughs, and takes another swallow from his house draft.
“Hi, everybody,” the petite blonde calls out at us.
She looks awkward, standing at the microphone in her baggy shorts and a fitted tank top. As she reaches for a guitar, the collar of her shirt falls just enough for me to get a small glimpse of her cleavage. Not the best I’ve seen, but certainly not the worst either. Maybe this wannabe has something to offer after all.
“How are y’all doing out there?” She asks.
Y’all. It’s a despicable word, yet the crowd of locals seems to eat her up.
“This one’s a new one I’ve been working on. It’s called ‘The Reason You Loved Me’. I hope you like it.”
She starts singing, and the energy in the room changes. On that stage, with shades of iridescent blues and purples kissing her skin, she’s not a skinny waitress in baggy clothing. She’s a siren, and we are all entranced by her. I watch as she croons about a love lost long ago and the haunting memories left behind. Her beautifully sad song speaks directly to my soul. If only I could comfort her, kiss her. Chase the sadness away from those lonely eyes.
What’s happening to me? Jesse Lee doesn’t think like this, doesn’t act like this.
Yet, as she finishes her song and the stage lights go bright once more, I can’t help but stand. Clapping, I watch as she gives a dainty curtsy, and exits the stage.
“Ok there, mate?” Tag questions, elbowing me.
I turn to find him curiously staring at me with a hint of amusement in his eyes. “If you’ll excuse me...” I drop enough cash on the table to cover my share of the tab. “I think I just found tonight’s catch.”
Balling my fists to suppress my rage, I steady myself. For once, I would love to have a customer remember my name instead of using my occupation in its place. Turning slowly, I allow myself to take in what could quite possibly be the hottest guy to have ever walked through the door at Tony’s. Ripped muscles bulging from the leather jacket he wears, despite the sweltering heat threatening to suck us all under, he sits at a table by himself, a half-empty mug in front of him. His fingers running over his goatee, he gives me the one over and smirks.
“You really have no idea who I am, do you?” He asks, the condescending gleam in his blue-green eyes both infuriating and exciting me.
“Hmm...you’re self-important and British,” I say, playing coy. “So, I’m not sure. The prince?”
Laughing, he takes a gulp from his beer. My spine tingling with the thrill of anticipation, I watch the way his luscious lips curve over the rim of the glass. “Jesse Lee,” he says, extending his hand to me.
Electric charges racing up my arm, I clasp his rough, calloused palm with my delicate one “Sophie Westbrook. Nice to meet you, Jesse.”
His smile is dashing, making it hard not to stare.
Gesturing toward the empty chair across from him, he states, “I agree, Sophie. Care for a drink?”
“Sorry, can’t. I can get you another if you’d like.”
“A girl like you shouldn’t be wasting her talent on waitressing.”
Unable to contain my irritation, I roll my eyes and exhale. “Yeah, well...sorry, Prince Jesse. Some of us have actual bills to attend to.”
As I turn to walk away, his hand grips my wrist with just enough pressure to be arousing. “At least give me your number,” he says.
I smirk. “If you want me that badly, you’ll figure out how to find me.”