Saturday, 4 August 2018

Chapter Reveal ***Wilde About Brant by Cate Faircloth***

As an entertainment lawyer to LA's finest musicians, I manage the arrogant, protect their interests and pander to all likes of the rich, somewhat talented, and famous.

I have never wanted anything out of the ordinary until musician Brant Wilde waltzes in with careless charm and secrets to hide.

He is a dangerous combination of sweet and charming despite being secretive, persuasive, and reckless. He's equipped with an irresistible smile and even sweeter voice—the kind that rocks arenas to their feet.

He wants me. I want him.

Brant Wilde is a man who always gets what he wants.

But clients are strictly off limits, and I’ve never broken a rule. Never even touched one. I have people depending on me, and I can’t lose my job.

Problem is… when Brant Wilde looks at me, he sets my soul on fire. He touches me like his soul is about to change too.

**Wilde About Brant is Book Two of the explosive new series - The Wilde Brothers. Each Book is a full length, stand-alone romance with a happily ever after and no cliffhanger!**


Maybe I get off on people screaming my name. I can’t tell if they’re angry or don’t even like the music, all I know is my name is on replay for hours on end. And by the end of the night when the live band is no longer in tune, and even I can’t hold my notes, they still beg for more.
My fans love me more than anyone ever has, and they don’t even know who I really am.
The tour has been long, different than the others because of what happened, but I still got through it—nine months, fifty cities in all fifty states, encores for the big ones. Needless to say, I’m fucking exhausted. The rush here, the wave of the crowd, their cell lights flashing in the mob of the crowd, and the heat of the stage lights shining down on me… it’s the safest addiction I’ve had. Not the only one—but the safest.
“Thank you, Nashville!” I don’t hear myself shouting since I’ve taken out the pesky little earpiece, but I hear the crowd respond, still shouting as I walk off the stage. The arena is huge but normal for me. Sold-out audience, of course.
I get ushered down through the backstage by the stagehands until I find the familiar hallway with the backstage pass line already long and crazy. My executive assistant, Julia, is right there to fill me in as always, and I accept the compliments I always get.
‘Great show, Brant,’ ‘You outdid yourself this time,’ ‘Couldn’t stop singing along’… whatever. At this point in my career, the people complimenting me backstage are nowhere near as genuine as the ones in the crowd or even the people backstage who just want to say they met me.
“You’ve got fifteen minutes to shower and get ready for the VIP lounge appearance.” Julia speed walks tugging me by her side. She is just as tall as me, a leggy blonde I tried my hand at but got no luck over the years—maybe because she is married and has been for the seven years we have been working together. She has been there since my very first show opening for another big artist. Up until now, with my sold-out, three-encore-performance shows, I have made the label four times more money than any other artist signed with them.
“You think I need a shower?” I grin, looking to my left at her as she glares at me.
“You want to meet fans like this?” She flicks the end of my soaked t-shirt. The white material is almost paper-thin now. She makes a show of sniffing me and gagging before we both laugh it off.
I drag my arm over her shoulders as we turn the last hall to my dressing room.
“Why not? I’ve treated them nice enough. They won’t mind.”
Julia snorts and flicks my arm off her shoulder. We both know my flirting is harmless, and I am also not inclined to be head to head with her gung-ho Marine husband. He’s mostly away, and I’ve never even met him, and I don’t think I want to.
“Brant, you’re a savage. With ten minutes left, hurry up.” Her brow points up, and I don’t want to fight her in this state.
We get to my dressing room, and she waits for me in the main area while I go to the back to shower. The room is almost like a hotel—it has all the same shit. I’ve seen my fair share of dressing rooms, each one different in their own way. I rarely end up using the tour bus unless I need to be by myself or feel like meeting some fans out there too. The label charges a hefty fee for my VIP lounge and backstage passes, and no matter what site the tickets get sold at, they get expensive. I never thought about needing money, but I like to think I cater to my fans that do, so yeah, sometimes I just like to be nice and do something for the people who buy my music, come to my shows, and support me.
In record time, I shower and dress in jeans and another white tee—a signature look, I guess. I don’t bother spraying cologne because I hate it. I lace up my brown shoes and meet Julia. She sits on the couch with both her pager and tablet clicking and tapping away. She always has her earpiece in, her hair up, and wears business-casual clothes even though she doesn’t need to. I don’t know, the dress pants and blouse don’t make sense to me, but to each their own, I guess.
“Good, you’re ready. Let’s go.” She stands, barely letting me adjust before we head back out.
The stuffy air suffocates me. I feel damp already as we head through the place back to the lounge. I don’t remember performing in this arena before, and if I had, I don’t expect I would remember it anyway. The places kind of blur together—my sets, the songs. Even if those things are different, I don’t have anything to differentiate the times and locations from each other.
“How many are there?” I ask Julia. Sometimes I need to mentally prepare myself.
“Um, I’m not sure. We sold out, though, maybe because it’s your last show for this tour, and you haven’t announced anything.”
I refrain from rolling my eyes. Everyone on my team, in turn, has talked to me about not arranging my next tour or studio time. I’m not ready to tell them why I haven’t, and I’m not even sure why I haven’t scheduled something anyway.
“Brant?” Julia pulls me back.
“Hmm. Oh, it’s good for business. Trust me.” I wink and avoid the conversation.
Judging from the line outside the front of the room, there’re a lot of people. The screams ensue with the usual, and I wave and smile back. Some people who didn’t get the passes loiter around trying to get past security. Like always, I still try to sign some of their stuff and take some pictures until Julia nicely tugs me along to meet the timetable for the people who did pay. I wish everything wasn’t about the money sometimes, but I also can’t complain about all the shit I’ve bought since I’ve become famous.
We go through the back door into a huge room that’s dimly lit with dark carpets and furniture. Julia has me sit at the huge front table with all my photos and album covers and signing pens. It’s all familiar, and I’m prepared for my hand to be even more tired. I have been playing guitar for so long that it doesn’t really cramp up from that anymore, it’s all the signing that does me in.
“Send in the crazies,” I joke. Julia frowns at me as she nudges my shoulder and stands behind me with two bodyguards, both new, and I haven’t seen before. The only ones I do recognize and have gotten to know are the ones who always travel with me.
Now, I don’t mean that any of them are crazy, but I have seen my fair share. They are usually well-behaved and don’t need any extra direction from the event staff. So, they pile in, stay in their line, and wait their turn as I sign the promised album cover posters, albums themselves, and something from my latest shoot. I do one for each tour—an array of photos printed on card stock that the women tend to like, and some men do too. It takes hours to get through everyone, and I’m sick of hearing myself play through the speakers, but I finally get done with that part of my night. Yet another duty. And it’s the last one.
Julia and I head back to the tour bus. I get a few stragglers and take photos with them on the way.
“I’ve got dinner coming,” Julia says as we climb inside the bus.
I smile, knowing I keep her around for a reason. The inside of the tour bus hasn’t changed from all the different models I’ve had—tan leather, brown carpets, and black appliances. From the door, it goes to a mini-kitchen, living room and gaming system, the private bedroom, and then the four bunks outside of the bedroom with the two bathrooms. Finally, another television sits at the end on a small conference table which is usually used for when I have meetings on tour.
“My favorite or yours?” I joke. I start the coffee maker, and even though it’s almost two in the morning, and I’m tired, I like the taste, and I want the energy to enjoy the dinner I’m so hungry to eat.
“Yours. It was nice, considering it’s the last show. How do you feel?” She thanks me when I hand her a cup of coffee, and then I sit across from her with my own.
I ignore the question for at least two sips of coffee and meet her inquisitive gaze. Julia always had these piercing blue eyes that dragged answers right out of you. But it was never why I found it so easy to talk to her. It sucks not to get along with someone whom I have to be around so much, so I’m glad that we do. She always has my best interest at heart and stays behind me every step of the way.
“I feel the same. Should I feel different?”
She scoffs and tucks her feet up under her on the couch. As she lets her hair down, she laughs at me. “Brant, you’re better at words than that.”
“Maybe.” I eye my three guitars perched in the corner on their stands. I have different ones for different feelings here on the bus and at home.
“So, why no new tour announcement? Has your creativity gone dry?”
I finish my coffee, kicking off my shoes to get comfortable too.
“No, I haven’t. I’m old, and I need to take a break.”
“You’re thirty-five.”
“That’s geriatric.”
She laughs and is interrupted by a knock I assume comes with our food. It does, and we eat over a late-night show, and she doesn’t bother me with any more questions. I eat every bite of the shrimp tacos, my favorite meal of all time.
“Tomorrow you have the press conference at the airfield before your flight back to Savannah. And then there is the meeting with Rick—”
“Julia, I’m so exhausted, I won’t remember all this.” I stand up, dramatically stretching out and getting ready to head to bed. Usually, I stay in a hotel, but I was feeling a little nostalgic about this possibly being my last tour, so I opted to stay on the bus. Plus, the transport might have turned into a media frenzy that I didn’t feel like dealing with.
“Okay. I’ll head back to the hotel and see you tomorrow morning.” She stands as well, and I hug her goodnight before she leaves. I watch one of the guards escort her back and drive off before I settle in.
I shower again and feel keyed up as I head to the bedroom, so I take my guitar with me. I lean the brown acoustic against my bare chest and strum aimlessly until I realize I am doing one of my old tunes from way back before I was even signed for the first time. It’s the same thing I played for my mom when I was barely seventeen, and I remember being so afraid to tell my dad about it.
At the time, I just thought he would want me to work for him, and that would be it. Being the oldest, I just expected it. But I was so wrong. He was supportive, and it was all I needed to finally write my first song—the same one I play before every show. Now that he’s gone, it hurts a lot more. In the middle of the tour, I lost him, and so much has happened since then that I don’t feel like I have even processed it yet.
The tune lets me get tired and exhausted enough to stop thinking about anything and go to sleep.
* * *
The press conference goes as I suspected. Questions about my next tour, my next album. What’s next in general, and I graze by all the questions easily. I’m used to dodging questions I don’t want to answer, shit I don’t want to deal with.
“That was convincing.” Julia is all sarcasm.
I take my seat on the jet as does she behind the table separating us.
“What?” I peek at her from behind my aviators. Julia just shrugs her uptight shoulders and focuses on her tablet screen. What the hell is she always doing on there?
“Nothing. Just… you don’t seem like the type to ‘pursue other avenues’ at any point in time. Hard to believe, and I know they don’t believe you either.”
I lick my lips and try to formulate a good enough response, but there isn’t one. “I want to soul search, is that so bad?” I chuckle.
Her lips form a hard line, and I ignore her pointed gaze. Thankfully, the pilot comes on, and it’s time for takeoff.
The only other people flying with us are the two bodyguards and rep from the label. I never had an entourage, never needed one and thought it was just a way some artists reminded themselves they were the shit or tried to convince themselves that they were. But Julia knows I hate the takeoff, so she leaves me be until we are at cruising altitude, and I’ve had two ginger ales.
“You don’t want any alcohol with that?” she asks like it is criminal to drink soda with no alcohol.
“Nope.” I take another fizzy drink. The flight isn’t long enough for anything but nuts, so I snack on those.
“Okay. So, soul-searching? Why would you want to do that?” Julia cocks her head with a look like I’m not capable of anything other than singing.
I was a straight ‘B’ student all through school and went to college because it was my dad’s only clause to supporting me one hundred percent. He prided himself on contingency plans. Maybe that’s why he had ten kids. Someone had to do it right.
“I don’t know. Maybe the endless performances are starting to wear me down.”
“You could take vitamins.”
I frown.
“Look…” She slightly smiles as she leans forward. “This is the prime of your career. Your album sales have never been this high, all your shows are sold out, and Rick says you have endorsements coming from every corner. I thought you liked all the attention.” She sighs shaking her head like she isn’t even sure of what she is asking.
I try to smile back, but it doesn’t come through. It just kind of eats at my neck until the tension forms. I know I don’t have to go around telling everyone what happened, no one knows at this point, and I want it kept that way because I got out of it myself. It’s over, a one-time thing that I hope would just go away. But everyone on my team wouldn’t get it. I would become another tortured musician with an addiction. Except there is nothing tortured about me, and I couldn’t even be an addict the right way.
Subpar, all around.
“I’ll do the endorsements. I’ll record another song or another album… later. Maybe I just want to take a break for now.”
“Okay. A break. To do what?” She cocks her chin on her hand, and it makes me laugh.
I lean on the table on my forearms and grin. “I don’t know. Maybe I want to settle down. Meet the love of my life and have babies.”
Julia laughs, “You don’t seem like the type.”
“Are you kidding? I want a baseball team. And a smoking hot wife.” I shrug like it’s the normal stuff that men want.
“And where will you find this normal, smoking hot woman who isn’t crazy and doesn’t just want your money to end up settling down with you?”
We laugh. But in all honesty, I think about it sometimes. I can’t even notice hot women anymore and pursue them because they see me first and try to come up with some crazy way to get my attention as if I haven’t heard every line in the fan book. I tried to keep myself as secret as possible so everyone else in my family wouldn’t get looped into the drama. Jeffrey, right after me, is a doctor, he doesn’t need people faking injuries or something to try and get to me. Fletcher knows how it is because he’s a star athlete and keeps the family out of the media too. I’ve had to live a private life in the public, so that makes it hard to do normal shit like see a pretty woman in a grocery store and go after her. Or is that how things go now?
“Okay, Brant. You let me know how that goes.”
As soon as we land, the driver takes us to the agency where I meet Rick. If I had to keep track of all my contracts, my head would explode. Rick handles everything from the label down to my guitar pick endorsements. He keeps up with everything along with getting me the social media post-endorsements too.
“So, we’ve gone platinum.”
“We?” I gape at his small form. Rick is short and wears these obnoxious suits to match his bouncing personality.
“Yeah. We. Does it matter? I just said platinum,” he shouts.
I chuckle from my spot on his leather couch, and he sits at the conference table. I’m tired, jetlagged, and I wish he would get to the point.
“Okay. My album went platinum. A dream come true… what does that mean?” I’m thankful and shocked, too tired to think beyond that at the moment.
“It means you should be back in the studio. What the hell is going on?”
I sigh. I really don’t want to explain it anymore.
“Rick, I’m taking a break. People do it all the time. I deserve vacation time, too.”
“But now? When everything is looking up?” He is way too energized, his beady eyes bugging out.
“Yeah. Now.”
He shakes his head. “Look, I can’t force you. But we have to compromise here, and trust me when I say if we don’t, you’ll kill your career in its prime.”
I groan and rub my eyes, but I hear him out. He knows what he’s talking about, and I don’t want all my hard work to go down the drain. I don’t want to be the artist who disappeared after one platinum album.
“Okay. I’ll bite.”
He grins, rubbing his hands together as he does. “You take your break, and it builds momentum. Then we go on a three-month mini-tour with at least one new single and promote the album going platinum. There are always more people to listen to your music.” He smirks, confident in his plan, and honestly, I trust him enough to check out.
“Fine. How long will you allow me to take my break?” I chide.
His frown is short lived before he grins. “I can do eight weeks.”
“Eight weeks to live my life? Awesome.” I stand. I could sleep those eight weeks through and still be tired.
“Oh, you’ll be fine. Once we go over sales figures, you’ll be singing a different tune, what with your pretty voice and all.”
I roll my eyes. I have an amazing voice—raw and unedited. My livelihood depends on it, and I account for half the nation’s honey and lemon tea sales.
“Whatever you say, Rick. I’ll see you later.”
We shake goodbye, and I finally make it home, my bags already here and a note from Julia saying I have a meeting tomorrow and to call her. I groan internally and forget about everything else as I collapse on the couch and start my eight weeks of rest and relaxation.

I have been a romantic all my life; in books, movies, television, and anything that brings happiness into the world. Though I love reading and avoiding daily responsibilities, I am also an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, a flag ship university for writing and creative freedom. I love connecting with all my readers, and sharing the stories that dance around in my head.

No comments:

Post a Comment