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Rhythm: a WRECKED SERIES NOVELLA by Mandi Beck (1)


Chapter One



There's nothing romantic about being on tour. Even when we're staying in hotels instead of the bus. There's nothing romantic about a different city and venue every night, about hours and sometimes days on the road. About long flights and sound checks and thousands of screaming fans all vying for your attention. But fuck me if it ain't sexy.

Music isn't what I do -- it's who I am, and that's the man that Birdie loves. The Music Man. That in itself makes it sexy. Of course that doesn't mean that I can fuck up our first Valentine's Day since we've been back together though. I'm pretty sure it means I have to bring my A game so she doesn't regret giving my sorry ass another chance. With that in mind, I slip my phone out of my back pocket and dial Law.

"Yo, man. What's up? We have two hours before we have sound check."


"Just wanted to make sure you guys were all set to babysit tonight."


"We're good. Luckiest kid alive. How many little girls can say she had the amazingly awesome and stupid-talented drummer and the okay bass player of Wrecked babysit?"


"You say that like it's a good thing," I laugh.


"Doesn't get any better than that."


"No? Her daddy being the lead singer, heart and soul, and let's be honest, REAL talent doesn't top the lowly drummer boy babysitting?"


"Fuck off, bro. Why you gotta be so mean?"


I'm just about to blow him even more shit when my two girls walk into the room.

"Gotta go, Law. Lyric and Wills just walked in. See you in a couple hours." Not giving him a chance to respond, I disconnect and toss the phone on the bed. I love watching her, our daughter on her hip as she strolls into the room. Eyes on me -- love, contentment, that ever-present heat, all there in her whiskey-colored gaze. Words I’ve said a million times tumble from my mouth without even thinking about them.

“Where you been, Birdie?" The smile she hits me with is fucking magic. It's sunshine and diamonds and all that pretty shit that glitters and shines.

"I've been here, waiting for you," she murmurs. Just like she always does every time I ask.

"Damn right you have." I pull her into my arms and lay a kiss on her lips about a second before our lip-blocking little girl wriggles in between us for some love of her own.

"I got your kisses right here, baby doll." Scooping my daughter up, I rain loud noisy kisses all over her as she giggles sweetly.

"My two jealous ladies," I tease, pulling Willow back into my arms, holding on to both of them. Wondering, not for the first time and sure as hell not for the last, how I ever lived without them and what I did to deserve them.

"You're coming to the show tonight, right?" She doesn't miss many of them now that my sister is traveling with us as groupie-slash-nanny

"Miss a Valentine’s Day show? Nope. Not ever." Grinning coyly at me, "I expect something special, you know that, right? If I have to share my man with twenty-seven thousand—"

"Twenty-eight thousand two hundred and fifty-two."

"My mistake," she apologizes dramatically. "If I have to share my man on Valentine's Day with over twenty-eight thousand people screaming his name, he better make it worth my while."

"Like Bieber?"

"You want me screaming your name later on?"

I flash her a wicked grin, "Oh, I do."

"Then you better bring more than Bieber to the table, baby."

"Better than Bieber?”

“Yes. Better than your boy Beiber.”

“I’m really gonna have to dig deep for that one,” I tease.

Rolling her eyes at me, she shakes her head, “I have faith in you.”

Thank fuck for that.


With one more kiss, I drop my arms and walk over to the dresser, sliding my wallet into my pocket and clasping my watch. As much as I would love to sit here with them, I have shit to do for tonight before I have to get my ass to the arena. “I have to go over a few things with Judge for tonight’s show,” I lie. “You ladies gonna be okay here without me?”

“Oh, I think we’ll manage. Won’t we, Songbird?” Willow asks, tweaking Lyric’s nose. “We’ll probably take a little nap while we wait on your sister.”

“She leaves for Austin tonight after the show, right?” My sister had me scrambling earlier in the week trying to figure out what to do with Lyric tonight. I hadn’t planned on Scarlet not being here to watch her.

“Yep, the red-eye,” she says, flopping onto the bed with Lyric on her lap.

“Tell her to have a safe flight.”

Willow hands me my phone from next to her and nods in agreement. “I will.”

Unable to help myself, I lean down for another kiss, lingering there for a moment, swiping my tongue lightly over her bottom lip and trying to not go in for more with the baby there. I pull back reluctantly and groan. Lyric gets a kiss on her sweet-smelling head before I straighten, “See you later, Birdie. Love you. And I love you, little Birdie.”

“We love you too, Stone,” Willow calls after me. I have to get the hell out of there before I lay Lyric down for a nap in her room and lay her mama down for something else entirely.