Curiosity and Desire.
I’ve always heard they go hand in hand, both courting chaos as much as peace. The latter would not exist without the former, but the former could extinguish the latter in a heartbeat. Perhaps it was true.
No. It was true, and it was the reason I came to Tucson.
I told myself I’d made this journey for the concert, but it was just an added bonus. I knew the real reason I had come. My curiosity brought me here. My desire kept me from leaving.
Concerts. Crowds. Rock stars. They are my specialty because music is in my blood. Anyone who is part of the entertainment industry knows this. My paternal grandparents created a legacy, one I was born to own, one I was raised to lead.
Yet here I was, chasing old ghosts.
The car door closed, sending my thoughts scattering. Andi eased against the seat and crossed her legs. As she checked her phone for messages, I admired her. Andi was more than my assistant and more than my right hand. She was my dearest friend, and if the stars had aligned right, she would have been my sister.
I still claimed her as one. It was more than the fact that she’d lived with my family since we were twelve. Of all the people I’d met in my life, I knew Andi had my back. She would fight to the death for me, and I for her.
Sitting on the edge of the seat, she regarded the glass partition separating the chauffeur from the dimly lit passenger compartment. Then, she focused on the only other occupant in the vehicle. Me.
After an extended period of silence, she feigned a smile and cleared her throat. “It was a great concert.”
“Yes, it definitely was.”
Silence fell again. I was too lost for words to hold a conversation. Instead, I listened as the tires passed over sand and dirt. The road leading away from the outdoor arena south of Tucson reminded me of our long journey home. I had plenty to occupy my mind for every mile ahead of us.
“D hasn’t changed much since the last time we saw him. How long has it been now?”
Andi’s question left me struggling for an answer. I did my best mental math to count up the time. It was when I realized the significance of what she had asked.
“It’s been four years to the day.”
“Four years, huh?” Andi mumbled while digging through the oversized purse beside her. “So did you get everything settled?”
“Yes, we’re good now. I told him I know the whole story and everyone’s part in it.”
“I commend you for coming here, Mia. I know it wasn’t easy. Maybe you can put closure to this whole mess. Isn’t it the main reason we came?”
“Yes, it is.”
“But D really wanted you to see this new band too, didn’t he?”
I turned my eyes to the window, unsure how to answer. Andi was right. I came here to do more than see an old . . . acquaintance. Part of my trip was to scout this new rock group, Breaking Silence.
“That’s what his original letter said. Tonight, he confirmed it was part of the reason he wanted to see me.”
“So he wants you to help Breaking Silence?” Andi asked while uncrossing her legs.
“It’s what he was hoping.”
“And what do you think?”
Silence fell again for a moment. I focused on the silver blur of the guardrail as we proceeded down the interstate. A few years had passed since I managed a band. Even though the last band turned into a great success, my heart splintered in the process. And once again, I had come full circle, because that same splintered heart is what brought me to Tucson.
“Breaking Silence is what Grandfather would have called a diamond in the rough. It’s why he created Music Haven.” I glanced at Andi, noting the dip in her brow. Was she worried? Probably, but she was more likely calling my bluff. She just hadn’t spoken the words I knew she was waiting to say.
So what if I took on a new band? It wouldn’t be a big deal. I’d make sure of it. I was groomed for this. Success ran in the family. By now, I’d learned from my previous mistakes. There could be no repeat performance.
“I think they have what it takes, and I would definitely like for them to come to Music Haven.”
“But there’s more to it than that, Mia. If your voice wasn’t such a dead giveaway, the look on your face backstage would have been clue enough.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, yes you do,” Andi chuckled. Then she gave me a knowing look. “Ayden McAllister.”
And there they were—the words I was waiting to hear. They made me squirm in my seat because she was right. It didn’t mean I had to confess, or would I. Admitting as much meant I hadn’t learned anything from the past. Was history about to repeat itself?
My heart couldn’t take it.
Still, I’d made a promise. I couldn’t go back on my word. What happened next would have to be on a professional level.
“All I’m saying is I want Ayden and his band at Music Haven. The sooner they are, the quicker I can get to work.”
“I understand. Just don’t deny what you are feeling. It’s time to put the past behind you, Mia. Isn’t that what you came here to do?”
Andi’s lips lifted in a smile. “Good. Now it’s time for a new chapter in your life. I have a good feeling about this one.”
I didn’t take her words lightly. She’d never said them about anyone I found desirable. Knowing she was now had me questioning my decision.
There was no doubt that I could make Breaking Silence successful. It was the six-foot, dark-haired, toned and tatted lead singer that had me second-guessing myself. Ayden McAllister. One difference existed between him and the man I’d come to see tonight.
D was a part of my past, but Ayden . . . I wanted him more than I’d ever wanted anything. Resisting him would not be easy. It would be impossible.
Ayden had awakened the desire in my soul.