Tuesday, May 27, 2014

**BT & Giveaway** Mended ~ Connections Series ~ Kim Karr


MUSIC HAS THE POWER TO HEAL ALL…BUT NOT ALL BROKEN HEARTS CAN BE MENDED.

Always in control, Xander Wilde considered life on the road to be a perfect fit for him. But when disaster strikes on the Wilde Ones’ latest tour, fate intervenes…and a newly single Ivy Taylor, the only girl he has ever loved, steps back into his life.

After moving past her painful breakup with Xander years ago, Ivy was poised to become the next big name in pop music…when suddenly she withdrew from the limelight—the same day she announced her engagement to her controlling agent, Damon Wolf.

Xander knows he should keep his distance. But once they’re on the road, he can’t resist pursuing her for a second chance. Yet a jealous Damon can’t let her go—and he’s keeping dangerous secrets that could destroy them all.

When the three of them come together, everything falls apart. But if Xander and Ivy can hold tight to the bond that connects them, they just might have a chance at reclaiming the powerful love they thought they had lost forever....





Kim Karr continues the Connections series with Mended, this is Xander Wilde's story. Mended is the story of how life can throw roadblocks in your way, and what you have to do to find your way around them. 

Xander knows all about roadblocks. It seems that every which way he turns, something else stands in the way of The Wilde Ones' success. Things have never been easy for Xander, not since that night long ago when his family life shattered, why did he think he was going to get a break now? 

Ivy loved Xander, all her life he was the one. He broke her heart, but she still soared under the watchful eye of Damon Wolf. She got her music career, she got to sing, why does she feel so empty? When a prime opportunity arises, she jumps at the chance to see Xander again and perform the kind of music she wants to perform. 

Letting go of the past is hard. Ignoring it -- a lot harder. Righting a wrong? Seems almost impossible.

Kim Karr still fascinates me with the Connections series. When I think she has written this series to the extent at which she possibly could, she surprises me again with the way she weaves the characters together. Always a fan of dual POVs, Kim Karr pulls it off a little heavy on the Xander side, but that's perfect for me. Mended is a flawless addition to the Connections family! 



Xander Wilde

     The magic of rock and roll—it casts a spell on you. I’m no exception. I’m a band

manager and I’m living the dream, touring with The Wilde Ones, helping them secure

their well-deserved place in the music industry. I love being a part of it all, especially

watching the band perform live—the crowds, the cheers, the music. It’s a high and a low

all at once and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Every step of the way with this band has

been fun, exciting, stressful—every possible emotion. Obviously we’ve had some breaks

but mostly we all put in a lot of hard work—myself, Garrett Flynn, Phoenix Harper,

River Wilde, and now Zane Perry.

     “Can you hear me now?” he bellows.

     I nod my head as my heart pounds in my chest. My hands feel cold and clammy and

a nervousness that makes me weak and shaky takes over. Doubts race through my head

and I’m questioning if he’s going to make it through this. A vague awareness that

something bad could happen kicks around in my mind and I can’t shake it. The Wilde

Ones are doing a sound check on stage and Zane’s not on his game.

     It’s July and the weather has been brutally hot. But today it seems cooler. Maybe it’s

the California weather maybe it’s the excitement of being home. The Beautiful Lies Tour

bus finally rolled back into our home state of California after six months away. When we

pulled into the amphitheater, we could see tanned kids in board shorts and bikini tops

already lined up at the will call window. Security guards in polo shirts directed us to the

artist parking lot, and we were officially home. Tonight we’ll be headlining our biggest

show to date. We’re on tour without my brother, River, and still more than half of the

shows are sold out, including tonight’s. River quit the band—touring just wasn’t for him

but even so the album is on its way up the charts. Who knows it may even hit gold status. The 
songs on the album were written and sung by River but are performed in concert by

Zane. Having him as my brother’s replacement has been the key to our successful

transition in a world where replacing leads is normally unsuccessful—simply put, we’re

lucky as hell to have him. River promised to make a surprise appearance at our next stop.

     It’s going to be epic.

     But tonight is all about the arena—Mountain View and the Shoreline. “That’s

enough,” I yell to the band and call rehearsal. This place is the biggest outdoor venue

we’ve played and I couldn’t be more stoked—or more nervous. A sold out show and a

rocking opening band—what a combination. But a lead singer with another cold and a

weakened voice that can’t be heard throughout an amphitheater scares the shit out of me.

     I head straight for the bus and spend the next few hours hashing out a song with Nix

that he calls a jumbled mess of muscular sense and big-riff sunshine—whatever the hell

that means. All I know is that it needs help and that’s why he’s turning to me. I hadn’t

played guitar since I was eighteen but for some reason over the course of this tour I’ve

picked it back up. At first I used whatever was lying around but last month I had my

mother mail my old one to me and it feels like home. It’s a light blue and brown Gibson

and I had to have it because it was the guitar that Slash played on. Playing again seems to

help pass the time and brings a calm over me that I haven’t felt in awhile.

     Hours pass and before I know it, it’s almost show time. We make our way over to the

Amphitheater, do the typical festival schmooze fest, and then settle back to wait. Waiting

for them to take the stage is always the most nerve-racking time. I’m sitting in the

practically vacant makeshift meet and greet area back stage and sipping a beer in a

worthless effort to calm my nerves when a voice travels through the sound system. It’s a

powerful and emotive mezzo-soprano range that is nothing short of explosive. She

sounds unlike any singer I’ve ever heard before—with only one exception, Ivy Taylor. I

push back the memory of her name and the emotions it evokes—the memories are just

too painful. I can’t see her on stage but I know that the voice belongs to Jane Mommsen.

Her band Breathless is playing right before The Wilde Ones.

     A hand on my shoulder startles me. I twist and glance up as Amy sits down beside

me, crossing her legs. “Hi, Xander. I thought I saw you earlier at the hotel.” 
     She’s a beautiful woman—long, wavy dark hair, petite figure, very natural looking.
She’s wearing jeans, a blue shirt with some kind of foil design, and silver sandals.

Grinning at her I say, “Finally we catch up. Can I get you a drink?”

     “I’d love that. How’s life on the road been?”

     “You know, it has its ups and downs but actually not bad. You?”

     “Jane’s been going full-force for a while now. But the tour ends with the summer.

I’ll be glad to be back in LA.”

     Standing up, I laugh. “I know the feeling. I’ll be right back, let me grab us that

drink.” Tossing my empty bottle, I make my way to the coolers lined up under the tent

and grab two beers. I know she’d rather have a glass of Chardonnay but beer it is. Amy is

Jane’s assistant and I’ve taken her out more than a few times. We went to high school

together and Amy and I know most of the same people so whenever I need a date, I ask

her. Last time I saw her was almost nine months ago when I took her to River and

Dahlia’s wedding.

     Heading back to the table I hear Jane yell out to the crowd, “Are you ready for three

of the hottest guys in music?” The audience starts screaming and the stage lights dim

cuing the guys that it’s the fifteen-minute countdown until they take the stage. The band

huddles together in their typical pre-performance stance. I’ll have a quick drink with

Amy and then join them. As I hand her the bottle my fingers touch hers and we both grin,

knowing that we will end up alone by the end of the night.

     “You sticking around for the whole show?”

     “I think I might,” she smiles.

     “How about we ride back to the hotel together and grab a real drink at the bar?”

     “Sounds like a plan.”

     “Great. Time for me to get back to work.”

     She rises from the table, I do the same. She stands up on her toes and kisses me

quickly on the lips. “See you tonight,” she smiles.

     “Catch you later,” I say and then cross the room to join the band.

     “You’re late,” Nix snickers. “What’s with you two anyway?” he asks.

     I shrug my shoulders. “Nothing. We casually see each other once in a while.”

     Garrett raises an eyebrow. “Chicks are never cool with casual.” Shaking my head at him, I 
don’t bother to disagree. Amy and I have been doing this for years. It works for her and for 
me. We like each other’s company but only see each other sporadically. I’ll call her once in a 
while and we’ll go out but we are in no way exclusive. I don’t ask her about other men and she 
doesn’t ask me about other women. I grab the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the shot 
glasses stacked on the cap. It’s our pre-show routine. A shot and a prayer, so to say. It’s 
Garrett’s turn tonight to ‘pray’ so this should be good.
     He raises his glass. “Here’s to hoping Xander gets laid so he’ll get off our backs.”

     Tipping my glass back, I quickly down the amber liquid. It burns as it makes its way

down my throat. Once we’ve all drank our two shot maximum before a show Garrett

follows his toast up with, “Seriously man, you need to get laid.”

     The guys laugh and I actually join in. Jerking off in the small bathroom on the bus is

definitely one of the downsides of touring. I’ve slept with a few girls at some of our stops

but screwing groupies isn’t really my thing. I’m not one to have time for a girlfriend but

I’m also not about to pull my dick out backstage, so it’s been a long six months.

     Zane coughs after he slings back the shot and I look at him with concern. “You’re

going to a doctor tomorrow.”

     He shakes his head. “Yes, Mom, if you say so.”

     “I’m not kidding. Your voice sounds like shit.”

     “It’s a fucking cold. I took some medicine. I’ll be fine.”

     “Doctor. Tomorrow. I mean it. I’ll have Ena set it up.”

     “I can always sing,” Garrett chimes in and I smack the back of his head.

     “Hey. I can.”

     The lights start to flicker and I look at Zane with that feeling of uneasiness again. Second 
time this tour he’s coughing and hacking. We’re screwed if he really gets sick. He nods at me 
as I pat him on the back. Slinging his guitar over his shoulder, he heads out first raising his arm 
in the air. The crowd goes crazy. The six foot guy is a chick magnet and no one misses my 
brother tonight. Garrett heads out next yelling, “Great to be here Mountain View!” and Nix 
follows with his trademark nod. Zane skips his normal charming banter and I know he must be 
saving his voice. Again, I think about how we’re fucked if he gets sick.   
     I stand at the edge of the stage all night until they finally come to their last song. “It Wasn’t 
Days Ago,” is a simple but crowd affecting ballad and Zane belts it out. Shouts from nearly 
thirty thousand fans call for an encore. Turning away from the microphone Zane coughs again. 
Biting his thumbnail he looks over at me and I slice my finger across my neck.
      “One more song for tonight,” he tells the screaming fans and my blood pressure

rises. “This one is a cover, an ‘ode to’ I’ll call it. It’s for Xander Wilde, the band’s

manager and it’s his favorite song. Everyone ready?” As he starts to sing Linkin Park’s

“Iridescent,” I close my eyes and listen. When he hits the chorus his voice gets so low my

eyes snap open. Zane turns to grab a bottle of water while the guys continue to play but I

can tell something isn’t right.



***



     Last night definitely didn’t go as planned—a visit to the ER, then sleeping in a chair

next to Zane all night on the bus because the steroids he was given freaked him out. It’s

noon and Amy and I are just arriving at the Pelican Hill Resort. Breathless was leaving

right after the show last night so Amy had already planned to ride with us and meet up

with them in Irvine. She invited me to some party being thrown by her band’s label that I

would have rather not gone to but Ellie, the tour manager, insisted we all go for the good

PR.

     I’m exhausted and really need some sleep before dealing with the press and

tomorrow night’s show. The paparazzi have been everywhere—by the bus as we exited to

the waiting car in LA, outside the doctor’s office, at the gates of Zane’s father’s house,

and now they’re here in Irvine at the hotel.

     To avoid the chaos awaiting us in the lobby, I call Ellie, who is already here, and ask

her to check me in and meet me at the pool bar with the key. Draping my arm around

Amy, we head that way. I’ve been here a few times so I know my way around. Cutting

through the grotto and over to the pool and cabanas, I steer Amy to the right and stop in

my tracks as all the air rushes from my lungs. 
     My body floods with adrenaline and my gut twists. I don’t even have to do a double

take because I’d know her anywhere. There’s no mistaking her. She’s just so beautiful— 
the elegant planes of her face, those high cheekbones, red lipstick, her platinum blonde

hair shorter than it used to be tucked behind her ear, that face of an angel. She looks the

same. No, she looks better. Her skin glistens in the sun and my gaze automatically

follows the shape of her long legs. They look smooth and tan against her white bathing

suit. An ache forms in my chest as I think about running my fingers up them. She’s still

that eighteen-year-old girl I once knew but now she has the body of a woman—lean and

toned and full of curves. When she moves it’s so familiar it doesn’t seem like a day has

passed—and everything I ever felt for her, it’s all still inside me.

      My pulse races at the mere sight of her. She’s lounging in the cushioned chair

reading a magazine just outside a cabana. My heart slams harder in my chest when she

sticks her earphones in her ears like she always used to do and it transports me back to

the last time I saw her do the very same thing. We’d skipped school and were at my

grandparents’ house—their pool. She was lying on the lounge chair listening to music

and singing along—her voice so full of soul. I’d moved to sit with her under the guise of

putting lotion of her back. She sat up and smiled that shy smile she didn’t need to have

when she was with me. I squeezed the tube into my hand and after rubbing them together

I slowly applied it to her back kneading my way up and down, touching every inch of her

that I could.

      It brings me back to the here and now when she suddenly sits up and looks over at

me. Her eyes pin me in place. She looks at me as if she remembers me for who I was,

what we were, not what I did to her. With my chest pounding, memories of us keep

flashing through my mind. Fighting a smile, I wonder if she’s thinking the same thing— 
remembering what we were, what we shared, how we loved.

      She quickly breaks our connection when she averts her eyes over to the man handing

her a drink. I suck in a deep breath trying not to feel sick at the sight. He’s nearing fifty,

wearing a terrycloth robe. He’s about my height, dark brown hair, meticulously groomed

facial hair, and not exactly ripped but fit. He’s Damon Wolf, a man I’ve never actually

met but hate all the same. I’ve seen their picture on TV and in magazines. He’s her agent,

her fiancĂ©, and I’m sure he’s the reason she’s not singing anymore. 
     She looks up at him with that same forced smile she used to give people she just

wanted to appease and mouths “thank you.” I have a sudden urge to go over and deck

him when her gaze shifts back to mine and he pulls her chin back to look at him. I can

sense a discomfort between them. We could sense each other’s feelings even when we

weren’t near each other.

       Amy’s hand slides down my face and I have to blink a few times before I can hear

what she’s saying. Glancing one last time at Ivy I see that she’s staring at me again. Then

suddenly her mouth forms a scowl and she flicks her attention toward him. Hooking her

arm around his neck, she pulls him down for a kiss and I think I might throw up.

      “Are you okay?”

     I nod. Not able to say a word.

     “Isn’t that Ivy Taylor over there? The girl you used to date in high school?” Amy

asks. There’s an irritated tone to her voice I’m not used to hearing and it makes me

agitated.

     “Yeah, it is,” is all I say. She’s not just a girl I used to date…she’s the only girl I

ever really loved. She’s also the girl whose heart I broke. Seeing her now brings back all

those feelings I blocked, ignored, tucked aside. So many times over the years I wanted to

go after her and tell her the truth—but I never did. Why I don’t know. Then one day it

was too late—she had gotten engaged.

     Amy chatters on. “I think that’s Damon Wolf with her. We should go say hi.”

     My body goes cold and my face blank at the thought. I straighten and just as I’m

about to say, “No fucking way,” my phone vibrates in my pocket. Squinting at the screen,

I see that it’s my brother. I look over to Amy and motion toward the bar. “Hey, this is

River. I need to take it. I’ll meet you over there in a minute.”

     “That’s fine. We can catch up with them later. I’ll go order us a drink.” She smiles

and starts toward the bar.

     Turning around to avoid staring at Ivy, I answer the phone. “It took you long enough

to call me back.”

     “I was in a meeting and stepped out as soon as I could, so don’t start. What did the

doctor say about Zane?”

     “He’s out for the rest of the tour and we’re fucked.” “You sure? You’re back in LA for 
almost two weeks after tomorrow night right?

     Isn’t that enough time for him to heal?”

      “Technically yes. But his old man wants him out. The doctor said that he couldn’t be

sure how long the blood that accumulated under his vocal cords had been there but

obviously last night, the amount of ruptured vessels was enough to cause his voice to

change. He advised at least two weeks of rest before another evaluation to see if surgery

is necessary. Zeak wants his son to take a longer period of time off. He’s just afraid that if

Zane keeps singing and it keeps happening, scar tissue will build up and cause his voice

to change forever.”

     “Do you blame him?”

     “No I don’t,” I tell River and I feel like shit that I have to put him in a position to do

what he didn’t want to do in the first place. But I also know that if I don’t, the band won’t

survive. If I have to cancel this tour—the Wilde Ones are done. So I ask, “Did you talk to

Dahlia?”

     He sighs. “Yeah, I did. She’s cool with it, Xander. I’m just trying to figure it all out.”

     “You know I’ll do whatever you need me to do, right?”

     “Shit why can’t you just be an ass and make it easy for me to say no?”

     “Because you have no idea what this means to me.”

     “Actually I do, and that’s why I’m going to make it happen. But Xander, remember I

can’t play a twelve string.”

     Laughter and relief take hold of me. I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

     “Right now I wouldn’t care if you only played the violin,” I joke.

     He laughs and I add, “You’ll be here tonight?”

     Now he sounds slightly annoyed. “I said I would. We might be a little late so don’t

get your panties in a wad.”

     “That’s cool. Thanks for everything. Hey, one more thing.’

     “What?”

     “Ivy Taylor’s here.”

     “No way. Have you talked to her?”

     “Fuck no. You know she won’t talk to me. And besides she’s with that asshole.”

     “You should talk to her. Tell her the truth.” “What’s that going to do now? She’ll just think 
I’m lying.”

     “You want me to talk to her? I can explain everything.”

     “No. I don’t need my little brother to fight my battles. I’ll talk to her if I feel the time

is right. Do you hear me?”

     “Whatever you say. Look, I have to run but I want to discuss this later. And

Xander…you don’t know he’s an asshole. Just because Dad said his name once doesn’t

mean shit.”

      “Right. Okay, see you tonight,” I say and end the call. My head is spinning knowing

that after all these years I’m actually in the same place she is. I want to talk to her, tell her

everything but what would it matter now anyway. Glancing behind me, I catch another

glimpse of her with him that turns my stomach. He’s such a slime ball. Since his father

was hospitalized and he took over the business, he’s been scooping up labels, tearing

them apart, and rebuilding them with bands he thinks are better fits. My guess is he

picked up Jane’s label—that’s why he’s here. I heard they were having some financial

difficulty and he’s just the kind of bottom feeder that would want to capitalize on not

only being her agent but now also her producer. The sight of him touching Ivy makes my

skin crawl.

     Damon Wolf—two of the last words my father ever spoke to me before killing

himself, and I never knew why. Of all the guys in the world Ivy had to end up with him— 
why him? I look up and they’re gone. But I’m anything but relieved. Rubbing my chin,

I’m antsy, agitated, pissed as hell, but feel more alive than I have in years.

I live in Florida with my husband and four kids. I've always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, I wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. I went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise my family. I currently work part-time with my husband and full-time embracing one of my biggest passions—writing.

I wear a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of the family. However, I always find time to read. One of my favorite family outings use to be taking my kids to the bookstore or the library. Today, my oldest child is in college and my twins are juniors so they no longer go with me on these outings. And although I don't need to go to the actual store anymore because I have the greatest device ever invented—a Kindle, I still do. There's nothing like a paperback. So now my four year old and I make dates out of going to the bookstore--it's time I love and cherish.

I like to believe in soulmates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. I love to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart. <3


~~ CONNECTIONS SERIES~~


AMAZON LINKS:
 Connected - http://amzn.to/1fDaywN
 Torn - http://amzn.to/18r6puZ
 Dazed - http://amzn.to/1hwLS9g
 Mended - http://amzn.to/1ap7Jwn
 Blurred - http://amzn.to/1mCHwQ1
 Frayed - http://amzn.to/1cnBwof



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1 comment:

  1. Great giveaway :-) Thank you for the chance to win.

    ReplyDelete