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What happens when the five members of Mercury Folds, the most popular boy band from twenty years ago finally find the true meaning of a happily ever after with their soul mate….
Holly is living her dream as a romance novelist, who also works at her aunt’s bookstore in her hometown of Keansbury, New York. As single, career-minded woman who’s a few years away from forty, she hasn’t been looking for love. But when her high school sweetheart, Austin Knowles, the lead singer of the once popular boy band Mercury Folds ends up signing his new autobiography at her bookstore, he turns her life upside down.
Austin hasn’t just returned to his hometown as stop on his book tour, but to reconnect with Holly after leaving her behind for fame and fortune. He’ll try to convince her to give him another chance after so many years apart. And why wouldn’t she since he was the inspiration for the hero in her first book that made a name for herself? He may have once been a reckless devil but after so many years of living the rock star lifestyle, he wants to settle down with the one woman who always held his heart.
His touch was more comforting than sexual. I rarely talked about my situation with Nolan, not even with my mother or with Aunt Madeline. When I was younger, they would ask about the men I dated, including Nolan who they assumed I was serious with. But I always blew them off because the likelihood of me marrying was low. I blamed it on my head being in the clouds when it came to romance and love, which fueled my writing. I refused to settle.
“I guess it’s sad I’m two years away from forty and never thought of marriage or….” My face warmed in embarrassment.
“Hey, I’m here to listen, not judge.” He set his hand on my nape and massaged it.
“I’ve never been in a serious relationship or had a boyfriend. I’ve dated, but nothing stuck. Nolan is…or was a lover.” I tried to smile, but my lips were numb.
He drew me under his arm, and I settled in his side. He played with the tips of my hair falling out of my braid. “You probably know I was engaged once because it was all over the Internet and in every entertainment magazine and tabloid imaginable.”
“I was honest when I said I didn’t always keep tabs on your career or your private life,” I mumbled, ashamed for not keeping track of his life just because I was once offended and hurt for him leaving me behind. It was better to pretend he didn’t exist, but every so often I would read or hear a piece of news about him and the hurt came roaring back.
“It’s probably best you didn’t. The last few years I was in Mercury Folds were ugly because of my partying. After rehab, I still needed a crutch to keep me from falling back to destructive forces.”
“Like sex?” I meant to come across as teasing, but he must have taken me seriously. He faced me, his expression showing a bleakness that cut straight to my heart.
“I wanted intimacy but not the type I had with groupies or one-night stands like during my Mercury Folds years. I made the mistake of getting involved with another singer, who was in a former girl band. Her name is Lola Ionesco.”
“Now that’s a singer I know. Isn’t her father the owner of Ion Records?”
“Yup. My record label.” He took my hand. “We had history before we became a couple. She was also in rehab for the same type of issues I had. We bonded over our experience and were together for four years. When we got engaged, we both were trying to make it as solo artists. She was acting also, and became more high profile than me. But things grew rocky when my solo album got nominated for the Grammys, and hers didn’t. Some of her movies didn’t do well at the box office, and she was spending too much money. She became addicted to shopping and wouldn’t stop. It all came to a head when I told her I wanted a pre-nup.” He snorted and then released a hollow laugh. “We fought over it, among other things. We had some blow-ups. She then ended up cheating on me with another big-name singer.”
“That singer got her pregnant, and they’re married now.” I may not be up on all my pop culture celebrity gossip, but I did know about the situation because of all the parties involved. There were too many rumors flying around about Austin that I didn’t know what to believe.
“Yup. She’s been married five years, and she’s pregnant again, with twins this time.” The hollowness in his voice made me want to hug him tight. He rested his cheek on top of my head and sighed.
“Do you mention her in your book?”
“Yeah. I had to because she was such a big part of it, but….” He exhaled. “I didn’t want to bash her in the book. I tried for a…I don’t know, respectful approach. My anger at what she did to me is gone, but the sadness over what I shared with her and lost still remains.”
“It’s not the same by a long shot, but I also have some sadness.” I shifted back to view the face I longed to kiss. But it would wait. First, I had to get something important off my chest.
“What’s your sadness?” He cupped my cheek.
“I’m disappointed in myself because I held a grudge against you for leaving. It was so childish and pathetic because for too many years I thought you abandoned me.”
He swept his thumb over the edge of my cheek, lulling me into relaxation even though my insides swirled with anxiety. The tenderness he gave me made me want to sob.
“I don’t think you’re pathetic. I’ve been upset at other people for ridiculous reasons. Although, I don’t think I can forgive you for not liking my music.”
I pinched him under his ear, making him flinch. He then grabbed my hand, and the next thing I knew, I lay prone on the couch with him over me.
Welp, this escalated quickly.