Home > Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)(5)

Once Upon a Sure Thing (Heartbreakers #2)(5)
Author: Lauren Blakely

I sigh heavily. “I made it through seventy-two, and then I turned dead.”

“You have to kiss a lot of frogs, as they say.” Campbell nods to my computer. “But what did you think you’d find? An embarrassment of riches?”

My eyes widen. “Yes! I made it very clear in the casting breakdown that I wanted somebody with a voice that would rock my socks off.”

Campbell bends to look underneath the table. “It appears your socks are still on. Are those squirrels on them?”

“Don’t judge. They’re my favorite socks. And at the rate this is going, they’ll stay on me forever. How hard can it be to find a decent singer?”

He scratches his jaw. “Talent is hard to come by. I gave you a few names though.”

“I know you mentioned Rebecca Crimson. She’s fantastic, but she’s not available. She was just signed, and she’s working on her own album.”

Campbell points to the computer. “By my math, you have more than one hundred left.” He rolls up his shirtsleeves, brushes his palms against each other, and plugs in his earbuds so we can both listen. “There has to be a diamond in this rough.”

A couple of hours and several cups of coffee and hot chocolate later, we’ve whittled the samples down to about eight decent auditions. Am I ever glad that Campbell joined me today. I doubt I would’ve had the mental fortitude to soldier through the rest of them alone.

But then again, that’s sort of how things have always been.

Campbell is my rock, my partner, my brother in every damn sense of the word. That’s no disrespect to Miles, who’s three years younger than I am. I love that guy like crazy too, but it was Campbell and me who started the Heartbreakers, and he was always the heart and soul of the band. He sang a little more than I did and wrote a few more songs, tipping the balance in his favor. But the thing is, he never held that against me. He carried the ship, and I fucking loved him for it. He made my dreams come true.

I do understand why he had to quit, though it broke my heart. But I’d have been a total douche if I’d said that to him, or anyone, at the time. Twelve years ago, when his daughter was only two, his wife died, leaving him a single dad. He decided to focus entirely on his kid. I get that. Wise choice, in retrospect, since Samantha is one of the coolest teens I’ve ever known.

Campbell peers at the screen, cocking his head. “Wait. Did you see this last one?”

“Which one?”

He points to the browser. “Looks like it just landed in your inbox.”

I sigh heavily. “I’m sure it’s crap. We’re fine with the ones we have.”

He shakes his head, tsking me. “Let’s listen to . . .” He stares at the screen, peering at the name next to the track. “Honey Lavender.”

We both put earphones in, and with a name like that, I wait for some kind of hipster, ukulele-playing Zooey Deschanel–wannabe voice.

But that’s not what happens.

When I hear the first words of a pretty love song about yearning, I zoom in on the voice, a spark igniting in my chest. Her voice sounds familiar, but different too, and I can’t place it. So I just enjoy it.

It’s pure and pretty, but like a good wine, it has afternotes. I can taste it, a little husky, a little smoky. It’s like a sweet angel drank a glass of whiskey and laughed as she purred in my ear.

As she slides into the chorus about being tangled up all night long, I’m moving my shoulders, getting into the groove.

Campbell is too, tapping out a rhythm on the wooden table.

I point to the screen, mouthing to my brother, “This shit is good. She’s the best for sure.”

When the song ends, we’re both grinning.

“She’s like a supper club singer. You need to get her to submit a video. And the others too, just to be sure,” he says.

I gesture to Campbell like he’s a genius because he fucking is. “See? What would I do without you? You know exactly what to do . . . with everything. And you found this Jessica Rabbit gem.”

He rolls his eyes. “You'd have found it too. You just had to get through all the others first.”

“But that’s what you’re so good at. Well, including singing.”

“So are you.”

I bat my eyes. “Does that mean you ‘Love Me Like Crazy’?” I ask, naming one of our greatest hits.

Campbell smiles. “Would you believe I heard that in a coffee shop the other day? I started humming a few lines while I was waiting for my drink.”

I wiggle my eyebrows and sing in a low voice, gliding into the tune. “Even though you’re gone, I still love you like crazy.”

As if he’s helpless against the power of the song, he chimes in, “All I want is to find you again, even if that’s crazy.”

I drum my palms on the table a little louder. “Tell me, tell me, I haven’t lost you.”

He points at me, nodding in time to the music we’re making. “Tell me I’m not crazy.”

Then we’re both singing, crooning the chorus that made us millions. “Tell me you love me like crazy. Tell me you want me like crazy. Because, girl, you make me crazy.”

It’s like we’re flying downhill, the wind at our backs, the sun beating down.

This is magic.

This is my true love.

I finish with a powerful flurry of my fingers across the air keyboard, and he slashes the chords on his unseen guitar.

Applause and cheers startle me, and I jerk my gaze around. Holy shit.

We just performed an unexpected set at a coffee shop for Tommy and a twenty-something blonde in a maroon knit cap. She’s standing a few feet away, holding her phone and beaming a full-wattage grin. “That was amazing. I love you guys so much. I hope you don’t mind that I recorded it. It’s just for me. I want to watch it over and over.”

“We like to do impromptu private shows now and then for our biggest fans,” Campbell quips.

Her hand flies to her heart. I do believe Campbell has just made her day.

“Thank you again. So much.” She heads to a chair in the corner with her beverage.

“Sing ‘Hit the Road.’”

I turn to the counter where Tommy is goading us on, smirking from behind his big beard.

Campbell waves him off. “One tune is enough for a Friday afternoon.”

“Come in tonight and play a whole set, then,” he says, needling Campbell more.

I’d be game. I’d happily dive into that number with him, or any of our songs for that matter. I loved nothing more than playing with him, and later with Miles when he joined us. My heart winces with longing to have that again. That’s honestly what I miss most about performing. The companionship with my brothers. The camaraderie. I’m a social creature. I want to have a good time, make some music, and play with family.

But family isn’t an option. Even so, I’d like to find that kind of musical and business chemistry with another musician. Someone who’s invested, who wants to work hard at making music. Maybe I can have that same sort of we’re-a-team vibe with a new singer.

Campbell clamps a hand on my shoulder, smiling. “That was fun singing together.”

“It’s always fun,” I say, a little wistful, wishing coffee-shop improv was a regular item on our schedules.

“Truer words.” Campbell hitches his thumb toward the door. “And now I need to hit the road. I’m heading to a violin lesson with Kyle, then dinner with Samantha and Mackenzie.”

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