Surrender (Seaside Pictures #4) by Rachel Van Dyken

CHAPTER 1


Andrew

The music hadn’t died a natural death.

Sometimes, I wondered if my own bad choices had killed it.

So, when my bandmate looked at me a second time and asked if I was losing my shit, I simply shrugged, put on my sunglasses, and leaned back against the wall.

We had five tracks to compose.

Five tracks to record.

I was supposed to write at least three of them.

I had written the word “the.”

For no other reason than it was the only word I could think of that rhymed with huh.

Not that we needed a huh anywhere in the damn lyrics.

It’s just the only word that kept rolling around in my head. Huh, look at that; everyone’s happy but you. Huh, imagine that; our album went double platinum. Huh, amazing, you have everything you could have possibly ever wanted.

Except for your best friend fully back in your life the way he used to be.

All the bridges in LA you burned during your addiction.

And the only girl capable of putting a smile on your face.

The same pregnant girl who was currently sitting in Will Sutherland’s lap, my ex-best friend, co-lead singer of Adrenaline, and pain in my ass.

He was worse than a parent.

Like the father figure I’d never wanted.

Who wouldn’t leave me the hell alone.

He hovered as if he’d had something to do with bringing me into the world, even though nine months back, he’d threatened to take me out of it.

I stared them down.

And quickly looked away when Angelica Greene’s tear-filled eyes met mine.

I was the reason she was still sad.

Me.

Because every time she spoke to me, my throat felt like it was closing up; and every time he kissed her, I wondered if things would be different if I could change the past.

My mistakes?

Roads I’d traveled?

Taken because of my misplaced jealousy.

“Drew!” Ty threw a drumstick at my face. “Seriously, we only have a few weeks down here before the second leg of the tour. You gotta have something in that notebook of yours.”

I clutched the leather cover tighter against my chest. “That’s for me, not the band.”

“Selfish ass,” Trevor mumbled, pinching the bridge of his nose as he stood and stretched then went back into the sound booth as if that was going to fix the problem. “You’ve been acting like you have a stick up your ass all day, and to think I was starting to wonder if you were the funny one again.”

“I’ve always been the funny one,” I shot back with a bit of a grin and then rolled my eyes. “I’m just exhausted. It’s not like we’re young spring chickens anymore.”

“Hey, speak for yourself.” Trevor grinned.

“You literally have ketchup on your shirt and another substance I’ve been spending the last hour trying to decipher.” I pointed out, as the rest of the guys fell into laughter. “And you…” I jabbed a finger at Ty. “…get to have twins in three months, so I’d stop laughing.”

That shut him up, and then he got this dopey grin on his face that had me so jealous I had to look away, which meant my gaze was back to Will and Angelica and the way he gently touched her stomach.

“Yeah…” Will leaned forward. “…I’ll admit my back hurts more than it feels better.”

“That’s the sex, moron,” I snapped and then realized I’d just made a sex joke about them and wanted to crawl under the piano and saw off the legs.

Will’s mouth quirked. “I think it’s that and trying to keep everyone in line while still singing next to shithead.” He smirked. “That’s you, by the way.”

“Hey, guys…” Trevor ran a hand through his hair. “…I’m around fighting kids twenty-four-seven because the joys of parenthood don’t stop when you bring them on tour with your wife, so let’s just break for today, all right?”

Braden, one of my protégés, chose that minute to walk in, an extra pep in his step since getting engaged to his former life coach. He pulled a popsicle from his mouth and then jerked his chin over at me. “Who died?”

“That’s it.” I shot to my feet. “I need a break.”

“We were on a break!” Ty felt the need to yell.

Everyone fell into laughter, me included.

“All right, Braden, you can work on some of your own tracks since I’ve got the studio, and, Drew, if you could kindly find someone to help pull those drumsticks out of your ass, that would be super-duper.”