God help the woman I take home tonight.
Band manager James Brandon never expected to find the elusive satisfaction he’d been chasing, let alone stumble upon it in some sleezy Hollywood meat market. Yet the girl’s quiet pride spoke to him from across the bar, louder than a shout. Troubled, hungry and homeless, she’d placed her trust in him. But after losing the grip on his dark desires that one fateful night, James has spent the last four years atoning for letting her down.
This time I’ll finally crack him.
Rock band drummer Lita Regina has had enough of James’s guilt. She wants the explosive man she met that night in Hollywood. The man who held nothing back and took no prisoners—save Lita. And she’ll stop at nothing to revive him. Even if it means throwing herself into peril at every turn, just to get a reaction from her stoic manager. But when Lita takes her quest one step too far, James disappears from her life, thinking his absence will keep her safe.
Now it’s up to Lita to bring James back…and ignite an inferno of passion in the process.
Reader Advisory: ROUGH RHYTHM contains fantasies of nonconsensual sex, acted upon by consenting characters. Readers with sensitivity to portrayals of nonconsensual sex should be advised.
This time she would finally crack him.
Ignoring stares from her cellmates, Lita jogged in place, preparing for the confrontation with James, her band manager. This was her ritual before shows, too. It loosened the limbs, shook out the demons. She took her role as drummer for Old News seriously, same way she considered riling up James a form of art. For four freaking years, they’d been repeating this song and dance—and Lita was over it. Today was the day James lost his cool. The way he’d lost it the night they met.
Remembering the state she’d been in when James found her, Lita jogged a little faster. At twenty-three, she wasn’t that scrawny, starving girl now. Not in most ways, anyway. The memory of what took place that night still had the ability to steal her breath, make her restless. But unlike the girl she’d been at nineteen, Lita didn’t wait for fate to wave its magical hand. No. She grabbed fate’s wrist and shook, shook, until the pieces fell into an acceptable pattern. That modus operandi is what had landed her inside a musky, Wilshire division holding cell of LA County’s jail system.
Lita didn’t have a head for numbers, but was pretty damn sure today would mark the twenty-first time James had bailed her out of a jail-type situation. Looking after the interests of Old News’s members was his job. Their relationship, however, fell outside the parameters of a typical musician-manager arrangement. Not that he would ever admit it. No, James simply continued to show up when Lita got into trouble, lecturing her about proper behavior on the way to dropping her off. And leaving. He left every time, that distinguished jaw of his firmly set, sunglasses hiding the guilt she knew lurked in his eyes four years later.
Not this time. Last night, Lita had gone above and beyond to ensure this morning wrought one of two outcomes: James quitting, giving up on her like everyone else did eventually, or his control finally slipped. One way or another, she wouldn’t be in limbo come tonight. She’d been there too long.
Lita stopped jogging when she heard the jingling of the guard’s keys. James was right on time, as usual. Her cellmates craned their necks, some coming to their feet in the hopes they were being released. Lita stowed a pang of sympathy and whipped her hair into a quick ponytail. The guard cast a tired-eyed glance in her direction and unlocked the door. “Lita Regina, your bail has been posted.”
ABOUT TESSA BAILEY
Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.
Baiting the Maid of Honor, Entangled Brazen, June 2014
Unfixable (New Adult), Entangled Embrace, April 2014
Protecting What’s Theirs (novella), Entangled Brazen, March 2014
Staking His Claim, Entangled Brazen, February 2014
Asking For Trouble, Entangled Brazen, November 2013
Officer Off Limits, Entangled Brazen, June 2013
His Risk to Take, Entangled Brazen, May 2013
Protecting What’s His, Entangled Brazen, February 2013
Owned by Fate, Entangled Brazen, September 2014
Exposed by Fate, Entangled Brazen, October 2014
Riskier Business, Entangled Brazen, December 2014
Risking It All (Crossing the Line 1), Entangled Select, January 2015
Driven by Fate, Entangled Brazen, February 2015
Chase Me (Broke & Beautiful 1), Avon Impulse, March 2015
Need Me (Broke & Beautiful 2), Avon Impulse, April 2015
Off Base (novella) self-published, May 2015
Up in Smoke (Crossing the Line 2), Entangled Select, June 2015
Make Me (Broke & Beautiful 3), Avon Impulse, August 2015
Crashed Out (Made in Jersey 1), Entangled Brazen, December 2015
Boiling Point (Crossing the Line 3), Entangled Select, January 2016
Rough Rhythm, 1001 Dark Nights Project, March 2016
Thrown Down (Made in Jersey 2), Entangled Brazen, April 2016
Raw Redemption (Crossing the Line 4), Entangled Select, June 2016
Worked Up (Made in Jersey 3), Entangled Brazen, August 2016
Wound Tight (Made in Jersey 4), Entangled Brazen, December 2016