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Authors: Jessica Gray

Resounding Kisses

Resounding Kisses

 

Love in Sandy Beach

Book 5

{Terrence and Ivy}

 

Jessica Gray

This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, and places in this book exist only within the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to actual persons or locations is purely coincidental.

 

Resounding Kisses – Love in Sandy Beach, Book 5

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2016 Jessica Gray

 

This book is copyrighted and protected by copyright laws.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without prior written permission from the author.

All characters, names, and places in this book exist only within the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to actual persons or locations is purely coincidental.

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Chapter 1

 

Terrence Paxton was in a horrible mood. And it was getting worse by the moment.

He’d stayed at his brother Grant’s place in New York City and was walking the few blocks to one of the biggest record labels in the United States. That should have been a reason to do a happy dance.

It was the big break he and his band, Electric Flow, had been looking for – their first recording contract. After years of playing in bars and doing small time gigs, it would finally pay off. The deal they’d been offered was more than most first time artists could dream of. It included a full-length album and a six-country tour.

Everything was scooting along fine until the record label’s busybody of an intellectual property rights lawyer had meddled in the negotiations.

His anger flared up again, and he sped up his steps, trying to calm himself down before he reached his destination. This lawyer had overstepped her bounds. A lot.

What does she know about music anyway? She’s probably some old spinster who has never seen any success in her life and the record label simply assigned her to us because we’re the new kids on the block.

He’d done his research after his agent called him last weekend in a complete panic, saying, “You can’t sign the recording contract until you meet with Yvonne Kafando, intellectual property rights lawyer of the record label.”

She wasn’t even listed on the record label’s website. Unlike the up and coming young lawyers he’d first requested and met via video conference several weeks ago: Jeremy Milton and Colin Farmer. Savvy and smooth talking guys without any objections to the contract his band was about to sign. Guys he could’ve worked with. They knew their way around the music business.

But much to his dismay, they’d apologized for not being able to take on his case because they were occupied with big ticket clients of the record label – One Direction and Rihanna.

Ter rolled his neck, trying to let the tightness go, but it only intensified his feelings of frustration and anger. Apparently Yvonne Kafando wasn’t qualified to take on the big cases, but possessed enough self-esteem and false sense of importance to order him rushing to her office. Across the whole country. All the way from Sandy Beach, Illinois to New York City. She couldn’t have waited two more weeks until he and his band relocated. No, it had to be now. Who the hell did she think she was?

His imagination took over, configuring an older woman, someone sixty plus years old who had never even heard of rock music. He envisioned her cringing when she heard a lead guitar riff and reaching for the volume control of her hearing aids when presented with the screaming falsetto of a rocker. Her and Jagger would be mortal enemies.

Ter was so absorbed in his imagination, he ran straight into the faceless person walking at a much slower pace along the sidewalk. He mumbled an apology and quickly moved around him, trying to focus on his surroundings and the people in front of him, rather than the simmering rage churning inside of his chest and head.

He took a cleansing breath filled with so many odors he wasn’t sure if it was good or bad. Finally, he calmed down enough to appreciate the massive skyscrapers rising on either side of him. Traffic flow this far down into the city was brutally slow, and Terrence noticed there were as many taxis as private vehicles inching their way along downtown Manhattan. The farther he walked, the worse the traffic became.

As did the foot traffic. More and more people crowded the busy sidewalks, talking on their cell phones, or walking briskly in their business attire as they struggled to reach their destination a few seconds before the next person. An amused grin appeared on his lips. Are you sure you want to live in a crazy place like this?

Fifteen minutes later, he stood before the skyscraper that housed the record label and lawyers' offices. He pushed the tall glass and chrome doors open and made his way to the reception desk, manned by a uniformed gentleman who promptly directed him towards the elevators. As he stepped into the elevator car, he watched in amazement as the glass car rose above the city. Thirty floors up. Seventy floors up. One hundred floors up.

He looked up from his perusal of the shrinking city street below and remembered that he wasn’t alone in the elevator. Two men dressed in gray business suits were standing quietly as they waited for the elevator to reach their destination. He immediately classified them based on their bearing and attire. Legal stiffs.

Ter had little appreciation for the legal profession, and today was a case in point. The intellectual rights lawyer had stalled his signing of a record contract. Something he was eager to get completed so he and his band could get to work and start recording the new album.

The elevator stopped on the one hundred and twenty-seventh floor. Ter stepped out, his eyes going wide at the futuristic design he wandered into. The offices lay on the top floor of the center tower, and the ceiling comprised a myriad of geometric shapes, set inside metal frames connected to each other to create an odd and uneven structure. Glass panels created a skylight effect, but the differing angles of the glass reflected the light in so many different directions, it gave the space beneath an almost otherworldly ambience.

The furniture was a mixture of chrome and light wood, the floors paved with hexagon shaped tiles in a variety of white, blacks, grays, and browns. Natural light precluded the need for the light fixtures that hung – almost invisible – from the glass support beams. Glass tubes were arranged in a variety of lengths with differing color bulbs inside them.

The effect of everything together was stunning and strange. Several people were in the large space, and yet their conversations couldn’t be heard.

Ter realized he’d been standing still for several minutes and pulled himself from his inspection. A young woman was sitting behind a glass receptionist booth and he headed in that direction. Like everyone else in the office, she was dressed in a sleek business suit that almost shimmered in the beams of natural light.

“Hi.” She beamed at him, flashing her bright blue eyes in his direction and leaning forward enough to give him a quick glimpse of her barely concealed cleavage. Her suit jacket was prim and proper, but as he drew closer, he could see that she wore either nothing, or something very skimpy underneath. Either way, the suit jacket was a mirage meant to hide the sexual creature beneath.

The problem was in her delivery. She was trying too hard to get his attention on her considerable assets. Terrence hid his grin, telling her, “I’m here to see Yvonne Kafando.” He kept his eyes on hers, amused when she tried her best to appear more mature than she was. She was cute, but young. Too young.

Under normal circumstances, he would still have enjoyed flirting with her, but today wasn’t normal. Right now, all he wanted was to get his meeting with Yvonne Kafando over with and get on with his life.

He ground his teeth. He still couldn’t believe she had the audacity to stall the signing of the contract and summon him to her office like this. That lawyer lady was supposed to be working for him. Helping him. Not ordering him about like some service boy.

Terrence got the distinct impression she believed she was calling the shots. She couldn’t have been more wrong. He wasn’t a pushover and she was about to find that out for herself. Right now.

Chapter 2

Ivy was furious. Livid in fact and needing something or someone to direct it towards. She paced up and down her office and shut the door, resisting the urge to slam it shut.

The file folder in her hands landed with a smack in the center of her desk, before she leaned over, placing her hands flat on the surface as she tried to control her breathing and gain control of her emotions.

Her new client was due to meet her this morning. Again, her boss had assigned her an absolutely unknown rock band to essentially babysit as they navigated the recording process for the first time.

Why me? Why do I always get the clients nobody else wants? I’ve paid my dues!

Jeremy and Colin, her slightly younger, less experienced, but very male colleagues had been given the star clients. They were currently fawning over Rihanna and One Direction, but she wasn’t allowed anywhere near famous artists like them.

No. It had to be Electric Flow. Even the name was ridiculous at best. Their music probably was abysmal. And their behavior...

She practically growled as she paced.

The band had never recorded an album before – at least not a professional one. Performing in nightclubs and recording in a back room or garage was a long shot from recording in a professional studio where the sound engineers earned almost as much as she did an hour.

They’d soon find that out, if she managed to hammer some sense in their drugged brains. If they wanted to sign a contract with the record label she worked for, she had to put them straight and that included teaching them the ropes of the music industry.

She felt like screaming in frustration and grabbed the CD of Electric Flow from their client file. Ivy sighed as she stuck it in the portable machine she kept on the corner of her desk.

One reason she loved her job, most days, was because she loved music. Especially rock music that tugged at your heartstrings, sung by a male with that mix of sensuality and growl in his voice that sent the listener’s heart racing and stomach dropping.

The first song came on and she stood to listen. She was hooked from the first line. The song was called “Get Me Some More”, a rock ballad full of deep emotion and – worse – the lead singer’s voice made her insides stand up and take notice. It was the perfect blend of gravelly male angst and sensuality she could listen to for hours. A voice like melting chocolate reverberated through the room and swallowed her completely. A bedroom voice if she’d ever heard one.

Realizing where she’d let her thoughts go, she opened the eyes she’d closed to better listen and stomped around her desk to look out the window, staring down to the tiny cars and people in the streets.

She didn’t want to like this band’s music. It didn’t matter whether she had a weakness for men with sensual voices, it didn’t even matter if their music was spectacular, what mattered was that they were unknown. She deserved to be working with the big names, not a bunch of nobodies.

When am I going to get my break?

Her boss, Pierce, knew and had told her that she was the best intellectual property rights lawyer her record label had. Not her colleagues Jeremy and Colin, who’d graduated one year after her from the prestigious Columbia Law School, and not with summa cum laude like she did.

So why would Pierce always give her the beginning bands like Electric Flow?
Because he’s part of the Good Ole Boys network. And you’re not.

It was a secret club she would never belong to. But the up and coming young hotshots who had offices next to her had been inducted into the club the same week they came to work for the company. Jeremy and Colin had come highly recommended from a powerful client Pierce always catered to. He’d taken a liking to the young lawyers so they were getting all the breaks.
While I’m the one who deserves them.

She returned to her desk and glanced at the file. From what she’d read, this band, especially the lead singer, wouldn’t be easy to deal with. They not only looked the part of the bad boys of rock n’ roll, they had the reputation to go with them.

The cover photo showed five young men, in their mid to late twenties, dressed in black t-shirts that hugged muscled bound arms and black leather pants showcasing equally muscular thighs. They projected an attitude that was either completely misplaced self-confidence, or born from years of struggling to reach this place.
Just like me.

Their attitude showed in their posture and the looks upon their faces. But what was worse than dealing with bands with attitude, was dealing with bands with no experience in the big music business.

So far, Electric Flow had broken every rule of becoming a successful recording artist. She had to protect the sales of the record label – if this contract was ever finalized and signed, that is – and this band couldn’t continue to put their music up on YouTube, allowing anyone and everyone to download it for free. For free!

Ivy sat down at her laptop and browsed to their YouTube channel. She cringed when she heard them talk to their audience like they were long lost friends. Sure, they’d developed a huge following, but that had to come to a screeching halt.

She glanced at the clock sitting on her desk and went over the file one last time. Her first meeting with the lead singer was in just a few minutes, and she wanted, no needed, to be fully prepared for it.

It would be difficult, because her job was to set him straight about what he and his band could, and couldn’t, do from now on. Since they’d decided to become part of a record label, they no longer had the right to make decisions that would ultimately cost the record label sales and revenue.

She was in charge now, and the sooner the lead singer, Terrence Paxton, accepted that fact, the sooner everyone could get on with the business of making a record and going on tour.

Awaiting his arrival, she stopped the CD and squared her shoulders. He’d soon find out who was calling the shots here.

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