Authors: C. M. Stunich
“These are real people with real problems. This is real life, and it's real fucked up.”
Hard Rock Roots Box Set
© C.M. Stunich 2013
Get Bent © C.M. Stunich 2013
Tough Luck © C.M. Stunich 2013
Bad Day © C.M. Stunich 2014
Born Wrong © C.M. Stunich 2014
"Dirty Candy Cherry Pops" Short Story © C.M. Stunich 2016
"Pop Rock Root Bitch" Short Story © C.M. Stunich 2016
"Hard Hot Blow Up" Short Story © C.M. Stunich 2016
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
For information address Sarian Royal Indie Publishing, 1863 Pioneer Pkwy. E Ste. 203, Springfield, OR 97477-3907.
ISBN-10: 1938623967 (eBook)
ISBN-13: 978-1-938623-96-7 (eBook)
Cover art and design © Amanda Carroll and Sarian Royal
"Optimus Princeps" Font © Manfred Klein
"El&Font Gohtic!" Font © Jerome Delage
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, businesses, or locales is coincidental and is not intended by the author.
for the finite stretch of beautiful agony that we call life and the music we make along the way
this book collection is dedicated to the unfailing strength of the human spirit.
I've never fallen in love with characters quite like I have with the ones that populate this series. Whether you're new to Hard Rock Roots or an old fan popping in for the gritty, sweet taste of rock 'n' roll, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for jumping in feet first and getting caught up in the wild, crazy ride that's just barely contained within these pages. It's a fucking whirlwind of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll. Oh, and blood. Lots and lots of blood. Think: cage diving with sharks. Big ones. Reading this is kind of like that. Only a little bit more effed up. ;) In your hands you have the first five books in the series as well as three never-before-read shorts.
Don't turn the page unless you're ready to get torn apart like the world's hardest rock riff.
3 Caitlin Morgan (C.M.) Stunich
“Hard Rock Roots” Reading Order:
Book #1: Real Ugly (included in this set)
Book #2: Get Bent (included in this set)
Book #3: Tough Luck (included in this set)
Book #4: Bad Day (included in this set)
Book #5: Born Wrong (included in this set)
Book #6: Dead Serious
Book #7: Doll Face
Book #8: Heart Broke
Book #9: Get Hitched
There's a metamorphosis happening right before my eyes. I'm watching a devil shed its skin, shrink its horns and grow wings. The dark haze in the air is lifting, banished by the bright lights of the stage. Even metaphorically, a trick like that is hard to pull off. I'm impressed. Or I would be if I didn't hate the asshole so much.
“He looks like a fucking angel,” I whisper as I sip my beer.
“What?” Blair shouts, cupping her hand around my ear. I swipe some hair away from my face and lean over, so that she can hear me above the booming of the bass. It pounds down through the wood of the stage, into the concrete, and across the floor where it catches on the rubber soles of my boots and ricochets up through my bones. If I close my eyes, I can see it tainting my blood, forcing my heart to pump faster and faster, until I feel dizzy from the beautiful poison in the air. The phrase
slaying the crowd
wasn't made up off the top of someone's head; if the fucks on stage do it right, it really does feel like the music is killing you softly.
“Turner Campbell,” I yell back at her, my lips brushing against the small, black plugs in her earlobes. “He looks like a fucking angel up there.” Blair leans back and raises one pierced brow at me. Her blue eyes say that I'm full of shit. I take another sip of cool, cool amber and watch as she turns her heart shaped face to the stage. Her gaze rakes Turner from head to toe and then slides across the heaving, thumping crowd, landing right back on me.
“A fallen angel,” she shouts. Pauses. “
I shrug and ignore her pointed stare, watching Turner as he moves across the stage, lights glistening off the blue-black highlights in his hair and making him look like he has a damn halo on his head. His brown eyes scan the crowd, catching on faces and holding them as he purrs into the microphone and caresses it like he fucking
it. I bet every bitch in here can practically feel his hands on her body, taste his tongue in her mouth.
What am I shitting myself for? They've probably all had a nice, big slice of the real thing anyway.
Let's just say that Turner's reputation proceeds him.
I have to remember that he's not just a devil, but
I take another sip of beer and try to focus on something else – the crowd of people clusterfucking at the bar, the mosh pit up front, Blair's white feather eyelashes. Nothing works. My gaze finds Turner Campbell again and stays there, focusing primarily on his lips and the words that tumble out of them.
What the hell did you do to leave me broken, barren, and bleeding? What gave you the fucking right?
” Turner sucks in a massive lungful of air, blowing his hot breath across the microphone and breaking my heart with a single gasp. I'm not alone. The crowd starts to hum, men and women alike pulsing with the heat and the energy of the song.
Goddamn, that's good,
I think as I allow myself to sink against the cool concrete of the back wall.
Doubt those lyrics are his though. Fucking hypocrite.
Just yesterday I walked in on Turner fucking a roadie over a PA speaker. When he saw me, he just pulled out and left the girl there with her panties around her ankles. She cried for a half a fucking hour.
I want to hate him, but it's really hard from down here. I like it better when I'm backstage, when I can look at him hitting on groupies and roadies, watch him running his fingers across the lips of a dozen girls in a dozen cities. It's a lot easier to hate him that way.
How am I going to make it through six months of this?
I finish my beer and push away from the wall, dropping the empty bottle on the edge of the bar before sneaking out a side door. My hands slide across a collage of torn stickers and scribbled Sharpie as I heave the heavy metal out of my way, snatching one last glance before I go at the lead singer of Indecency. Sweat slides down the tattoos on his neck and soaks into the fabric of his black T-shirt. Ironically, it's one of ours.
I doubt he even really knows who we are. I bet one his roadie bitches dressed him this morning.
I drop the door shut behind me, not caring that the sound of it slamming is like a gunshot in the still air outside the Pound. I'm glad our set is over because it would be hard to follow an act like that. No matter what I think of Turner, his band is good. I guess they'd have to be since they're the headliners. Still …
I put a cigarette between my lips and light up. The tangy coastal air feels good against my moist skin and the breeze smells like salt, waking me from the buzzed trance I was nursing and thrusting me back into the real world. Not always a good thing.
“Hey, Naomi,” a voice calls out from the end of the alley. I don't turn my head because there's only one person I've ever met that sounds like a demonic version of Mickey Mouse. “Hayden got drunk and vomited all over the bathroom. There's like three inches of fucking puke in there.” Wren pauses next to me and tucks his skinny hands into the front pockets of his acid washed jeans. “It smells like tequila and it's making me sick.” I take a drag on my cigarette and close my eyes. The music from inside is drifting through the walls and poking the bare skin on my arms like a chorus of needles. I sigh and flick my smoke to the grimy cement.
“So clean it up,” I tell him as I crush the butt to ashes with the toe of my stiletto boot. “I'm tired of being Hayden's bitch.” Wren watches me, but doesn't say anything else. He knows I'll do it. That I'll walk in there and pick our lead singer up off the floor, wipe her down and strip her naked, put her to bed and tell her a goddamn fairy tale. I'm no stranger to cleaning up Hayden's messes. I just have to get my head in the right place before I do it. Wren shifts his weight to the side and continues to stare. “Fuck, don't just stand there and stare at me. You know I'll friggin' do it. Gimme a minute, why don't you?”
I turn away and start down the alley, back towards the front where bouncers in black shirts wait, passing around a silver flask and sharing a joint. They know me, so they don't say anything, just watch as I step into their circle and reach out my hand. Both items make their way to me quickly.
“I love your shit, Knox,” says a man with bright blue eyes and a tattoo of a dragon curling up his left arm. I swig some of the alcohol from the flask.
Ugh. Cheap whiskey.
I wipe my hand across my mouth and hand it the person standing next to me.
“My shit?” I ask as I pinch the joint between my fingers and slide it into my mouth. I take a nice, long drag and wait for the smoke to fill my lungs and cloud my brain. I can't look at Hayden if I don't get fucked up first. Ever since that day, the sight of her makes me sick to my stomach.
God, I hate that bitch.
“Your music. It's good shit.” I blow white smoke into the air and smile with tight lips.
“If you ever call my music
again,” I say as I pass the joint to dragon-boy. “I will kick your fucking ass to the curb.”