It’s been twenty years since Charley Roper and Dallas Creed parted with great bitterness. In that time, she’s made a career for herself with the FBI and private security and he’s been a country rock music icon…tumbled to the bottom and risen again. Now someone’s trying to kill him, and Morgan Creed wants Charley to protect his brother and find out who’s after him. When they meet again after all this time it’s obvious the chemistry is still there, stronger than ever. They’re older, but are they wiser? Caught up in the bitter wash of memories and the tension of a killer in stalking mode, Charley and Dallas begin a roller coaster ride that is emotional erotic and suspenseful. Is their love strong enough after twenty years to pull them back together?
So here I was, waiting for my first glimpse of the man on a stage since he and his pickup band played the Raccoon Saloon all those years ago. It was time to find out if I’d actually managed to wipe Dallas Creed out of my system. If bottling up my emotions and using other men to wipe away traces and memories of him had worked at all.
The night had a magical quality to it, a perfect Texas night with stars blinking against a black velvet sky. A very soft breeze stirred the air, chasing away the last heat of the day. The sense of expectancy in the outdoor concert facility was nearly palpable. Anticipation fairly zapped through the air like bolts of energy. I could even feel it myself, the kind of feeling you got on Christmas morning when you ran downstairs, or when you were right on the brink of the most outstanding orgasm you’d ever had. Seventy-five hundred people moved restlessly in their seats in front of me. An almost equal amount were spread out on the rise of the hill behind me, drinking and staring at the stage with binoculars, even though at the moment there was nothing to see. They were all waiting for the same thing.
The curtain was drawn across the stage, heightening the edge of expectancy. Especially for me, much as I hated to admit it. What was behind there? What was his band like now after they’d tasted success once and were back on top with him again?
I could feel the energy sizzling through the crowd. Well, why not? If nothing else, Dallas Creed had always had an electric presence. Add in the staging, his suck-my-tongue voice and the electricity of his music and you had a knockout winner.
The soft notes of a viola floated in the air from behind the curtain, joined immediately by violins, and I wondered what the hell? Violins? Then I realized it was a synthesizer. And obviously a damn good musician coaxing music from it. The sound that mimicked violins seemed to hold the audience in thrall, as if they were expectantly awaiting a grand moment. The music built and built as the magician behind the synthesizer added the full-throated sounds of woodwinds and the rich tones and powerful chords of an organ, swelling to a crescendo. The last note held and held and held, flowing out into the crowd, pulling at us as if to say, Wait for it, it’s coming.
Then I heard the familiar first downstroke of the rhythm guitars as they began the intro to the first song. The curtain drew back slowly to reveal the band onstage, the bass guitar and keyboards now adding their voices, the drums accenting them with a syncopated beat.
All sound ended abruptly and the crowd stilled for a breathless moment. The band launched into a rich intro to one of Dallas’ hits, an upbeat tune called Cowboys Get It Right, a song I realized the synthesizer had laid the foundation for. The spotlight came up and the man himself jogged onto the stage.
To my dismay, my traitorous heart tripped at the sight of him and an emotion I refused to name clogged my throat. Dallas Creed was definitely a lot older, forty-three to the twenty-three he’d been the last time I saw him in person. Newspaper photos had kept me up with his aging process, but no picture could do justice to the energy still radiating from this man. The energy that had drawn me to him in the first place.