Keith “Kat” Williams is the best friend everyone wants. As bassist for the punk rock band Lightning, his level head and cool composure were the glue that held the band together, even in the worst of times. His fierce loyalty to his best friend Adrian “Bolt” Hall kept the band’s lead singer on a path that eventually led him to marital bliss with his wife, Melody. Kat’s always envied the love Adrian and Melody share because it’s something he’s been unable to obtain. The one woman he gave his heart to left it in shambles. But now, Kat believes he’s found the love of his life with Annette, a woman he’s been close friends with since high school.
Annette Hall, Adrian’s cousin and Melody’s best friend, has left her unfaithful husband and is building a new life for herself and her three sons. In Kat, she sees a gorgeous man with a good heart. One who’s always been there for her even when her husband was not. As the two of them begin to look beyond the boundaries of friendship, they start to see the possibility of a relationship that could last a lifetime. There’s just one problem…her husband wants her back.
Despite all his failures as a husband and father, Dr. Adam Bryant promises Annette they can pick up the pieces and put their family back together. But when his wife repeatedly refuses him, something snaps, and a dark, sinister side of Adam emerges—a side willing to destroy every relationship Annette has ever had and hurt everyone she loves, including their sons.
Keith Williams thudded up the steps onto the bleachers, his four friends following behind him. When he’d gone about halfway up, he sat down and slid to his right. His newest friend, Adrian Hall, sat next to him and stretched out his legs. Douglas Meyers plopped down on the opposite side of Kat. His other buddies, Anthony Barber and John Thomas, took the space in front of the trio.
Adrian flicked his pointer finger at some boys playing basketball on the court and sneered. “You guys dress out and do this shit?”
Keith waved his arm toward the court. “You don’t have to do anything. Just dress out, and they pass you. It’s easy credit, and I plan to walk out of this place with a diploma.”
John playfully smacked Anthony’s arm and laughed. “Doug needs all the help he can get. Otherwise, he’ll be like forty when he graduates.”
“Shut up.” Doug thumped John’s head. “I’ve only failed twice and it’s because of my dyslexia.”
Adrian scanned the gym floor. “Sounds like you got a good thing going. Sorry, I messed it up telling you guys not to dress out.”
“No problem,” Keith replied. “We need to discuss band stuff anyway.”
“Man, I can’t believe I got so lucky, coming to a new school and finding a band on my first day. And a band that plays my kind of music.”
Keith smiled at his new friend. “We’re the lucky ones. Didn’t think we’d ever find a lead singer.”
“Your voice ain’t bad,” Adrian told him.
Keith shook his head. “’Ain’t bad’ ain’t good enough. We needed excellent. Powerful.”
“And now we have it.” John grinned and nudged Adrian’s leg. “Seriously, you kick ass.”
“The whole band does.” Adrian grinned too. “When we were jamming yesterday, it was hot. We can go places.”
“Like play in public and stuff?” Anthony asked, wide-eyed.
“Shit, that’s just the beginning.” Adrian ran a hand through his platinum blond, spiked hair. “I don’t know how serious you guys are, but I plan to go all the way to the top.”
“Right there with you man.” Keith held out a fist, and Adrian bumped it with one of his own. “My dad was a musician for a long time. Played with a lot of bands and on a lot of albums. Never in the spotlight though, always just backed the big names.”
Adrian sat up, and they all huddled closer to him. “I’m serious. If we really want it, we got this. You’re all solid musicians.”
“And we write our own shit,” Doug added.
“That makes it even better. We’re solid songwriters, too. We have what it takes. We just need to rehearse and look for opportunities.”
“And a name for the band.” John squirmed in his seat, clearly excited by Adrian’s declaration.
Doug opened a spiral notebook where he always jotted down ideas and song lyrics. He handed it to Adrian. “I’ve got a few I came up with, here.”
Adrian took the notebook from him and studied his ideas. Keith grimaced as he looked at the names over Adrian’s shoulder. Doug could write song lyrics, but his name ideas sucked.
“Nah, none of these.” Adrian handed Doug back his notebook, then started snapping his fingers. “We need something flashy…something hot…something on fire.”
“How about The Chili Peppers?” Anthony laughed.
The rest of the guys looked at him as if he were crazy.
“Lame,” John whispered to his best friend.
“We’re gonna need nicknames, too.” Keith leaned back. “All the great punk rockers have them.”
Adrian nodded. “I already have my name picked out…Bolt.”
“That’s badass,” John told him.
“So like, if you’re the lead singer, and you go by Bolt, we could call ourselves Lightning.”
They all looked at Anthony again, obviously thinking about his suggestion.
“Lame?” Anthony asked, pushing his dark curls back from his forehead.
“No, that’s fucking brilliant,” Keith said. “What do you think…uh…Bolt?”
“Hell, yeah.” Bolt started clapping. “Lightning with Bolt Hall on lead vocals and guitar.”
“My grandpa always called me Buzzy because he gave me buzz haircuts at his barber shop.”
Keith ruffled John’s jet-black head of shaggy hair and said, “Looks like he’s missed a few.”
John’s gaze fell to the floor.
“He died about five years ago,” Anthony explained.
“Sorry man.” Keith patted John’s shoulder. “Buzzy it is then.”
Anthony held up a drumstick. “I’d like to be Ringo.”
“That name’s been taken,” Doug reminded him.
“I know, but he’s my favorite drummer. And my mom really loves The Beatles. When I started drumming, she called me her little Ringo.”
“Ringo it is then.” Bolt nodded and gave the drummer a high five.
Doug groaned. “Let’s hope we don’t get sued.”
“Let’s hope we do.” Buzzy laughed. “Can you imagine all the free publicity?”
Keith smiled. Glad we added Bolt. Things are coming together. “What about you, Doug? What did you get called as a kid?”
“Doug,” he replied. He pulled up his shirt so that everyone could see the crude tattoo drawn on the side of his ribcage. “What about this? It’s my first tattoo from my brother.”
“Ugly knife?” Buzzy asked, tightening his face, trying to hold back laughter.
“No, you shithead.” Doug smacked Buzzy’s head.
“Dagger?” Ringo asked.
“Sure, why not? Sounds menacing.”
Buzzy rolled his eyes. “Because looking like a blond Elvis is so menacing.”
Dagger swatted Buzzy’s head again.
“What about you?” Bolt was looking at Keith.
He didn’t have a clue. He’d never had a childhood nickname. And needles were something he feared.
He shrugged. “I’ve got nothing.”
“How about Kat?” Bolt offered.
I do like cats even though I’ve never had one. Mom’s always been too drunk to take care of me much less a pet.
“How’d you come up with that?”
Bolt slapped him lightly on the back. “Because you’re a cool cat. Only we’ll spell it with a K like your real name.”