Home > Brendon (Alluring Indulgence #8)

Brendon (Alluring Indulgence #8)
Author: Nicole Edwards


Seven years ago

Cheyenne Montgomery was nervous. As much as, if not more than, the last time she’d played in a small backwoods redneck bar, just a couple of months earlier. At eighteen, barely six months out of high school, it wasn’t easy for her to get onto the stage, something she’d learned through a lot of hard work and repeated rejection at an early age. In fact, it was usually downright impossible. But the rather unruly owner of this little hole in the wall had been willing to give her a chance, and here she was.

“Hey, y’all. My name’s … uh … Cheyenne. Cheyenne Montgomery. Thanks for … um … thanks for having me.”

“Come on, sweetcheeks. Get on with it!” someone hollered from the crowd.

Nodding, Cheyenne swallowed hard. After making her introduction to the crowd, albeit timidly, Cheyenne launched right into her first song. She’d taken to playing covers of incredible artists like Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, and even Reba McEntire. Not because people had told her that she sounded like them, but because they were her favorites. The band accompanying her—the only people who’d been half-ass nice to her since she arrived—was brilliant and she was grateful to them for agreeing to back her up tonight. She was doing this for free, which meant they were, too. Well, technically, she guessed they were all doing it for their joint love of music.

When she finished her first song, Cheyenne glanced out at the scattered faces in front of her, forcing her smile to stay on her lips. Her hands were shaking and she was sure if anyone in the threadbare crowd looked close enough, they’d notice. Not that she had to worry about that. No one seemed to be paying her much attention, which wasn’t all that surprising. At the little dives like this one, she didn’t generally see much interest in what she did. Well, except for one drunk old guy …

“Hey, honey! When you’re done up there, why don’t you come sit on my lap?”

Cheyenne ignored the man. He’d been yelling obscene suggestions at her since the second she came up onstage. During one of her songs, he’d even been taunting her. It didn’t look as though he intended to stop any time in the near future, either.

Jumping right into the next song in her set, Cheyenne gave her all, blocking out everyone and everything around her, falling right into the music. The two spotlights, awkwardly aimed at her head, made it nearly impossible to see the faces of the people in the bar, which allowed her more opportunity to get lost in her own little world for a while. So, that was exactly what she did.

After the fifth song, Cheyenne and the band took a quick break. She wasn’t allowed to go to the bar, so she graciously accepted a bottle of water when the drummer—she wasn’t sure what his name was and she was too nervous to ask—brought it to her. After downing it all, she waited for the band to return.

Ten minutes had passed and she’d had to endure the intoxicated man—the one she’d dubbed Loud Mouth—who continued to holler at her. Cheyenne noticed that he’d gotten louder as the minutes ticked by, probably due to the alcohol he was consuming. His words didn’t bother her, and he definitely wasn’t trying to be polite, but she was pretty sure he was beginning to irritate those around him.

“You ready to go, girl?” the drummer asked when he returned.

“Absolutely,” she lied.

For a minute, she’d considered running out the back door and hopping into her little piece of shit car and going home. Only, home was an empty apartment that had little to no furniture in it. She was the epitome of a starving artist, just like so many musicians when they first started out. Her tiny apartment consisted of a bed—where she slept—and a ratty, secondhand couch—where she did everything else, including eat. Not that she needed much more than that. She wasn’t home much as it was.

“What’re you gonna play?” the guitarist—she remembered he’d said his name was Joe—questioned, and Cheyenne turned back to him and smiled.

With the help of a friend of hers, she’d written a song and hadn’t yet sung it in public, but tonight seemed as good as any to give it a go, so she whispered her intentions to Joe. She’d provided them with a copy of the music when she had arrived, so they were familiar with her request. When he informed the others and they gave her a thumbs-up, Cheyenne swallowed hard.

Turning back to the crowd, Cheyenne introduced her song. “This is just somethin’ I came up with one night. I hope you like it.”

Although the lights were still pointed at her, Cheyenne could tell that when she launched into her own song, heads started to turn. She knew it was good, but most importantly, the song was written specifically for her. It reflected the heartbreak that had been her life and she knew there were others who could relate. Three minutes later, Cheyenne brought the song to a close and grinned when a few people even applauded.

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