More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs
(Chasing The Dream #1)
Publication date: June 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars.
Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.
Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.
As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.
“I need your help,” Jared said, fixing an intense gaze on me. “We have a live audition tomorrow for The Sound. Problem is, our bassist quit last night, and we need a fourth member of the band.”
“What?” Was he saying what I thought he was saying? No. Impossible.
“I know—worst timing ever. Can you play bass by any chance?”
His face fell for an instant, and some reckless part of me wanted to lie and say yes or promise him I’d learn. How hard could it be to learn the bass if I knew how to play guitar, right? Though I immediately realized how dumb that idea was because a) I could never learn bass in time for an audition tomorrow; b) I shouldn’t care about making Jared happy, even if his disappointed face broke my heart; and c) none of that mattered because he couldn’t possibly be asking me to join his band anyway.
“That’s okay,” he said. “I can play bass, and you can play guitar. It’ll work.” His smile lit up his face again, with a look that could charm any girl lucky enough to bask in it. Right now, that girl was me. “So what do you think?”
Jared was asking me—me—to play guitar in his band. In an audition on live TV. In front of four of the greatest musicians ever, plus millions of people at home. Mind. Blown. Somehow I’d been handed my secret dream on a silver platter. Next up, Jared would ask me out, too. Yeah, and then we’d ride off into the sunset on a rainbow unicorn with our million-dollar record deal.
“You want me to join your band?” I asked slowly, studying him for any sign that this was all a joke.
“Just for the audition. That should give us enough time to find another bass player to take Becca’s place.”
Ah, there was the catch. I would only play with them for one day, giving me a tiny taste of their lifestyle, and then they’d drop me as soon as the audition was over. No, better to never know what it would be like to play guitar on stage, to be part of a band, to make music with Jared and Kyle. Besides, I couldn’t play guitar in front of the world. Guitar was my secret, my fun escape, and nothing more. My internship started on Monday, and I needed to focus on that—not on silly dreams of being a rock star.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t.” I spun around and rushed toward the exit before he could respond. I didn’t want him to see my face and how much I desperately wanted to do it.
“Wait!” He ran after me, but I kept going, past other students who watched us with curiosity. “Maddie, wait!”
Damn his long legs. He caught up to me, practically jumping in front of me to stop me in my tracks. I kept my face glued to the floor, to the contrast of his black combat boots and my green Converse. I couldn’t look up at him or I’d be tempted to say yes to anything.
He lowered his voice. “Please, you’re the only person who can help us. You’re an amazing guitarist, and you already know our songs. We need you.”
I shook my head, looking anywhere but at him. Hearing him say he needed me with his whiskey-chocolate-sex voice made my legs a bit shaky, but what he was asking for? It was too much.
Jared got down on his knees, right in the middle of the hallway, and everyone stopped to watch us. He raised his hands like he was begging. “Please, this is our one chance, but without a fourth member, we can’t do it. You’re perfect and it’ll only be for a day, and then I’ll owe you. I’ll do anything you want.” He topped it off with a grin. “Help me, Maddie Taylor, you’re my only hope.”
Damn. How could I say no to a Star Wars reference from a hot guy on his knees? The word slipped out before I could stop it. “Okay.”
About the Author
Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.