Stella Ramsey always says bad boys can’t break your heart. They don’t call, don’t cuddle and don’t send flowers—but what do you expect? For Stella, no strings means no regrets.
When the biggest story of her fledgling career as a music journalist nearly ruins her relationship with her best friend, Stella has one chance to redeem herself. Tyler Walsh could be that chance.
Stella promises the bassist for the rock band Tattoo Thief anything in exchange for behind-the-scenes access. But Tyler doesn’t want anything. He wants everything—and that’s more than Stella is prepared to give.
When Tyler’s explosive secret thrusts Stella into the media spotlight, she must choose between the selling the story and telling the truth—and exposing the truth about herself as well.
Tyler & Stella (Tattoo Thief #2) is a sizzling story of lust, lies, and sacrifice, revealing how much love can forgive.
Setup: Aspiring music journalist Stella Ramsey tried to get an exclusive interview with Tyler Walsh, bassist for the rock band Tattoo Thief, but it ended badly. She wants to forget the whole awkward, sexy encounter, but at the next concert she covers, Tyler is there—making a guest appearance with Felix Crow and his band, The Ruins.
A strong, stark guitar solo kicks off the next song and Tyler plays at the front of the stage, walking so close to the edge that the journalists and photographers could reach out and touch his shoes.
“Let’s give it up for Tyler Walsh from Tattoo Thief, joining us tonight on bass!” Felix whips the crowd into a frenzy as Tyler teases sounds from his instrument that sound like they’ve never been played before.
Tyler’s a good showman, connecting with the audience at every level from the front row to those in the far back, and he works his way across the stage from left to right.
I’m mesmerized by his fingers, by the way his whole body engages in this dance with his instrument. His hips buck, his back arches, and his arms flex with effort as he plays.
It’s one of the most erotic displays I’ve ever seen and my knees nearly buckle when he stops in front of me, still playing, taking the melody to a perfect high.
I hear a boosh and silver sparks jet from twin canisters on each side of the stage, the first in what I imagine will be a massive display of pyrotechnics. It won’t be long now. When this band is done playing, people will stay in the park and party beneath fireworks lit from the waiting barges in the East River.
Tyler throws his head back and plays the final notes of his solo and I want to reach out and touch him. No, I need to touch him. My neck hurts from craning to look up at him so long and I’m exhausted from the sweaty night, but I can’t look away.
When the band transitions to a ballad, Tyler remains where he is, his body looser than when he played the intense solo. His posture shifts and his eyes seek me again as he steps toward a microphone to add his voice to the chorus.
Felix Crow belts out a line and Tyler and the rest of The Ruins lean into the chorus. Tyler’s eyes never leave me.
Threads become a rope
And lies become a story
I came to tell you sorry
The rope, the knot, the noose, the loss
Bound up tight, I come undone
Truth is the cure but a bitter medicine
What’s broken can mend
Love that’s lost can be found again.
I squirm under Tyler’s direct gaze as he sings about second chances. He could be singing to me, or maybe it’s all in my stupidly hopeful brain.
Emphasis on stupid. I filed a bland little story about Tattoo Thief’s practice space yesterday but Heath hasn’t published it. I didn’t write anything bad about Gavin, Beryl, Tyler or anyone from Tattoo Thief.
I also didn’t write a story that mattered. And for that, I hate myself a little. I let him get under my skin and he got exactly what he wanted.
I hate that my body is betraying me, stirring with yearning for a guy I met barely forty-eight hours ago. Tyler’s brown eyes narrow with intensity as he looks at me. My skin blisters with need and I want to believe that I’m not the only one affected by this chemistry.
I drag my eyes away from him and will myself to look at something else. I’ve never believed in love at first sight, only lust. You can’t possibly take one look at a person and know you love them.
Can you want to bang the hell out of them? Sure. But fall for them? No way.
I lock eyes with Tyler again as he performs. Somehow in this chaos we’ve created a quiet little connection held together only with our eyes.
The rest of the crowd falls away behind me, the lights blur behind Tyler, and I find myself cataloging the little tiny things about him that I want to believe only I notice.
He’s missing the third button on his shirt. His fingernails are short and square. His shoes are new and his hair has some kind of product in it but it still flops around. His shirt flaps open to reveal two small, shining silver studs on either side of his nipples.
My brain spins—he’s pierced. That visual sends a bolt straight to my core. Add that to the tattoos and the rock band and the attitude and put a fork in me. I’m done. If I were here as just a fangirl, I’d be throwing my panties at Tyler right now.
That’s the last thought in my head when a blinding flash of pain explodes behind my eyes.
Find out what’s happened to Stella at the concert and how Tyler must rescue her in Tyler & Stella.
Heidi Joy lives in Happy Valley off Sunnyside Road. She swears she did not make that up.
Heidi’s obsessed with storytelling. Her career includes marketing, journalism, and a delicious few years as a food columnist. Media passes took her backstage with several rock bands, where she learned that sometimes a wardrobe malfunction is exactly what the rock star intends.
You’ll most often find Heidi Joy with her husband and two small kids cooking, fishing, exploring the Northwest, and building epic forts in their living room.
She loves to hear from readers via messages at facebook.com/author.heidi.
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