Strings Attached

A Baselines Sins Novel | Book One

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On the surface, Sebastian "Baz" Valenti is a rock god with the lifestyle to match. With  his drop-dead gorgeous looks and his band, Baseline Sins, at the top of the charts, he can have any woman he wants. But the constant touring and recording has taken its toll. Now he’s turned to scoring films, a gig that has introduced him to the one woman he really wants but can’t have... 

Trudeau Morrison is all business all the time. As the managing director of ManDown Films, it’s her job to keep Baz focused on business too. It’s not an easy task, considering Baz has made no secret of his desire for her. But Tru doesn’t want to get involved with a rock star, even if he is the hottest man she’s ever met.  

Trouble is, once Baz gets an erotic taste of Tru, he’s not going to give her up. Now he just has to show her that rock-steady is nothing compared to rock and roll...  

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Read an excerpt ...

As Sebastian folded himself into the driver’s seat, she caught a whiff of aftershave and turned to face him, realizing he’d cleaned off the scruff he’d been sporting recently.

It made him look younger. And so much more . . . lickable.

As he turned the key, he shot her a look. “What?”

She shook her head, trying not to look guilty. She had no reason to feel guilty. That was ridiculous.

“Nothing. You . . . shaved.”

She wanted to groan. How stupid could she be?

“Well, damn, I guess I can be civilized.”

She winced. “Sorry. That wasn’t a commenta—”

“It’s alright. It was starting to annoy me. Never liked beards. They’re itchy.”

“You look better without it.”

Now she wanted to smack herself on the forehead and stuff a gag in her mouth. What the hell was wrong with her tonight?

“High praise coming from you.”

She had to bite her tongue to contain her pissy response. She’d told herself she wasn’t going to let him get to her. And she wasn’t going to unnecessarily antagonize him.

Deep breath.

“Yes, it is. You look handsome.”

He snorted. “Wow, you almost sound like you believe it.”

Flowers. Puppies. Inhale. Exhale. “I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it. You look great tonight.”

Well, what do you know? That shut him up.

Of course, the silence held for only a minute or so. But she never would’ve imagined what came out of his mouth next.

“You look pretty amazing yourself.”

Heat flashed through her body, arrowing straight from her nipples to between her thighs.

Oh, no. No, no, no. That wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t happen. There was just so much wrong with—

Sebastian cleared his throat . . . and saved her from embarrassing the hell out of herself when she tried to say thank you. Because she was pretty damn sure it would’ve come out in a husky whisper.

“So, this couple we’re meeting. Greg didn’t give me a lot of details.”

Relief flooded through her. It didn’t wash away the heat still flooding certain parts of her body—which she shouldn’t be thinking about—but it was a start. “Well, it’s a father and daughter. I haven’t met them, but Greg and the dad go back. Like, I think, to high school. Now he’s some bigwig at a financial firm and has some local investors interested in getting into the movie business.”

“Greg said the daughter wanted me specifically to be there. Any idea what that’s about?”

Tru had an idea but wasn’t going to voice that here. Starfuckermight almost make her sound jealous.

Although he was probably used to that, with all the groupies.

She’d never understood that mentality. Sex certainly wasn’t sacred, but she had to at least know the guy a few days to want to get in bed with him, not just think he was hot.

“The daughter works for one of the local newspapers, so I’m assuming that’s her angle.”

“What? You haven’t had their backgrounds checked and fingerprints run through the national database?”

She stiffened but . . . he was right. She totally would’ve done that if Greg hadn’t specifically told her not to .

“Greg told me they were good.”

“And Greg’s word is law.”

She didn’t hear any snark in his tone, but her back went up anyway. It was an immediate response to anyone who dissed Greg in any way. Yes, she knew she was way too sensitive, but the man was a legend for a reason.

“Well, it is his company. And a damn good one. And he’s a damn good guy—”

“Tru, stop. I wasn’t dissing the guy. You know I think he’s amazing. I was just . . .” He stopped and uttered a short, sharp snort. “Yeah, I guess I just wish I wasn’t so fucked up sometimes.”

The bitter tinge of self-hatred in his voice stopped her cold. “Sebastian, what—”

“Aw . . . fuck. Christ, forget I said that. I don’t know why— Look, I’m just talking out of my ass. So, you look fu—freaking hot, Tru. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in anything other than work clothes or jeans.”

Head spinning, she realized two things at once. First, he was trying to deflect. And second . . . she lit up like a Christmas tree when he called her hot.

Her stomach tightened into a ball and her skin felt tingly and flushed. And, holy hell, her thighs clenched and she actually got wet.

God, she couldn’t breathe. But she had to say something. Couldn’t let him think she didn’t appreciate his words.

“Thank you. You look pretty—amazing, too.”

He laughed. “Is that code for ‘I can’t believe you wore a suit’?”

“No. I . . . I . . . just . . . I’ve never seen you in a suit.”

“Shocked, huh?”

She huffed. “You’re determined to piss me off, aren’t you?”

He stopped laughing immediately. “Actually, no. Sorry. I’m trying not to be a prick, but obviously, I can’t help myself.”

“No. That’s not it.” In the dim light from the dashboard, she saw his jaw flex. “You’re not being a prick, and I’m not trying to get a rise out of you. Truce, remember?”

Baz slid a quick glance her way. “Yeah. Truce.”

“So . . . tell me about this car. My dad would love this, by the way.”

“Then your dad has damn good taste.”

Baz started to talk in a language she didn’t understand but that her dad definitely would have. Something about headers and engine block, and she nodded as he spoke about his car almost as eloquently as he did about music.

She realized, after a couple of minutes, that she was listening more to the sound of his voice than what he was saying. His voice held a bit of a rasp, like he smoked way too much. Or screamed every night for a living.

But she knew he didn’t smoke, and he hadn’t stepped on a stage in almost a year. And she couldn’t help but wonder if he missed it.

He eventually wound down his one-sided conversation about his car and slid her another glance. She let her gaze connect with his for a second and saw his narrow before his mouth twisted with a wry grimace.

“Sorry. I tend to get carried away when I’m talking about music or muscle cars.”

“Do you miss performing?”

The question escaped before she had time to censor herself. She sometimes wondered if the reason he was so pissy was because he missed his band.

He sucked in a short breath, like she’d smacked him. She almost felt like she should apologize for prying, but she honestly wanted to know.

And she was sick of fighting with this man, sick of wondering whether they’d start bickering the second he walked in the door in the morning. It’d become almost routine. He’d say something, she’d say something, and it would go to hell from there.

“Yeah. I do.”

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