His mouth curled up in that smile that always could make her dizzy from across the room. He swiped open the hotel room and stepped back to allow her in. Bathroom to the left with a huge oval soaking tub on one side and a separate shower on the other. Huge round mirror over the gold veined white marble sink and counter. Mirrored doors over the closet on the opposite side giving her a momentary glimpse of never ending reflections. The room opened up beyond the dim, narrow hall. King sized bed with a burgundy spread and six crisp white pillows. The closed dark wood cabinet probably held the television and mini bar. A dark blue love seat and wing backed chair behind a long oval coffee table. An elegant dark stained desk with a mirror hanging over it. His clothes would all be neatly placed in the closet. He hated a messy room. More, he hated housekeeping digging through his things.
This room is based on the room I had when I went to Kuala Lumpur. I was there over Christmas break, but it was so hot that I would go out in the morning to sightsee and then stop in the room to cool off, shower and change so room service had a hard time making up my room. They were, however, very generous with the bottled water. First night, I drank up the two bottles in my room and asked for another. I was given two. The next day when I came back from my jaunt, room service had dropped off four bottles, but hadn’t gotten to make the bed. I went through those during the afternoon so turn down service left me two more, which I drank. (It was very hot!) The third day, room service left me six bottles of water and turn down left two more. I needed all that water (plus the juices, teas and sodas I had with my meals) because it was so swelteringly hot and I tend to prefer to walk as much as possible.
When I went to the butterfly garden I took the train to the nearest stop and asked a cop for directions. He looked at me and said, “It’s very far away. Are you sure you want to walk it?” I thought he was assuming I was a pasty tourist who couldn’t handle the distance and set off in the direction he indicated. An oppressive hour and a half later, I found the butterfly garden, which was spectacular fortunately. I skipped the deer park and the orchid garden that were supposed to be nearby and asked directions to the Chinese Market of a trio of Muslim women who were on their way back to work from the mosque. After some conferring, they chose to walk me half the way there rather than get me lost. I stopped halfway to go through a textile museum to cool off.
If there hadn’t been so much neat stuff around, I would have been happy to just hang in my room, drinking my water. The bathroom alone was marvelous and I could see for miles from my window.
Jen locked her door behind her and pulled the curtains before sinking down on the couch. What had she expected Trent to do? Avoid her? If he’d just had the class to forget her, it would have been perfect. She could have spent today and tomorrow suffering with the idea that he was there and she couldn’t see him, and then it would have been over so she could go back to being a single mom who had no interest in dating.
He felt so good when he grabbed her. It was just like old times. The crazy, dizzying feeling of being swept up by Trent Markov. Carried away on the wild, sexy roller coaster of his life. The limos, the fans, she had been famous by association. And he had treated her like a queen. For a while she’d believed she be just like Bear D’Amato’s girlfriend – wife. Bear had looked at Maureen like the walked on water. Bought her all those gorgeous clothes. Got her into the show.
Jen had thought it was a sign that Trent picked her out of the crowd that night. That her time had come.
Jenny appeared first in Satellite Of Love. First, she was working in the shop where Bear took Maureen to get clothes for a concert he wanted to take her to. That night Trent picked Jenny out of the crowd of groupies and she thought she’d won the lottery. She spent some time chatting with Maureen, getting to know her and dreaming about a day in the future when they were both married to their rock stars.
What Jenny wasn’t taking into account then was that Maureen didn’t have groupie mentality. She wasn’t there as a plaything and she had an identity of her own. When I was writing the scenes between Jenny and Maureen in that first book, I knew Jenny was a wounded, broken character with a lot to learn before her Happily Ever After. Even after all she’s been through in the intervening years, she still has a ways to go at the start of this book.
Finally! After watching Trent act like a jerk for three books he got his. This was one of my favorite books to write. I hated Trent so much for what he did to Rick and Tara, and then to Alan and Angie. I mean, he had very good reasons. The other guys in the band are not especially business minded. Well, Alan is, but he spent the band’s early career seriously altered. Regardless, Trent felt that the weight of the band’s success rested on his shoulders so he became a control freak. And a raging egomaniac. It’s so very satisfying to bring an egomaniac low.
Jenny wasn’t the woman to do it until she had her daughter. Lulu changed everything for her. She could allow Trent to be cruel to her, but she couldn’t allow her daughter to see men being cruel to her mother. That was not a lessons she wanted her daughter to learn. It’s hard for her. I’m not sure what happened to Jenny in her past that made her believe she wasn’t worth love, but it hurts me that she does. (Yes, I have a small problem differentiating fantasy and reality.)
I loved writing this story. Seeing Jenny come into her own and knocking Trent down a few pegs. Lulu was a blast to write. I based her on several small children I have known who were so amazingly poised and calm for their age. I think readers will enjoy the story, especially if they’ve read any (or all) of the other books in the series to see what a jerk Trent is.
Trent rolled over and checked his email on his phone. Nothing. Tonight was the last show before they had a week off. He’d been hoping to hear from Tessa before then. Shit.
How hard could it be to find a woman and a little girl? He sat up and took a pull from the whiskey bottle he’d left on the nightstand the night before. Damn it, even alcohol was losing its appeal. First groupies, then drugs, now alcohol. What was next? Food? Music? Air?
He located Tessa in his contacts. “Any news?”
“I ran a background on her, but I was waiting to hear from my PI to send it to you.”
“Give me what you’ve got so far.”
“Jennifer Hammerstrom. Twenty-three. Bookkeeper at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland. Last known address is two seven oh eight nine West Highland apartment four C, but the place is empty. Her rent is paid through the month, but her landlord said she left town.”
The venerable Cleveland Agora is closed and has been for a long time. It’s been closed so long that the last show I saw there was Savatage, which later turned into the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Yeah, that long ago. I bring up the fact that I saw Savatage to my brother at least once a year because I like to needle him about the fact that I saw his favorite band before he did. Indeed, before they became the band that is now his favorite.
The venue where Jenny works, though called the Cleveland Agora, is actually based on the State Theater in Playhouse Square in Cleveland. I had a job once where I had to arrange an awards dinner of the stage of the State Theater that was going to be broadcast live on a classical music station. (Yes, Cleveland has a classical music station. NPR, too.) Arranging that event just about killed me, but it gave me the opportunity to go all over the State Theater, which was not an opportunity that I had with the Cleveland Agora. (I keep saying Cleveland Agora on the off chance that the reader might confuse it with the Akron Agora, which is also closed.)
I watched this movie because someone else wanted to and I wasn’t doing anything else. It did introduce me to the concept of Rumspringa, which, despite living much of my life in Amish country, I had never heard of. It’s pretty funny, but Seth Green as the sarcastic Amish man steals the movie.