Above RubiesHis chivalry was strangling her. He thought he was helping her—and in truth, he was. She was in desperate straits. But as honorable as he was, he was also breaking her heart. Her attraction was drowning him. When World Champion rodeo cowboy Rossen Rockland and his friends rescue a young runaway who has been abused by her foster father and take her home to his parents’ ranch, he expects her to turn out to be a pain in the neck. And sometimes she is. It doesn’t take him long to figure out that she has way more than her allotment of troubles—and far more than her share of gifts. Lovely, talented, and ravingly brilliant, Kit Star is too young, unbelievably humble, and oh, so loveable. Knowing that she needs his protection and time to grow into her potential, Rossen also figures out that what she really is, is a pain in the heart. Watch for more of the Rockland Ranch Series!
At the studio, Kit was surprised at the level of security they had to go through to get into the building. There was a cluster of people outside the main doors waiting to get a glimpse of whomever would be recording that day, and Kit and Joey were almost overwhelmed by the jostling they received when their group tried to walk through. Nick smiled at the fans as they pushed through with the help of two security guards, but the smile never quite reached his eyes. Cameras popping in her face left her nearly blind momentarily and Nick took her elbow and put up a protective arm as one of the others helped Joey get through the crush. When they were finally safely inside, they were greeted by yet another set of locked doors guarded by armed men. This time they were escorted through without the physical mobbing.
As they emerged into the safety of the interior of the building, Nick apologized, “Sorry about that. We usually just drive into the underground parking, and no one can bother us inside the car, but they're doing some kind of maintenance on the concrete and we’re stuck going in the front doors for awhile. The press is having a good time with it.”
Nick was still jovial, but it was obvious that the hassle had been frustrating and once inside, he wanted to get right to business. Dr. Mitchell settled Joey in a booth with a man named Ian who wore a headset and sat in front of ten thousand lighted buttons. Then he took Kit into the actual studio and fitted her with her own headset and electric guitar. They were off to one side and he quickly went through the music they were going to be playing that morning. Kit tried to just focus on the music and ignore her nerves.
Shortly, the other musicians and a backup singer came in and got set up. There was Nick on the guitar, as well as Kit and Dr. Mitchell, and Mrs. Mitchell on keyboards. One of the two men who had come in with Nick was his drummer, Shane, and the other was a singer named Joss who played a number of instruments. Before the day was out he played six different things ranging from the mandolin to the alto sax. Shane was about half kooky, with a perpetual smile and enough energy for ten people. Kit liked him instantly and enjoyed his nutty enthusiasm as he mixed a passion for music with a screwball sense of humor. As they worked, it became apparent that he both tempered the work atmosphere and kept up the intensity at the same time.
Joss was so mellow she almost wondered if he was on something, except there was no way he could have been drugged and so utterly with it musically, at the same time. Kit didn’t hear him make a mistake the whole day. He was a machine, just a very low key one.
As they began Kit was sickeningly uptight, but within just a few minutes, as she became confident she could do everything they needed, she loosened up. She decided being a part of a band was much more fun than just playing alone. There was something about working together to create the music. The complexity and depth were immensely satisfying. The all-encompassing sound and the rhythm and passion of the musicians fed an emotion that was almost a physical high. She soon found herself immersed in the music and was dancing and playing along with Nick as they worked.
She knew he’d been watching her. She would have expected nothing less from any boss. And when he came and stood beside her, she looked to him for suggestions and instruction just like the others did. Once in a while, if he got too close, she would back away from him, and a time or two she saw something in his eyes she wasn’t completely comfortable with. When that happened, she dropped her own eyes to focus on her instrument for a moment.
They played consistently through three different songs, working until they were near perfect enough for Ian, the sound guy in the booth with Joey. It took a few times through, but Kit was surprised that they could polish a song in such an amazingly short time. Her respect for the musicians around her grew as the hours passed.
They began to have trouble on the fourth song, but it was with the back-up singer, not the instrumentalists. Kit could sense that Nick and the others were frustrated with the woman, who became more and more put out as they asked her over and over to sing it the way they wanted. Kit couldn’t even read music, but she understood what they were asking long before the finicky vocalist. Finally, Nick raked his hand through his messy do and asked Kit quietly, “You don’t by any chance sing do you?”
Kit glanced at the woman who was now glaring at her as she replied, “A little.”
“Do you understand what we’re after here?” Kit wordlessly nodded her head. “Okay. Let’s try it with Kit singing and see if we can get past this. From the top. One, two, three, four.”
Kit began to sing the part, her clear voice a perfect blend with Nick’s and Joss’s, and the piece came together on the very first run. Nick gave Joss a silent glance that held some meaning Kit didn’t understand, and spoke over his headset to Ian. The pouty backup singer snarled something unintelligible, glared at Kit and left, leaving Kit as slightly unsure of herself as she had been at first. Nick gave her a reassuring smile, struck a chord and they continued on as before. Kit didn’t figure out until that night when she and Joey had a chance to talk, that the singer had been sacked and sent home. And, it was a day or more later, before she understood that they intended to keep her singing if she would.
They played until six-thirty California time, when they decided to call it a night. As they pushed through the crowd at the doors and climbed into the limo for the ride back to the hotel, Kit suddenly realized she was tired to the bone. The intensity of the work, coupled with her initial nerves, had worn her out and as she settled into the plush seat of the luxury car, she felt her weariness kick in.
Nick and the guys asked them all if they wanted to go to dinner together, and then out to a club after. The four of them said yes to dinner, but declined the night on the town later. Kit was tired enough as they pushed through another bunch of cameras and fans to get into the restaurant, where they were rescued discreetly by the staff and led to an out of the way table, that she wished she would have declined dinner and gone back to the hotel hungry.
Nick and Joey realized she was tired and kept the conversation going on around her at dinner without a lull, content to let her eat and watch in relative silence. She still had little appetite and struggled to eat even a minimal meal.
Walking back out to the limo with both a superstar and his entourage of fans, Kit marveled at how far away this morning in Wyoming felt, and even how normal the crush of onlookers had become. This time as she was seated next to Nick in the limousine, the brush of his shoulder and thigh against hers didn’t even seem out of place. She'd come a long way in one day.
Nick helped them out of the car himself at the hotel with a tired smile. “See you at eight.” His and Kit’s eyes held for a brief moment and then she turned to walk away into the revolving door. She made it to their room, showered, prayed, and talked to Joey for a few minutes before nodding off with thoughts of Rossen and Mimi in her head.
Praise for Above Rubies:I absolutely could not put this book down. It had me laughing, crying, angry and pretty much every other emotion. I can not wait for the next one in the series to come out. Keep them coming!!! ~Addicted to Books
This is the second book in the Rockland Ranch Romance Series. It can be read as a stand alone or copies of Peace River can be supplied if you would also like to review it.
Praise for Peace River"Give me a clean romance, humor and a good looking cowboy and I'm a happy girl. LDS fiction isn't always my favorite but I really enjoyed the characters and adventure in this book." ~Carol - Goodreads
"There was plenty of action, adventure and danger to keep me guessing just how everything was going to turn out. I didn't want to put it down until I finished! Jaclyn Hawkes is one of my favorite LDS romance authors. You really can't go wrong with any of her books that you pick up!" ~Cathy -Goodreads
Author Jaclyn M. HawkesJaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.
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