ON THE ROCKS

Closeted gay rock star Jed Lemmon is having a bit of a mid-life crisis. He can’t write new songs, his record sales are down, and his overly-controlling manager Hinchcliffe is convinced his career is on the rocks. And then Hinchcliffe comes up with a bombshell - Jed needs to pretend he’s gay to target the pink pound.

Enter Simon, a gorgeous lead singer Hinchcliffe has found to escort Jed around town, to get the rumour mills buzzing and generate record sales. No problem, right? Wrong! Simon may be Jed’s idea of the perfect man, but the course of true love has rarely run less smooth...

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EXCERPT

In which Jed gets to meet his "fake" boyfriend Simon for the first time...

I didn’t get the three days’ sleep, or even three hours. I did manage a cat-nap for an hour, and then I defrosted a pizza and got that down myself and began to feel vaguely human again. Enough to grab a shower and go through my walk-in wardrobe in search of something less disreputable to wear.

Everyone thinks rock stars have it easy when it comes to clothes—just stick on something alarming involving rubber, leather or black, add in some bare skin and a touch of eye-liner, and Bob’s your uncle as the saying goes. Of course, that’s fine when you’re twenty something and not sagging at the seams, but it tends to wear off the older you get. But I found some halfway decent jeans and a not-too-awful shirt, stuck my hair in a ponytail and rocked the outfit up with leather boots, a pendant and a feathered trilby hat. Yes. Indoors. I’m a rock star, remember? We can get away with anything. As long as you don’t look too close.

Part way through the transformation my phone went off. My heart skipped a beat. Surely old Hinchcliffe wasn’t heading back already with this Simon bloke? Mercifully not. It was just Suzy, texting to see if I’d be needing her tonight.

Not sure, I texted back. Mr H being bloody mysterious.

Oh? Why’s that then?

Dunno. Got someone he wants me to meet.

I thought that would be the end of it but two seconds after I’d sent that she rang me properly. ‟Go on, then. Who’s he bringing round?”

But I couldn’t tell her much. ‟Someone called Simon, that’s all I know.”

Of course she couldn’t let it go, and we spent the next ten minutes trying to guess who Simon was. Suggestions ranged from the dull—record producer—to the scary—some slick new marketing dude—via a fashion consultant and even the local Alcoholics Anonymous rep. Then she got silly. ‟You know, it could be an ice cream salesman.”

‟Christ, not more fucking oranges,” I growled, and by the time we’d both finished having hysterics it was ten to eight and Hinchcliffe’s horn solo was blaring out again.

I might have made myself more ‘presentable’ but I hadn’t had time to tackle the living room. So when Hinchie and his visitor arrived I called them straight into the kitchen. We wouldn’t exactly be slumming it; it’s every bit as palatial and there’s a whole corner with sofas and a giant glass-topped coffee table as well as the breakfast bar and stools. In deference to the hangover I had the lights dimmed and the blinds half-closed, and my other visitor was hanging back behind old Hinchie so I couldn’t get a good look at him.

‟Ah, Jed, here you are.” Hinchcliffe doesn’t half waste his breath with unnecessary words. I mean, where else would I be? ‟This is who I’d like you to meet. Simon, Jed. Jed, Simon.”

I was fiddling with the cap on the beer I’d just helped myself to so I didn’t look up straight away. Then I did, and forgot to close my mouth. That was Simon? He was... amazing. Gorgeous, even. Everything about him looked buff, from his neatly groomed black hair to his neat little tush, not to mention the most amazing wide and smiling lips. And tall! I’m not exactly Napoleon, but I could rest my head against the firm plains of his chest and keep it there without getting a crick in my neck. Something I wanted, very much, to do. After the longest second of my life I remembered I wasn’t supposed to give myself away, and stuck out a hand. ‟Pleased to meet you.” And was proud of myself when my voice didn’t turn falsetto.

‟Hello, Jed, I’ve heard a lot about you,” he said, and his voice was like honey over rocks and his warm brown eyes were feasting on me. I didn’t know where to look.

‟Fancy a beer?” It gave me an excuse to get another one too. And keep moving. And not just stand there gawping like some love-struck spotty seventeen-year-old.

‟Love one. Thanks.” He took the bottle and made sweet love to the neck with his mouth.

After another long moment I tore my eyes away. ‟So, er, how’s he going to help us, Mr H?” Judging by the clothes he was wearing—Italian suit, linen shirt—it had to be the fashion consultant. Right? I refused to believe anyone that alluring could be a marketing guy.

‟That’s easy, son. He’s going to be your boyfriend.”

I choked again, on the beer this time. God dammit, he had to stop taking me by surprise like that. Foam shot up my nostrils and down the back of my throat, sparking my smoker’s cough, and I spluttered and hacked and streamed. Hardly the best look in front of someone I probably needed to impress. But at least it gave me a few precious seconds to think. Easy there, Jed. Don’t blow it now. One wrong word and I’d undo the hard work of the last however many years. What was it they’d kept repeating at that expensive ‛how to handle the media’ course Hinchcliffe had sent me on? Deflect, deflect, deflect. ‟Oh yeah?” I croaked when I could speak again. ‟I can see one big problem with that right away. Even assuming you manage to convince me, how’s Simon going to feel about that?”

I had no idea what kind of answer to expect. I mean, it’s hardly the conversation you have with your manager and a complete stranger every day of the week. How would the guy react to something this left-field? Did he even know about it or had Hinchcliffe sprung it on him the same way he had on me? A quick glance up under my hat brim told me he knew all right. It was the only explanation for that mischievous quirk to his lips.

‟I can think of worse things,” he said. And the quirk broadened into a warm, sympathetic smile that said everything would be all right. So much so I came close to believing it myself.

A FEW REVIEWS

"I like stories about rock stars or other celebrities with 'real' personalities that differ wildly from their public persona. This was a delightful addition to the genre and I immediately found Jed to be a sympathetic character." - M/M romance author Jay Mountney

"...fantastic - cute and funny, but with depth. Highly recommend." - Goodreads review

"...a comedy of errors, frequently funny and touching in turn... A warm-hearted and entertaining read." - Ellie Thomas, author of the Twelve Letters series

"Hugely enjoyable, funny and poignant! A perfect weekend read." - M/M romance author C. Quince

Indie authors like Fiona thrive on reviews, which help bump books up the rankings and make them more visible. If you've read the book, enjoyed it, and would like to leave a review of your own, then here's a couple of places you can do it:

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WHERE TO BUY THE BOOK



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ALL FIONA'S BOOKS

While you're here, why not check out some of Fiona's other books, including paranormal romances December Roses, Ghosts Galore and Trench Warfare, and vampire romance Echoes of Blood.

You can find details of them here:

collage of fiona's books