Reverb by Anna Zabo
Series: Twisted Wishes #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 6th 2019 (E-only at the moment)
Length (Print & Ebook): 105,000 words
Subgenre: Contemporary Rockstar romance, LGBT romance (m/f with a queer trans man and a pansexual cis woman)
Warnings: Plot revolves around the stalking of a rockstar. Two scenes in a hospital. Short flashback to the start of attempted sexual assault of a minor that is quickly interrupted.
Universal link: books2read.com/u/mgLQD7
Twisted Wishes bass player Mish Sullivan is a rock goddess—gorgeous, sexy and comfortable in the spotlight. With fame comes unwanted attention, though: a stalker is desperate to get close. Mish can fend for herself, just as she always has. But after an attack lands her in the hospital, the band reacts, sticking her with a bodyguard she doesn’t need or want.
David Altet has an instant connection with Mish. A certified badass, this ex-army martial arts expert can take down a man twice his size. But nothing—not living as a trans man, not his intensive military training—prepared him for the challenge of Mish. Sex with her is a distraction neither of them can afford, yet the hot, kink-filled nights keep coming.
When Mish’s stalker ups his game, David must make a choice—lover or bodyguard. He’d rather have Mish alive than in his bed. But Mish wants David, and no one, especially not a stalker, will force her to give him up.
Tour Excerpt #2
He should go talk to Mish, but between the run and the sudden burst of anger, he needed a moment to sit in the early morning sun and cool breeze, listen to the birds chatter, and just exist. He cherished the tiny moments of peace whenever he could find them—whether in the hustle of New York, in the horror that had been deployment, or right now, in a parking lot at an amphitheater outside of Atlantic City.
A shuffle of gravel drew his attention back over to the tour buses. Mish had stepped out into the morning, and his breath caught in his throat. The sun burnished her hair to shining copper, and she wore a white tank top and denim shorts that rode low on her hips. She had two mugs of coffee, one in each hand.
She really was a goddess. A queen. Awe, respect, and desire all tangled in David, leaving him shifting on the picnic table bench. With arms and legs toned and muscular, she could kick most people’s asses. He wanted to do everything in his power to protect her anyway. Was that right or wrong? He didn’t know.
She handed him one of the coffees in an official Twisted Wishes mug. Steam curled off the top, and he imagined that might be the way heat curled off his body. Maybe she knew how much she’s affected him, because once he’d taken the mug, she tucked some stray curls behind her ear—a gesture he now recognized as a nervous tic—and there was a hint of color high on her cheeks. Or maybe that was just the way the sun touched her face.
Didn’t matter. David looked down into his coffee. “Thanks.”
“Adrian said you were out here.” She took a seat across the table from him. “Maybe coffee isn’t the best thing after a run, but…”
He met her gaze, and her eyes were green in the soft sunlight. “I had a ton of water before and during the run, so this is perfect.” He took a sip, and it made the day even brighter. “How the heck do you get good coffee out of a tour bus?”
She laughed. “From Adrian. Zavier used to make the coffee, and it was decent, but one of the things Adrian managed to outdo Zav on was the coffee. I’m not sure if it’s the beans he uses or if he’s part coffee-whisperer, but…” She gestured to the mugs.
“He fits in with all of you.”
“Wasn’t a surprise. Any guy Dominic fell for was going be someone we all loved.”
“Like a family.” He didn’t expect the pang of pain that stabbed at his heart. He missed those kinds of connections. Had them in the military for a while. Had them with a few former girlfriends, but over the years of becoming himself, many of those relationships had changed or slipped away. Jobs like this one had him on the road a lot, even with a home in New York. He liked the solitary life, but he still missed what he couldn’t have anymore. Not in the long run.
Wasn’t his nature.
His silence must have said more than words, because Mish reached across the table and laid her hand on top of his. “Honey, before this crew, I was alone. I know how it goes.”
“Thanks.” He took another sip of coffee and turned the palm of his free hand to catch hers and give it a squeeze. “Don’t mind me being a grumpy old man.”
“You’re hardly grumpy. Or old.” She left her hand in his.
The way his heart thumped in his chest had nothing to do with the coffee or the run. “I’m an old soldier trying to make the world a little better best way I can.”
“But aren’t we all, in our own ways?” She rubbed her thumb over the palm of his hand. Sparks of awareness shivered down to his dick, but also up to the back of his head. Not all was lust. Been easier if it were.
“Maybe.” He moved his fingers against hers. “I do envy your little family. It’s clear how much you care about each other.”
“It’s hard won.” Mish ran a finger of her other hand around the edge of her mug. “We lost Kevin along the way. He’s in a better space and doing things he loves, but still.” Her shoulders dropped. “We nearly lost Ray permanently. Puts things in perspective.”
Yeah, that would.
“We do tend to pick up strays.” She smiled before drinking more coffee.
“Am I a stray?” Was he considered part of this group after a little more than two weeks? God, these people were unreal.
“You’re a man who cares, David.”
Despite the coffee, his throat felt tight. “You have to care to protect, if you’re doing it properly.” But not too much. Not get involved emotionally. He’d already blown way past that point, sitting here holding Mish’s hand. Given the jumble of emotions, this might as well be high school, and him sitting with Tricia at lunch, secretly holding hands under the table.
Except their hands were out in the open, and no one would beat him up later. Reluctantly, he slipped his fingers from Mish’s.
“I do care about the band, about you.” Especially about Mish. “I don’t want to hide things from you. You’ve already had that happen with your bandmates trying to protect you.” He waved at the bus. “But I gotta know when you want me to tell you things. Right before the show doesn’t seem the best time.”
She wrapped both hands around her mug and made a face. “Tomorrow. Whatever it is, tell me tomorrow. I can’t have that shit in my head tonight.” She sounded apologetic. “That might seem selfish…”
“Fuck no, Mish, it isn’t selfish! You need to be on your game, especially for the first show.”
“Thank you.” Her smile was everything.
He couldn’t keep from grinning back. “With all those stellar practices, you’re going to do great, rock queen.”
She rose and navigated to his side of the table, mug in hand, and bent down to kiss him on the cheek. “Keep that up, honey, and I’m gonna expect you to worship at my feet.”
Oh fuck, that more than the chaste peck made him squirm. This woman? Hell yeah, he’d worship her. David craned his neck to meet her grin with one of his own. “You saying you don’t deserve worship?”
She laughed. “I’ll see you around, David.”
Man, everything about that woman left him in a daze, from her kiss to the way she moved as she headed back to the tour bus.
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Exclusive Blog & Review Tour Q&A:
What are you reading now?
Anna: RITA books! This is the time of year (Feb-March) where those of who entered RWA’s RITA awards get our judging packets and we’re reading our peer’s books. I can’t actually say anything about the books I’m reading, but I really do like judging. Sometimes I find new authors to read!
What is the significance of the title?
Anna: Well, all the Twisted Wishes titles are musical terms. In this case, it’s Reverb, which is short for Reverberation. The titles end up being a little thematic to the book, though I don’t always intend that to happen! In acoustics, reverb is the persistence of sound after its produced. It’s the echo, the reflection of that sound. With a guitar, that can be digitally enhanced, but basically, all music and sound reverberates. In this book, actions reverberate. They linger. You can feel them even after they’re over. Events, even from the past, echo forward. But so does love and caring and family.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Anna: A marine biologist, and then a geneticist. But in my junior year of high school, I discovered I could write and that people loved what I wrote, so my whole career plans shifted, and I ended up going to college for writing! And my day job is technical writing, so everything is writing.
Now, though, if I could go back and get another career (and keep writing), I’d love to go into electrical engineering with an eye on power grids and high voltage. I’m fascinated by how power is transferred and stored on the large scale. Which…is probably weird. But there you have it.
Anna Zabo talks Reverb:
Sometimes protectors need protecting, and there’s no shame in that. It doesn’t make you weak. Sometimes you have to let go of the expectations you’ve carved into yourself to be with someone. Also that the love of family and friends is just as important as romantic love.