Music journalist Kyra Martin faces the toughest assignment of her career--to write a cover story about enigmatic heartthrob David Tallis. Deadline looming, Kyra plans to go undercover. When she ends up under the covers with the sexy superstar instead, can both her career and their budding relationship survive?
With a closet full of skeletons to hide, and a paparazzi-fueled divorce behind him, David Tallis despises the press. When Kyra Martin bribes her way into his life, her sexy assets have him composing a duplicitous seduction. Ensnared in a media maelstrom of his own making, can David face the music? Or will he lose Kyra, along with another piece of himself?
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Sheet Music by Tibby Armstrong
David Tallis' velvet-over-steel voice made Kyra's stomach do a little flip that had nothing to do with nerves. Her reply was throaty, laced with all the pent-up need she'd intended to hide.
"Kyra. With a y."
She licked her lips and stared as his strong, long-fingered hand made a flourish across the liner notes and flipped the CD case shut. He held it out to her in a graceful motion, rough-cut onyx cufflinks twinkling in the ambient lights.
She flicked a glance at the CD then met his cobalt eyes and promptly forgot she was here for professional research purposes only.
The next words out of her mouth shocked them both.
"Mr. Tallis, I'm Kyra Martin."
"Bloody hell," he muttered under his breath, placing his hands, palms down, on the linen-covered table.
She straightened her shoulders and fought not to close her eyes at the blunder she'd kick herself for later. She'd planned to introduce herself tonight when she "accidentally" bumped into him at the bar, not at Danny Owens' music store opening, but there was no going back now. In for a penny, in for a pound.
"I realize this is unusual, but I was in London and I haven't been able to get your publicist to show you--"
His voice rang through the upscale store, and out of the corner of her eye she saw the paid event photographer lower his camera rather than taking the perfect paparazzi shot.
Kyra felt all eyes upon her as a hush fell over the gaggle of women who had been let past the ropes for the publicity event. She calculated she had about ten seconds before Tallis' infamous private goon-squad threw her out the door, but persisted nonetheless. Award-winning music journalism didn't happen without a little chutzpah, after all.
Leaning forward she played the sex card, letting her cleavage peek above the sweetheart neck of her black cashmere sweater, her pearls swinging forward in a rhythmic arc.
"I'm sure we can find something to talk about that would be mutually agreeable."
He held up a hand to stay the bodyguard who'd appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, and his eyes made a disdainful dip to the offered view.
"I'm sure we could. I doubt you'd be writing about it in Rolling Stone, however. Hustler, perhaps?" His crisp accent made the jibe more pointed than it otherwise would have been.
Kyra smiled slowly. "Touch?."
Opening her purse, she took out a business card and slid it into the breast pocket of his suit jacket. With a breathless "Call me" that would bring most men to their knees, she turned and sashayed past the line of gaping women out into the early summer rain to hail a taxi.
"The Ritz," she directed as she slid into the gleaming black car.
Stretching catlike, she smiled at her bit of brilliance. It might not have gone off exactly as she had planned, but it was a first step. Yes, there was always a way around a publicist.
As for David Tallis, he might not have given an interview in the better part of a decade, but she refused to be cowed by the likes of him. Rather, he was an irresistible puzzle. A man, who, no matter what strings the press pulled, seemed to have no past before age thirteen. No parents. No history. All they could uncover was a prep school education in a remote area of Scotland, and an improbably quick rise to international music stardom.
Even before he'd begun refusing to talk to the press, they'd all been prepped not to mention his childhood. Anyone who deviated from the script had received the famous Tallis glare and an abrupt end to the interview.
He had another think coming if he thought he could brush her off so easily. She could tolerate living naked on an iceberg--as long as she got her story. And she would get it. She might have blown the advantage of surprise, but she hadn't failed yet in an assignment. It was something her editors counted on, and something on which she had staked her reputation and built her career thus far.
She would be the go-to name for the music industry glossies by the time she was finished, and no one would stand in her way. Her editor had assured her that if she got this story she could write her own ticket. If she didn't... Well, failure was something she refused to contemplate.
Leaning her head back against the seat, she rested her eyes as the cabbie made his way to The Ritz where she--and David Tallis--would be spending the next week. Behind her closed lids she remembered his eyes. They had been even more stunning than on the cover of his latest CD. When they shot his picture for the story she'd have the set draped in fabric dyed to match their Mediterranean blue.
She pictured him naked from the waist up, in a casual pose that showed readers the sensual man behind the music. His covers were far too reserved for her taste. He needed more smoke, like his voice. Something that screamed sex.
Feeling a flush spread through her veins, Kyra wondered if the cabbie had turned up the heat. She shifted in her seat and blew out a breath. It was probably jet lag combined with the stress of her opening salvo with David that had affected her. It certainly couldn't be his famous sex appeal. She was too jaded to be taken in by someone as pampered, pompous and self-interested as a musician--especially one with a pour-down-your-spine accent and hands that looked like they could caress the clothing off her body with one deft flick of his fingers.
Her purse rested between her thighs and she rocked forward to let the leather bite into her, imagining the heel of David Tallis' palm in its place, picturing sitting on the edge of the autograph table in front of him at the signing. He'd have her thighs splayed wide, her skirt bunched so that her bottom rested against the cool linen.
He'd grind his hand harder into her folds, giving rough little slaps as he found a rhythm that reminded her of one of his Latin-inspired numbers. She'd arch her back and he'd hold her up with his other hand to grip her shoulder.
"Come for me, baby," he'd growl, and she'd widen her thighs.
Her cell phone rang and her eyes flew open to meet the cabbie's stare in the rearview mirror. They must have been sitting curbside for a full minute. Had the man been watching her? Did he know what she'd been doing? A twinkle in his brown eyes told her he did.