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Wicked Beat

By´╝ÜOlivia Cunning

Chapter 1


Rebekah adjusted the pillow beneath her older brother’s head. She smoothed the blanket over his lap. Plucked a stray hair from his hospital gown and flicked it onto the powder-blue carpet. Shifted his arm into a more natural position at his side. Licked her thumb and rubbed at a spot of mustard near the corner of his mouth.

Wincing, Dave turned his head, trying to escape her spit bath. “Will you knock it off, Reb?”

“Sorry,” she said. “I’m just nervous. Are they really coming?”

“Of course they’re coming. They’re back on tour next week and haven’t fired me yet.” Dave scowled and clutched his blanket with one hand. He could almost grip it tightly now. Rebekah wavered between pride and despair when confronted by how far Dave had come since his accident and how far he had left to go in his recovery. “And they are never going to go for this plan, Reb. Never.”

“I’ll just be filling in for you temporarily, Dave. Until you can go back on tour with them. You’re unquestionably the best front of house engineer on the planet, and you’ve come up with the perfect solution for their dilemma. They’re not going to fire you.”

“They don’t really have a choice, Reb. I can’t continue as their FOH if I can’t reach my soundboard. And even if I could reach it, there’s no way I can adjust the sliders fast enough to keep up with the band during a live show.”

“But you will, Dave. You just need more time to recover. I can work your soundboard until you’re ready to go back to work. I’m happy to help you out.” In reality, he was helping her as much as she was helping him. No metal band wanted to hire a female live sound engineer. Dave had warned her before she started school. Told her she’d be stuck mixing pop music at mall concerts. She’d been determined to show him otherwise, but so far, determination had gotten her a long way toward nowhere. If someone would just give her a chance, she would show them that a woman could be just as metal as a man.

“I know how much you want to help, sis, but I don’t think they’re going to agree to this. You’ve got to start at the bottom and work your way up, not expect to land a job with one of the biggest bands in the industry straight out of school.”

Heart sinking, she sighed. Tried not to pout too much. She knew he was right, but patience had never been Rebekah’s greatest virtue. Actually, patience didn’t even know where she lived.

“But I will do my best to make them see that this is a viable solution,” he said. “That you’re good enough to take my place.”

She smiled a make-big-brother-feel-like-a-superhero smile. “Really?”

“Just don’t be too disappointed if they say no.”

It would crush her. She worshipped Sinners and every note of every song that had ever been produced by their talented hands, fingers, mouths, feet, and any other body part they used to create music. In college, Rebekah had done her capstone project on Sinners. It had been proclaimed brilliant and propelled her to the head of her graduating class. Dave smiled, his gaze moving from hers to her recently dyed hair. He cringed.

“Has Mom seen your hair?” he asked.

Rebekah grinned and smoothed her platinum blond, shoulder-length hair with one hand. She’d recently dyed the under-layer cobalt blue. Since she’d regrown hair, she liked doing things that brought attention to it. Strange how being entirely bald at twenty-four would do that to a girl. Besides, Rebekah had always loved putting her mother into apoplectic fits, even if it meant being subjected to regular exorcisms. “Do you think she’ll like it?”

“Um, no.”

“Good.” She giggled. “So are all the band members coming to visit you?” Her heart thudded with excitement.

Dave grinned at her. “Will Trey be with them, you mean?”

Busted. She sorta had a panting-lust-thing for Sinners’ rhythm guitarist, Trey Mills, and Dave knew it. Probably because every time she talked to Dave, texted, or emailed him, she always asked how Trey was doing. Dave would always tell her who Trey was doing instead. It had not managed to decrease her interest even a little. On the contrary, Trey’s long list of conquests had made him more intriguing. Rebekah was sure he could teach her a thing or two in the bedroom, and she was sorely in need of some attention in that department.

“I’m not sure if Brian’s back in town yet,” Dave said. “He’s probably still in Kansas City with his wife, but I’m pretty sure the rest of them will stop in. Including Trey-Can’t-Keep-It-In-His-Pants Mills. You’d do best to stay away from him, Reb.”

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