Isabelle Reed is having a bad year. The classical violinist is struggling with a divorce, and a broken arm has left her unable to play. So when she receives a wedding invitation from her cousin Morgan, her heart just isn’t in it. Going to the wedding will mean seeing everyone from back home, and seeing everyone back home will mean facing the music about her divorce. Unable to miss her cousin’s wedding, she bites the bullet and takes off—and lands right in the arms of Morgan’s brother-in-law, country western music star Tate McGill. She’d heard about the singer and his bad-boy reputation, but there’s something about those storm-filled eyes that made her yearn to look deeper. Even though she should know better than to risk being the subject of a song on his next album.
Country western singer Tate McGill is living the good life. He’s surrounded by beautiful women, hit music, and a great family. But he gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to babysit his nephew Jake for his brother Seth Blake, and finds a beautiful woman in his way. Isabelle Reed is talented and strong-willed, and she’s a natural with little Jake. But she’s keeping a secret from Tate, and he’s determined to find out what it is…
The sounds of laughter coming from the bathroom in his hotel suite jolted Tate McGill out of his sleep. He’d had a wild night at the Epic Music Awards, and from the throbbing of his head, it was probably a night he’d want to remember.
The mysterious guest in the bathroom began to sing bits of “Down-Home City Girl,” the song he’d performed last night with Lana McNeal. Holy crap! He prayed it wasn’t Lana in there. The singer was beautiful, but she was damn near half his age. He’d kept his eyes on the young starlet’s face and his hands on his guitar while trying to ignore the two unrehearsed waist grabs and Lana pressing herself against his body several times during the performance.
Tate ran a hand through his curly blond hair and got out of bed. It was time to put himself out of his misery and find out who was in his bathroom. He took a few steps and nearly fell, tripping over his Epic Award that was partially hidden beneath his jeans on the floor. Damn, hopefully there was some aspirin in his shaving kit. He pushed open the door to the steam-filled bathroom only to hear giggling coming from the shower stall. He could see the silhouette of a tall, slender woman with full breasts. His cock twitched as he watched her lather herself. This could have been an enjoyable moment if only he could remember her name.
Damnit! How could he forget? That was the million-dollar question. He’d celebrated pretty hard with his entourage after the surprise win. Truth be told, he hadn’t bothered remembering a woman’s name in a long time. After a good time, he’d say a tender good-bye while walking her to the door, promising to write a song about her. For some reason every woman he met wanted a song written about their two ships passing in the night.
Perhaps her name started with a C? Candice, Clementine, Christy, Connie, or maybe Carlotta? Tate opened the stall door and, to his surprise, there was not one woman but two in the stall washing each other. Tate’s mouth went dry, and his cock did a full salute. The shorter of the two women pulled him into the shower, sandwiching him between them.
“We were going to get back in bed and wake you up.” The woman who’d pulled him in pouted.
Tate smiled. “Ladies, no way would I have missed this.”
The woman behind him took a loofah sponge and began lathering him up. “You had a big night. It’s only fair we clean you up.”
Tate closed his eyes as four nimble hands began to roam all over his body. He thanked his lucky stars he had a brand new box of condoms in his shaving kit. And if he was lucky, he’d get to use every one of them today.
Tate bid the ladies farewell early that evening and began to pack his bags. Being nestled between two beautiful women for the better part of the day was just what he’d needed to unwind. As predicted, they asked if their rendezvous would be on his next CD. He promised them he’d scribble a tune about their delightfully erotic time together, hustled them out the door, then called room service and ordered dinner. It was time for his daily call to his nephew Jake.
Jake was only a year old, but Tate wanted him to know at an early age that Uncle Tate kept his word. It was eight o’clock in Philadelphia. Jake should be getting ready for bed. Tate scanned his phone for the video conferencing app and hit dial.
Morgan’s face appeared on his screen. “Congratulations!”
“Thank you, darlin’. How are you?”
“I am doing great. Just gave Jake his bath, and Seth is going to fix me a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream.” Morgan rubbed her flat tummy.
Tate laughed. “Having cravings already?”
“Nah.” She sighed. “But Seth is on an expectant daddy rampage, and feeding me ice cream makes him feel better.”
“Ah, then you won’t want none of this filet mignon I’m eating.” He waved a piece at her.
Morgan scrunched up her nose. “That’s pretty fancy for you.”
“It’s this fancy hotel I’m in. What decent restaurant doesn’t have a porterhouse on their menu?” He sniffed.
“I know! How dare they make the winner of the Best Collaborative Song of the Year eat dainty fixin’s?” She stuck her tongue out at him.
Tate laughed and swigged his beer. “How’s the big man?”
“Never seen him this happy.” Morgan put her hand on her cheek.
Tate nodded. “He has everything he needs. A beautiful woman, great family, new fat contract, and five more years with his team before he retires.”
“Stop flirting with my woman, McGill!” Seth yelled from the other room.
“He always hears when I’m talking about you. Sometimes I think he’s part robot.”
Morgan just shook her head and ignored Seth. “So did Lana McNeal place you under citizen’s arrest before she frisked you on stage?”
“I thought I was going to have to do the jitterbug just to get away from her.”
“I sent her a message via her social media account, asking if she found what she was looking for in your pants.”
“You didn’t!” Tate let out a deep chuckle.
“Yes, I did. Nobody molests by brother-in-law on national television and gets away with it.”
“Uncle Tate!” Jake appeared from nowhere and grabbed the phone.
Tate loved talking to him. They talked mostly about Jake’s dog, Rowdy, who lived at the ranch in Texas, and his fascination with race cars, no thanks to Tate’s brother Tyler. After about a half hour of chatter and four I love yous, Jake was ready for bed and gave Seth the phone. Morgan carried Jake away.
“Had a wild night last night?” Seth raised an eyebrow.
Tate’s cheeks reddened. “How can you tell?”
“I can always tell when you’ve had too much liquor or too much sex. By the looks of it, you had too much of both.” Seth burst out laughing.
“Let me tell you…”
“No, you can’t.” Seth shook his head. “I’d like to have sex again this month.”
“Every time you tell me about one of your escapades, somehow I get punished for it, but you get a heartfelt speech about finding the right woman.” Seth folded his arms over his chest.
Tate laughed. “You know Morgan can’t stay mad at me.”
“Tell me this.” Seth looked over his shoulder. “Will it be on your next CD?”
“I heard that!” Morgan yelled from the other room.
“Gotta go.” Seth tugged at his shirt collar. “You feel like doing your brother a favor?”
“Morgan and I wanted to get away until the chatter about my renewed contract dies down. Do you feel like coming to town to babysit?”
“Say no more. Just let me know when you need me there.” Tate grinned and ended the call.
After Tate disconnected he had so many message alerts his phone went off like a Ping-Pong machine hitting a high score. He didn’t feel like talking to anyone right now. Talking to Jake about Rowdy, and whatever was going on in his young mind, always made Tate feel good. Jake had made such a difference in all their lives. And Jake would never have the kind of childhood he had: a rough upbringing with an abusive father and alcoholic mother.
The sun was beginning to set as Tate stepped out onto the terrace of the hotel suite. He’d achieved so much despite the less than idyllic childhood. Perhaps that’s why he’d become so successful. He always had the devil on his back. Tate squeezed his eyes shut, an image of his parents fighting flashing in his head. He instinctively rubbed just over his brow, where a shard of glass had cut him when he was five after his father threw a pitcher against a wall. That was his first visit to the hospital, and seven stitches felt like seven hundred to a frightened little boy in the middle of a war between his parents. Thanks to the Blakes taking him in and nurturing him, he’d left a lot of the past behind him, but the scars remained.
Tate shook his head, trying to chase the memories off. He had a new album with Atlantis Blue due out in six months. He’d scribbled a few notes, but his usual song-writing mojo was on the fritz. He was headed back home to Texas to show his award to Teri-Lyn and John Jacob and do some work around the ranch before he went to Philadelphia. That ranch truly had healing properties—his spirit felt renewed just driving through the main gate. Maybe this time it would give him the inspiration
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Texas Heat is the fourth installment of The Blake Boys Series.