Title: Fame and Obsession
Series: Lords of Lyre #1
Author: Cora Kenborn
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
Struggling writer Phoebe Ryan abandons her southern roots and heads to New York, determined to leave her nightmarish past behind…
She was not expecting to meet a famous rock star, or to be coerced into ghostwriting his autobiography. But she tries to maintain focus on her dream of becoming an author, despite the attraction she feels for the sexy rocker, not to mention the baggage that comes with him.
Julian Bale’s world was shattered one drunken night, and it almost ruined him…
Weighed down by guilt, he blames himself for an accident he could’ve prevented. He will play the game, but swears his hot little ghostwriter will never get that story out of him. As much as he wants her, if he has to choose between his dream and hers, it’s no contest.
Phoebe and Julian give in to a forbidden attraction, and their public romance risks both their lives…
An obsessive fan is on the loose and now that the secret’s out, it’s made them both targets. The psychotic stalker is determined to have Julian for herself, even if she has to reveal their sordid pasts and eliminate Phoebe to do it.
He lives for fame. She lives to hide. Obsession lives to ruin them both.
Other Books by the Author:
Fame and Secrets (Lord of Lyre #2) - Coming March 14th, 2017
Blurred Red Lines (A Carrera Cartel Series #1) - Coming Early 2017
“Penny for your thoughts?” I asked, swirling a french fry through a glob of ketchup.
Phoebe lifted her head and smirked. “How about seven million of them, Keith?”
She was pissed, but she still wasn’t giving me the reaction I wanted. I fucked with her a little, just to see how far I could push her. “Technically, we’re talking pennies, not dollars. To be a proper smart-ass, the correct response should’ve been seven hundred million of them. Since your profession is more literature based than mathematics, I’ll just assume it’s not your strong point.”
She stopped chewing her hamburger and narrowed her eyes in hostility. “You’re very antagonistic for a guy who’s not paying for his own meal.”
“Are you always this surly to your dates? I thought you Southern girls were all about hospitality?” I squinted an eye at her and delivered a groupie swooning smile.
“You’re not my date, Julian,” she muttered, shaking the salt with extreme force.
“Are we eating a meal together?” I countered.
“Am I paying?”
Popping a fry in my mouth, I stared at her and grinned. “It’s a date.”
My reluctant new ghostwriter leaned in for emphasis. “It’s a business lunch.”
I stole a fry from her plate and waved a hand. “Semantics.” I waited for a response, thoroughly enjoying the verbal volleyball.
Phoebe folded her arms on the table. “You don’t give up, do you?”
“Not when there’s something I want,” I admitted.
“What if it doesn’t want you?” She tried to be assertive but her voice softened.
“Then it’s wrong.” Damn this woman. Why couldn’t she accept the professional gift and get over it? I’d practically sold my soul to Helena to get her the job.
We sat in silence until she cursed under her breath and slammed her palm onto the table. “Just admit you had me called in to Ellison’s office!” She didn’t wait for me to answer. “You arranged this publicity escort shit!”
I just smiled. There was no use denying it now. “I like to cover all my bases.”
“Your stalking is out of control, Julian.”
Un-fucking-believable. I handed her a multimillion-dollar contract and she insulted me.
“I can be a real shit when I don’t get when I want, Phoebe.” It was my turn to glare. “So either you play my game, or I’ll keep showing up at your office and arranging these little meetings.”
Before she could launch into a tirade, her phone vibrated on the table and distracted her. Cursing, I snatched the phone off of the table before she had a chance. Hitting the message icon, I read the incoming text out loud.
“Your friend, Rosa, wants to know where you are. Somebody named Ass Cactus has been looking for you for over an hour. She says to come back before he explodes.” Who the hell was Ass Cactus?
“Shit!” She looked frantically around the busy restaurant. Not finding what she was looking for, she pulled a couple of bills out of her purse and tucked them under her plate. “I’m leaving,” she announced. “I’ve got an ass-chewing to attend, thanks to you.”
She stood and I grabbed both her hands, holding them steady. “Agree to my terms and I won’t bother you at work again.”
Grunting in disgust, she jerked away from me and walked briskly out of the cheap diner she’d taken me to. I would’ve preferred to dine alone with her somewhere dark and intimate, but I didn’t dare complain. If she had her way, I’d probably be standing by a hot dog stand with a bag of chips and a Yoo-hoo.
Running after her, I caught her arm as she stepped outside. I turned her to face me. “Why are you so against this?”
“Why is it so important to you?” She glared with a challenging stare.
I closed my eyes, letting my chin drop against my chest in exhaustion. “Why do you always answer a Fame and Obsession 135 question with a question?”
“Why do you?”
“Why do I want to kiss you?” I shot back at her. She started to argue but I effectively shut down her denial. “And why do I know you want me to kiss you?”
“You’re wrong,” she said, averting her eyes.
“Am I?” I closed the distance between us. Wrapping an arm around her waist, I settled a hand at the small of her back. A soft moan escaped before she could rein it in. “That’s what I thought.” I indulged my fingers in a quick dip into the base of her spine. “Your body contradicts everything that comes out of that beautiful mouth, princess.”
“I…I…” She trembled, making me groan.
I fisted her long hair and tugged her head back slightly. Her hands balled tightly by her side. With her lips inches away from mine, I broke the hold she had on her resistance.
“Phoebe,” I commanded, in a low tone, “put your hands on me.”
She blinked at me. “In the middle of the street? We’ll get arrested!”
Her shock made me chuckle. “Well, I wasn’t referring to that, but I’m glad to see you thinking ahead.” Without waiting, I uncurled her fisted fingers and wrapped them around my neck.
Her breath hitched. She glanced around, realizing we stood three hundred feet away from her office building, and began to pull back. “Julian…”
I quickly dipped my head in a commanding kiss. The movement startled her, and her eyes widened in shock. Tracing the seam of her lips, I took my entry fast, tasting every inch of her mouth. Her body relaxed, and she embraced me so fiercely, I could barely breathe.
Hell if I cared. She could do whatever she wanted as long as she kept making those soft moans. She whimpered as we kissed like we were the only two people on the street. I demanded and took without asking. It was physically painful how much I wanted her.
“Jesus, do you have to go back?” Everything ached for more. The kiss had been so intense people had stopped on the street to either gawk at us or snort in disgust. None of them mattered to me anyway. I had no power to stop it.
A discreet but purposeful cough caught my attention. A guy pushing unkempt blond hair out of his eyes raised his hand beside us in a nervous wave. An annoying blush crept up his neck. “Um, hi, Phoebe.”
I created a mental picture of us, making out like horny teenagers on a public street. Any other time, I would’ve laughed. However, I didn’t find this interruptive asshole amusing, nor did I like the way he eyed Phoebe up like she was his dessert.
Pulling a hand from my neck, she dangled her fingers at him. “Hi, Nate. How are you?”
“Fine, busy,” he said, grinning a stupid grin I wanted to smack off his face.
Phoebe peeled herself out of my grasp, smoothing the back of her hair where my fingers had been. “Julian, this is Nate Jacobs. Nate was the photographer who worked the album release with me.” She motioned to him. “Nate, this is Julian Bale, he’s—”
“Lords of Lyre. We met at the press conference. My cousin’s a huge fan.” Nate’s eyes darkened as he finished her sentence and rigidly stuck out his hand.
I shook his hand firmly, wanting him to know she was with me. “Always a pleasure to meet a fan.” I smiled, but my stare told him to back the fuck off.
“I never said I was a fan,” he said coolly.
Oh, so we’re playing this game, are we, dickhead?
Phoebe was mine, and he could go fuck himself.
“I’ll see you in the staff meeting, Nate.” She turned back to me but was interrupted when Nate’s voice rang out again.
“I wanted to suggest that we go to the Ralston Gala together, Phoebe. You know, since we both have to be there. We might as well go together.” He laughed nervously.
Before she could react, I grabbed her hand. “That won’t be necessary. Phoebe already has a date.” My jaw twitched in anger.
We stared holes into each other. Phoebe’s eyes darted between us, obviously feeling the tension. Finally, Nate broke the standoff, softening his stupid gaze as he turned it toward her.
“I see. Well, I’ll see you in a few, Pheebs.” Walking up the stairs, he disappeared into the building.
Phoebe hardened a stare at me. “Are you finished comparing dick sizes?”
A smirk planted itself on my face. Her Southern accent took center stage when she was mad. “Ah, there’s my Iris Queen. Beauty, charm, and a little Jersey Shore attitude thrown in.” I was about to tease her again when my phone buzzed in my jacket pocket. I looked down, furrowing my brow. It was Tanna—and it wasn’t good news. I responded quickly.
Tanna: One Circa Chatter poster is a ghoster. The rest of the accounts check out.
Tanna: Think of it as identity theft. Did a little digging. Account originated as some lady in Bakersfield. Password was reported hacked, account stolen and put up for sale on the black market.
Me: People actually do that?
Tanna: You’d be surprised. You can link credit cards to pay to boost visibility. Your thief changed the screen name and maxed out the card, but it’s the same account.
Me: You’re positive on this?
Me: Thanks. Maybe I should let Helena track down this lady. It can’t hurt.
Tanna: One problem.
Me: Don’t tell me, she’s in jail? For cyber stalking? Lol
Tanna: No. She’s dead. For five years.
All the breath left my chest in a one-line text.
“Julian, I need to get back to work.” Phoebe sighed, motioning toward the building.
“Yeah, sure.” I nodded in agreement, my mind elsewhere.
Raising an eyebrow, she turned to walk away. Watching her leave, I had an irrational fear for her safety. For every step she took, I took two, ending up beside her at the door.
Stopping cold, she whipped around with hands on her hips in a fighting stance. “Where the hell do you think you’re going?”
“With you,” I told her matter-of-factly.
“The hell you are!”
I placed a hand against the door and leaned forward. “If you insist on arguing with me, let’s at least do some background calls for the book. Make your bosses happy, all right? Can you manage that?”
Phoebe balled her fists, digging her nails into her palms. “Fine.”
“Now, agree to go to the gala with me and I’ll leave you alone for now.” I planned on having a Circa security guard tail her, but she didn’t need to know that.
“And if I don’t?” she challenged.
“A cubicle for two could be fun.”
“This is not take your stalker to work day, Julian. Plus, the gala is in two weeks, so why make plans now?”
“Because you’re a flight risk.” I caged her against the door with the other arm to express my impatience. “Now stop arguing and I’ll be on my merry fucking way.”
“I told you before that this is extortion.”
“Get used to it. We have a long working relationship ahead of us.”
“I hate you,” she pouted, sticking out that irresistible bottom lip of hers.
Another text vibrated my phone. I cursed technology until I realized it wasn’t mine. I’d shoved her phone in my pants pocket when she’d stormed out of the restaurant. Reading the text, I gave her a look. “Rosa says Ass Cactus is gonna blow a fuse.”
I really need to have a chat with this Ass Cactus guy.
Screaming, she stomped her foot like a toddler. “Fine! Call me tomorrow. Jesus Christ, you’re such a child.”
Irony at its finest.
With a satisfied grin, I ran the pad of my thumb across her lip. Letting it drop, I trailed it down the length of her neck, coaxing a sigh from her throat. Satisfied that I’d affected her again, I held her phone out, and she snatched it out of my hands.
“We’ll continue this tomorrow.” I turned to leave, but then stopped and winked. “Oh, and, Phoebe? For the gala, make sure to look the part, princess.”
About the Author:
Cora Kenborn writes contemporary and romantic suspense novels with strong heroines, complex alphas, harrowing danger, and snappy dialogue. She loves delving into the twisted mind of a dark villain as well as giggling while writing romcom banter.
Cora lives in Eastern North Carolina and is a true Southern girl, who grew up on sweet tea, front porches, and the simple life. She says “y’all,” “fixin’ to,” and should you deserve it will “bless your heart.” She’s the proud mother of three hyperactive and occasionally adorable children, and wife to an understanding husband who tolerates her chaotic writer’s cave.
Although reading is her passion, she can usually be found watching true crime shows and crafting inspiration for twisted new tales. Cora admits to being a horrible cook, an even worse baker, and believes she’s more dangerous with a hot glue gun than any weapon on earth. Oh, and she and autocorrect are mortal enemies.