Title: Lies & Lullabies
Author: Sarina Bowen
Series: Hush Note
Release Date: September 22
Summer nights and star-crossed lovers! From USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.
Once upon a time, he gave me a summer of friendship, followed by one perfect night. We shared a lot during our short time together. But he skipped a few crucial details.
I didn’t know he was a rock star.
I didn’t know his real name.
Neither of us knew I’d get pregnant.
And I sure never expected to see him again.
Five years later, his tour bus pulls up in Nest Lake, Maine. My little world is about to be shattered by loud music and the pounding of my own foolish heart.
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At a quarter to twelve, I kissed Vivi goodbye, leaving her to play a hand of Go Fish with Adam. I climbed onto my old bike, first pedaling in the wrong direction to pick up a six-pack of beer at the store. “Adam shouldn’t drink so much,” my father said, writing down my purchase on our home tally.
“He’s fine,” I mumbled, feeling guilty for allowing my father to assume that the beer was for Adam. But I was too busy quaking from nerves to invent another explanation.
The stop at the store had used up a good solid two minutes. So I put the beer in the bike basket, then pedaled slowly back around the lake. I needed to get my head in the game. I’d sit Jonas down and calmly tell him what had happened. He’d listen. He’d be shocked, but then he’d be okay with it.
He just had to be.
I pedaled onward toward the Nest Lake Lodge, which was just a rustic, oversized house with beds for ten people and a big communal bathroom. Most of its customers were there for fishing weekends, or family reunions.
When I was a little girl, I’d thought of the lodge as a place that rich people rented. Now I knew better. Rich people didn’t come to Nest Lake at all. They went to Kennebunkport and the coast.
Last night I’d slept very poorly, tossing and turning in my old bedroom, thinking about Jonas Smith and the bomb I was about to drop on him. The beer bottles gave a little rattle as I went over a rock. I’d bought Shipyard’s Summer Ale, which had been Jonas’s favorite all those years ago.
Now there was a clue that I’d missed. During our summer together, he’d drunk expensive local microbrews, which was not the stuff of starving composers. I’d been too much in awe of him to stop and wonder about things like that.
The other gift I’d brought for Jonas was the photograph of Vivi in my back pocket. Our one night together had totally changed my life. And now it would upset his.
I pulled up in front of the lodge and leaned my bike against the furrowed bark of a pine tree. The ride had taken barely any time at all.
Stalling, I stared at the giant tour bus parked twenty feet away. It was purple, and there was a picture of Jonas’s face on the side.
“Ugly, isn’t it?”
I whirled around to see him watching me from the steps up to the lodge’s private dock.
“It’s okay, you can say it.” He smiled at me, crossing his arms. “When I complained, they told me that tasteful busses don’t sell records.”
I had absolutely nothing at all to say to that. In fact, I’d forgotten how to speak entirely. My mouth was bone dry, and my knees felt spongy. To hide my growing anxiety, I reached into the bike basket for the beer.
“Oh, yes!” he said when he saw the label. “I can’t believe you remembered. I haven’t had any of this in a long time. Thanks.”
I smiled weakly as he crossed the gravel drive and took it out of my hands.
“You want this left open, Jonas?” another voice called out. I looked up to see a tall black man stepping down from the bus door, his arms around a pile of sheets and towels. “You can show her the bus,” the man offered. “It’s almost civilized again.”
“No thanks, man,” Jonas said. His chin dipped, as if he was embarrassed by the idea.
“Ethan, this is my friend Kira. Kira, Ethan is my boss.”
Ethan laughed, as if Jonas had made a joke. He tucked the laundry under one arm so that he could hold out a hand to me, which I shook. “I’m the tour manager,” he said. “It’s a really thankless job, but somebody has to do it.”
“It’s so nice to meet you,” I said, finding my rusty voice.
“Likewise.” He gave me a big smile. “I’ll find you both with lunch,” the man said, before striding away.
“Thanks, Ethan.” Jonas held a hand out to me and cleared his throat. “You okay, Kira?”
No, I sure wasn’t. But I needed a little privacy to say my piece. “Is there somewhere we can talk?” I took his hand, and when his warm fingers clasped mine, I had to close my eyes for a moment. For five years I’d believed that I would never again feel his touch. And now having him so close to me was torture.
“Sure,” he whispered.
Holding my hand, he led me up onto the deck. The dock angled off in one direction, but we made a left turn around the front of the building, where two people were lazing on lounge chairs. Seated under an umbrella, the woman I’d seen on the beach yesterday was reading a book. She was unnervingly beautiful, with long, blond hair and a tiny silver ring in her cute nose.
A man—tattooed and scruffy-looking—lay back in the sun in the chair next to hers.
Jonas ignored them both, leading me across the deck without a word. As we approached the far end of the space, the guy called out to Jonas. “Whatcha got there? Aren’t you going to share?”
“Fuck off, Nixon,” Jonas said without a glance in his direction.
“I meant the beer.” The guy laughed.
“With you, a guy can never be sure.” Jonas stopped when we reached the end of the deck. He dropped my hand in order to take two striped towels from a neatly folded stack. “Kira, this is Nixon, our lead guitar. And Quinn, our drummer.”
They both murmured greetings, while watching me with undisguised curiosity. “Nice to meet you,” I repeated.
“Watch your step, Sweetness,” Jonas said as we approached a ramp down to the grass below.
That’s when I heard a sharp intake of breath from Nixon. “No shit,” he whispered.
I looked up to find him staring at me. In fact, now everyone was staring. “Is something the matter?” I murmured.
“Not a damned thing,” Jonas replied, reaching for my hand.
Sarina Bowen is the award-winning author of more than thirty contemporary novels. She has hit the USA Today bestseller’s list thirteen times and counting. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University.
Sarina is a New Englander whose Vermont ancestors cut timber and farmed the north country since the 1760s. Sarina is grateful for the invention of indoor plumbing and wi-fi during the intervening 250 years. On a few wooded acres, she lives with her husband, two boys, and an ungodly amount of ski and hockey gear.
Sarina’s books are published in a dozen languages on four continents.
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