Heart of Gold




Rhett knew loving a legend wouldn’t be easy. But she never thought it would break her heart.
Even though Rhett Davis is scared out of her mind that another attempt might be made on Rhys James’s life while he’s on tour with his band Illicit, restoring the 1890s farmhouse he bought for them to live in keeps her busy enough so that fear doesn’t consume her life. When the restoration of their house leads to an unexpected opportunity for Rhett she accepts, happy to have finally found an outlet for her creativity.

After Illicit votes to take a long break between albums and tours, Rhys is eager to spend that time with Rhett in their new home. But his surprise announcement of all that extra time together falls flat when he finds out Rhett’s new career will take up a big chunk of it. At loose ends, he heads out to L.A. at the invitation of a former producer and lands himself in a huge mess, not only professionally but with Rhett, as well.

When past trust issues rear their ugly heads, Rhett and Rhys will have to find a way to resolve them. Or maybe their ideas of what constitutes the perfect life differ too much for love to overcome. Can they get past these obstacles, or is this the end for Rhys and Rhett?

Book Two in the Illicit Series




(and, yes, the prologue is important)

Copyrighted Material Juli Page Morgan 2017 – All Rights Reserved Carey On Publishing LLC


“Being a rock star isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, let me tell you.”—Flea

Thin scrims of ice hugged the side of the road in uneven patterns, like the jagged teeth of some frozen beast. Damn, but that was kind of poetic. Rhys James Collinsworth’s exhaustion lessened as a spark of inspiration kindled. Maybe he could use that in a song somehow. But how to begin?

Cold night in...

Ah, shit. He was going to add Little Rock, but that brought on a “We’re An American Band” earworm. Even worse, his poetic phrase was slipping away from him. He unzipped the side pocket of his messenger bag to retrieve his notebook and a pen. If he didn’t write it down he’d never remember it later.

The interior of the Town Car was dark, but there was enough light from the headlights of the car behind them in their convoy that he could see he’d opened to a blank page. He uncapped his pen and scribbled the ice phrase across the paper. There. Now he wouldn’t forget, and could work on incorporating it into a song when the Grand Funk Railroad tune stopped playing in his head.

“Hey, look at this.” Drew Cooper, the band’s rhythm guitarist and Rhys’s closest friend, held out his cell phone in Rhys’s direction. “Wes started the JV game tonight.”

Rhys studied the photo on the phone’s screen as he stuffed his notebook back into his bag. The picture had been taken from what appeared to be the top of the gym, so all he could see were the tiny, ant-like figures of basketball players in red uniforms. He assumed Drew’s son was one of them, and nodded in approval.

“Good job. How’d he do?”

“Don’t know. Mom didn’t bother to send trivial things like stats or the score. I guess she was too busy taking pictures to take notice of any of that. Damn, I hate that we were so close tonight and I couldn’t go to the game. Tuckerman High School’s only about an hour away.” Drew sat back and frowned down at his phone. “Sure wish she’d learn how to use the zoom, though.”

Rhys glanced at Drew, but his reply about proud grandmothers and their picture-taking abilities dried up in his throat as an enormous white pickup truck slewed from the left lane of the interstate toward the Town Car. Before he had time to utter a warning, the sickening screech of metal-on-metal drowned out all other sounds, accompanied by the weightless sensation of a car swerving out of control.

Terry Baker, Rhys’s head of security, roared a string of profanities as he wrestled with the steering wheel. Drew’s cell phone flew past Rhys’s face and smacked into the window as the car skidded across the road. The scream of tires against pavement mingled with the shriek of tearing metal and the yells of the car’s occupants, and sounded like the doorway to hell. Not so poetic, that thought. In fact, it was downright terrifying.

Rhys’s shoulder belt bit into his chest as the car came to a sudden and complete halt against the guardrail. The jolt of impact threw Drew forward into the back of the driver’s seat. Bloody fool wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.

After a moment of shocked silence, Devon Forsythe looked back from the front passenger seat. “You guys okay?”

Drew’s head of security sounded about as steady as Rhys felt, which meant he was as shaky as a dollar stripper on free beer night. Rhys looked past the pale oval of Devon’s face and saw the truck continue on a few more feet before it came to a stop, its brake lights bathing everything in a blurry red glow.

“Jobbed my arm pretty good,” Drew said. “Otherwise I’m okay. Rhys?”

“Yeah, fine. T?”

Terry jerked his seatbelt loose and opened his door. “I’m fine, but I wanna know what the fuck is wrong with that son of a bitch. Almost sent us right through the fuckin’ guardrail.”

A cold rush of air came in through the open door along with enraged yells and shouts that sounded as if they were pushed through a throat clogged with jagged chunks of gravel.

“I’m goan kill you, Rhys James! Teach you to fuck around with my wife. Goan blow your fuckin’ head off, asshole!”

“Christ.” Terry flipped open the console between the front seats and grabbed his Glock. “You guys get down.”

The sound of a gunshot spurred Drew to action, and he dropped to the floorboard so fast it looked like he’d fallen through a trap door. Rhys needed no urging to follow his example, but the release button on his seatbelt wouldn’t work. Fuck! Bloody thing was jammed and held him captive. Couldn’t even bend down to hide his head. Someone was threatening to kill him and he was pinned upright like a butterfly to a corkboard. Despite the frigid air, sweat prickled all over his body and stung like the bites of a million tiny insects.

Another gunshot was followed by a yell from T, and then two louder, closer reports as he fired his own weapon. The gravelly voice changed to the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard as its possessor shrieked in pain.

“Shit, man.” Drew tugged at Rhys’s pants leg. “Get the fuck down.”

“Seatbelt’s jammed. I can’t move.” Still pulling at the unmoving shoulder strap, Rhys watched T rush forward to stand over a writhing figure on the road. “He’s down, though. T’s got his foot on the back of the fucker’s neck.”

“Who the hell is it?” Drew’s head rose just enough for him to peek out the window.

“No idea.”

And he didn’t have any idea. Not who the guy was or what the fuck he was going on about. Wife? Rhys hadn’t fooled around with anyone’s wife. In fact, the only fooling around he’d done the past month was with his own right hand.

Alarm jumped in the pit of his stomach at the sight of blood running down T’s arm as he held his gun on the attacker. It looked purple-black in the surreal light as it sheeted down T’s forearm and dripped from his fingers. Each drop landed on the contorted face of the man he held down with his foot, a man who continued to scream and rage.

“Goan kill you, Rhys James, you motherfucker. You’re dead. Dead!”

“I did not want to get involved with a rock star. No way. It is not a sane thing to do.”—Iman

One minute Rhett Davis was fine. The next minute she was dying.

Copyrighted Material Juli Page Morgan 2017 – All Rights Reserved Carey On Publishing LLC