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|Music of the Heart(Runaway Train #1) by Katie Ashley|
“Give us what you did for the record execs. You obviously wowed them if they were going to let an unknown headline a tour,” Rhys suggested.
I nodded. “Okay, I played a guitar, rather than piano, version of Adele’s Someone Like You.
Jake’s brows shot up in surprise. “Adele?”
From his tone, I could tell he thought there was no way in hell I had a voice that would come anywhere near hers. I pursed my lips. “Yeah, Adele,” I countered.
He crossed his arms over his chest and continued giving me a skeptical look. “All right then. Wow us, Angel.”
I rolled my eyes before clearing my throat and strumming a few warm-up chords. Then I started the opening melody of the song. “I heard that you're settled down…” I wanted to impress the guys, but I really wanted to knock it out of the park to put Jake’s smirking ass in his place. So I did the only thing I knew how to do when it came to performing—I tuned them out. It was about me, the guitar, the music, and the melody. As my voice echoed through the close quarters of the cabin, I closed my eyes, living and breathing the lyrics. I poured my soul into reaching the high and low notes while my fingers picked the familiar chords.
When I finished the chorus, my eyes popped open, and I stopped singing. I continue strumming the chords as I gazed around at the guys. I couldn’t help but laugh at their expressions. “So?” I prompted.
AJ grinned. “Tu cantas como un angel.”
I snorted. “I sing like an angel, huh? I guess that’s a good description since you guys keep calling me that.”
When I glanced at Rhys, he was shaking his head. “Damn, girl, no wonder you blew the execs away. You’re like a mini-Adele.”
Warmth flooded my cheeks. “Really?”
“Hell yeah! Tinier and prettier though.” Rhys thumped my back heartily like he would one of the guys. A little too hard because it caused me to yelp. His eyes widened. “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot you’re so dainty.”
I laughed. “I’m not that fragile, but I’m not one of you guys either.”
Next I looked to Brayden who wore an expression of genuine admiration. “That was absolutely amazing. Not only do you have a powerhouse voice, but the emotion you put into it…” He closed his eyes for a moment. “Just inspiring.”
Unable to keep a beaming smile off my face, I gushed, “Aw, thank you.”
Finally, I dared myself to look at Jake. He was leaned back against the kitchen counter, arms crossed over his chest. “So?” I finally asked.
His signature smirk curved on his lips. “After those glowing reviews, you really give a shit about what I have to say?”
“Of course I do. After all, you’re the lead singer of Runaway Train.”
“Uh, Bray and I sing too,” AJ countered.
I laughed. “Whatever.”
Jake rubbed his hand along his chin. “Ever had voice lessons?”
My brows furrowed. “When my brothers made it on to the scene, my parents let me have some training. Before then, we really couldn’t afford it. Occasionally, some people from the ministry would work with us.”
He bobbed his head. “Just as I expected.”
“True God-given talent,” he replied, with a wink.
His response stunned me, and I just sat there, guitar still on my lap, staring at him. He pushed himself away from the counter and came over to me. “There are people who can spend thousands of dollars on voice lessons and never, ever exude one tiny ounce of the talent you just did on a stinky bus rolling down the interstate.”
“Thank you,” I squeaked.
“I think you could give Adele a run for her money any day.”
A nervous laugh escaped my lips. “Uh, well, I don’t know about that.”
Jake squatted down in front of me, and I tried ignoring how my body hummed in response to his closeness. I had never, ever experienced anything like it before in my life. It was like every molecule in my body came alive, and the closer he was to me the more I tingled. Whoa. How could I possibly be having a reaction to him? He was an egomaniac jerk!
His gaze went to my guitar. “So you play some ballads. Can you do anything else?”
Pursing my lips at his challenge, I started strumming the opening to AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. Jake instantly busted out laughing. “Damn, Angel, just when I start to underestimate you, you go and prove me wrong.”
Still playing, I teased, “And here I underestimated that you could ever admit when you were wrong about something.”
“I normally don’t. But I have a feeling I’m going to make an exception for you in a lot of areas.” At his wicked grin, I knew exactly what he was meant.
“Dream on,” I muttered.
“Fantasizing is healthy, you know. Maybe you should try it more.”
Closing my eyes, I kept playing Highway to Hell. I licked my lips. “Hmm, yeah, you’re right. Fantasizing is nice.”
“Whatcha thinkin’ about, Angel?” Jake asked, his breath hovering close to my cheek. “Or should I say who ya thinkin’ about?”
“You,” I whispered. My eyes popped open to take in his surprised expression.
“Mmm-hmm,” I replied a little breathlessly for emphasis. He cocked his eyebrows expectantly. “I’m fantasizing about what it would be like to nail you in the balls again for being such an egotistical jerkwad!”