Moving to a new city isn’t the magic fix Lexie Travis hoped it would be. Sure, she put some mileage between herself and her feuding parents, her miserable dating history, and the memories of a life-altering injury. However, she still feels like a former shadow of herself, hiding behind her diminished confidence and her thorough disbelief in true love.
Everything changes when Lexie’s best (and only) friend drags her to a country music concert. Lexie loves country music, but she loathes the top-selling heartthrob who sold out the arena. Jack Morgan became a sensation with a string of degrading, shallow songs that she can’t stand.
A startling trauma lands Jack in the hospital, and Lexie is the physical therapist assigned to the VIP treatment of the very man she despises.
Jack is drawn to the one woman who appears resistant to his charms and who loves to check his ego every chance she gets, yet gives him the honesty he needs. She’s the opposite of his usual groupies. He can only continue his tour if he receives rehab on the road, and Lexie is the lone person Jack trusts for the job.
Reluctantly, she agrees to take the journey on his luxury coach, joining the wild cast of characters on his crew. Yes, she was given many incentives to take the assignment, but the reason she wants to ignore is the dangerous one. Jackson Morgan is growing on her.
At every turn, another challenge pushes her away from him.
Stepping onto the tour bus is the domino that starts a chain reaction in their lives and challenges them both to change. Could they learn to believe in love and happily ever after?
*Please note: Groupie is Volume One in a two-part series
Copyright: Susan Daugherty
I saw Charlie gaze over my shoulder, looking toward Jackson’s bus, and I turned to see him slowly moving toward the group on his crutches. He was wearing red plaid pajama pants that hung low on his hips and a tight, white, ribbed tank. That was all. His hair was tousled from the pillow, a shadow of a beard traced around his chin, and his blue eyes were electric. I knew I stared but couldn’t stop. This was the best look for him yet, and all he’d done was wake up.
I felt Ashley nudge me into alertness as Jackson neared, and I cleared my throat and said, “Nice of you to get out of bed for us, Mr. Morgan.” I felt silly for taking so much time to get ready when he evidently did the opposite. If only I looked like that first thing in the morning.
He chuckled and took the mug Andy offered him, then turned to Ashley while I introduced them. He held out his hand, but she hugged him instead and he laughed. “I like this girl. Hey, Ashley, thanks for all your help. I hope you got the autograph I sent over.”
I gave an exaggerated eye roll and decided to get my bags as they talked. I began to lug them over and realized I had no idea where to put them, since we wouldn’t convene with the girls’ bus until Chattanooga. I caught Jackson’s eye, as I stood awkwardly with my bags between the two buses, and he limped over to me.
“Did you leave anything at home?” he teased. “Andy can load these on my coach. I feel like such a loser. I can’t even carry your bags for you.”
“Oh, no, I can get them. I just wasn’t sure where to put them until we meet up with the girls’ bus,” I explained.
He frowned and gave me a puzzled look. “Why does that matter?” he asked as he waved to Andy, who quickly grabbed bags.
“Well,” I answered, also confused, “That’s where I'll be staying…with the girls, on their bus.”
His eyes got big, and then he smothered a laugh as he said, “No, Lex, you’re stuck with me. On my bus, the whole time, no escape.” The look of shock on my face must have alarmed him because he held up his hands to plead and rushed on, saying, “Look, it makes sense. My coach is the nicest by far. It has the most room for your equipment, we can do treatments anytime we want, and besides, the girls’ bunks are full. The plan was always for you to join the black bus. I didn’t know you thought otherwise. Did someone say that to you?” He was incredulous.
I sputtered. “Well, no, I just assumed…uh, I can’t stay with you. It’s too unprofessional. What will people think?”
“Um, they’ll think you’re the farthest thing from a groupie ever to walk the face of this earth. Seriously, it will be much more convenient. Remember, Blevins came by to approve of your accommodations? She thinks it’ll be fine.” He said it so matter of fact that I was speechless.
I stood like a statue as Ashley joined us and asked, “What’s up guys?”
I was still in shock, so Jackson explained, while shifting nervously back and forth on his crutches. Ashley reprimanded me for being difficult again. “Come on, Lexie, don’t be silly. You are grown adults, and you have a 24/7 job to do here. Therefore, you need to be around him 24/7. Now, come show me this palace.”
She pulled me toward the bus, and I saw Jack shoot her a grateful look as I numbly followed her inside. She gaped and gushed as she inspected every inch, while I sank onto the couch.
She knelt in front of me and shook my shoulders. “Please, don’t tell me you’re really upset about having to share quarters with a handsome rock star that treats you like gold. Please,” she begged as if trying to decide if I were truly insane.
I shook off my numb stare for an anxious expression. I told her the truth, “It’s not that, Ash. It’s just…did you see him? If I have to look at that every morning when he gets up—ugh! I’ve tried so hard to stay professional, but every girl has a breaking point!” I buried my face in my hands.
Ashley was shocked and then burst out laughing. “Oh, thank goodness, you are a human being after all. Whew! I feel so much better now.”
I grumbled. “Well, I’m glad you feel better.”
“You better keep me posted with daily text and calls, or I'll be dying of suspense,” she warned me.
A knock came at the door and Andy entered, nervously shoving his hands in his pockets. “Um, hi. Is everything okay? Jack sent me to check on you.”
I sighed. “Yes, thanks Andy. I guess this will be my new home after all. I assume I can pick a bunk?”
He nodded. “You could store stuff on whichever one you don’t sleep on, and I cleared out the whole bathroom closet so you have lots of room in there also for clothes, shoes, whatever. The kitchen is stocked with anything you could want, and all the toiletry stuff is under the sink.”
I gave him an appreciative smile and he relaxed and smiled back.
“Well, we’re taking off in just a minute, so I’ll see you soon. Nice to meet you, Ashley,” he said and they waved goodbye when he exited.
Ashley and I hugged and said, “Love you. Mean it,” at the same time, making us crack up as we walked to her car. She told everyone to take good care of me before she left. Tears stung my eyes, but I blinked them back.
Jackson headed onto the black coach as the others loaded into the gray one, and the drivers climbed into the cabs. Left as the last one outside, I braced myself to enter my new home with my ridiculously hot new roommate.
About the Author
Susan Daugherty is a freelance writer, and by some happy coincidence, also a licensed Physical Therapist and an APTA Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist. She is the author of the 2016 novel Groupie as well as its sequel, Muse. Her essay The Cycle of Inspiration was published in PT InMotion in April 2013. She is a member of Romance Writers of America. Raised in Kentucky, she now resides in Knoxville, Tennessee where she lives with her husband and two children.