Giving true love a spin . . .
Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .
Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .
Praise for the Portland Heat series
“Tremendously charming and sexy.”—RT Book Reviews on Served Hot
“A really enjoyable story.”—Joyfully Jay on Baked Fresh
“Sometimes an author just gets everything right…Absolutely perfect.”—Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews on Delivered Fast
About the Author
Annabeth can be found online at annabethalbert.com, @annabethalbert on Twitter, and Facebook.com/annabethalbert.
Read an Excerpt
All Note Long
By Annabeth Albert
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Annabeth Albert
All rights reserved.
"Filed under things that make us go hmmmm ... Have you noticed how chummy Michelin Moses has gotten with gay musicians lately? One has to wonder if an announcement of his own could be coming soon ..." — GoZZip
Michelin Moses had no business at a gay bar, especially not one as notorious as West Hollywood's The Broom Closet. And the line to get in totally underscored that — the vestibule was a long, narrow tunnel filled with kids out to enjoy their Friday night. Babies, really. Fresh-faced young things who probably didn't even need to shave jostled one another in the tight space, laughing and joking as they admired one another's club wear and gossiped about who was fucking who.
Not that Michelin was listening in, but the space was so tiny it was hard not to. He didn't have club wear to ogle. He had "please for the love of God don't notice me" clothes. And the idea of openly pointing to another dude in line and announcing to one's friends, "Oh yeah, I hit that last weekend" was so totally foreign that he couldn't help but gape a bit. The plexiglass walls of the tunnel gave off weird shadows — neither the lights outside the club nor the dim track lighting along the bottom edge of the tunnel were enough illumination.
He tugged at the collar of his Henley shirt. Damn, it was hot in here. Too small. Too tight. Not enough air. Shut up. He was not claustrophobic. If this line ever moved, he'd feel better once he was inside the Closet.
If that's not a metaphor for your whole damn life ...
"ID please." Finally, the line reached the bouncers who were taking ID. Michelin couldn't even remember the last time he'd had to stand around like this, show ID. At least unlike these nineteen-year-olds with their fake identification, Michelin's Oregon driver's license was likely to hold up. The bouncer was a huge guy — so tall and jacked that Michelin felt for the tiny stool that held him up — with surprisingly small, delicate hands.
He held the card aloft before finally handing it back and nodding. "Okay, cowboy. Enjoy your night."
At least he hadn't laughed outright at the name. That was something. Shoving his license back in his wallet, he stumbled a bit coming out of the tunnel.
"Watch it," someone barked behind him.
"Sorry," Michelin mumbled. Hell, he couldn't even successfully enter the Closet. A nervous laugh bubbled up in his throat, something he stamped right back down. Forget the stupid bar, coming out of his personal closet was out of the question, and he didn't need the crowd jostling behind him to remind him of that.
"This your first time here?" a kid to the left of him asked — short little guy with far more bravado than brains. Michelin made a noncommittal response but the kid grabbed his sleeve, his eyes going soft and hooded. "How about you be my daddy for the night? We can make sure it's your lucky night." The kid winked.
Ugh. Getting lucky wasn't even remotely in the cards for his night.
"No thanks." He pulled away from the kid, scanning the cavernous space for signs of the private party room his friends had promised. And oh holy hell, knowing in the abstract that this place had go-go dancers was a far cry from actually seeing said dancers dispersed through the place on platforms and in cages and even on something resembling a trapeze. Gleaming bronze skin and tiny shorts everywhere he looked.
Fuck the private room. I need a soda. Something to relieve his suddenly parched throat. He turned toward the main bar area and ran smack into one of the elevated dancers' platforms. Two platforms flanked the opening of the club, directing the stream of traffic toward the bar, sort of like how a different sort of place might have large statues. Only instead of works of stone or ice, this ... piece of art in front of Michelin was all man.
And what a specimen he was. The dancer probably wasn't much older than the kids waiting to get into the club, but there was nothing juvenile about his tall, ripped body or that juicy bubble butt that he worked to perfection the way Michelin's guitar player did a solo — each muscle working in concert with the others, each wiggle carefully choreographed for maximum appeal. Said butt was encased in a pair of shorts. Or at least Michelin guessed that one would call them shorts — they were longer than underwear, but not by much, and made of a clingy, silky red material. The stitching did things to the guy's package that shouldn't be legal.
Those muscular legs and that smooth, oiled chest also needed outlawing. The dancer had completed his look with thick, chunky combat boots, sunglasses, and a necklace with a medal on it. The boots and glasses upped the hotness factor to supernova, giving him an untouchable appeal that made it no surprise that he had a fair-sized crowd around his platform. Right as Michelin completed his muscle-by-muscle catalog of the guy, the dancer's glasses slipped, revealing chocolaty eyes. His eyebrows went up, and the message he sent Michelin was unmistakable: You gonna stay there all night?
Oh fuck. Michelin was blocking the line of traffic, and more important, blocking access to the platform for the patrons who wanted to slip tips in the guy's waistband.
Should he? He shoved a hand in his pocket, considering. Did he dare risk touching a piece of that gleaming skin? The lights reflecting off the dancer's body totally made Michelin think of caramel dripping off flan — rich golden tones only enhanced by the contrast of the shiny black combat boots and his closely cropped black hair.
What the fuck was the protocol in a situation like this? Hi, I'm sorry I've been eye-fucking you for the last ten minutes, here's a five? He'd never been to a straight strip club either. Hell, he avoided most bars like the plague. And eye-fucking? He never ogled — and not just because it could be disastrous to his career. Most of the time he simply felt oblivious, but something about the dancer perked up parts of Michelin that usually stayed dormant. Two people shoved around him to stuff money in the dancer's shorts, their arms trapping Michelin briefly in place. Coming here had been a giant mistake, just as Gloria had warned him.
"You can't go to that party! Gossip is already high about you mentoring two gay groups —"
"They're not gay groups. They just happen to have gay members," Michelin said wearily, already tired of this latest publicist the label had shoved at him.
"Whatever." Gloria flipped her bony wrist. "They're a risk you can't take right now."
"It's no big deal. There will be straight people at the party." Michelin didn't bother with the "other straight people" pretext. Gloria knew the drill. "There's no risk in celebrating a friend's birthday."
Except now, looking at the dancer, Michelin knew how wrong he'd been. This place was risk personified, and that dancer was the embodiment of everything Michelin denied himself. The dancer was a triple pour of top-shelf whiskey and Michelin couldn't stop thinking about the heady rush touching him would bring. He should turn around now. Get back to his car now before he really embarrassed himself —
"Mi — boss! There you are!"
Oh thank you, small mercies, that Lucas stopped himself before he said Michelin's name. Still, Michelin turned toward him warily. Play it cool, he tried to tell Lucas with his eyes.
Lucas nodded, just slightly. Message received. Like everyone else in the club, Lucas was in his early twenties and about a decade younger than Michelin, but at least he was one of Michelin's favorite kids, especially because he was here to lead Michelin away from the temptation that was the dancer with the sculpture-worthy ass.
"The party room is back this way." Lucas motioned with his hand. "Follow me."
"Babe!" A familiar rangy figure with a punk haircut draped himself over Lucas. "You found him." Cody had a smile for Michelin, but his affection was all for his boyfriend.
Ordinarily, Michelin loved being around the two of them and the other guys he mentored. Their energy was infectious, and their passion for music renewed his own. But tonight, Michelin's stomach cramped as he followed the two of them to the rear of the club. Happiness practically rolled off them and their movements were totally in sync with each other. Once Michelin had thought he might get to know what that was like, but those days were long past.
"Don't even think about doing anything now. You've got too much riding on this year. Don't be foolish. You've got the number one country song in America right now. Don't mess with your momentum." Gloria's voice rang in his ears. Nope. No way was Michelin ever getting what his friends shared. No sense in pining for it either. He had a career he loved, friends who made him laugh, and family at his back. He'd known what the trade-offs were when he decided to trade his rock stardom for country crossover success.
Tonight's strange melancholy mood had him aching to get back home, push all these feelings into working on a new song. With any luck, Michelin could say happy birthday to Jalen, make a round of greetings to the other musicians he was mentoring, and get the hell out of Dodge. Preferably without running into the dancer again. He didn't need another reminder of how little he fit into this world — or how much he wished life were a bit different.
The door to the changing room swung open while Lucky was in the middle of pulling his red shorts off. Fucker. Just as Lucky was about to curse aloud, his boss's face appeared in the doorway.
The four long hairs in Carlos's comb-over were sticky with sweat, and he mopped at his round face with a handkerchief. The AC never worked as well as it could in this part of the club. Carlos didn't bother looking away while Lucky collected the money from his shorts and pulled loose the bills that had stuck to his skin.
Working the entrance had been a pretty lean shift, punctuated by the adorkable tall dude in the slouchy beanie who looked at Lucky like he wanted to devour him with a spoon. Slowly. But then he hadn't tipped and had looked a bit like a lost kitten in a room full of dogs until some guys dragged him way. Yeah, when a non-tipper was the highlight of the shift, it wasn't exactly a great set at all. Lucky's combat boots and sunglasses were already back in his bag. Next up was his football ensemble — unlaced white pants, cleats, and a smudge of black makeup under his eyes.
"Lucky and Rod, you're working the party room next." Carlos finished mopping himself to make the demand.
"Aw. Really?" Rod looked up from taking a swig of the mineral water he carried everywhere. "It's a twenty-first birthday party, right? I'm really not up for teaching a bunch of frat boys stripper manners 101."
Lucky nodded. Young guys. Old guys. Everyone tended to get more handsy in the private party room, and Lucky got damn tired of being the rule enforcer in there, because Carlos rarely gave them adequate security in the lounge. Tonight was one of those nights when he just wanted to dance. Just get him in his cage, get him in his zone, let the club tunes wash over him until it was his turn at the main stage. He lived for his main stage slots. His music. His choreography. But it wasn't his club. It was Carlos's. And that meant that if Carlos wanted to push them toward the Kmart tippers, he could.
"The last twenty-first birthday party you made us work had shit for tips. Can't you get Julio or Dwayne to do it? They're newer," he reminded Carlos. Private parties were so damn unpredictable — sometimes he could rake in the dough while other times it was a total waste of time. The main stage was pretty predictably good on a busy Friday night. He wasn't in the mood to pass up a main stage slot and have to babysit a room and play keep-away with his dick for two hours.
"Nope. You guys to start. We'll let them switch you out later." Carlos made it sound like he was doing them a huge favor. "And Lucky? Not that." He motioned at Lucky's football pants. "Give them a nice show, huh?" Carlos, while not the worst boss Lucky had ever had, had definite opinions and ideas about Lucky's wardrobe choices.
And while Lucky wasn't the least bit shy, he did bristle a bit as he dug in his bag for briefs instead. Something about Carlos demanding it always made Lucky feel fifteen with his abuela clucking over how tight his jeans were and never being happy with his fashion choices for Sunday dinner. Nothing was ever good enough for either of them unless they picked it themselves, and even then they'd find issue with how he wore it.
So, fine, he'd wear his favorite Andrew Christian Cosmos "twerk" briefs with the cock sock he most certainly did not have to pad, no matter what that bitch Dwayne said last week. Rod pulled on a jock. Carlos nodded approvingly at Rod and sighed heavily at Lucky.
What the fuck? Why did Carlos always have to act like Lucky had taken a crap in the middle of the club? He wore a jock plenty. This was why he needed every main stage show he could get — he needed to perfect his routine and collect the cash to make his video entry in the Vegas or Bust contest absolutely killer. The revue show had asked for professional-quality dance videos from its finalists — pro costuming, choreography, lighting, and all to show that he was worthy of a stage slot. If he got the job, he could dump Carlos and this club and focus on the next step for his future. But not until he had enough socked away.
He dug his boots back out, laced them up, locked up the rest of his crap, and grabbed his water bottle.
"Let's make it rain," Rod said as they made their way to the party room. He thought he was so cute. Like Rod Iron was any better of a dancer name than Lucky Rain. "Oh yeah, baby. Good crowd."
Rod always managed to make Lucky feel like an extra in a cheesy porno. God, he was so ready to be done with this place, these dancers, and Carlos. But rent in WeHo wasn't going to pay itself. If he didn't need the guaranteed cash from his go-go shifts, he'd focus all his energy on stage shows and music videos and going to backup dancer auditions, but ever since he'd lost out on the underwear modeling contract, income from those avenues had been sporadic at best. Which was another reason he needed to win the Vegas or Bust contest.
Rod was right, though, things were hopping in the private lounge with a good size crowd. The lounge had a small bar along one wall, a number of seating areas, and a dance floor area that made ample use of mirrors and smoky lights to look bigger.
"I get the ladies." Rod didn't wait for a reply before heading straight for the couches where a crowd of women and not-so-young men lounged, snagging one of the movable low tables to dance on. He winked at Lucky as he started twerking. The mixed crowd was totally Rod's thing — he was heteroflexible, and his bachelorette tolerance was better than anyone else's in the club. And if the ladies didn't bring the cash, he could be guaranteed to find the high roller of the group.
Lucky restrained himself from rolling his eyes at Rod's retreating back. Lucky's nose for cash wasn't nearly as good, and he had nowhere near Rod's tolerance for solicitation and groping. Lucky was a professional go-go dancer and a show boy. He didn't do lap dances, and he sure as shit didn't do escort work, unlike some dancers here. Lucky made his way through the crowd, deciding where to set up. Unlike Rod, he preferred using one of the two dance platforms in the room, liking the clear separation of his space.
The house DJ dropped a sick beat, and some of Lucky's frustrations fled. He was here to dance, not bitch. It didn't matter what else was going on in his life; dancing was the one thing he could count on. He had the best life in the world and a few financially tight months couldn't change that.
Excerpted from All Note Long by Annabeth Albert. Copyright © 2016 Annabeth Albert. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I’m not a fan of country music but even I know that this plot line would be tackling some hard topics. In a broad generalization, country music listeners tend to be more conservative so Annabeth Albert created an interesting story of what happens when a country singer comes out. I really enjoyed this one, like most of Albert’s books, especially because Michelin was a different kind of character. I wish we could have had some lyrics to his songs but other than that it was a wonderful match of opposites attract. I absolutely loved Lucky and thought he was a fantastic character (even if he likes twerking, lol). I loved how dedicated he was to his dancing and that no matter what anyone thought about what he did, he wasn’t going to let it rule his decisions. Lucky had a lot of pride, sometimes too much, but mostly he was just really passionate about what he loved. He was a great match to get Michelin to break out of his rut and start living for himself instead of for other people. Lucky had no problem telling Michelin what he thought and he was also more fun and spontaneous which helped push Michelin out of his quiet shell. I loved Michelin, even his more gruff, loner personality. I actually love when authors write gruff characters who struggle to express their emotions as they fall in love. I’m happy to say that though Michelin loosens up, I feel that Albert still retained his more quiet, introverted demeanor. Michelin grows as a character but he doesn’t all of a sudden become a new person. I also enjoyed the struggle Michelin goes through as he deals with the spotlight of being the “first” gay county star and how he just wants to do his music, he doesn’t want to be an activist. He really just wants to keep his head down and do his thing. I thought it was brave of Albert to write a character that admits at one point that he wishes he hadn’t come out. It was certainly a journey for Michelin to find acceptance. I can’t lie though, I don’t like the name Michelin, though I don’t blame him for not keeping his real name. There I said it, let’s move on. I felt Albert did a great job showing the acceptance and rejection that Michelin goes through from various sources. And I also liked that even in the end, there were those who couldn’t accept it because that’s the real world, it doesn’t always end all rosy. Michelin takes a lot of crap from his record label, and that was tough to see him caving to their wishes all the time, but when it really counts he pushes back.
This was my first book in the Perfect Harmony series by Annabeth Albert, and I'm happy to report that you don't need to read the previous books to enjoy All Note Long. But with that said, I'm definitely going back to read the previous two books because I really enjoyed this book! The two main characters, Michelin the country singer and Lucky the go-go dancer, had an amazing amount of chemistry right from the start when Michelin walks into the club where Lucky works. They were undoubtedly mismatched pair, but I think that really worked out perfectly for them in the end because they seem to really balance one another out. A misunderstanding and a forced outting may have brought them together, but you can definitely see that it was the powerful attraction and connection they had that made these two work. Lucky was exactly what Michelin needed at the right time to finally have a life of his own beyond the spotlight. I did have one slight issue that bugged me while reading All Note Long, and it was the lack of compromise on both their behalves. Lucky had a bit too much pride and Michelin cared far too much about everyone but himself, but beyond that I do still think this was a solid book with a cast of great characters you will love so I am going to recommend you read it.
The only thing better than getting to read the next book in a series you adore is having that book be just as amazing as the previous ones. All Note Long is the third book in Annabeth Albert’s Perfect Harmony Series and it did not disappoint me at all! Michelin has been a mentor, cheerleader, teachers, and good friend to the guys in the group. I was curious about his background and story, so All Note Long was highly anticipated by me. In the beginning, he meets Lucky the “go-go” dancer while at a gay bar with the guys from the previous book in the series. Michelin is so far in the closet, with the door locked, and the key thrown into the deep blue sea. But, Lucky awakens something in him and makes him feel. What happens next is a series of sensual and powerful feelings between Lucky and Michelin. As a popular country star, Michelin has always played the part of the sexy cowboy (and former rocker). He has allowed his label and manager to dictate his image as a good guy. So, when he is “outed” it comes with repercussions and consequences he never imagined. While I adored the storyline, writing, and relationship between the pair, I found Michelin to be a little more annoying in this book. I always thought of him as a strong, alpha, sexy male. But, he came across as needy and whiney at times throughout the story. Other than that, the story met every expectation I had and I can’t wait for more from this series! *Copy provided for review for Crystal's Many Reviewers
I absolutely LOVED All Note Long! Michelin and Lucky are such a complex, dynamic couple. At first glance, it appears lust is the catalyst for their attraction. It soon becomes clear that is not the case. Watching their love bloom was beautiful. Lucky shows his feelings through actions. Michelin through words. Lucky learns to talk about his feelings while Michelin learns to be more demonstrative. They both learn the art of compromise is vital to a relationship Lucky has been open about his homosexuality since he was 15.He has the full support of his family. Michelin has kept his homosexuality a secret. He needs it to stay a secret in order to remain a superstar. When he is publicly 'outed', people take sides and Michelin becomes the lightning rod for controversy. Annabeth Albert took this very sensitive, controversial issue and handled it beautifully. I hope and pray the day comes where there will be no controversy. People will realize that everyone is equal and we don't choose who we love. Love simply happens. As always, Annabeth Albert has written a fantabulous story. She never disappoints. I enthusiastically recommend All Note Long and all of her books as 'must-reads'. I would give more than 5 stars but they won't let me!
I loved this book so much! All Note Long is the third book in the Perfect Harmony series but each book stands alone and you won’t feel like you’ve missed anything if you start the series here. I fell in love with Ms. Albert’s writing when I read her free short story Waiting for Clark. Since then I’ve read nearly everything in her backlist and all of her books have totally measured up to the first one. This is the story of Michelin and Lucky; an extremely unlikely pair who clicked when they first meet. Michelin is a famous country singer who’s deep in the closet. Lucky is a go-go dancer and he’s been out and proud since he was a teen. Michelin is fascinated by Lucky and can’t keep his eyes off of him when he first sees him in a gay bar where he has gone to help celebrate a friend’s birthday. Lucky is fascinated by the shy man that’s staring holes through his body as he dances. When they accidentally meet again in the bar the sparks fly, they are caught on camera, the pictures posted online and Michelin is outed. If you’ve read many of my other reviews this one may sound like a broken record. It’s so hard for me to describe just how much I loved this story. My heart broke for Michelin and the struggles he faced before and after he was outed. I also was sad for Lucky; he really wants to be with Michelin but he won’t hide and dancing isn’t something he’s willing to give up. This was no insta-love story, rather there was a nice slow build up to the sexy time. Once again Annabeth Albert has written a book that contains just the right amount of angst, humor and love with a wonderful HEA. Her attention to detail is perfect. I lost myself in the story while reading it and it’s one that has stayed with me even as I began reading the next book on my list. *****Reviewed for Xtreme-Delusions*****