As far as Declan Waterford is concerned, women are off limits-at least until he can earn enough money for his brother's surgery. The dueling piano gig at Vegas's Masquerade hotel barely pays enough...but if Declan can convince his boss to promote him, he'll be set. And the Senior VP of the hotel's gorgeous daughter might just be the "in" Declan needs.
Between drowning in mistakes at her editorial internship and fighting off her father's demands that she relocate to Vegas and join his hotel empire, Melody Sumner doesn't have time for love-or one-night stands with sexy Irish piano players-no matter how appetizing Declan is. But even though she knows he's only interested in her for one reason, the intense chemistry between them has her thinking dangerous thoughts...
The complete 'What Happens in Vegas’ series (All standalones which can be read out of order)
Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina L. Maxwell
The Makeover Mistake by Kathy Lyons
A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas
Masquerading with the CEO by Dawn Chartier
Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye
Tamed by the Outlaw by Michelle Sharp
Tempted by Mr. Write by Sara Hantz
Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance
Seducing Seven by M.K. Meredith
Calling Her Bluff by Kaia Danielle
Her Secret Lover by Robin Covington
Betting on the Wrong Brother by Cathryn Fox
Accidentally in Love with the Biker by Teri Anne Stanley
Loving the Odds by Stefanie London
The Seduction of Kinley Foster by Lisa Wells
Hot on His Heels by Margo Bond Collins
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Just One Reason
A What Happens in Vegas Story
By Brooklyn Skye, Alycia Tornetta
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Brooklyn Skye
All rights reserved.
Melody Sumner stared at the tablet's screen, letters and words scrambling like a dizzying carnival ride. Not really moving, Mel. You know this. Just focus! She glanced up to the circle of women around the table, blinked once, twice, and tried again to read the email.
Dear Karri, I am deeply confused by your intern's respon —
The tablet disappeared. Karri Wood, the well-known and highly coveted senior editor Melody interned for, cleared her throat, waving the device in front of her. Well? her blue eyes seemed to say.
Melody's hands fidgeted in her lap. "I ... um ... didn't finish reading it?" A question. Why had she made it sound like a question? Maybe it was the face- to-face contact she'd had with her mentor and publishing team the past few days during the Romance Lovers Convention, the meetings, workshops, and lunches that all involved discussing this year's releases and marketing strategies. The way these women stared at her when she was asked to read something quickly. Yeah, working remotely from home, where no one could witness that was much preferred.
Karri took a sip of her sangria and smiled stiffly. "Stop twiddling, for goodness' sake. I only meant to show you that when responding to agents and authors, you need to be clearer. We're interested. We're not. Give a reason and be done. Don't feel bad about rejecting their work. Lord knows we don't have time for that." She chuckled, her thick brown hair dancing with the movement, then patted Melody's shoulder. "And proofread before sending, dear. That way we won't have any problems." The punch to Karri's words elicited a bilious fizz in her stomach. Would this trip be it for her? The moment her mentor realized Melody wasn't cut out to be the successful editor she'd expected her to be?
"I'm sorry. I will," Melody said, then shoved her straw into her mouth and gulped her iced tea to keep from begging for mercy or making promises she couldn't keep, like saying mistakes as stupid as this one wouldn't ever happen again.
It's out of my control.
Across the table, Heather, the team's publicist, scrunched her nose at Melody, dipping her chin in an understanding nod, then barrel-rolled the women into conversation about the cover design on next month's lead title. Melody sighed and relaxed into her chair, silently thanking Heather with a smile. Becoming a romance editor was everything to Melody — a dream she'd had since she'd first discovered her mother's stacks of curled paperbacks years ago in high school. A guilty pleasure turned to passion, despite the difficulty she had with reading. Losing this internship would mean starting from square one, only with a black cloud of failure hanging over her head.
Melody tried to focus on the discussion at the table, but inside that niggling voice wouldn't leave her alone. The one that whispered she wasn't good enough, that her reading disability would keep her from following her dreams. College had been a melee of textbooks thrown across the room and ugly tears, and that insistent voice didn't want to let her forget it.
Melody sat up tall, planting her elbows on the linen-covered table, and shoved back her shoulders. No. I can do this. I will do this.
But could she? With errors like the email she sent to that agent?
Across the walkway, a hotel employee bent over a trash can and yanked out the bag, the collar of his red-and-purple uniform poking into his neck. Prickles built in her belly, the same as they always did when she thought of her father's words: The Masquerade would suit you well.
But she didn't want to live in Vegas, didn't want anything to do with hotel or casino life at all. She liked her quiet life in Southern California. Cute townhome, remote internship that would hopefully soon lead to a paycheck ... that's what suited her. Just being at the Masquerade, with its Bourbon Street architecture and gaudy, jester-like decor, had her appetite disappearing faster than a magic act. Why had the convention been set here? Why not New York? Chicago? Plenty of locations would've provided a great venue for this rally of publishing folk —
A plate landed in front of her, the scent of tomatoes and basil hitting her at the same time. "Your basgetti and meatballs, ma'am," the waitress said teasingly. The women at the table laughed, and Melody grew warm in the cheeks. She hadn't meant to say that when ordering, but the rush to give her choice had tangled up her tongue.
She squinted up at the leathery face above her and forced a smile. "Thank you." At least everyone had thought it was a joke.
Story of your life, right, Mel?
Plates of lasagna, chicken parmesan, and a mound of garlic bread quickly filled the table. Melody lowered her hands beneath the table and shook them out — the hot burn of humiliation waning with the effort. Inhale. Exhale. Okay, time to eat.
From beneath the silverware, she tugged out the cloth napkin, accidentally sending the trio of eating utensils crashing to the tiled floor. Seriously? Did everything have to be a freaking fiasco with her?
Vegas ... It had to be this despicable place throwing her senses — and coordination! — into a jumbled pile of doo-doo.
She pinched a thin smile, praying her cheeks weren't as red as they felt, when a man crouched down beside her to retrieve the silverware.
For a small second, she stared at the dark head of short-cropped hair beneath her. The square shoulders and the way they pressed against the sleeves of his T-shirt when he moved. Please don't be one of the hundreds of cover models swarming this place. After the day she'd had, she wasn't sure she could handle that kind of embarrassment in front of these women. The man's fingers swooped under the silver, and as he stood, his eyes met hers.
Forest green. A glint from the lighting above. Oh, those were not difficult to look into at all.
One side of his mouth pulled into a grin. "The filth on this floor probably causes cancer," he said, his voice lower than she expected and with a heavy — but not jumbled — Irish accent. "Better not use them." Quickly, he slipped behind her chair and snatched a new set of utensils from an empty table. Setting them in front of her, he added, "Enjoy your lunch," then crossed the walkway and entered Napoleon's, the hotel's renowned piano bar.
"Holy Colin Farrell," Heather whispered to the table. "That guy was dreamy!"
"Do you think he's a cover model?" Karri asked.
"Wouldn't doubt it. You know who he kind of looks like, though?"
Collectively, everyone — including Melody — shook their heads.
Heather tapped on her phone lightning fast, then held it up with a toothy grin, the screen displaying her favorite online magazine. "I should become a detective with how well I can recognize people. I was going to say he looks like Brendan Waterford, lead singer of Torn, this indie rock band in Ireland. But that's because that guy is his little brother, Declan Waterford. The Pulse mentioned him in an article about his brother a while back, said he'd had a few small gigs over in Ireland before coming to the States, but ..." A line formed between her brows as she scanned the sign across the way that announced a dueling pianos show at nine o'clock. "You think he's performing here?"
She wasn't looking at Melody, but an answer came out anyway. "Yes," Melody said, swallowing against the wave of attention from the table. "My father's fiancée mentioned him not too long ago. Apparently, he can draw the crowds." Melody hadn't known who Declan Waterford was when her stepmother-to-be, Alexis, had talked of him. Didn't much care, either, since Vegas would only ever be a place for romance conventions and perhaps the occasional bachelorette party — not a permanent residence — so she hadn't paid considerable attention. Irish charm, she remembered Alexis saying. Amazing arms, too.
Well, Melody couldn't disagree with her there.
"I think our little intern made an impression on him," Karri said around the edge of her sangria glass. Discreetly, Melody grinned. Boss talking about men? Maybe a tad awkward.
Heather clapped her hands, spearing Melody with a smile. "Maybe he could be the one to finally lube your tubes!"
Lube my tubes?
"How do you ..." Melody couldn't even say it, not in front of her boss. And how did Heather know about her Sahara-sized dry spell anyway?
"Oh, honey, it's written all over your face."
* * *
Declan Waterford peered once more over his shoulder at the gorgeous blonde sitting outside the Italian eatery. Not that he could see past those warm hazel eyes and the roundness of her tits in that fitted tank top — but both were pure flawlessness.
The door to Nap's shut behind him, and with it thoughts of the girl, too. Priorities, man. Savage as it is, you have no choice.
Declan slipped a small radio from his bag, set it atop the piano, and lowered onto the bench. His fingers warmed up the keys in his routine series of chords before he switched on the radio and began to practice, matching the melody of the piano to the songs. He didn't care much about the lyrics — the audience loved when he ad-libbed those. But 90 percent of the songs he played in his shows were audience requests, so he had to stay up on all the American pop songs. And he prided himself on the little fact that he hadn't ever turned away a song for not knowing it.
Sam Smith turned to Rihanna to Katy Perry. Being some of the most- requested songs, he knew them already, but he played on, letting his mind drift as he did. Over the blonde outside, the strange rattle his car had made on the drive to work, and then to a conversation he'd had with his brother, Brendan. Not the last one. Just the one he'd forced himself never to forget.
What does this surgery involve, B?
Rerouting the nerves that no longer work to functioning nerves. It'll restore lost movement in my upper limbs. In spanner terms, brother, I'll be able to use my hands again. Need 'em to stroke the salami.
That was his big brother, forced into quadriplegia at the young age of twenty-six — his dreams stripped away with his ability to move all his limbs — and still making jokes about beating off. And to the very dickbrain who'd convinced him the water was deep enough. No doubt, had Declan been the one to jump first into the too-shallow water, he'd resent his brother fiercely. Blame him with every ounce he had in his body.
But that was the difference between him and his brother. Because if it had been the other way around, Brendan would've raised enough money by now.
The door behind the bar slammed, and Duey's voice echoed through the dimly lit lounge, over the sea of empty chairs. "Payday, bitch!"
Declan's fingers paused, drawing out the last note. "Pretty sure at my last job, my boss didn't call me 'bitch.' Is that legal here in the States?"
"If you work in Vegas, it is." Duey grinned, then slapped a white envelope in front of Declan. "Less than last month's because we had to deduct for last night's bar fight."
Less. Declan's mind stumbled over the word. "What?" he said, quieting the radio. "You can't charge me for that. I'm not the one who fought."
Duey scraped his hand over his pale face. "The fight you caused. Do I really have to explain this?"
"Did you see me once get off this bench?" Less, less, less. Growing antsy with nowhere to move, Declan stood, his insides exploding and crumbling at the same time. Brendan doesn't have time for less!
Duey stepped back as Declan marched past him. "Your words, bro. They get into people's heads, make them act" — he extended a finger to his temple and spun it in a circle — "like lunatics."
Hands clenched at Declan's sides. "My lyrics bring in good tips."
"With the ladies, yes. I've witnessed it, I know. But the dudes that come in here? They don't want to be threatened. By you or each other. Pit bulls, man. They're all just pit bulls in their own cages. Open one, and ... well, you saw what happens."
Two grown men throwing themselves around the bar like idiots. Stools breaking. A few glasses, too. Yeah, he saw. Declan rolled his eyes. "Not my fault if 'roided-out tools come in here with beef already between them. Those guys probably spent all day at the pool, staring each other down. It would've happened wherever they landed."
Duey's mouth opened and closed, then he tucked his stringy black hair behind his ear — something he did when he was nervous, Declan had noticed. "Maybe," Duey said. "But insulting them?"
Like lightning, Declan's hands shot up, palms out. "Insults were never part of the show. I may kid, but I'm not stupid enough to risk my job."
"Neither am I, and after two episodes of this the boss now has his eye on me. Very closely. No more damage, you understand?"
Staring at the wall behind his supervisor's head, Declan nodded.
Duey pressed on, as if he knew he was pushing Declan's sanity button. "There are hundreds of performers waiting for this slot to open. One more screwup and you're out."
He hated the power trip this douche bag had over him, but he had to play it cool. Letting him dig under his nails like a splinter would only result in the guy receiving a face full of Declan's fist. Declan sucked in a slow breath, pictured his brother, and said, "There won't be another screwup."
"Good." Duey spun on his heels and started for the door. Declan knew this wasn't the time to ask but called out anyway.
"Hey, man, that opening at the Parrot Lounge? You think I have a shot at it?"
His supervisor didn't bother turning around as he spouted out over his shoulder, "Time, Waterford. It takes time to show you're deserving of that slot."
Yeah, and time is the only thing I don't have.
* * *
Melody scanned the table of chocolate-and-whipped-cream-smeared plates, her belly aching from the ungodly number of calories she'd just consumed. Dinner and dessert had passed with continuous — and exhausting — talk of her team's releases, an unending list it seemed would take them well into the following year.
She rubbed her head and caught Heather smiling at her. "I could use a stiffer drink," she said to the table.
Karri agreed with a nod. "And maybe some music?" Her eyes pointed to the door of Napoleon's, swung wide open now, with sounds of hit songs and laughter escaping. "Anyone up for a little break?"
Melody had to admit ... she was spent. And a touch curious what that singing Irish accent sounded like up close. Quickly, she stood, smoothing the material of her skirt. "I'm in." She smiled. "And I heard Napoleon's makes a killer Manhattan."
The group of women sauntered into the lounge, beelining for the bar. The heaviness of the air, thick with heat and the stench of nicotine, had Melody rubbing her eyes instantaneously. I don't know how Dad can call a place like this home.
Drinks in hand, a few of the women headed straight for the dance floor. Melody hung back with Heather, watching as Declan Waterford skated his fingers over the piano keys. Graceful, yet steady. And assured. Almost as if the ivory was an extension of his own body. The man opposite him sifted through a handful of small white paper slips atop his piano. Song requests — what the entire show was based off. Salty-white strands of hair trickled down his sideburns and into a wild beard. Nice-looking, if you liked the Duck Dynasty look, but older and definitely not who she would have imagined onstage with an Irish performer. Only in Vegas, she thought with a giggle.
"You should request something," Heather said as the Vance Joy song came to an end. Melody tore her eyes away from the singer and stared at her coworker.
"I didn't come in here to flirt with the performers."
Heather cocked her head to the side, her braided ponytail draping over her bare arm. "You didn't?" she said playfully. "I thought for sure that's why you jumped up from the table so fast."
Her brain had felt scrambled from the three-hour dinner meeting, that's why she'd needed a break. But it wasn't like she could blurt that out to Heather — she didn't want anyone knowing, much less suspecting, that she struggled with all those words.
Another song started up, Declan's fingers racing over the keys. What had that study she'd recently read online said again about tying learning a musical instrument to the improvement in sound spelling? Dr. Mann, a well-known dyslexia specialist, often wrote about her theories on her blog, her latest relating to music.
Excerpted from Just One Reason by Brooklyn Skye, Alycia Tornetta. Copyright © 2015 Brooklyn Skye. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was everything I love about Entangled Publishing’s Lovestruck line. It was cute in all the right places, with romantic moments that made me swoon. This book was equal parts fun, sexy, and smart and I just loved it so much. First off, let’s talk about Declan Waterford. OMG- I was hooked right away by this sexy Irish musician, but as soon as I heard his compelling backstory and found out his reasons for being in Las Vegas in the first place, I was 100% on his side. Not only is he drop dead gorgeous and sweet to Melody, but he’s hell bent on doing right by his brother back home. I loved his singular dedication to his cause and could feel the burden he carried from a moment gone wrong in his past. I’m all for a tortured hero, and Declan was everything I could ask for. Then we have Melody Sumner. This girl is all sorts of sweet, and I felt terrible for the way she kept messing things up in small ways with her internship. Brooklyn Skye has this way of creating characters that you just can’t help but root for, and Melody is the type that you want to be besties with. I wanted to give her a hug and a pep talk! She needed a morale boost in the worst way, and luckily Declan was just the man for the job. The chemistry between Declan and Melody is sizzling. After reading this novel, I have a new appreciation for piano lessons! (Seriously- that scene is so amazing!) Brooklyn Skye knows how to turn up the heat in a romance novel, and the bedroom scenes in this book (or should I say piano scenes?!?) do not disappoint. This book is sexy as all get out! Of course this book has a HEA (It is Lovestruck, after all!) and it is everything a romance reader could possibly ask for. The grand gesture is swoon worthy and it is a wonderful conclusion to a deftly written love story. Brooklyn Sky is already on my insta-buy list, (seriously- if you haven’t read STRIPPED- get on that. It’s AMAZING.) and this book is yet another wonderful romance from her.
So far I have read all of the books by Brooklyn Skye and I love her writing! I love the characters in this story, especially Declan (So Hot!) I could not put this book down, I read it in one sitting! I am recommending this book to all my friends!
My Thoughts: Melody meets Declan while he's playing piano at a hotel her father owns. She doesn't really like the way he handles himself on the stage because he is very crude. She threatens to tell her father about the way he does his set to get him removed, but then she asks him to do her a favor: teach her how to play piano while she's in town. She has a reason, and it has nothing to do with actually wanting to learn piano. Declan agrees, and he starts to teach her. During this process, they find each other irresistible... and end up on top of the piano for something other than a piano lesson. Melody is supposed to be leaving, but a few unfortunate events transpire to throw her life--and Declan's--for a loop. What will each of them decide to do? Just One Reason is a short and sweet read. Pair a sexy Irishman with a somewhat innocent girl and the sparks are just a-flying everywhere! I appreciated how the author didn't make the characters do something they didn't want to just because other people were trying to force their hand. Nobody should have to do anything that isn't in the stars for them. Brooklyn Skye can keep the stories coming! My Rating: Very Good
Brooklyn Skye knows how to pull you in and make you feel like you are living that moment with the characters. If you've ever been to Vegas you'll think this book was written for you. If you haven't been to Vegas, you want to be on the next flight to start your adventure! There is Just One Reason you should read this book, it's that little getaway you've been craving and thinking about all Summer!
3.5*** This was a light quick read that was pretty good. I enjoyed the banter/defense mechanisms between Declan and Melody when they first met and spoke, laced with a little sexual chemistry. But when Declan felt protective of Melody was when I liked him more. Declan was a little rough around the edges (swoon) but underneath was a loyalty to his brother. Melody had her own insecurities that Declan helped her work through. The ending was very real to me, not a crazy HEA after two days, but very believable and very heartwarming. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
Declan Waterford is in Las Vegas for one reason and one reason only – to raise the funds to pay for the surgery his brother needs after a traumatic accident Declan blames himself for has left him a quadriplegic. The pioneering surgery will help reconnect the severed nerves and restore his control over his limbs but it is expensive so Declan left Ireland to play piano in the Vegas Masquerade hotel. The pay isn’t brilliant but the tips are making the difference, he just needs to keep working and earning as much as he can. He has no time for women – other than for the extra money they’ll tip him, relationships are out until he’s paid for the surgery Melody Sumner is working as an editorial internship and is staying at the Masquerade for a romance writers’ convention. The fact that her father owns the hotel and actually wants her to run it are beside the point. When she hears Declan playing the piano in the bar she is impressed by his looks and his musical talent but his risqué style annoys her, so much so that she threatens to get him fired. This is the start of a story with plenty of angst and romance. The characters are great and easy to empathise with, helping the reader get involved in the story and providing a great story to escape into – another great Lovestruck story that leaves you feeling happy! Thanks to the authors, publisher and NetGalley, too for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Melody Sumner is having a difficult enough time concentrating and doing what needs to be done for her internship. The last thing she needs is an attraction to man no matter how yummy he is. Add to all that the fact that her father is pressuring her to take over the hotel management and her brain might just explode!! Declan Waterford has to stay focused on the end goal. Making enough money to get his brother the medical care he needs. A promotion to the better paying and higher tips lounge is all he can concentrate on. No women. None!! When he embarrasses and angers the owners daughter, he's desperate to apologize and get her on his side. Too bad she has to be so attractive! This book is exactly why I love the Lovestruck books! Fun, cute, sexy, light reads that are highly entertaining. This book definitely fits that description. I highly recommend it.