Love Struck

Love Struck

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Welcome to a seductive world where two solo artists combine their talents-and their hearts-to make beautiful music together...

Lacy Dawson is a young singer-songwriter with a record deal, a studio gig, and a serious case of writer's block. After looking for love songs in all the wrong places, she finds inspiration at an online support group called Song Writers Anonymous. Thanks to one mysterious member who motivates her and inspires her, Lacy's career is back on track. But is she ready to meet her sexy musical muse...face to face?

Eli is definitely interested in hooking up with Lacy, aka "LoveCoda." But between writing her new album and his band's success, they can't find the time to face the music-or each other-about their burgeoning online romance. All that changes when Eli and Lucy get booked on tour together. In person, the attraction is all too real and explosive. They both should walk away, but once they are in each other's arms, there is no turning back...

"A fun, fresh, and sassy hit."-RT Book Reviews on Miss Match

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466874756
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 356,010
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Laurelin McGee is the pseudonym of Laurelin Paige and Kayti McGee.

Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters.

Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters.
Kayti McGee is a Kansas City native who now calls Colorado home. When she isn't writing, she's making up recipes to go with her favorite books. She is the author of Hands Off and Undercovers.

Laurelin McGee is the pseudonym of Laurelin Paige and Kayte McGee.

Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She's a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there's kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters.

Kayti McGee is a Kansas City native who now calls Colorado home. When she isn't writing, she's making up recipes to go with her favorite books.

Read an Excerpt

Love Struck

By Laurelin McGee

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2016 Laurelin McGee
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7475-6


"A-D-Z-E?" Lance looked at the word on the Scrabble board, his brows furrowed. "What the hell is 'adze'? You're making words up again, aren't you?"

Lacy wrapped her arms tighter around the pillow she was holding — his pillow — and scowled in mock indignation. "Making words up again? I never make up words. That's you."

"I do not. Ever." But his grin would have been an admission even if they both didn't already know full well that he often just placed letters on the board, hoping they spelled something legitimate. "And if 'adze' is for real, then tell me what it means."

"It's ... uh ..." She was excellent at words, but not always at remembering definitions.

"If you don't know, it's not a word. I call foul." He shifted, stretching one leg out and jostling the mattress as he did.

"Careful." Lacy put her hands out to steady the board. It was the one problem with playing in bed — any movement threatened the integrity of the game.

"You be careful, missy. Cheating at Scrabble ... who would have thought? From Lacy Dawson of all people."

"Are you officially challenging me?"

Lance dove across the board, sending wooden tiles flying.

Lacy squealed as he pinned her to the mattress. So much for Scrabble. Oh well, she was more interested in this new game anyway.

"Admit it. You made it up," he said as he stretched his body over her.

"It's a tool!" she said, suddenly remembering the meaning of the word. "An adze is a kind of tool. ... I think."

"A tool? I'll show you a tool." Lance pressed his hips into hers, and she could feel his tool all right.

She pretended to pout. "This tool of yours better be worth it. I mean, I was winning, you know."

He let go of one of her arms so he could pull the pillow out from between them and toss it out of the way. "I'm sure you were. But guess what. I've already won."

Lacy wiggled, positioning herself better beneath her fiancé. "Oh, really. Just what have you won?"

"You. I've won you." He lowered his lips to hers, taking her to a place where words were no longer needed, where her solo turned to a duet. Eventually he trailed kisses up her jaw and to her ear. "Lacy?"

She closed her eyes, too enthralled in the passion of the moment to answer.

"Lacy?" he said again.

"Mm hmm?" she murmured.


What the hell? She'd already answered him.

"Lacy?" It was louder this time, and the tone sounded less like Lance and more like ...

Her eyes popped open and she was no longer underneath the man she loved, no longer on her bed with a Scrabble game in disarray around her.

Instead, she was in the recording studio, headphones on her ears, guitar in her lap, her hands shifting automatically through the chords of the song she was playing.

It was Darrin, calling her name from the recording booth. Not Lance. Of course, it couldn't be Lance. Lance was gone. He died months ago, and she still came back to him in fantasy every time she got lost in song.

"Lacy Dawson."

She muted her strings and swallowed past the lump in her throat. "Darrin Ortiz. I was in the zone. What do you want?" She glared at her boss through the glass wall.

He glared back.


They made it through almost three more seconds before he cracked up. He could never stay angry at her. She joined in the laughter, not really feeling it but knowing it was what she would have done ... before.

"Get out here and talk to me and you'll find out. This recording job was supposed to be finished an hour ago."

"Sometimes jobs go long." She played a riff that suddenly popped in her head. Yeah, that's how Lance would have liked it.

Darrin rolled his eyes. "You and I both know you had this on your second take."

At least, Lacy assumed he was rolling his eyes. She didn't bother to look up and see, but she knew him well enough to know his mannerisms, and eye-rolling was one of his favorites.

She stuck her lip out stubbornly — one of her favorite mannerisms. "I'm fine-tuning. It's an important part of my process."

"Your process involves spending the last hour of every workday 'fine-tuning' so you can get out of doing any paperwork."

She raised her head to see him staring her down. This time she didn't have a witty comeback. He was completely right about her fine-tuning, just not right about her reasons. She really didn't mind paperwork, but it wasn't in lead sheets and recording logs where she found Lance. She found him in the strum of her hands, in the harmonic vibrations of her instrument. So with the melancholy she always felt when she returned from the music in her head — the only place Lance still lived — to the real world, she set her guitar down and exited the booth.

She followed Darrin toward the office, taking a quick moment to stick her tongue out at Kat. The other girl was polishing the cymbals on a drum set and didn't notice. Lacy never knew exactly where she stood on Kat. She'd been a well-meaning friend through the last painful months. Well meaning and reliable. Sometimes, though, Kat's perfectly styled rocker look made Lacy want to push her into a mud puddle. Or an angry mosh pit. Or both.

But that was mostly because she had barely brushed her own hair for a year or so. It was surprisingly easy to resent the people who had it all together. Sometimes Lacy wondered if people used to resent her, too.

Kat looked up and grinned. Lacy blew her a kiss.

Kat held up her hand in the shape of a phone and mouthed, "Call me later."

Suppressing a groan, Lacy gave her a thumbs-up and hurried after Darrin, who was waiting in the doorway clearing his throat. As she walked in, he slammed the door behind her.

Which suddenly put Lacy on guard. The last time she'd been in Darrin's office with the door shut was when he'd told her that due to slow business, he had to cut her studio hours.

She didn't have many more hours left to cut. Please, oh please, oh please, don't let it mean I'm getting fired. She would die if she didn't have this job. Well, not die. She tried not to use that term loosely after Lance — don't think about him, don't cry — but it would be near dying. Playing around town and laying down background tracks had been the only things she'd lived for the last few months. The only times she could lose herself in fantasies of him without anyone questioning where she was in her head. She was able to get so few gigs these days, without the studio she'd be ...

She couldn't bear to think about it. She'd wait until he said it outright, even if that was only seconds away.

Tightly gripping the back of the bar stool that Darrin had repurposed — aka, stolen — for his office guests, Lacy attempted to hide her trepidation. "What is it?"

Darrin slumped into his beat-up, faux-leather rolling chair, flinging a leg up on a file cabinet, nearly toppling the pile of sheet music on top. "I just got off the phone with the singer from Bitchy Ether. You know, the girl band from Harvard?"

It was Lacy's turn to eye roll. "I remember them. Bunch of women's studies majors, no real inspiration except to represent women in music. I am so not looking forward to mixing their album."

"Well, that's the thing." Darrin was practically bouncing, which was sort of funny considering that he was talking about some of the most annoyingly serious musicians ever to grace the booths of his studio. Also, it was strange for a guy with such a hardcore look. His tattoos were uncountable, his hair was perfectly coiffed in a rockabilly cut, and the spikes on his collar and wristband would intimidate a pit bull. Any behavior that was giddy in nature seemed completely out of place on him, but that was only if you didn't know the guy.

"What's the thing? Did they actually figure out how to play their instruments? Or write a song that isn't copied from the SCUM manifesto?" Lacy giggled a little. She only knew about that particular piece of literature from her feminist neighbor Jaylene. Jay loved Bitchy Ether. She might have been their only fan.

"No, none of that. Apparently, 'bitchy ether' is a lifestyle, not just a name. The band has broken up, and I was forced to listen to various reasons why for at least twenty minutes. Which brings me to my point, my darling."

Dammit, she knew it. Now he was going to tell her that since the schedule was empty, he didn't need her. At least he was giving her the news gently, with terms of endearment. Darrin was the only person she knew who could say things like 'darling' without sounding condescending.

Well, if he was going to be graceful about it, so was she. She could save the crying for home, like she usually did, where she could bury her face in Lance's pillow. "Out with it, beloved boss. I can take it. Tell me your point." She'd become amazingly good at false strength. He didn't even notice her wobbling knees.

"The point is, we suddenly have an opening for studio time. And I wouldn't dream of opening it publicly without offering it to you first."


She blinked, surprise momentarily throwing her speechless. That was definitely not what she'd expected him to say.

Maybe she'd heard him wrong. "You're offering their studio time to me?" With the cut back to just one operating booth, the calendar had filled up quickly. Lacy wasn't on the books now to get in for months, and that was with staff preferential treatment.

"I know you were hoping to record your new album, and this gets you in ten weeks out instead of after the New Year. ... How much do you love me?" Now he actually was bouncing. It was so adorable, she could almost ignore that this was the last thing she wanted him to be saying to her.

It was also really amazingly kind. Lacy may have teared up. Only a tiny bit, though.

"I love you the mostest, D. Thank you." She really meant it, too. Despite the pit that had just formed in her stomach. She smiled extra big so he wouldn't notice her hand resting on it, trying to quell the sudden wave of nausea.

"You don't have to thank me. I just can't wait to hear what you've been working on. It's been a shit year for you, Lace, but I know your music is going to be amazing. I'm so proud of you. Get the heck out of here before I get emotional." He waved his hand toward the door. "And stop pretending to fine-tune. Go grab a drink or something. Have a good weekend. Tell your sister I said what's up!" He was practically shouting as she ran from the office.

Don't throw up, don't throw up. Lacy darted into the bathroom and leaned over the sink. What the hell was she going to do now? There was no way she'd have an album ready to record in ten weeks. She was doubtful she'd have one ready in four months. Dammit, she should just own up and tell Darrin the truth — none of the songs he'd heard her playing the last few months were anywhere near complete. And definitely nowhere near recording ready. Hard to record with no lyrics.

But after his speech about being proud and all that, she couldn't bear to see his disappointment. Couldn't bear to admit to total fraudhood.

No, better not make any rash decisions. She'd talk to Folx about it first. Right now she had to get through her panic attack. Deep breaths and a splash of cold water usually helped. That, and unloading on her writing group. She dug out her phone and used the group's app to send an urgent message to Folx. Need to talk. Message me when you can?

Lacy felt a little better already. Maybe even better enough to get through the rest of her shift.

Wait — Darrin said she could leave early. That helped her stomach subside. She'd wait for Folx's reply in the comfort of her own home. She'd probably be dragged into helping her sister, Andy, with wedding plans. Which was fine. As challenging as it was to hear endless conversations about linens and venue options, living with a bride-to-be was fantastic for keeping her mind busy — even though it did make her think of the wedding she was supposed to have with Lance. At least it was great for keeping her troubles to herself. Engaged women, especially ones engaged to prominent billionaires, were too busy to pry. Andy's preoccupation with her upcoming nuptials was the only reason she hadn't noticed that her precious baby sister was keeping secrets.

One more deep breath. Lacy peered in the mirror. She was a little paler than normal, but otherwise looked fine. She fluffed her long blonde curls and practiced a fake smile. The trick was squinting. If you squinted just slightly when you smiled, people thought you meant it. The things learned while hiding from the world. One day she'd write a book. When she got her words back, that was.

Opening the bathroom door, she almost walked smack into Kat.

"Um, oh my God!" Kat pursed her lips at Lacy and stared meaningfully.

"'Um, oh my God' what?" Of course this chick was waiting outside the bathroom. Thank the lord she hadn't actually thrown up.

"Darrin told me you're taking Bitchy Ether's recording time! I'm so stoked for you! I'm going to do your drums. It's my gift to you. Of course, Darrin said he'd pay me my normal rate, but I'm really doing it for you. Oh honey, come here!" She threw her arms wide, inviting Lacy to walk into her embrace.

Lacy did, but took another deep breath first, not because of her nerves this time, but because of her nose. It was her experience that Kat usually smelled like more patchouli than she was comfortable with. Some of the scent always clung to her post-hug, which was tolerable, but it was best not to do an inhale during the actual act. Inhalation led to choking fits.

And this hug was going on too long. She needed to breathe again. "I was supposed to call you?" she asked as she pushed away, using the question as a reason to extricate herself.

"Yeah! There's this band playing tonight that is like soooo good, I swear to God you will love them so much, so we have to go. Right?"

And that was another thing that sometimes bugged Lacy about Kat. She talked like a preteen. That was annoying as hell. Kat's taste in music was impeccable, and the fact that she was able to keep tabs on all that went on in the Boston music scene was even more annoying. Yet another area where Kat had it going on, and Lacy no longer did.

Lacy was torn on the invitation. She really needed to talk to Folx, but if he wasn't online, she'd just be sitting around home fretting and nodding at centerpiece options. Good music also might help resolve the tight knot in her belly. At the very least, it might be inspiring. And, man, did she need inspiration. "Fine. What's the club?"


Lacy sighed heavily. She'd have to change first, then. Tigerstripes was an über-trendy place, a total "see and be seen" for local musicians. Her yoga pants and tank top might be comfortable and fine for solo studio days, but she couldn't wear them somewhere cool, somewhere people might know her. It was her least favorite part of being a musician — she really couldn't go out in public without being "in character." Her sister usually wore pantsuits to work and then got herself casual and comfy when they went out, but Lacy didn't have that luxury.

When Lacy Dawson saw a band, she saw them as Up-and-Coming-Indie-Sensation Lacy Dawson. Which meant she needed to be in her uniform — full hair and makeup, plus trendy jeans and stylish shirt. In other words, clothes that didn't double as pajamas.


Twenty minutes later, Lacy was at home applying copious amounts of black eyeliner and fending off her sister.

"This wedding guest list is impossible!" Andy was yelling from her bedroom.

Lacy ignored her, and started filling in her brows, but not without first glancing at her phone to see if she'd missed any notifications from the songwriter forum app. She hadn't. She tried not to be too disheartened.

"This process has made me realize — and don't be shocked — but I don't have a ton of close friends. Do coworkers count? Can I ignore them and elope?"

Lacy dabbed white sparkles on to her brow bone. She studied the effect, and added some more to the corners of her eyes. She told herself Andy wasn't looking for an answer, she just wanted to hear herself talk. That way she didn't have to feel guilty about not weighing in.


Excerpted from Love Struck by Laurelin McGee. Copyright © 2016 Laurelin McGee. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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