Authors: Shona Husk
Out of Chances
Out of Chances
Shona Husk's sexy new adult series about emerging rock band
Selling the Sun
concludes this month with a story about a woman who doesn't want to connect, a man who's forgotten how and the friendships that save our lives.
Dan Clarke knows he doesn't have a problem, regardless of whatever his band members, his friends, his family and everyone else thinks. Drinking isn't keeping him from doing what needs to be done, and it helps keep the anger and pain of his ex-girlfriend's betrayal at bay. If only she would stay away as well, but, since the band's return to Fremantle, she's everywhereâon the phone, in his apartment, at his parents' houseâbegging for another chance, reminding him of how good they had been together, holding him hostage to the past. It's no wonder he needs a beer now and again.
Indigo Matthews is all about control: she trains hard, she works hard and she plays hard. Men are for fun, not forever, and she will never end up like her mother, trapped and miserable. A huge
Selling the Sun
fan, Indigo knows when Dan wanders into her bar that he is a conquest that she has to make. But their connection is stronger than just sex, and regardless of her credo Indigo finds herself going back for more. Then truths about Dan's life start to emerge, and Indigo finds herself in the one position she swore she'd never find herself.
A DUI, a drunk one night stand and an ultimatum from the band bring Dan's life to a halt. Picking up the pieces is something he can't do alone, and there's only one person that he trusts to give a damn. The one person that he hurt the most. Indigo.
Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination, she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn't looked back.
With over forty published books ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance. You can find out more at
Thank you to my beta readers!
Jon, for understanding that a career in the arts is never linear.
Even though it was midafternoon the bar still had people coming in for a drink, enough that he could watch them unobserved. Dan sipped his beer and pulled out a battered notebook. It was almost full. A couple of times a week he liked to sit down and watch, listen and make up shit about other people's lives.
He aimed for a page. Sometimes it was disconnected, sometimes something happened and the bones of a song formed out of the ether like he was a fucking magician. Today wasn't one of those days. No one was interesting. Their conversations were boring. But he wrote that down anyway.
Unlike Gemma and Mike, the journal he kept wasn't personal or private. There was nothing about him in the book. He didn't write about his life. The song âOne Mistake' had been his observations about Gemma being heartbroken and making up a story about her â¦ at the time his relationship had been breaking down but that was a coincidence.
Of course, now everyone thought that he was a cheating dog.
No one would ever believe that Lisa was a lying, manipulative bitchâon a good day.
He took a long swallow of beer. He didn't fight battles that couldn't be won. He just wished the wounds would hurry up and heal. Six months and every time he heard a baby cry he flinched. Two tables over was a happy couple with a sleeping kid in a pram. Maybe they weren't really happy. Maybe they were trying to be happy but when they walked out of here the smiles would fade and she'd admit that it wasn't working and he'd be relieved because he didn't have the courage to pull that trigger â¦
Dan looked at his scribbles.
He should have ended it with Lisa before it had reached critical mass. Before she'd gone off the pill without him knowing, before she'd gotten pregnant to make him stay.
Quit the band.
You need a real job.
She'd ended up sounding like his parents, echoing their disappointment in him.
Yeah, well. Every family had a screw-up. He was it, according to everyone else. But Dan didn't believe in half measures, so if they didn't approve of what he was doing he made sure to run the full mileâwhat was the point in holding back?
However he had really tried with Lisa. He'd wanted it to work so damn badly that he hadn't stopped to read the warning signs. At some point last year she'd gone from excited to whiney. He was away too much. Spent too much time with the band â¦ with Gemma. If he had a dollar for every time Gemma's name had come up in a fight, he'd drink for free for the rest of his life.
Then right before the awards night in November she'd dropped the bomb.
It's me and the baby or the band. Choose.
He'd chosen all right, and she hadn't been happy. He wasn't ready to be a father. He was over her demands. Admitting that it was over and paying child support had seemed like the best way forward.
Then had come the text messages. An endless stream that had threatened to drown him. Pleading, threatening, but always wanting him to come back. He hadn't returned any of the messages. It was over and he was done and glad, but she'd saved the kicker for last.
I didn't want to be a single mother.
The message was still on his phone. He remembered the fear that he was going to be a father, have a child with a woman he no longer loved. But that message had gutted him. However, he'd made a mistake and rung her before he'd had a chance to process and things had been said. She laid the termination at his feet. It was his fault there was no baby. His selfish choices.
He'd poured all the anger and hurt into one song. One song that he really regretted giving to the band as it was now on their second album. âSeppuku' was all about him and Lisa. He wished he'd never written it. She didn't deserve that much attention.
He'd never wanted her to come off the pill. She'd known the band was gaining traction. She hadn't cared. He drew in a breath â¦ the wound still stung as though freshly made. There was no blood, no outward sign. It would have been easier if there was. He blinked as the words in front of him blurred.
Instead, every time he looked at Gemma, Ed and Mike, all he thought of was Lisa and her demands.
Every time he thought of Lisa he wanted to be sick.
Her heart wasn't just cold, it didn't exist. He hated her. He hated what she'd done â¦ he hated everything about her, including who he'd become. He'd given her his heart and she'd pulled it apart piece by piece.
His parents still loved her and couldn't understand what had gone wrong. While it would be tempting to tell them the truth, he couldn't find a way to do that that didn't make him look like a dick. Whatever way he spun it he was still that guy who hadn't stood by his girlfriend when she got pregnant. Mike would knock him flat if he knew. He had the bruise to prove Mike was capable of doing just that.
He probably had deserved that one.
He probably deserved another. But if he didn't want to be with Lisa, adding a child into the mix wasn't going to make things work.
She was right about one thing. It was his fault.
He should've ended the relationship months before, but he hadn't known how. He'd been with her for years and it was safe and familiar, even if it was also prickly. She'd be there when he got home from a gig or recording or whatever it was. The more he went away, the more resentful she'd become.
The couple with the kid got up. Dan watched them leave. They were smiling. He had his hand on her lower back. They weren't going home to break up. Happy families. They did exist, he'd seen them. Ed was living it, with his parents and with his girlfriend.
He stared at the page until the words came back into focus. It was tempting to cross out everything he'd written, but that went against the rules he'd made when he'd started this. There was no crossing out. Sometimes he'd flick through weeks or days later and he'd find the feeling and imagery that he was looking for.
He needed a new target to watch.
And a new beer. He downed what was left, gathered up his notebook and pen then wandered over to the bar. There were only two of them on. A guy and a girlâwoman, as she had to be over eighteen. Her red curly hair was knotted up in a messy bun and her black uniform t-shirt had nothing to really stretch over, yet something about her drew his eye; a snap in her gaze and the curve of her lip as she gave him a once-over before taking his order.
âI'll bring it over.' She gave him a grin that was more than a little predatory.
Every other thought in his head dropped dead. Did she want to play? Another smile like that he'd let her sharpen her nails on his back.
âIt's cool.' He was fine with waiting and watching her. He generally made a point of not watching the staff when he was writing because they noticed if he did, but he'd noticed her when he'd walked in. And quickly decided that he wasn't interested. He'd been too hasty.
âI've got to clear tables anyway.' She waved him off.
This time he didn't argue. She didn't seem like the kind of person that you argued with unless you wanted to lose.
That might be fun. He'd originally pegged her as too serious â¦ too small in the boob department, if he was being entirely honest.
He sat back down at his table, but at a different seat so this time he could see the bar. Freshly inspired, he wrote a little about winning and losing. Losing wasn't always bad, if it was a choice. That was the problem with Lisa. She'd taken away all of his choices and then presented him with a lose/lose option.
Since then he hadn't been able to win at anything.
Indigo glanced at the dark-haired man sitting alone at the table as she poured his beer. It was him â¦ maybe. This guy's hair was a mess, but when Dan was on stage it was styled. The eyes though â¦ she really wasn't sure if it was him.
While she knew Selling the Sun was a Fremantle-based band, and she'd seen them play a stack of times, she hadn't seen a band member in the wild. If that was Dan Clarke, the bass player, she didn't want to let him slip away without saying something.
She'd actually like to do more than talk. Her lips curved as she considered what to say to him.
If it wasn't him she was going to make an ass of herself.
It would totally be worth it.
She picked up a tray and a cloth, put on her most seductive smile and swaggered over like she owned the bar. He lifted his gaze as if aware that she was after him, but he didn't startle and run the way some men did. When he looked her in the eye, for a moment she wasn't sure who was doing the hunting.
It was always her. She reminded herself.
She would never be the prey and she'd never let anyone make her miserable. She was never going to end up like her mother, with nothing but the tattered shreds of dignity and faded love binding her to a man who really didn't care. Every time her father slept elsewhere he'd blamed her mother. Too fat, too needy. If she could just stop crying â¦