Hard Rock Heat: Fame and Flames Book 1


It’s either the worst day of Juno’s life or the best. She’s not sure yet


Hard Rock Heat – 


The insides of my stomach churned as I sat waiting. Today was the big day. My first TV interview, and I’d been asked to wait in some side room alone. Not that I had any idea what to expect, but every time I’d imagined how it would go, it hadn’t been me waiting alone in a room for thirty minutes while the interview time ticked closer.

I’d imagined being unable to find the correct section of the studio and wandering lost in the building for hours or turning up in my pajamas. The sorts of nightmares everyone had. But I’d also dreamed of it going well and pushing my career to a whole new level.

Although I’d been up since six to get ready and travel to London for the interview, I felt wired, my hands shaky and my pulse fast. Once more, I checked my hair and makeup still looked okay.

I’d tried to do my deep brown hair in an elegant French plait but was so unused to bothering with it that I wasn’t sure I’d done a very good job. Similar with the makeup, although I’d heard they were likely to redo it anyway.

I ignored most of my facial features, a sort of self-defense mechanism. My nose was a little too wide, my eyebrows too bushy, and my forehead too tall. Instead, I tried to focus on my eyes, the intense blue one of my best features. I also loved my ears, the shape of them almost elven and quirky in their lack of earlobes. My face wasn’t the most attractive, but it could definitely be worse.

Sighing, I put my little compact mirror away and sat back. My stomach was still in knots, and my hands were beginning to sweat.

Not good.

I subtly wiped them on my skirt and hoped it wouldn’t show.

To try and give myself something to focus on, I pulled out the sheet of questions I was going to be asked again and looked through them. There were the ones I’d expected about my work, the current book I was there to promote, and how I juggled everything.

There was also one about my separation. It had come as a shock to a lot of people. Almost fifteen happy years of marriage, including those of the recent pandemic, suddenly ended. I’d planned my answer to that one very carefully. I had to make sure people believed my reasoning.

Almost instinctively, I reached down to the bruises on my right-hand side and smoothed my clothes over them. They still hurt, but the pain was finally fading. I’d taken painkillers to take the edge off, but it was important that no one noticed them.

I was thinking about my answer to the final question, what I was planning on doing next, when the door finally opened.

My mouth fell open as I recognized one of the most attractive men on the planet being shown into the room by another of the studio assistants. He gave me a brief smile, the gesture lighting up his tanned cheeks and showing the chiseled jaw in the best frame.

He glanced at the woman showing him in before moving over to a seat on the opposite side of the room, and I couldn’t help but follow him with my gaze.

I finally shut my mouth, hoping the click it made wasn’t too audible.

“Someone should be with you to take you to hair and makeup in just a few minutes,” the woman said to Jack Starling, billionaire rock star and actor, before she noticed me.

She seemed to do a double-take as if she didn’t expect anyone else to be in the room.

“Oh, are you waiting here for Dominic?” she asked.

“I don’t think so,” I replied. “A lady called Faith asked me to wait here for my interview.”

“Interview?” The woman frowned and pulled the folder she’d been clutching against her chest far enough away to look at it. She seemed to scan down some sort of list.

“I think you might be in the wrong place. This is the section of the studio for Keith O’Sullivan’s talk show.”

“Great. That’s the show I’m on today,” I said as I exhaled, feeling my body relax with relief.

“Me too. They must be doing a double interview,” Jack said as he leaned forward and once again offered me that dazzling grin. His words were like honey, a blend of American deep South accent and something more mystical and almost Caribbean.

“No, no,” the woman said, suddenly appearing flustered. “It’s just Jack today. What’s your name, miss?”

“Juno. Juno Fernsby. The author and narrator.”

“Audiobook narration?” Jack Starling asked as the woman continued to look through pieces of paper she held, dropping one.

Both of us got up and tried to pick it up for her. Jack beat me to it by just a fraction, our hands brushing together. I straightened, feeling my cheeks grow hotter as he handed it back.

“I’m sorry, I don’t have you down at all. There must have been some sort of mix-up. Your interview must be another day. Do you think you could come back another day?”

I frowned and held up the paper I’d been clutching, my question sheet with a clearly printed date at the top.

“It is the ninth of July, right?” I asked.

“Of course. All day,” Jack replied for the woman, although she nodded as well.

“Then I’m meant to be here today,” I added, feeling my stomach knot even more.

Of all of the things I’d imagined going wrong, having the studio forget I was coming hadn’t been one of them. This couldn’t be happening.

Not only had it cost me several hundred pounds to get here and stay the night at a hotel nearby, but the time it had taken and the preparation I’d put in was massive. My new agent had assured me this would do wonders for my career. It was supposed to be something hugely exciting, not a train wreck.

“I’m really sorry. I don’t understand how there’s been such a mix-up, but you can’t be interviewed today. Mr. O’Sullivan doesn’t do double interviews.”

“But I’ve had this interview planned for months. I was told he doesn’t get many openings…” I trailed off, aware I was rambling.

I felt mortified, my cheeks beginning to heat. Not only was I not going to get my interview, but I was being given the brushoff in front of my favorite actor.

I looked between them, not sure what else to say or do, but the assistant appeared entirely sure of herself. No interview for me.

“Why don’t you go check,” Jack said. “There’s a chance we’re both meant to be here, and this lady has no doubt come a long way for this. I’m sure something can be worked out to accommodate both of us and waste no one’s time.”

The woman gulped, but his calm suggestion had far more weight than my pleading denial had achieved. Eventually, she nodded.

“If you could both wait here, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

She turned on her heels and strode out, pulling the door shut behind her with a bang.

I backed up a little, not sure what to do now, and very aware I was alone in a room with Jack Starling, the most attractive man in the world. He didn’t move, his gaze on me, and I felt my cheeks flush again, so I looked away, taking in the jeans he wore and the brown boots beneath them. He had a quirky dress style, as did most of the rockers he spent time with.

“I’m sure the whole thing will be sorted out soon,” he said. “Have you come a long way?”

“From Bath,” I replied, instantly grateful for his ability to make conversation. I’d heard he was shy, but my normal, confident exterior was taking a while to catch up to the situation.

“Beautiful city. I love it there in the summer.”

“It’s stunning when the sun shines,” I said, immediately hating the small talk, but what else did I say to this man? My mind went blank, and my heart hammered in my chest, the pain down my side suddenly a thousand times worse.

This was a bad day.



Could it be the most attractive man in the world was also a decent one? Find out on February 22nd when Fame and Flames Book 1: Hard Rock Heat is released. Until then head over to Amazon and pre-order it today.