The Unconventional Agent Beaufont Book 1: The Extraordinary Fixer
The power to make people fall out of love? Not a good thing when you are in the love business. The Fairy Godmother Agency is going to have to think of something fast.
Agent Beaufont 01 snippet –
1 – Recording Studio, Rooster Records, Hollywood, California
The padded walls inside the large recording studio absorbed the guttural screams full of a unique pain. The band members of Punch Line, the hottest rock band in the world, were used to loud noises. However, all of them still winced from the screams as they watched the needle penetrate the lead singer’s arm as if it were them getting the tattoo and not Archer Finch.
“This isn’t right,” the keyboardist implored, running his hands through his dark brown hair. His gaze reflected tension as he watched the scene before them.
“It’s necessary,” Archer stated through clenched teeth, tears spilling over his cheeks from his bloodshot red eyes.
“Is it, though?” The drummer looked between the tattoo artist and the lead singer.
The tattooist simply shrugged and glanced at the man standing on his right. His attire was much more formal than the rest, a starched black suit and a bowler hat that shielded his eyes. He’d introduced himself simply as Mr. J, and that’s how he’d signed the contract he held in his hand, as well.
Mr. J nodded sternly. “The ink is full of powerful magic. Unfortunately, that’s going to make the process of tattooing much more painful than usual.”
The tattooist nodded as if this was a sufficient answer and continued his work. Archer screamed as soon as the needle touched his skin, but he remained still, and the words etched on his skin began to glow—imbued with magic unlike any other.
“Maybe we don’t have to do this,” the bassist offered, but there was no conviction in his voice as he slumped on a stool in the corner.
“I do.” Archer kept his eyes pressed shut tightly, and his head back like the pain would soon make him pass out. His long black hair had come loose from its usual ponytail and matted to his sweaty face. The many other tattoos on his arm appeared ordinary alongside the new one full of lyrics from the band’s soon-to-be latest song.
“I don’t have to do this,” the keyboardist argued, shaking his head in disgust. “Look what this is doing to you. It’s breaking you.”
Archer’s eyes flashed open, sudden soberness in them as he stared at the other man. “No, don’t you get it? I was already broken. She did that to me when she dumped me. Since I’ll never feel love again, no one else will either. I want everyone who listens to our music to know the same heartbreak as me.”
“That’s wrong.” The drummer’s voice suddenly grew uncharacteristically loud.
“It’s the way of the world,” the guitarist stated matter-of-factly, leaning against the wall in the corner.
“Heartbreak sells.” Mr. J lifted his chin and flashed a convincing look at the drummer.
“So did our other songs that were about love.” The keyboardist braced his shoulders like he was about to fight over the matter, although he wasn’t the type.
“I can’t write love songs anymore.” Archer closed his eyes. He seemed calmer now, like he’d gotten used to the pain—assimilated it with the other wounds he harbored.
“This new song is a killer.” The tattooist leaned forward to study his work, a series of lines surrounded by musical notes. “It’s going to be your biggest hit yet.”
“This magic will make it break people’s hearts who are in love,” the drummer argued.
“That will make them come back for more and more music.” Mr. J’s voice was quiet but commanding. “Those who are broken always want a song that drives the dagger deeper into their wounds.”
The keyboardist shook his head. “That’s sick, man.”
“It’s the way of the world,” Mr. J said coldly.
“We don’t need the money that badly,” the drummer insisted, starting to pace, his head down like he was brainstorming. “I can write a song. We all can.”
“You all are shit at writing songs. I’m the writer in the group, and you all know it.” Archer’s eyes were still closed.
“I do need the money,” the bassist insisted. “I burned through the money from the last tour.”
“Me too.” The guitarist nodded.
“Then you sing this song, and it will make millions.” None saw the wicked smile Mr. J hid with his chin tucked and his bowler hat low. “Then you write other songs, we’ll do the same thing, and you continue to break hearts and rise higher than ever. You’ll be the greatest rock band in history.”
The drummer halted his pacing and threw up his arms. “But we’ll have hurt so many to do it. Everyone who hears this song with lyrics we’ve charmed will have their hearts broken.”
“Do you think The Rolling Stones, The Doors, or Pink Floyd became legends singing love ballads?” Mr. J spoke like he was asking about that day’s weather.
“What about the Beatles?” the keyboardist countered. “They wrote about love.”
“They also wrote about death, loneliness, conflict, and heartache,” the bassist declared.
The drummer spun to face his band member, his face red with surprise. “Whose side are you on?”
He shrugged. “I’m on the side that gets us money. Lots of it. Quick and easy.”
“I second that.” The guitarist nodded.
Mr. J folded the contract that Archer had signed on behalf of the band. “I assure you that this song and the ones that follow will make you richer than ever before.”
The drummer turned to face the lead singer. “How are we supposed to believe this guy? He shows up and gives you some magic ink that’s supposed to make our song resonate stronger with fans, and we just take his word for it?”
“The magic ink will work, I assure you. It will make the song a hit, much bigger than it could have been on its own. I’ll also handle all the distribution of the new record,” Mr. J interrupted. “Sing the songs, and I’ll take care of the rest. It makes it all quite simple for you.”
“It sounds fishy to me.” The keyboardist shook his head, his eyes hooded.
“You said you wanted to play music and drop all the bureaucracy that went with our last label,” the bassist stated. “This is our chance. If this is a home run and all we have to do is sing this song, why not do it, take the money and run?”
Mr. J nodded approvingly. “When you have another song, I’ll supply the ink. Then we do it all again.”
“You said that once we broke hearts, the fans would line up for the next songs,” the drummer argued. “Why would we need to keep putting Archer through this?”
The man in the suit tilted his head back and forth. “You don’t, but you’ll make more this way.”
“I’m fine with it,” Archer grunted.
“Then I am too,” the bassist said. The guitarist nodded in agreement beside him.
“You need to get over her,” the keyboardist argued, giving the lead singer a meaningful look.
Archer flashed him a murderous glare, his eyes sharp. “There is no getting over Ella. That’s impossible. Don’t you see, that’s why I’m doing this.”
“Arch.” The keyboardist softened a little. “It takes time.”
Archer shook his head. “You don’t get over the love of your life. You simply write songs that hopefully break the rest of the world so they don’t get to have the love you lost.”
“This is the song that will do it.” The tattooist slid back and appraised his work, a scroll of words that ran down Archer’s bicep. “I’m all done.”
Without hesitation, Archer Finch rose to his feet and looked each one of his band members in the eyes. “Then we play the song. We find out if this works. If it does, we record it and release it worldwide.”
The bassist and guitarist didn’t need more encouragement to pick up their nearby instruments. However, the drummer and keyboardist stood frozen.
It was the tattooist who asked the question they must have been thinking. “If you all play this song with magical lyrics and we hear it, won’t we all feel sad?”
Mr. J lifted his chin so everyone could better see his face and flashed a rare smile for them all to witness. “I think we can all agree that the seven of us in this room are already broken. It’s the lovers of the world who are at risk. It’s their hearts that will shatter when they hear this song. They’ll line up to pay top dollar for concert tickets and merchandise and buy every record you ever release.”
“Amen to that.” The bassist strummed his strings, his expression hungry.
Archer took his place in front of the microphone, grabbing it with the arm that wasn’t red from magical ink. He glanced back at his band members, the keyboardist and drummer finally having caved and taken their spots. “Are you all ready to break some hearts?”
They all nodded, some more enthused than others. When the band started playing, the music that followed created red notes in the air that looked like dust particles in the wind as they swirled and crashed into the studio’s padded walls. Mr. J smiled with a knowing look.
“Is that what’s supposed to happen?” The tattooist watched as musical notes soared off the instruments and flew around the recording studio like ghosts haunting the space.
“Yes,” Mr. J answered before Archer opened his mouth and sang words that sounded much more painful than his earlier screams. The lyrics of his heartbreak song were beautiful. They were poetry. When broadcast worldwide, they’d tear lovers apart.
Mr. J sounds like bad news. It’s nothing that Agent Paris Beaufont and the Fairy Godmother Agency cant handle. Stay tuned because The Unconventional Agent Beaufont Book 1: The Extraordinary Fixer comes out tomorrow February 25th. Find out how she plans to “fix” this new problem. Available for pre-order today.