There's a Woman

There's a Woman

Sasha Marshall

February 2021 $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-61194-994-0

The Guitar Face Series, Book 6

 
Our PriceUS$14.95
Code978-1-61194-994-0
 
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An emptiness consumes me. The rational part of me shuts down as the need for survival kicks in. I have to get over her, but I can’t do that with these people constantly bringing me back to her.

Jagger Carlyle’s world has imploded. He needs a fu*&ing break. A break from her. A break from everything that was lost.

Going on tour with the band Raid Night doesn’t help. One night fades into the next as he drowns himself in booze and a sea of blonds until a chance meeting with a crazy woman, a medical emergency, a horse theft, a monkey, and sleeping under the stars threaten to change his life forever.

Jagger unexpectedly finds himself on a journey of self-discovery that may finally give him perspective and redemption. If he can survive the chaos. . .

Award-winning author Sasha Marshall, a concert photographer, toured with legendary bands such as The Allman Brothers Band. A self-proclaimed free spirit, she’s most often found outdoors, or painting a canvas, capturing a photograph, people watching, reading a book, or writing a new book. Sasha makes her home in the beautiful state of Georgia and loves to hear from readers.






"Sasha Marshall created a true-to-life rock-n-roll world that makes you want to quit your job and go on tour with the gang!... leaves you aching for more. Happy to see this is only the start for this addictive series! 5 Very Emotional Electrified Guitars”

—Backstage Book Blog on Broken

"The more I read the more I love this author's writing style... I'm headed to Amazon to one-click on Walking Back to Georgia to feed my addiction.”

—Rosa Sharon, Netgalley Reviewer on There’s No Cryin’ in Rock-N-Roll

"Yes, there are other rock romance books that are really, really good but the Guitar Face series stands out above them all.”

—Doris Bobholz, Netgalley Reviewer on River of Deceit






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Prologue

Jagger

I’M ENGULFED IN A blackness so dark it makes my ears ring. A loud click echoes through the space as a bright stage light illuminates a circularpattern around an empty light oak stool and the black acoustic guitar propped next to it. Then there’s another click as the same image comes into view a few feet from the first stool. Except there’s a man occupying the second, strumming a guitar while he looks at me, still in the shadows.

Caleb.

I know I’m dreaming because my friend has been dead for almost a decade. He comes to me here in my mind while I sleep.

"In case you were wondering, the stool and guitar are for you,” he says.

I grin at him. "Smart-ass.”

He chuckles and inclines his head toward the spot next to him. "Long time, no see, stranger.”

He picks the melody for "On the Road Again,” and I wonder if he’s trying to tell me something. He considers me for a second as I take a seat on the empty stool. I reach down and grab the guitar and discover a pattern on the front. It takes a moment for me to make out the shape of an elephant lasered into the wood.

"I don’t know what I’m doing anymore.”

"Do you remember what I told you—to let love in?”

I nod my head. "You said it wouldn’t be long, though.”

"Impatient much?” He continues to pick the guitar in his hands, strumming nothing in particular.

"Fuck, man, I’m drowning over here. Yeah, I’m impatient as hell about moving on. I don’t even want to be home right now.”

Caleb has never been one to beat around the bush for long without getting to the point. "Everyone is worried about you. Everyone, including Henley.”

"We’re not talking about her,” I warn. "I’m fucking done talking about it.”

"We’re talking about it.”

I sigh in defeat. Not much use in arguing with a ghost.

"You need to move on, Jagger, but first, you’ve got to reach a point where you can accept it for what it is. You’re both always going to love each other on some level forever, so if you’re waiting for that to go away, you’re going to have to find a different strategy. Try something more along the lines of acceptance. And for fuck’s sake, stop fucking blonds.”

"Death has made you a hypocrite,” I say. "As I recall, you quite liked blonds yourself.”

"Yeah, but I wasn’t fucking them while pretending they were Henley.”

I flip him the bird. "Touché.”

"I love you, brother, but it’s time for a new chapter in your life that doesn’t revolve around Hen.”

I nod in agreement. "Aren’t you going to lay it all out for me?”

A knowing grin crosses his face. "And miss watching it unfold? Where’s the fun in that?” There’s a pause before he continues. "Want to jam?”

The smile on my face is so big it hurts. "Yeah, I do.” I look back down at the carving in the wood and run my finger over the dark grooves. "What’s with the elephant?”

"The trunk curves up, which means the elephant is a good luck symbol.”

"Is there something you’re trying to tell me?”

His laugh is robust. "You’re going to need all the luck you can get.”


1

Jagger

4 Weeks Later

I STARE DOWN at twin babies, and for the first time, it dawns on me it’s over. Subconsciously, I knew it the day all of us found out about her pregnancy, but at this moment, reality hits hard. She isn’t, nor will she ever be, mine again. The woman I’ve loved since I was a boy will never return the gesture. The saddest part is I can’t hate the guy who won her heart. I love him like a brother. Everybody loves Kip. And they’re good together, much better than we ever were. He’s a handful to deal with, and I must admit she’s the right woman for the job. I don’t honestly think another person could put up with his personality and not want to throw him in a pool. I know because we’ve been together in the band, Broken Access, since we were kids. And now he has two beautiful kids of his own... with the woman I love.

Years from now I know it won’t hurt this much. Eventually, I’ll settle down with a beautiful, kind woman who will give me kids of my own, but right now that scenario seems a million miles away.

"How do you tell which one is which?” I ask.

My drummer, Kip, shrugs his shoulders. "Fuck if I know. Thought about tattooing their names on their foreheads, but Henley said she’d do some very violent things to me that involved my dick. I had some silver name tags made instead, and she had a bunch of onesies made with their names on them. I have a feeling once they’re naked for a bath, I’ll forget which one I have to begin with. I’m sticking with the name tags until I can figure it out. Hell, I’m already confused about which one I have,” he says as he hands me the baby.

I nod in agreement. "Good choice on the name tags.” They look just alike, but don’t all newborn babies? They have red, squishy faces with blue alien eyes.

Henley holds the other baby up to her chest with a blanket covering the infant. God, is there anything more beautiful than this woman nursing her child? I was supposed to be the one riding this high instead of counting down the seconds until it’s polite to leave. I’m growing tired of the expressions of pity and sympathy thrown my way. I understand that they get it, but can we all move on now? I pray I make it through the next few moments. Jessica squeezes my shoulder in support, and when I look up at her she’s gazing down with a gleam in her eye. I guess babies do something to people in the moments after they’re born. Perhaps it’s the miracle of life that has everyone emotional and thinking about the future.

"Which one am I holding?” I whisper to Jessica.

"Lawson. Lincoln is nursing.”

I look up again at Hen and find her looking back. Her face, bare of any makeup, has never looked so exhausted, but she is still the most beautiful woman that ever walked this earth. She’s always been strong, but I am beyond amazed at the two little lives she’s created.

"You ready to burp this one, Uncle Jag?” she asks me.

I’d do anything for her, to the point it makes me pathetic. "Let me see the little guy.”

She pulls the baby out from under the blanket, covers herself, and I hand Lawson to Kip before taking Lincoln from her. Linc looks just like his brother, but I hope one day they’ll differ enough that we can tell them apart. I hold the second little miracle in my hands and wish him the same wonderful life I silently wished for his brother. Before I leave, I give Kip a hug, Hen a cheek kiss, and congratulate them both. I’m out of there and in the parking garage before anyone can stop me. I climb in my car and call my publicist and childhood friend.

"Hey, Jagger,” Samantha greets me.

Suddenly, I can’t breathe. I held it together in front of everyone as long as I could. I can’t hold back the pain anymore. I choke out, "Sam.”

She wastes no time in replying. "Shit. You saw the babies.”

My voice croaks. "Yeah.”

Her voice is kind and gentle. "What do you need, honey?”

Tears well up in my eyes and pour onto my cheeks. "I don’t know.”

Sam talks me down from the ledge, and I can breathe again. I wipe my face with my shirt and go home where I drown my woes in a whiskey bottle until I fall face first onto the couch and sleep.

Over the next few days, I visit with Kip and Henley. I show my support while I slowly die a little inside. They both appear to be running on fumes. Henley makes me hold one of the infants in an effort to cheer me up. The baby brings a smile to my face, but the ache in my chest grows deeper at the same time.

"Can I do anything for you before I go?” I ask her before I depart for the evening.

She gives me a sad but hopeful smile. "You can nurse for me for a few days and get up with the babies every time they fuss. I’ll get some sleep and you can stay up all night writing.”

I took two things from that. First, she is frustrated with the de ­mands of being a new mother, and second, she doesn’t want me to go. I must go. I need to put time and distance between me and this new family. It’s hard to look at them without becoming confused by the heartache and absolute joy that we have from two little ones in the mix.

"I can’t imagine how hard it is to have one, much less two, newborns,” I reply.

She looks down at her chest and back up at me. "Those two little leeches won’t stop drinking. My boobs hurt, my back hurts, and I’d kill for a few shots of whiskey and a nap. As soon as I drift off to sleep, one of them fusses for food. I feel like I’m tied to this couch, and there’s not much Kip can do since he doesn’t lactate.”

My gaze drifts to Kip, who is on the loveseat opposite their couch. He’s holding one of the babies and after a quick look at the onesie, I see that it’s Lawson. Kip looks infatuated with his son as he studies his face and counts the tiny fingers that wrap around his own. He’ll be a great dad, and the thought these two will probably be hell-raisers like their parents is enough to send me into laughter.

"I have a feeling you two will never be able to keep up with these two little boys.”

Kip ignores me as he remains lost in admiring his son.

Henley frowns at me. "Christ, I can only live with one Kip. There might be two more of him. What was I thinking?”

I laugh louder this time. She truly hasn’t thought about her sons taking after their father. I can imagine what these two will get into as teenagers. Hen is tough though, and if anyone can weather three Kips, it’s her.

"You’ll do just fine, Hen. You’ll be a great mother.”

And I have to accept that. She’s a mother now. I don’t have a place in her life anymore. I need to get over her and move on.


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