Chasing Alys: When Ryan Sees Alys


When I walked onto the television set before lunch, I’d expected the day to be nothing but a long-overdue catch-up with one of my oldest friends. It had been months since we were even in the same country, let alone the same city. We planned to hit up a restaurant in the centre of Cardiff for lunch. Pleasantly uneventful would have been the goal.

My band was on break for a couple of weeks before we headed back into the studio to finish recording our second album. Our manager ordered us to relax and I could see the logic in the request. The songs were all written, there was absolutely no reason we shouldn’t follow his orders.

Then again, have you ever tried to tell a bunch of musicians with an endless supply of energy to rest?

It had been a week and the guys were already bouncing off the walls. Me, I couldn’t shake the boredom. Something hadn’t felt right for a while but no matter how I tried, I couldn’t figure it out. So I leaned into the mind-numbing feeling of doing absolutely bugger all in the hope that it would go away.

Their parents might have started to regret insisting we come home whenever we could. With mine abandoning me for Australia and essentially disowning me for daring to follow my dreams, I put up a fight every time we planned to come back. Wales held very few good memories for me. Jared’s mother would have none of it though and always opened her spare room to me.

None of that helped the boredom. I felt this itch to keep moving, to keep pushing for more, but with everything off-kilter, I found myself second-guessing my every action.

Rhiannon, our band, was rising fast through the musical ranks, launching high on the charts with every new single we released and selling out smaller venues in short periods. We were on the cusp of the bubble bursting and the crazy really beginning.

Part of me desperately reached for it. While the other half questioned everything thanks to that deep-seated fear that something was wrong.

Of course, I couldn’t tell the guys any of it.

Jared already toed the thin line between managing his anxiety and consoling himself with the dark side of the rock star life awaiting us. James and Dan were just their typical eager selves, raring to go, all swagger and smug smiles. The pair of them were made to be rock stars.

I was meant to be the confident one, their leader. Despite appearances, one word of pessimism from me and we’d crumble, we’d be one of those bands that burned out and couldn’t hack it.

I would never allow that. It would almost certainly crush me.

What was I, if not a songwriter and a singer?

Then I found Shaun Martin staring sheepishly at his pink-haired assistant like he’d screwed up. It swept every whispering concern from my mind, forcing the itchy boredom to quiet. I could barely restrain my smirk at the rare sight. I thought the grumpy bastard had lost the ability to feel shame of any kind the day he received his first pay cheque for modelling.

The best part? It seemed the screw-up was entirely due to a cookie.

My rather boring day dodging an internal battle took a turn for the better just from catching that moment.

Shaun spun around, his expression strained as he handed the cookie off to a young, terrified guy in a headset. Then he stepped close — and I meant close — to his assistant. Hell, he practically wrapped his arms around her.

I’d heard he’d given up chasing off his assistants and now I knew why.

The last time he’d shown a woman that level of care, he’d nearly married her. Had Shaun gone and fallen in love and failed to tell his oldest friend? His agent could have leaked that particular detail to me along with her name. I’d have started fishing for information much sooner.

A pang hit me in the chest and I frowned. I couldn’t say I’d ever looked at someone like that, like I’d give them anything they wanted and any physical distance would hurt.

I’d never wanted it, always having known my life would be unstable thanks to this neverending drive to wring every last song from my soul. I couldn’t imagine stopping for anyone, no matter how lonely the nights got on tour or how much I craved something as simple as a cwtch.

Yet looking at the pair of them, envy thrummed through me.

Mona stiffened, her expression hardening so fast I would have missed the transition had I blinked. She tore free from him, stepping back until she bumped into the catering table.

Okay, maybe they weren’t a couple. Yet.

“Eat the damn cookie, Shaun. No one cares,” she snapped, her voice carrying across the vast space. Then she picked up a coffee and rushed towards me.

I schooled my features, wiping away my amusement before she could read it and get embarrassed. No need to make her uncomfortable so soon. Shaun clearly had a handle on that.

Except I needn’t have bothered because she barreled right at me, her gaze fixed on the floor.

“Wow! Easy there,” I said, sidestepping her before she could run into me and spill her steaming cup of coffee.

“I’m so sorry. Did I—” She froze, her eyes widening. “Uh, I’m so sorry, Mr Evans.”

I smiled. So she’d done her research. “Call me Ryan. From the hair and the accent, I’m assuming you’re Mona?”

She nodded, speechless. Shaun joined us, grinning.

“I need to know your secret, Ryan. I’ve been trying to get her to stop talking for weeks!” He clapped me on the back, his eyes shining at his assistant. “Why does he have this effect on you but I don’t?”

Mona’s face reddened. “I don’t have to see him at four AM almost every morning six days in a row.”

Oh yeah, if these two weren’t fucking yet, they will be soon.

I held firm to my smile, but one glance at me and Shaun could see through to the amusement beneath. He straightened, almost checking himself. Interesting.

Not even months on tour with my band could compete with the curiosity I felt about these two.

And then I took it straight back.

A child wailed across the set, killing off every smattering of conversation happening in the large space. Not a single person moved, but for her chaperone who knelt in front of her, begging her to stop.

She looked about five years old with her blonde ringlets and blue dress. Her face was bright red and stained with tears. She tore at her hair and dress, going full out on a tantrum.

Still, no one moved to soothe her. In fact, a good number of the crew just went back to work. I scowled at the lot of them while cursing myself. It felt weird for me, a complete outsider, to interfere but someone had to.

“Can someone shut that child up?” The director shouted, irritation reddening his round face.

Mona took a step forward just as the most beautiful woman I’d ever laid eyes on rushed towards the girl. Her dark red hair flowed down her back, strands glinting in the bright film set lights. Her entire body seemed to bristle at the uninterested crew around us.

Her tight jeans and tank top highlighted every curvy but toned inch of her and my mouth honestly went dry.

Red knelt in front of the girl with the grace of a dancer and a look that stole my breath. She regarded her with such softness and… compassion. I could easily believe that she cared about someone unconnected to herself.

Even with Shaun and my band, I’m not sure I’d ever experienced that. Yes, we were good friends, the only family I had really, but there was something more to Red’s focused attention. I could believe that she’d go to bat for the people she loved… unlike my family.

I’d spent the majority of my life fighting unsupportive parents while immersing myself in the music that fed my soul and the cutthroat industry surrounding it. One wrong move and everything could be ripped away, hours of studio time and money wasted.

When your job was on the line, why would you step in to protect an artist who might not be around next month or even next week? Faced with all that, it was no wonder people rarely allowed themselves to feel compassion when there was so much at stake.

But then I expected the blatant lack of caring from the music industry. Finding it lacking in my own family pretty much ensured I hardened myself against future disappointment. 

She spoke, her voice too soft for me to catch and I leaned towards her. I clenched my fists, resisting the urge the get closer, to commit the sound of her to memory. The girl stopped choking on her tears, staring into Red’s face with a childlike hope.

And just like that, my years of disinterest came to a crashing halt and my interest was piqued.

“Who is that?” I found myself asking, my voice almost reverent.

I could write a verse about her light eyes and flaming hair alone.

“Do you mean Alys?” Mona asked. I nodded, unable to tear my eyes away from her.

“She’s a coordinator. I think she’s Welsh,” Shaun said. “I’ve worked with her on a couple of things. I should know more than that.”

“It’s alright,” Mona muttered, sarcasm and amusement dripping from those two words. “No one here expects you to actually remember their names.”

Red — Alys — took the girl's hands and stood while Mona spoke. She shoved her hair back with a shaking hand, her eyes narrowing on the laughing crew.

“Listen up, you callous idiots!” Alys shouted. Her voice washed over me, melodic in the way only the Welsh ever could be.

A Welsh Goddess.

Fitting considering I’d named my band after one.

Just observing her unlocked something inside me. Fiery red waves, striking light eyes and a voice of steel wrapped up in silk commanding the attention of every single person in the room.

I would happily let her bewitch me.

Minutes in her presence and words already clamoured inside my mind.

I would love to lock myself in a room with her.

We’d emerge a week later, exhausted with an endless supply of material.

Would a week really be enough though?

No, probably not. I’d avoided every other source of addiction on offer to musicians. One taste of her lips and I’d never be the same again. I’d give up resisting.

Satin sheets and sweet heat…

The light girl pressed herself against Alys’s side, barely clearing her hip.

“Next time a child starts crying on your set, instead of ignoring her, you might want to ask why!”

She awakened me like no other…

“She’s five! She shouldn’t have to deal with an insensitive bunch of twats who don’t understand the meaning of child performance laws.”

Feisty spirit and a wicked smile…

"Do you want to delay production, is that it? Neglecting the well-being of a minor is a great way to do it.” She stared at the director with enough fire in her gaze to level him. Her hand rested on her hip, adding power to the anger spitting from her, drawing my eyes down her body yet again. I struggled to keep my eyes on her face and not her ample cleavage on display thanks to her tight tank top.

My fingers tapped out a beat against my thigh while lyrics floated around her in my mind.

Finally, I understood the source of my unease.

It had been years since words just flowed, winding themselves together to form verses powerful enough to creep inside my heart and take hold. I’d spent the last year brute-forcing songs.

One look at her and the dam broke around my musical block.

“Laughing at her doesn’t get you home any sooner,” she continued. “She has to go back through hair, make-up and wardrobe.”

She enchanted me, reeling me in and setting me alight…

“So, when you’re all still here at ten PM tonight and you’re looking for someone to blame, make sure you look in the bloody mirror for the culprits.”

Alys gave the room one last glare before her shoulders sagged and she ruffled the girl’s hair, directing a smile down at her. Never thought I’d feel envious of a child. Alys led her outside and yet again I had to force my feet to stay planted in one spot and rush after her.

“Do you know her?”

Mona frowned. “Uh, not well. Why?”

“Is she single?” I might have sounded a tad bit desperate.

Shaun laughed. “Butt, you live in Glasgow.”

I punched Shaun lightly, smirking at him. All the while my heart ached and something inside of me shook.

“I don’t know if she’s single.” Mona shrugged. “We haven’t talked about anything but work.”

“But she lives here?” I pushed.

“As far as I’m aware, yes.”

“Does she like music?”

I wanted to groan at the ridiculousness of that question. Why would it matter? The woman affected me on a level I’d never experienced before.

And I had to leave for London in a matter of hours…

Despite my heart plummeting at the thought of never meeting her, never having that soft smile directed at me, every synapse firing with inspiration.

“Mona said she doesn’t know her well. Will you chill out?” Shaun clapped me on the back, squeezing my shoulder in a side hug.

“I’m starving. Are you coming, Sparky?” Shaun asked, stepping away from me and turning his back on the set.

“Sparky?” Mona cried, chasing after him. “What kind of a name is that meant to be?”

“A nickname.” His lips twitched as he took in my outrage.

“Why Sparky?”

Despite her draw, despite my sudden yearning to share my life with someone who cared for me, I had to be logical. It would never work between us. I rarely stayed still in one place, barely even spending time in Glasgow anymore with the constant trips to studios in London and support tours. We would never see each other and that would hurt more than never seeing her again.

At least she’d given me the best parting gift anyone could give a songwriter.

I had a new fiery-haired muse and an album to rewrite.

Back to blog
Morgana Bevan British celebrity romance author

Meet Morgana

Morgana Bevan is a sucker for a rock star romance, particularly if it involves a soul-destroying breakup or strangers waking up in Vegas. She’s a contemporary romance author based in Wales. When Morgana’s not writing steamy celebrity romances with gorgeous British rock stars and movie stars, she’s travelling the world, searching for inspiration.

She enjoys travelling, attending gigs, and trying out the extreme activities she forces on her characters