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Charming Daphne: A Close Proximity Rock Star Romance (PAPERBACK)

Charming Daphne: A Close Proximity Rock Star Romance (PAPERBACK)

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There’s always one, isn’t there?

And he was it; Matt Brodie. The one that sabotaged my biggest opportunity.

I picked my ass up and changed the game plan, I found another way. But I never would have had to, if he hadn’t stepped in and blocked my path.

I thought I’d put it behind me and moved on with my life, but when he steps in before the elevator doors close, I know I haven’t.

It’s been five years and now I’m trapped in an enclosed space with the biggest obstacle I’ve ever faced.

Will I be forced to work with my unresolved feelings? Or can he find his way back in to my good graces?

 

Charming Daphne is a steamy rock star romance and is a companion novella to the True Platinum series. Can be read as a standalone.

Join Daphne and Matt trapped in the elevator and watch the sparks fly.

 

PAPERBACK - Book 1.5 in the True Platinum Series, by Morgana Bevan. 

 

 

 Paperback 150 pages
 Dimensions 10.46 x 0.97 x 17.15 cm
 ISBN 978-1919609133
 Publication date 25 August 2023
 Publisher C Bevan Publishing

US readers, please note: due to sizing constraints, this book will ship from Bookvault UK.

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CHAPTER ONE
Eyes widened when I blew into the lobby of True Platinum International. I mean, I couldn’t blame them. A soaking wet woman wasn’t your typical sight in the swanky, marble-and glass-covered space at any time of the day, let alone 8 AM.
It probably didn’t help that I limped past reception, cursing out London cabbies and my new heels.
I raced into the mercifully empty women’s bathroom and started digging through the cabinets. There had to be a hairdryer in there somewhere. There was one on the twentieth floor where I worked.
If I set foot in my office looking like a bedraggled mess, right before I had to chew out Casey Jackson for his latest stunt, I’d never live it down.
Who the hell thought it would be a good idea to go on a rampage at an award show with thirty-eight cameras available to capture every tiny detail, and livestream it to millions of watching fans?
“Casey fucking Jackson,” I growled beneath my breath.
Friday mornings were supposed to be sedate. I’d dealt with enough fires in the last week. I didn’t need an extra surprise right before the weekend.
“Inconsiderate rock stars.”
My hand snagged on a black device buried behind a week’s worth of loo roll. Packages scattered as I hissed, “Yes,” and grabbed it before scooting out of the cupboard with care.
Definitely didn’t need to add a concussion to today’s shitshow.
No, I needed to get my hair dry and my skirt back into some semblance of appropriate for the walk across the busy lobby. Totally doable. Then I looked in the mirror.
Well, shit.
Maybe keeping my hair to my waist had been a bad move. The lot of it hung in drenched strings around my face. My makeup ran down my face. Not quite the look I wanted, even if panda circles did set my icy blue eyes off really well.
I glanced at the time on my phone.
“Fuck.”
Ten minutes. Ten minutes until I had to put an idiot know-it-all musician in his place.
The elevator would eat at least five of those while it stopped at every single floor.
“Shit.”
I pulled a wad of paper towel from the dispenser, turned on the tap, and frantically scrubbed my face. All the while, my gaze stayed fixed on the clock.
A minute down, and my heart was racing far too flipping fast to be healthy.
I dropped the crumpled-up, blackened tissues into the bin, chewing my lip while I tried to sort through the best course of action.
No point wasting time drying my suit. I kept a change of clothes in my office. I just had to face the mortification of the looks I’d get in the lift.
My face could stay bare, too. My boss might not like it so much, but needs must.
Four minutes.
I scooped up the hairdryer and rammed the plug into the socket, then I nuked my hair with the highest heat setting. The door opened while I bent over with my hair flung over to one side creating a curtain around me, muttering a string of curses.
“Are you alright?” a strong Scottish voice asked.
I straightened fast, directing a perfectly sane smile at her. She looked barely twenty-five, and if I didn’t look too closely, she could have been my sister.
Only I didn’t have one.
So really, letting her vaguely familiar features slow me down would be a stupid idea…
“Fine. A cab got me.” I shrugged before turning my back on her.
I tracked her in the mirror while directing the hairdryer back to the unruly mop of hair.
She frowned but said no more before disappearing into a stall. I’d been so fresh and optimistic when I was her age. Newly passed the bar and the perfect job lined up. An amazing boyfriend who also worked at the record label. We could have commuted together and shared our woes on hard days with very little explanation.
I have no idea why I romanticised it like that. It would have just been work… but I’d wanted things to fall into place so badly.
Until he sabotaged my chance of getting that job.
Pressure prickled behind my eyes and I glared at my reflection.
What the hell do you think you’re doing, going there?
I’d promised myself five years ago that I’d stop torturing myself with what might have been. I’d meant it then and I meant it now. Traitorous Matt Brodie had no place in my thoughts.
With my hair mostly dry and the clock screaming that I had less than two minutes, I swept my hair into as clean a bun as I could manage.
Handbag in one hand and phone in the other, I rushed out of the bathroom, my painful heels clattering against the hard floor while my fingers flew over the keys, texting my work wife.
Daphne: SOS. Got caught in the rain. Can you pull out my spare suit for me?
Dots danced in the chat box and I willed it to move faster.
A message pinged on the screen just as I barrelled into a hard surface. My heels slipped out from beneath me and I tipped backwards. My phone slipped from my fingers, clattering to the ground. Probably cracked the screen.
For fucks sake, give a girl a break.
Arms wrapped around me, strong fingers dug into my sides stopping my downward trajectory.
“Sorry, lass. I wasn’t looking. Are you alright?”
My heart stopped as that voice swept over me.
With great hesitation, I lifted my head. My stomach churned with the certainty of what waited for me.
What the hell did I do to deserve this level of shit in one morning?
Matt’s familiar green gaze stared back at me with concern. Five years had aged him well. A scruff of a ginger beard covered his jaw, somehow making him hotter. How the hell was that fair?
His concern quickly morphed into something I couldn’t read. He righted me and I stepped away from him so fast you’d think he’d burned me.
“Matt,” I spat.
He rubbed his neck. Despite his rugged professional vibes, in a suit that hugged him a little too well for my imagination, old habits died hard. He’d held on to his tells, and I made him uncomfortable.
Too right he should be uncomfortable. Rat bastard had used his sway to keep me out of a job.
“It’s been ages, Daphne.” The way that brogue licked at my name almost sent a shiver down my spine. Almost. He knelt and picked up my phone. “I didn’t know you were working in the building.”
My eyes narrowed on him as he straightened. “Why did you need to know? You can’t get me fired from this one.”
I took the phone and brushed past him, striding towards the bank of elevators with determination. And maybe a slightly too aggressive swing of my hips.
I’m well within my rights to torture the ass.
A quick glance at my phone didn’t settle my nerves. My heart raced, the pressure centred in my throat, making it incredibly difficult to breathe or think.
Ivy had my suit, and Casey hadn’t arrived yet, so I had time. That should have relieved me.
Yet if I held my hand still, it shook.
Fucking Matt Brodie.
I’d worked in the building for six months, handling the legal damage control for the biggest of True Platinum’s artists. Of course, I’d known Rhiannon were signed to Pryderi Records, which TPI owned, but that didn’t mean I had to see Matt. Band managers didn’t spend their lives in this place.
Why was he even here?
I stopped in front of the elevators. A crowd of people gathered, eyes fixed on their phones, feet tapping impatiently while the lifts took their sweet time arriving.
A throat cleared next to me, and my eyes fell shut on a desperate plea for control. I couldn’t start shouting at my ex in front of the staff. He knew better. We’d closed this lid. He wouldn’t…
“Could we catch up later, Daph?”
“Not a chance,” I muttered, trying to keep my voice low.
I may as well have shouted it. Heads came up, and backs tensed in front of me. Every damn person in my vicinity was listening intently. Fuck.
I shot Matt a look filled with murderous warning. He just stared back at me with confusion.
The lift pinged its arrival and the doors opened. People in front of me filed on, and I edged forward, willing there to not be enough space for us both.
No such luck, of course. I don’t know why I expected anything more. The universe had decided to dump on me.
With my stomach sinking to the marble ground, I stepped into the car. The doors shut, and no matter how I moved, my shoulder brushed against Matt’s. Such an innocent, inconsequential touch should not have had my smutty mind racing into the gutter, but try talking sense after a morning of stress.
Matt tilted his head towards me and I held my breath, waiting for the sod to try and reason with me in a very public space.
“So how’ve you been?” Matt asked.
Every inch of my body stiffened. “You don’t need to talk to me.”
Matt chuckled. “Okay, but I want to.”
“Then stop the wanting, and shut up.”
By the time the nightmare ended, everyone in the building would think of me as a colossal bitch. And I would own it.
They didn’t know what this man had taken from me. They could judge all they wanted but Matt Brodie was dead to me.
The lift stopped on the third floor and a swarm of people cleared out. It barely dented the headcount inside the metal box. My neck itched with the pressure of their gazes, and I bit the inside of my cheek hard to stop myself from shouting at them.
Do not drag innocent people into your nightmare, Daphne.
“When did you start working here?”
I sighed as I turned my head to glare at him. “Seriously? I tell you to shut up and you go with that?”
He smirked. “Just curious, Nymphy.”
Why did one word have the power to cut me off at the knees? Surely that shouldn’t be possible. Yet the sound of that stupid pet name rolling off his tongue, wrapped up in that delicious accent, still made me weak in the knees.
“Stop calling me that. Stop talking. Stop looking at me.” I breathed in deep, trying to control the spiralling pressure behind the words. “Just stop.”
Matt’s brows rose, something a little too close to amusement shining at me in those deep green eyes. If he kept looking at me like that, I might murder him with my shoe.
The door opened again on the fifth floor, ridding me of a couple more witnesses.
Half a dozen suits remained, all of them now looking vaguely uncomfortable. Good. That’s what you got for eavesdropping on private, annoying and unwanted conversations.
“Thought we agreed to stay friends?”
“Fucking hell. You can’t quit can you?”
Matt turned toward me, giving up all semblance of relaxation and disinterest. “I’m highly confused, so no I’m not going to quit.”
I faced off with him too. Avoidance be damned. If he wanted to keep pushing, I’d give him what he wanted.
“If you wanted a friend, Matt, you shouldn’t have sabotaged me to protect your fucking ego.” My voice might have risen with each word.
The doors opened again on the eighth floor, and another two suits disembarked, shooting us odd looks over their shoulders. Oh yes, there would definitely be a company-wide memo going around before I got to my desk.
“You were obsessed with us working together, Daphne. And I was leaving the label.” He held his hands out at his sides in that universal sign of frustration. “I don’t understand you right now.”
“Oh yes, for your precious band. I remember.” I crossed my arms. “Hear that worked out well for you. Your new girl good with you never being home?”
His eyes narrowed on me and his jaw ticked. “I forgot how frustrating you could be.” He dragged a hand through his hair before turning away from me.
“So that’s a no then? Too bad.”
“Like you’re doing any better,” he muttered. Unfortunately, his words still carried over the annoying elevator music.
For a music company, you’d think they’d pump in some decent music. Probably too cheap to pay their own royalty fees.
“I am, thanks.” It was a total lie but he didn’t need to know that.
He spun around, smirking at me with far too much knowledge.
“Oh yeah? What’s his name?”
A name. I could pull absolutely any random name. It didn’t need to sound believable. He’d never bloody know it was a lie.
Yet nothing came and my tongue fused itself to the roof of my mouth.
“Thought so.” He shook his head and turned back to the door.
The lift stopped on the tenth floor and I glared at the counter. Could it not just make a run for the twentieth and free me? Why was that too much to ask of fate after all it had dealt me already today?
The remaining suits rushed out. With just the two of us left, the doors shut,' and we separated to our own corners. I frowned at the control panel, at the singular light highlighting our next floor. Why was he going to the twentieth?
“I didn’t sabotage you, Nymphy.”
“Stop calling me that,” I growled. I refused to look at him.
His calm demeanour chafed against my expectations. How could he be so unaffected by his own bullshit? I needed to get my emotions under control. I couldn’t keep ceding so much power to him.
“Okay,” he gritted out. “But I didn’t sabotage you.”
“Really? What would you call it when someone gets offered a job and then it miraculously goes away after she tells you about it?”
Matt dragged a hand across his face.
“’Cause I’d definitely call that sabotage, but what would I know? I clearly wasn’t a great judge of character.” I glared at him, all of that old hurt roaring to the surface. “You were so weird about it, too.”
I hadn’t thought I’d bottled it up. My friends had heard my woes on repeat back then, to the point that they got sick of hearing me repeat it. But with the amount of vehemence coating my words, I must have done.
And that pissed me off even more.
“Now c’mon, Daphne. You can’t write off everything we had over one thing.” He pushed off the elevator wall, his body tense beneath that slate grey suit.
I couldn’t stop my gaze from tracking down his torso. Couldn’t stop my mind from throwing up far too many images of his naked body, sprawled out in my bed.
“Watch me,” I muttered under my breath.
“Watch me?” Matt’s brows climbed. “When did you start acting like a toddler?”
My mouth dropped open and Matt’s eyes fell shut on a groan.
“Shit. I didn’t mean that.”
“No, I think you did. What else did you keep to yourself, Mattie?” I stepped towards him before sense could take control of my movements. “Maybe some idiotic belief that I wasn’t good enough for your record label?”
Matt surged towards me, denial written across his earnest face. It couldn’t be earnest. If it was, he never would have talked me out of a job. My instincts about this man had been wrong. I needed to accept that and if I couldn’t do it five years ago, now would be a good time to start.
The lift jolted hard, and the lights flickered. I lost my footing and almost fell into the doors. Strong hands caught me around the waist. Matt pulled me into his chest before bracing himself against the wall.
For the second time today, Matt Brodie saved me from a painful fall. Indignation flooded me, and I opened my mouth to demand he let me go.
Then the lift jolted again, bucking hard enough for my feet to leave the floor and ripping a scream from my throat. The blood drained from my face as the lights went out.
We couldn’t be trapped. It had to be a fluke.
I tried to relax, tried to will myself from Matt’s arms, but every inch of me locked up with fear. I’d never been trapped in an elevator, had no idea what we were meant to do.
Could we plummet to our deaths?
“Breathe, Nymphy.” Matt squeezed me, reminding me that he still held me. “It’ll be alright.”
Easy for him to say. He wasn’t trapped with the person who’d broken his heart.

Tropes

✔️ A hot, Scottish red-haired band manager
✔️ A feisty, grudge-holding entertainment lawyer
✔️ A surprise second chance in a close proximity
✔️ Quick, binge-able read
✔️ And fiery scenes inside an elevator.

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