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Defying Ella: A Close Proximity Rock Star Romance (EBOOK)

Defying Ella: A Close Proximity Rock Star Romance (EBOOK)

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One cabin, one badly timed snowstorm, and one asshole drummer. What could possibly go wrong?



✓ One cabin in the Italian Alps
✓ A sexy, but grumpy bad boy drummer with a secret
✓ A sassy, but sunny heroine ready for a break
✓ Two enemies trapped without escape by a snowstorm
✓ And the power cut forcing them to share a bed


Six hours.
I had to survive six more hours with Jared Michaels, and then freedom would be mine. I’d lasted an entire month on tour with his band, Rhiannon. A couple more hours wouldn’t kill me. I hoped.
“Five minutes to soundcheck,” Matt, the band’s manager, shouted as he barrelled down the hallway.
For some reason, I’d expected him to be like Dan, my sister’s boyfriend. Upbeat and easy to deal with. After one show with him, I quickly realised that the only thing Matt and Dan had in common was the red tone of their hair. The man acted like a drill sergeant, and I’d happily leave his girlfriend to unpack that. I had a wily toddler to find.
One look at Matt’s determined face, and the roadies around me dived out of his way. Hell, I dived out of his way and I wouldn’t normally give standing up to the man a second’s thought. His focus fixed on me nevertheless and I resisted the urge to gulp. Maybe I should have dived further.
“Ella, have you seen Jared?”
No one ever asked me for the manwhore’s location. There was no earthly reason I should even know it.
Except, I normally did because I was a hyperaware idiot when it came to that man.
Five months ago, when Rhiannon decided it was time to grace Wales with their permanent presence after ten years away, I made a big, huge, idiotic mistake.
I slept with Jared Michaels.
Of course, I didn’t know that at the time.
His reputation and his affiliation to Rhiannon were a mystery to me. I didn’t learn that he spent his days playing music until weeks later. He blinded me with the tilt of his flirtatious smile and the intrigued light in his eyes.
The static thrill that kissed my skin whenever he brushed close to me in the club and the tattoos crawling up his neck might have done some sweet-talking too…
I shouldn’t have let him touch me, but then again it was only meant to be a night of fun. A night turned into a week. One amazing week. After which his unfocused flirting ways reasserted themselves pretty damn quick, and I cut my losses.
It wasn’t like I wanted a serious relationship anyway.
What twenty-four-year-old trying to enjoy her life does?
Especially one who hadn’t long returned from a year of travelling and needed to find her feet.
And definitely not with someone like him.
He seemed so ungrateful for the massive career-affirming opportunities chasing his band. It boggled my mind how someone could have their life’s dreams come true and not revel in it. If I had the tiniest clue what I wanted to do with my life and I found myself in his position, I’d hold on tight, nails dug so far into it that no one would ever separate me from it.
Anyway, when I saw that same flirtatious expression resurface and directed at someone else, I kicked myself, but I moved on. I ditched him, deleted his number, and tried to push all thoughts of his almost never-ending store of energy out of my head. Life continued in its weird uncertain way, but the memories fought suppression. The man had probably forgotten me, yet my dreams wouldn’t let it go.
And then bam!
The bastard sat in my sister’s flat, playing with my niece and making nice-y nice-y with my family. What the absolute hell?
“Why don’t you check a storage cupboard?” I sneered.
Matt nodded like it made perfect sense, which it would, because the drummer had a history of doing stupid shit. Matt glossed over the bite of irritation in my voice and brushed past me.
A twinge of guilt settled in my chest for the groupie Jared had snuck in there.
Quit it. She probably knew what she was getting into better than I had.
I continued down the concrete hallway, trying to shake off the tension riding my shoulders.
Mindlessly, I dodged roadies prepping for their final soundcheck of the tour and continued my hunt. For my sister.
I’m not sure how she expected me to babysit my niece when she kept randomly vanishing with her. I joined the tour specifically for that reason, and in the last few days, I’d spent a load of it twiddling my thumbs or sightseeing. It felt weird, being paid to be a childminder and not having a charge.
I wouldn’t even touch the weirdness of working for my sister, but Mel needed me and I’d been rather absent the last year. Guilt could be a powerful motivator.
Yes, the sister who invited Jared into her flat like it was no big flipping deal. She let the manwhore touch my niece with those hands that had been god knows where. It made me want to wipe Phoebe down with alcohol wipes.
I still kicked myself for not knowing, for not connecting him to Phoebe’s dad.
And then I would tell myself to chill out because how could I have known?
We hadn’t exactly spent a lot of time together growing up. Sure, we went to the same school but he played no part in my sister’s or Dan’s lives then and with five years between us, he wouldn’t have paid me any attention anyway.
I might have purposefully avoided asking the obvious questions — where are you from, where did you go to school, do you know X? Every time those words left my lips, I’d learn something off-putting and at the time, I just wanted to get off. I didn’t need to know his connection to an ex or a former best friend, or worse, childhood enemy.
Rhiannon hadn’t formed until years later. The first time I laid eyes on their drummer, it was through a press still after they signed with a label, and let me tell you, the images did not match reality.
What the hell happened to the scrawny, lanky kid with bedraggled hair?
I could have resisted that person with ease.
Plus I’d been blissfully unconnected for a year. I never concerned myself with the whereabouts of Wales’s latest hit band, even before catching a plane off the island. Of course, just because I didn’t pay attention to them, didn’t mean the universe had any issue messing with me.
Was it too much to ask that I be allowed to enjoy my life without the consequences of rash actions coming back to bite me at the most inappropriate of moments?
But enough of Jared. I had a small child to locate.
“Has anyone seen my sister?” I shouted above the ruckus of the black-shirted crew rushing around me.
“Phoebe, no!” Mel’s voice echoed down the hallway before any of them could answer.
A loud crash followed and everyone around me winced.
“Try the stage,” a black-haired guy with a goatee called over his shoulder.
“Thanks,” I muttered. Not that I needed help now.
Why was she on the stage when she had work?
Frowning, I headed in that direction.
I stepped into the auditorium and groaned. Half the drum kit lay on its side and Mel stared at it, red-faced, dragging her hands through her hair while roadies were picking up the pieces. Phoebe danced around her feet, gleefully oblivious to the destruction she’d wrought.
“Now don’t you wish you left her with me?” I called from the side of the stage.
Mel spun to face me, her light brown hair whipping around her. Despite her being three years older than me, we generally looked alike. Lately, we’d diverged quite a lot. I’d lost the will to wash my hair with the back-to-back tour stops. Dry shampoo was my friend while Mel somehow maintained her denial.
I shouldn’t chuckle at the pained grimace on her face, but we’d had this conversation so many times at this point, we had a script. Mel had spent the first four years of Phoebe’s life a single parent before she let Dan back into her life. Taking her eyes off my hyperactive niece might have been a challenge for my dear sister.
“I’ll take that as a yes.”
“Auntie Ella,” Phoebe screeched, throwing herself at me. I grunted, too slow to catch her before she whacked me in the stomach. “I played drums. I was great. Right, mam?”
Mel bit her lip. “Sure, just don’t tell your dad.”
“You really mean don’t tell the band, right?”
It didn’t look like Jared’s kit but he’d probably still lose it. Unpredictable piece of work.
Just the thought of him being pissed off filled me with joy. I spun the little delinquent in a circle as a reward and she squealed in delight.
Mel smirked, seeing right through me. She’d clocked our bitter familiarity that first day in her flat and spent the next few months trying to get the whole thing out of me. I refused to give in. There was no need to drag a mistake into the open like that. No, it could just fade into the past. One day, I wouldn’t feel disgusted whenever he opened his mouth or aroused when he stepped off stage, topless and plastered in sweat.
“When’s mam and dad getting here?” I asked, placing a pouting Phoebe back on the ground.
Mel shrugged. “Any minute now. They were going to do some sightseeing before stopping by for the munchkin.”
The munchkin being Phoebe. We hadn’t told her that she’d be heading home with our parents while we drove down to the Alps for a much-needed girls’ fortnight away from the guys. After a month on a tour bus with them, we all needed a break. So, the moment the show ended, Mel, Alys, Nia, Daphne and I would be Lutago bound. A fancy-pants lodge in the Italian Alps awaited us.
Two weeks of blissful escape. Hardly any signal, great company, and a lot of wine.
I couldn’t wait.
“What the hell happened?” Jared roared from the house floor.
Mel chewed her lip, watching him approach, but I didn’t bother turning. I didn’t need to see the fire in his eyes to know he was about to set me on edge and maybe push me over it. It didn’t take much these days. One well-placed jab and we were at each other’s throats. To think I’d hated the predictability of my boring call centre job a month ago. If it meant escaping him, I’d go back to the call centre, even though I knew it would never lead me to my purpose.
Not wanting to give Jared any of my time, I crouched in front of Phoebe, pasting a huge grin on my lips.
“Shall we go count the pieces?” I held my hand out to her and allowed that mischievous feeling I always got fucking with Jared’s mood to surface.
For a second she chewed her lip, but I knew she wouldn’t hold out on me. My niece loved to play. Her smile was slow to grow, but then she nodded at me, a sly look in her own eyes.
“Just a little accident,” Mel said, facing down the raging bull without a moment’s hesitation.
“The kit is trashed. How is that a little accident?” Jared growled, gesturing wildly.
I turned away from him and led Phoebe over to the kit. We settled on the ground, our legs crossed and our backs to the glowering asshole.
“One.” I pointed out a part of the dismantled drum set.
He pounded across the stage. The vibrations thumped through my chest, but still, I refused to look at him. Instead, I focused on Phoebe, mouthing the next numbers to her as she counted. I couldn’t get angry with such cuteness before me.
“It’s not trashed. They’ll have it back together before you know it.” Patience filled Mel’s voice.
I could feel the burn of her gaze on my back, on Phoebe. The awkward smile she favoured whenever Phoebe was around for arguments probably claimed her lips.
“Who did it?” Jared bit out.
He stepped up to the kit and robbed me of the ability to ignore him. For a moment, he was just a black blob in my peripheral vision. If only I were strong enough to not look.
If I’d been that strong, I would have saved myself a whole lot of pain in the last month. Wouldn’t have seen him flirting with other women, leading them backstage or onto an empty bus.
But if I couldn’t see him, I conjured up extreme situation after extreme situation and tortured myself. It was better to look than imagine.
I sighed as my head turned, almost against my will. My eyes immediately trailed along his body. Why did he have to start working out? It would have been so much easier to ignore the bastard if he didn’t fit my type to a tee… if he hadn’t started hitting the gym twice a day and still looked like the skinny rake I vaguely remembered from school.
For some reason, he’d decided to buff up between Rhiannon signing and my meeting him. Someone in their PR team had helpfully forgotten to circulate new press stills.
Or I’d blanked their existence out.
Anyway, the result was a ripped six-foot-plus guy with short, dirty blond hair, striking green eyes and a contagious grin — if he chose to break it out in your vicinity.
Yet another reason I didn’t recognise him that fateful night in the bar.
Notice how I glossed over the tattoos painted across his chest, arms, back and creeping up his neck? They highlighted his hard muscles far too much for my peace of mind.
Maybe if he never took his hoodie off, I’d finally stop having to fight to resist him.
“Who did it?” he roared again, ignoring Mel completely and I ground my teeth. He stared around the stage, eying roadies with a hard expression. “Was it you?” he growled at a poor unsuspecting guitar tech, catching his t-shirt and pulling him closer.
The guy shook his head and scrambled away, taking my ability to ignore the pain in the ass with him.
“Go to your mam.” I helped Phoebe stand before giving her a gentle push towards Mel.
I jumped to my feet, the low burn of annoyance itching against my skin. His eyes widened for a fraction of a second as I stomped toward him. He clamped the surprise down fast, directing that scowl at me.
“Phoebe did it. Are you going to shout at a four-year-old too?”
Jared glared down at me as I squared up with him, toe-to-toe. I glared right back at him, my temper boiling high enough to outdo him if he wanted to start throwing his toys out of the pram. He could be a reasonable, nice guy when he wanted to be — I’d seen it. My sister wouldn’t let him anywhere near Phoebe if it wasn’t the case. I’d even seen him play with the munchkin and talk to his friends like a normal human being.
Today wasn’t going to be one of those days.
He had a manic glint in his green eyes. The last time I’d seen it, I’d caught him at a bar, late for our date, and all over another woman. I still hadn’t figured out where our wires crossed, and I had no interest in trying.
“Mel, why don’t you take Phoebe to the green room?”
Silence followed my request. I glanced at Mel.
“Are you sure?” she asked, eying me with concern while Phoebe hugged her leg.
That set my blood on fire. My niece barely knew the meaning of the word fear!
I turned back to Jared and crossed my arms. “I’ve got this asshole. I’ll meet you there in a couple of minutes.”
Jared’s brow rose while a smirk claimed his lips. The fragments of memories unearthed by that look were not welcome. They could stay buried beneath my bed and not haunt me with the sight of him groggy in the morning, his hair sticking up at all angles. Nope. That image no longer resembled the guy standing before me.
“No, Phoebe, that’s a bad word,” Mel said as she herded Phoebe off the stage. “Auntie Els needs her mouth washed out with soap. You don’t want that.” 
My lips twitched at her pointed threat. I still hadn’t come up with more child-friendly but equally as insulting words to direct at Jared. I’d get right on that after I escaped this tour.
The side door closed, finally allowing me to breathe.
“Go back to your flavour of the day, Jared. Let the roadies fix this.”
Confusion swept away the intensity in his gaze. “What are you talking about?”
I sighed. “Where did you leave today’s girl? Matt’ll tear your head off if he finds strangers wandering around backstage.”
A frown morphed his features. “What girl?”
“You’re unbelievable,” I hissed, my indignation stronger than my will to hold the words in. “They have feelings, Jared. You can’t just use someone and toss them aside.”
The heat of his body buffered me in the freezing cold arena. A couple of months ago, I would have leaned into that warmth, would have taken comfort in it. Hell, my gut reaction still urged me to lean into him, to give into the itch in my fingers to trace away his frown.
I schooled my features, hiding the interest I’d never been able to extinguish. Nothing was off-limits with him. If he figured it out, he’d find a way to use it against me. Why, I couldn’t explain.
His expression cleared as his lips curled. “Don’t worry, El. You’ll have plenty of company at your next ‘I hate Jared’ meeting.”
Such an innocuous thing shouldn’t have flared my temper but combine the jab behind the words — I was just another girl he’d used — with the lazy, playboy smile, and I could almost breathe fire.
“Great. Thanks for building my army for me.” I forced a cruel grin to my lips. “Have you ever wondered what happens when a group of women you’ve used and abused get together in a room?”
He shook his head, his amusement unmarred. “I don’t give much thought to my conquests. You know that, El.”
You were nothing but a notch on the bedpost.
I refrained from clenching my jaw, but my body burned with the force of my anger. I stepped closer to him and bared my teeth.
“Then maybe you should start sleeping with one eye open. One of these days, someone won’t take too kindly to your wine and dine routine, pretty boy.”
With that, I breezed past him, my shoulders pulled back, and my head held high.
“Nah, I’ll just wave goodbye to my mousy haired shadow and enjoy my life,” Jared shouted after me.
I didn’t turn around, didn’t so much as acknowledge his newest claim that I’d only joined the tour for him. He’d worn out the jab at this point. I kept moving while the roadies flowed around me, unravelling millions of wires, lining up cases and hefting heavy-looking lights into the air.
To them, it was just another day on the road. Some of them were probably sad to be finishing the tour.
For me, it should have been a happy day. Escaping Jared, a holiday in the Alps and another new experience to add to my growing list. All I felt was the sizzle of anger as I rushed back down the hallway.
And irritation with a dash of sadness.
Why do I let the asshole get to me?
I stepped into the green room, my head pounding. Deep breaths did very little to calm the anger. The rest of the band sprawled out on the sofas, their other halves tucked into their sides. Mel took one look at my face and shot to her feet, leaving Phoebe tugging at Dan’s tightly trimmed ginger beard.
Seeing the pair of them together, with identical ginger mops of hair and the same mischievous grin, cooled some of the fire in my veins. Too cute.
Mel caught my hand before I could take more than a couple of steps. She guided me into the corner, away from the drinks table and the scattering of people.
“Are you okay?” she whispered, leaning close.
My eyes fell shut as I tried to force my breathing to even out. Jared was an asshole. I already knew that, so getting upset about it was a waste of energy. I blew out a breath, opened my eyes and smiled at Mel.
“I’ll be fine.” Even I could tell my smile was wonky. “Only five more hours to go.”
“One day, you’ll tell me what went on between you two, right?” Mel squeezed my hand, concern creasing her eyes.
I bit my lip. If I could help it, I wouldn’t utter another word about Jared to anyone.
Mel’s gaze shifted to Dan and Phoebe. I could see the cogs turning behind her eyes. What those cogs were, I had no clue. Dan stared back at her quizzically, equally in the dark.
“Listen,” she turned to me, leaning in close again, “why don’t you head to the lodge early?”
“But Phoebe —”
She shook her head. “Don’t worry about Phoebe. It’s your day off.”
Is it?
Well, that would explain why she and Phoebe had disappeared without a word.
“There’s no reason for you to stick around and breathe the same air as him.” She smiled, a careful but encouraging look in her eyes. “Mam and dad will be here soon to take Phoebe. It’s less than four hours to the lodge, you could be there before the guys even go on tonight.”
I hummed in agreement. Very seriously tempted despite the guilt of ditching them all.
“Andy said the keys are in a lockbox. I can text you the code. The place is fully stocked so you wouldn’t have to do anything but pick up another hire car.” Mel smiled, silently imploring me to take the escape hatch she offered.
Who was I kidding? I didn’t need that much convincing. My body already vibrated with the need to skip out of this place with my bags in hand.
“Are you sure? The others won’t hate me for ditching out early?”
Mel snorted. “Don’t be ridiculous. We’d all go with you if we could.” She tapped my arm and gave me a little shove towards the door. “Now go. Before Jared reappears and steals that tiny happy buzz from you.”
“Thank you.” I pulled her into a hug and squeezed tight.
“No need. Just look after yourself, Els.” Her arms tightened a little harder and then she stepped back. “I know a thing or two about running from difficult things, remember?” Her eyes screamed at me with a mixture of suspicion and understanding. “Now, go.”
I didn’t need to be told three times.
For the first time in weeks, as I dashed out the door, it didn’t feel like I carried a three-pound weight on my shoulders.
Freedom, here I come.


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Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Jared's story

This is book 4 in the True Platinium series and finally, finally Jared's story.
Not only did I wanted to get to know better the complex character I have seen glimpses of in the previous books of the series but also to meet the woman who will tame the wild rockstar.
Jared is not easy to love and even after knowing him better, I'm not sure I like him. But it doesn't matter because Ella has so much love to give him !
The forced proximity trope is one of my favorite and it was a treat to read Morgana Bevan's book.

Julia S
Saved the best to last

I think this has to be my favourite of the True Platinum series..... I may have said this before.

Jared and Ella hate each other but manage to end up in a remote cabin together whilst trying to escape each other... and then they get snowed in completely.

I loved following Jared's journey and seeing his story unfold. Yes, there were times I was threatening him with bodily harm.... every time he broke, Ella was there to pick him up, only to have it thrown back at her.

He eventually got his act together though and I think I loved him and Ella all the more for it.

Highly recommend this series.

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