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Enticing Mel: A Secret Baby Rock Star Romance (PAPERBACK)

Enticing Mel: A Secret Baby Rock Star Romance (PAPERBACK)

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What happens when your past catches up with your present? I’m not sure I want to know.

Five years ago, my childhood sweetheart left me with more than a broken heart as his band rose to stardom. I’ve tried to move on and build a life without him.

I should’ve known the peace wouldn’t last. Eventually, his band would come home, and I’d be forced to face the dreamy bassist who still owns my heart. But I’ve been hiding something and my secret is about to be revealed.

As much as I don’t want his flaky lifestyle impacting my daughter — our daughter — I can’t lie anymore. Dan still makes my heart flutter and steals my breath.

He’s sure we can pick up where we left off now that he’s not touring. But I’m not the carefree girl anymore, and I’m not sure I can let him in again, not when someone else’s heart is on the line.

Will I listen when my head says no? Or will he be able to entice my heart once more?

Enticing Mel is a steamy rock star romance. It’s the third book following the Rhiannon men and the third in the True Platinum Series. Can be read as a standalone.

If you love obsessed rock stars and childhood sweethearts getting a second chance with a secret baby keeping the heroine on her toes, then Enticing Mel is for you.

 

PAPERBACK - Book 3 in the True Platinum Series, by Morgana Bevan. 

 Paperback 314 pages
 Dimensions 13.97 x 2.01 x 21.59 cm 
 ISBN 978-1919609140
 Publication date 30 May 2022
 Publisher C Bevan Publishing
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PROLOGUE
Two lines.
The reality of what two lines meant crashed in hard.
“Shit. Shit. Shit,” I hissed, picking up the tiny stick and shaking it.
It had to be wrong. I couldn’t be pregnant. Yes, I couldn’t stop throwing up, but I just had a bug. A very drawn out, only messes with you in the morning kind of bug. Yes, I hadn’t had a period in two months but maybe that was…
“Shit.” I sat down hard on the side of the bath.
I’m pregnant.
The test stick clattered to the floor. I pressed my face into my hands, and bent over.
Pregnant at twenty-three. Fuck.
Anger bit into me without warning. At myself. At Dan. At his stupid obsession with music.
The laugh that escaped me sounded far too bitter. As if you didn’t have front row seats to how this story was going to play out.
I scrambled for the phone before I could really consider what I was about to do. Really, what was there to think about? I couldn’t do this on my own. It was half his fault. No way was I taking all the blame for forgetting a condom. It wasn’t like I’d been expecting him to rock up at my door after a year of no contact.
Fucking musicians.
With the phone pressed to my ear, I found a reserve of strength. Where it came from, who knew. All I wanted to do was curl into a ball on the bathroom floor and will it all to go away.
I was on the cusp of getting an insanely important promotion that would set me on the perfect path to achieve all of my career goals.
Glaring at the ringing phone, I paced my tiny bathroom.
I couldn’t stay here. My flatmates would definitely not be on board with sharing space with a screaming new-born, not when they were trying to get their PhDs. Shit.
What the hell was I going to do?
“Babe,” Dan gasped, answering the phone at last. I stopped in my tracks. “I’m in the middle of something right now. Matt’s going to take a message.”
“Wait! I need to tell you something,” I shouted, panic freezing me in my tracks.
“I’ll call you later,” he promised and handed the phone to Matt. Who the fuck was Matt?
“How can I help you?” the stranger said.
He pops into my life and expects me to drop everything. I call him once, and I’m relegated to human message services?
“Hello?”
Anger worked its way up my body. I stared at my reflection in the mirror. My face went red. Years of back and forth, of my trying to talk to him after he dropped in, yet again without warning, and decided for one night or week that nothing had changed… it all spiralled in my mind.
“I don’t know who this is but you’re going to have to speak if you want something from the band.”
Dan never wanted more than a fling. Sure, he’d been my loving boyfriend once, but that was before. Before he moved to Glasgow without warning five years ago. Before he formed Rhiannon. Before he became just like every other musician in my life… obsessed with the music, with the thrill of the road until they got so lost in it, no one else existed.
“The phone still says you’re connected, but I’m not hearing anything,” the guy, Matt, said. I rolled my eyes at him. “Hello?”
I hung up.
The phone stared at me, judging me.
Aren’t you stupid? it said.
And the answer was yes. I knew better. If he’d ever loved me, he would have kept in contact between visits.
My grip tightened on the phone as anger flared. He wouldn’t stop. I couldn’t take any more unplanned, pointless visits. And really, why the hell would I subject my baby to the upbringing I’d had? With a father who loved an instrument and craved the thrill of a crowd more than he wanted me. Us.
My fingers flew across the screen as I blocked his number. It wasn’t enough. I needed a new number. A new address.
I slid down the tile wall slowly. Moisture splashed down my cheek but I didn’t try to stem it. All that angry energy had evaporated, leaving me a shell.
What am I going to do?

CHAPTER ONE
Four years and seven months later
CONFIRMED — ROCK BAND RHIANNON RETURNS TO WALES PERMANENTLY.
“What the fu — duck!” I muttered to myself. My gaze jumped to Phoebe splashing happily in the bath. My shoulders relaxed marginally when she didn’t react to my almost slip.
She held out a rubber duck, her head tilting as she smiled at me. “Duckie?”
“Thank you, honey.” I took it from her and placed it on the side, my phone still gripped tightly in my other hand.
Surely, it was wrong? Dan had always said he’d never come back to Wales.
My eyes were drawn to the screen. I couldn’t stop scanning the article. My hands shook as I scrolled, searching for proof that it was nothing but a rumour. Alt Rock Daily had it wrong. They must have. Glasgow and Cardiff were two entirely different music scenes, and Rhiannon were taking off. I’d expected their next move to be LA. Not home.
“No Duckie?” Phoebe asked, dragging my focus back.
She frowned up at me, her copper locks plastered to her head, the foam almost turning her short hair white, and her smart green eyes narrowed as she studied me. She looks more like him every day. My breath caught painfully.
“Time to get out, Phoebs.” I cleared my throat and forced myself to lock the phone and place it on the counter.
“No!” my toddler screamed. She backed herself into the furthest corner of the bath and pouted at me.
“It’s bedtime, Phoebs.”
“No,” she growled. 
If I wasn’t exhausted and shaken, I’d laugh. If it wouldn’t destroy all my serious parent leverage that is. 
“Which would you rather, more bath time or a bedtime story?” 
She pursed her lips, clutching her soaking wet doll to her chest. 
Sometimes reasoning with my nearly four-year-old was harder than soothing the ruffled feathers of our biggest social influencers. One day, she’d make an excellent hostage negotiator. 
But right now, I needed to beat her at her own game, and I wasn’t above bribery. 
“If you come out now, you can have potato waffles for breakfast.” 
Her green eyes widened. She flung herself at me with very little warning, trusting I’d catch her tiny body. My t-shirt soaked through instantly, and water dripped down my back. 
My lips twitched and I bit my cheek. Do not laugh, Mel. 
“How about standing back while I grab the towel?” 
She stepped back. Her doll was still clutched in her hands. She took it everywhere, and no matter how many new toys I bought, she refused to get rid of it. The plastic was scratched, and her hair had been sheared off. 
Phoebe stared at me, her face set in serious lines as she considered my see-through t-shirt. 
“Sorry, Mammy.” 
I held out the forest green towel – the colour had absolutely not been influenced by how much I’d loved Dan’s eyes – smiling, despite my reminders to be stern. I could never hold strong when she looked at me with that guilty look. 
Getting her dry and into her pyjamas went by with the usual chatter, only tonight, concentrating was hard. There was a hand wrapped around my heart, squeezing until I could barely breathe. I needed a minute. I couldn’t have a minute, so instead, I plastered a smile on my lips and pretended everything was fine.
Phoebe chattered obliviously as I dried her off and ushered her to bed. She’d had a full day at nursery but you’d swear she hadn’t left the house or seen a soul. Her energy levels were off the charts, and if I let her, she’d make me read an entire book of fairy tales and still have the energy to run around the house. This kid did not like going to sleep. 
Neither did I, but I’m pretty sure our reasons were very different. 
She had a fear of missing out. I just feared dreaming. My subconscious liked to torture me with every what-if scenario. 
What would happen if my ex knocked on my door tomorrow? Caught me at a cafe or park with Phoebe? Every time, I stood there, blinking, frozen with indecision and fear. The proverbial deer in headlights in the face of all my life choices and mistakes coming back to bite me in the ass. 
It was like my subconscious was mocking me for the coward I was. 
Maybe it was better than the first year of nightly reminders.
But then I’d traded dreams about our peaceful and heated past for guilt trips. I’m not sure it was a better development. 
Despite all the dreams, I didn’t know what I’d do if Dan Lloyd knocked on my door tomorrow. Would I get the words out, explain it all, or would I hide behind the anger? He was back in town, seemingly for good, so the chances of running into him had increased exponentially. 
I’d made it my life’s mission to avoid him for nearly five years but that luck wasn’t going to hold up. 
The time was coming, and I needed to prepare myself. 
My dad had given me a front-row seat to the kind of relationship musicians wanted, and I wasn’t capable of it. I didn’t want to be someone’s second choice, and Dan had made it abundantly clear that I was. In school, he’d left me with no warning. One day he was going to Cardiff uni, and the next, he was on a plane to Scotland. No explanation, no discussion.
I sighed as I sat on Phoebe’s bed. She glanced up at me sharply. Her tiny brows pulled tight as she stared up at me.
“What wrong, mammy?” Her tiny, soft baby hands settled on my cheeks. “Don’t be sad.”
Despite the uncertainty turning me inside out, I smiled at the sweet girl before me. At least he gave me her.
“Do you want to do my work for me?” I asked, grinning conspiratorially. “It’ll be fun.”
She pursed her lips, unconvinced. Smart kid.
If that had been the end of it, ten years ago, I might have recovered, might have gotten over him. Instead, he kept dropping in, reappearing with no warning. One random text, and he was outside my flat, and I couldn’t for the life of me push him away. I wanted that loveable asshole too much.
I smoothed a brush through Phoebe’s rapidly drying hair. My hands followed in its wake.
Every time he’d disappear just as fast as he appeared, no warning, no texts, just poof. Each time I’d promise myself that would be the last time. Next time, I’d be stronger. I never was…
Until I got pregnant with her.
The week the band signed, he danced in again and just as quickly danced out. A flying visit. But it was enough. Two months later, I’d called him.
I have no idea what I wanted from that call. For him to tell me it would be alright. He’d always had a way of putting me at ease, even when it felt like life was spiralling out of control.
Instead, he picked up the phone, heard my voice, and handed me off.
I didn’t tell him. I didn’t tell anyone for so long.
And now it was all going to come back to bite me. Staring into Phoebe’s softening features, fear gripped my heart too tightly. 
What if he walked back into our lives and then vanished again? 
He was a musician. A good deal of his job involved travelling. He would leave me again. Only this time, he wouldn’t just be leaving me. 
He’d be abandoning Phoebe. 
How do you explain to a toddler that her dad cares more about his job than her?
The thought of her looking at Dan the way I’d looked at my dad – with distrust and resignation – it would break my heart. 
No, I’d protect her, as long as I could. 
“Story,” she demanded, dropping a large, hard book in my lap and freeing me from my thoughts. 
I chuckled. “Which one would you like tonight?” 
She clambered into her little bed, tucking herself in while I settled back against the headboard. 
“Gretel.”
I glanced at her sharply. It was one of her favourites, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Did she understand that Hansel and Gretel’s father abandoned them? I’d never been courageous enough to ask. 
Instead, I cracked open the book and read. 
She knew who her dad was. There were enough omissions in my life, I wasn’t going to outright lie to my daughter. The day would come when she’d go searching for him, but at least by then she wouldn’t be the trusting innocent she was now. She’d go to him with an open mind, rather than with a defenceless heart. 
The witch was just inviting the kids into her house when Phoebe’s breathing evened out. I placed the book on her bedside table and edged away.
It was still early—the sun shone outside the wall of windows taking up one of the living room walls. The waters of Cardiff Bay glistened, and in the distance, I could just make out the people spilling onto the pavement, enjoying the bars. The rest of their night stretched out before them. 
I’d given all of that up when I found out I was pregnant. Sometimes I missed it, being carefree with my entire future laid out before me. This mystical thing that could branch off in so many directions. 
Regret wasn’t a thing I allowed myself. I couldn’t regret Phoebe, but sometimes on nights like this, when the flat was quiet and the world outside so vibrant, I wondered. Wondered what it would be like if I’d been stronger, if I’d said no to Dan the first time? Had I shut the door firmly on him when he left me for Glasgow with no warning, my life would have ended up so differently. 
I shook myself, breaking the endless cycles of what ifs and turning my back on the window. 
It was inevitable. Cardiff might be a city, but it had a way of drawing lost friends back to each other. If the article was right, my time was running out.
* * *
One Month later
I was dressed up for my first Friday night out in years. The nature reserve had been crucial to Nia’s happiness over the years, and I wanted to support her. She was involved in a local community auction trying to raise funds for a visitor centre at a coastal nature reserve. She adored the place, and when she asked me and Sophie to go to the event, we couldn’t say no.
Especially not when her dickhead of a boyfriend had up and disappeared on her with no warning. He’d spent a month trying to work his way back into her good graces after a ten-year absence, and then pulled something as stupid as getting on a plane to the other side of the world, without a word, on their anniversary, because a producer said jump.
Spoiler, she was going to forgive him, but I couldn’t see why.
Once my mother left with Phoebe, I shimmied into my dress and heels. It was a little more flash than a local town auction called for, but Sophie and I had decided that we might as well enjoy the occasion and maybe hit up a bar afterwards. If I was going to feel guilty for having a night out, then I might as well make it a night to remember.
People were milling about when I arrived. The car park was packed, and the old social club filled with row upon row of chairs. The noise level was like a wall of sound, distant from the entry, but once you stepped through it, it embraced you, driving you to shout at your friends to be heard over the conversation happening next to you. 
I needn’t have worried about being overdressed. This was an event for the local town and everyone present had pulled out their good clothes. Teenagers loitered in the corner while their parents looked on with frowns and their grandparents smirked at their discomfort. It was a regular family affair. 
Spotting Nia and Sophie off to the side, I weaved my way through the densely packed crowd. The sooner people took their seats, the better. Sophie hugged me when I stopped at her side. 
As well as being my best friend since we were toddlers, Sophie also happened to be the sister of Nia’s boyfriend, and oh how she hated that. 
“Nia’s gone a bit doolally,” Sophie whispered close to my ear so our best friend wouldn’t hear. “She almost forgot her camera and nearly shut her fingers in the car. Watch her.”
She pulled back and threw Nia a sunny smile. Nia glowered at her with suspicion clouding her icy blue eyes. 
“What’s with that face?” Nia asked, circling her finger in front of Sophie’s face.
“Nothing.” Sophie glanced around the room. “Is that frame on a slant?”
I bit my lip, trying not to laugh at Sophie’s distraction attempts. Nia didn’t even look; her eyes just narrowed on Sophie.
“Okay, so you’re being a bit…” Sophie waved her hands. “Intense. Maybe you should just call James.”
Nia’s mouth dropped open.
“Is that what you want to do?” I asked before Nia could launch herself at Sophie, because I would, in her shoes.
“No. I had to wait ten years, he can wait until he’s in the bloody country,” Nia said, a hard bite in her tone. “I just don’t understand what’s taking them so long. Record the damn thing and come home.”
“They’re perfectionists.” I shrugged, feigning a nonchalance that I would never feel when faced with Dan’s return.
Nia hummed in agreement.
They always were.
Some days, I didn’t begrudge Dan his success. He’d gotten what he wanted—his dreams were coming true.
The fire drained from Nia and her shoulders slumped. “What if I’ve got it wrong, Mel?” she whispered, uncertainty shaking her words. “What if he’s changed his mind again, and he’s decided there’s no point in telling me?”
It was a very real concern. One we both shared.
We’d learnt early on that musicians were a fickle lot. Thanks to my dad, Dan, and James. My dad was hardly ever home growing up, always on the road, missing birthdays and milestone moments he always promised to stick around for. In the end, the music always called louder.
He loved it more than he loved me.
That’s how things were with Dan.
And with James.
In the last month, James had come to his senses and fought for Nia. He’d messed up again, but this time, he wasn’t giving up without a fight.
“I don’t think that’ll happen, Nia.” There was a conviction in my voice that I envied. I wished I could be so certain about my own life. “This time is different. Hold onto that, and if you can’t wait, you can always call him.”
She huffed. “Not happening. I’m not the easy girl I was in uni. This time he’ll come to me on his knees or not at all.”
I laughed. It came out strained, muddled with the conflicting wants warring in my head. I wish I had her strength. Instead, I’d spent the last month hiding like a coward from Dan Lloyd. Technically, I’d gone on holiday, but it was directly influenced by his supposedly permanent reappearance in my city. I’d managed to avoid running into him thus far, but it was only by sheer force of will. And the girls giving me the heads up. My luck was going to run out.
What if I was going about this all wrong? What if sharing the secret wouldn’t be as bad as I imagined?
“Everything alright, Mel?” Nia asked, reading me like a fortune cookie.
“What if I made a mistake, not telling Dan in the first place?” I whispered, the words barely a wisp of sound.
Sophie and Nia shared a look, each of them daring the other to ask the hard question.
“Do you think you made a mistake?” Sophie asked.
“I don’t know, but I’m still scared.”
“Scared that he’ll find out, or scared that he’ll leave?” Nia whispered, her gaze dancing around our quiet corner.
It was just the girls—I could say anything to them, and they wouldn’t repeat it or force me to follow through. Talking didn’t mean I had to take action.
“Scared that he’ll stay, out of some sense of obligation and either resent me for it or break Phoebe’s heart when he realises we’re not enough.” They were just words. Just letters strung together. And yet, they had the power to make my eyes burn and stab a knife through my chest.
“I don’t know the answer,” Nia said, her words measured but thick with emotion. She understood better than anyone else. She’d nearly pushed James out of her life again through fear too. “Our situations are alike, but you have more to protect than me. But if you’re thinking about this now, maybe you should consider whether you’re willing to take the risk. If you are, do something, and if you’re not…”
Then life was going to get extra painful.
The city hadn’t been big enough for Nia to avoid James. If Dan was here to stay, we would run into each other eventually, and then I’d be faced with a choice.
Lie, or let him in.
The auction got underway and Nia circled the room, photographing the event, while Sophie and I hung out at the side with a plate of appetisers. 
It wasn’t all that exciting, but still, it was nice to be somewhere different. Usually, we spent our time together in one of our flats or at our favourite pub on a Saturday afternoon. This was a refreshing change of scenery, and I enjoyed watching the people around us. Some furiously threw their paddles in the air, glaring at their opponents like they’d personally insulted them by daring to get in their way. Others were more leisurely in their movements, too busy chatting to their neighbours to really pay attention to the fact they were about to bid £500 on a photograph of the lighthouse. The look of shock on their faces when Phil, the white-haired warden acting as auctioneer, declared them the winner was priceless. 
Things were starting to wrap up when the doors opened. A hush descended on the room; heads craned to catch a glimpse of the latecomers. 
My heart stopped. 
James stood in the doorway, grinning and surrounded by his stone-faced bandmates. His gaze fixed on Nia next to me, but I couldn’t keep my eyes from Dan. His stoic features warmed as they roamed my face, causing my pulse to flutter in my throat. 
Alys and Lily pushed past the guys, tutting as they waltzed into the room. They wrapped their arms around Nia, whispering in her ear. 
I couldn’t focus on their words. My ears were ringing. I was frozen, just like in my dreams. 
Distantly, I noticed Alys returning to Ryan, and Lily approaching the stage, but it might as well have been happening in another room. 
“You alright?” I asked Nia, hooking my arm through hers, trying with all my might to be normal.
She side-eyed me, noting what was probably panic in my eyes.
He couldn’t be here. I wasn’t ready for this. 
Why couldn’t they have waited for a less public event to make their return? Or better yet, no event at all? A random day when I’d be tucked away in my flat with Phoebe. 
“Finally,” Dan seemed to say.
Rats.
She patted my hand. “You can leave if you want.”
I studied her, trying to assess whether she meant it. She couldn’t possibly. If I were in her shoes, I’d be a bag of nerves and want my friends around me.
“It was going to happen one day,” I whispered.
“You’re not going to tell him now?”
“No, but I will.” Determination broke through some of the panic, infiltrating my voice and helping me put up a much-needed front. My grip still tightened on her arm.
“Ladies and gentlemen.” Phil’s excited voice boomed around the room and I jumped. “We have some new entries to the auction.”
More lots were announced and a bidding war ensued but I couldn’t focus on any of it. James approached slowly, Dan edging along behind him. The closer he got, the tighter my grip on Nia’s arm grew.
“Sold for ten thousand pounds.” Phil slammed his gavel down, the noise ricochet through the huge open room and I flinched.
On the lots went, and still I couldn’t tear my gaze from his. Thankfully, he hung back, clearly trying not to overshadow James’s moment. I’m not sure if that was worse or better. The longer they took, the stiffer I grew. I couldn’t feel my toes from lack of movement, and my shoulders positively ached.
“Hey,” James said, finally stopping in front of Nia. I could barely take in his nerves, my gaze fixed on the red-haired giant at his back.
As James’s speech wound on and the tension drained from Nia, my tolerance hit the bottom of the barrel. Staring into his gorgeous green eyes was too much. I shouldn’t have come. I should have stayed home, just in case. I didn’t need to be here, Nia would have understood. No one would have missed me. 
And I definitely wouldn’t be staring at the man who broke my heart… over and over and over again. 
The man I thought I’d grow old with. 
The only one to light me up and uncover truths I didn’t know existed. 
The one who gave me my hyperactive little munchkin. 
God, one look at her and no one would argue that she was his. She had his eyes, his hair colour. Her nose and poker straight hair were all me, but that was where our resemblance ended. In appearances, one could argue that she’s more his kid than mine. 
No, if I’d just kept playing it safe this wouldn’t be happening. He definitely wouldn’t be stood there, his eyes eating me up. I steeled my shoulders against the shiver trying to overtake me. 
Gah, why did he have to get hotter with age? How was that even fair? Couldn’t he have gained some weight or have one of those irritatingly long beards? 
It was too soon. I wasn’t ready.
James was apologising to Nia and I couldn’t focus on a word of it. Whether I’d have heard him over the pounding of my heart was questionable but still, Dan was making me be a shit friend and miss a very important moment. 
There was a security door right next to me. One quick shove, and I’d be in the car park. I’d be free. 
I wasn’t a coward. 
I could do this. 
I needed to get it over with. 
Dan stopped before me, wearing the biggest grin. My stomach flipped as it lit up his eyes. 
“You haven’t been avoiding me, have you?” he asked, his tone light and teasing. He didn’t believe it. Probably couldn’t fathom why I wouldn’t want him, despite his piecemeal offerings. 
He reached for a hug, his arms wide but his movements slow, like he thought I’d disappear in a puff of smoke. 
Screw being brave. 
I turned tail and ran.

Tropes

✓ A hot cinnamon roll, bearded bassist
✓ A stubborn, feisty working single mother
✓ Two wonderful Ride-or-Die BFFs
✓ Off-the-charts chemistry
✓ And a cute toddler-sized secret

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J
J.J.
Give me more of Dan.!

Bevan introduced me to rockstar romance, and she has not failed me ONCE.! She manages to hook you from the first page, and has you turning the pages at a fast pace to get more and more of the characters between them.

She upped her steam level in Enticing Mel by making Dan one of the hottest rockstars/baby-daddy's EVER. I fell in love with the gentle, bearded, guitar-playing giant the moment he was introduced and I couldn't wait for his story with Mel.

The moments between him and little Phoebe are the kind that will make your ovaries explode, and then he proceeds to be irresistible in his scenes with Mel...so be prepared to swoon, melt and disintegrate into a Dan-loving-puddle.!

I'm looking forward to the next one - Defying Ella - and the story of the dark and broody drummer, Jared.