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Hold Still

Title: Hold Still
Author: Arell Rivers
Genre: Rockstar Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 15, 2018 Cover Design: Cassy Roop at Pink Ink Designs
He’s a rockstar who lost his muse. She’s a graphic designer who discovers that kickstarting his imagination is the easy part...
Ozzy Martinez is smoldering.
Ripped.
Tatted and pierced. Everywhere.
With his sold-out Vegas residency ending, he’s scheduled to record his next album soon. Only problem? His creativity—and trust—are both MIA following a soul-crushing, deeply personal double betrayal.
McKenna James is feisty.
A Las Vegas original.
Brunette with an ever-changing shock of dyed hair.
She’s vying for a spot in a national competition that will give her the funds she desperately needs to keep her mother at home. But her contest submission hinges on new songs—from the one man whose productivity has run dry. Not to mention he embodies everything she’s vowed to leave behind.
For McKenna, he can’t be anything more than a ticket to success. For Ozzy, she’s an honest straight-shooter with a curvy body he remembers well. But then he finds himself divulging his darkest secrets. With every confession about his past, with every heart-pounding kiss, all the reasons why a romance between them can never happen fades.
Until he discovers her secret.
And another.
To have a chance at a life together, they both must learn how to HOLD STILL.
The wedding coordinator enters the room and announces it’s time for us to line up. Since I’m the only attendant besides the flower girl, I’m up first. I turn to Rose. “I’ll see you at the altar. I’ll be the one next to your man with the big, sappy smile on my face.” As we hug, I whisper, “So happy for you.”
I mean it. I am ecstatic for her. Just because this won’t happen for me doesn’t mean I want everyone to remain alone. And Rose deserves all this happiness after everything she’s been through. I grab my bouquet of roses and lead us to the double doors.
The music changes and the sound of people turning in their chairs indicates it’s time for me to make my entrance. “See you on the other side, Miss Bloomer.”
I strut my stuff up the aisle, carrying my bouquet at hip level just like the coordinator told me to do. My nude stilettos are killer with my midcalf deep orange dress, if I do say so myself. I smile at friends I haven’t seen in a while and new ones I’ve met.
Better soak in all this happiness. It has to last me a lifetime as well.
Everything’s going great until I get up near the front. There he is. On the aisle. Of course he’s here—why did I think he’s non-appearance last night at the pre-wedding party meant I was out of the woods?
My cheeks deflate as my eyes lock onto the dark brown ones belonging to Ozzy. The ultimate bad boy rocker. One whose wild streak no longer fits into my recently re-ordered life.
He’s wearing a tux that’s molded to his broad shoulders and trim waist. Dayum. His back straightens, and he nods at me.
Stay strong, McKenna.
I force my feet to keep a steady pace forward, my smile returning in full-force once I get past the man who makes my heart race, panties drop and heart break. Emilie’s nearby, next to her fianc√©, Wills. I give her a little wave and take my place at the makeshift altar, across from Cole. He looks so calm. So sure of himself.
From the doorway, Suzanne urges Emma forward. She starts up the aisle, throwing rose petals all over. Literally. I shake my head at how cute this little girl is.
The music stops. Cole strides over to a piano and begins playing ‘To Have and to Hold,’ his latest hit that he co-wrote with Rose. As we practiced, when he sings, “You’re my heart—I’ll fight for us both,” Rose appears.
All the guests stand.
Rose glows as she glides up the aisle, carrying an overflowing bouquet of multi-colored roses. She stops a few feet away from me and when Cole finishes the song, he joins her, kisses her hand and they complete the walk together. Their eyes never stray from the other.
I inhale their love.
The celebrant begins, “Dearly beloved.…”
His voice becomes background music.
Do not look past the couple. Do not look past the bride and groom. Do not glance at. Shit. Ozzy’s eyes are squarely on me. His kissable lips tick upward. Look away! Look away! His tongue swipes his lower lip. My nipples harden. Stop. Focus on Rose and Cole.
For as long as Arell Rivers can remember, she has been lost in a book. During her senior year in college, she picked up a romance novel … and instantly was hooked on the genre.
Arell started writing her first novel because the characters were screaming at her to do so. The story started coming out in her dreams and attacking her in the shower, so she took to the computer to shut them up. But they kept talking.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Arell has what some may call a “checkered past.” Prior to discovering her passion for writing romance, she practiced law, was a wedding and event planner and even dabbled in marketing. Arell lives with a very supportive husband who doesn’t care that the bed isn’t made or dinner isn’t on the table. When not in her writing cave, Arell is found making dinner in the InstantPot, working out with Shaun T or hitting the beach.
Arell is a member of the New Jersey chapter of Romance Writers of America.
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