EXCERPT: "Where the feck am I again?"
Looking at him, Carly shook her head. "Are you going to become one of those pathetic, burnt out, brain-fried bastards who need index cards wherever you go so you know what city you're in?"
He interrupted her and in an uninterested tone explained, "Love, I always needed index cards to tell me what city I was in."
She sighed in exasperation but continued, "We're still in Philly in a private VIP lounge at the airport waiting on a flight to JFK. In New York. You have a concert in two nights, remember?"
"Far out," Brogan mumbled in annoyance.
"Guess I'll have to introduce myself again. Carly Montgomery. I'm your new manager. Byron quit last night. I suppose you don't remember that, either."
"No. I really don't remember. The show went well, I suppose."
"Yes, the concert went fine. What happened after the show caused the concern. You all but trashed the dressing room at the Spectrum. Your mess is going to cost a pretty penny, Nigel is not impressed."
"Carly? How original. Copy Carly Simon, did you?"
He watched as her jaw set in annoyance. "I don't copy anybody. My name is Cara, but my family has called me Carly since I could crawl — and why am I explaining this to you?"
Brogan blinked and had a good look at this infuriating-as-shite woman. She was no more than 5'3”, her hair was long and wavy, dyed some two-tone shade of black with bright red streaks throughout. She wore a skintight black leather skirt and sexy four-inch black pumps. A tight gold tiger-patterned sweater hugged her feminine curves. Under the six layers of makeup he supposed she was attractive enough, no raving beauty but adequate. Her voice, however, sounded like nails on a chalkboard.
"I don't have to stay here. You can't keep me. I'll find my own feckin' way to New York —"
Carly whistled shrilly through her teeth. The door to the private lounge swung open. A man as big as a Volkswagen with a human head on it stood before Brogan with his legs apart and tree trunk-sized arms crossed defiantly.
Carly's laugh sounded smug and amused, which pissed him off further. "This is Giovanni. Gio gave you the cold shower, remember?"
He interjected again, this time more sarcastically, "Love, it's not the first cold shower I ever had."
"Regardless, he'll be your shadow going forward. Gio will keep you in line. Make sure you're a good boy and behave at the venues in future."
"I need a drink." Brogan snarled.
Carly inclined her head toward the counter. "There is fresh coffee in the pot, and some donuts in the box. That's all you're getting for now."
Jaysus Christ. He clasped his hands together to keep them from shaking. He did need a drink — badly. Times like this, he wished he smoked. He could use a fag right now. He was sober for the first time in days. Well, he would try to stay somewhat lucid for the show itself. But after the concert was over he would put aside the few restraints. Stalking the stage and whipping the crowd into a wild froth wasn't enough for him. He always needed more. His irritated gaze roamed over the huge man in front of him. Great. His own gorilla.
"Listen to me, Byrne. I've been around enough rockers these last three years to see the signs. Your own band can't stand you. They went to Nigel. They will be around you only for prerequisite rehearsals and the show itself. The rest of the time? They don't want to know you. They demanded separate travel and different hotels, though I can't see that happening. You're arrogant even to your own family and to your girlfriend," Carly hesitated. "You don't remember a thing, do you?"
Brogan Byrne didn't know why he acted this way and didn't know how to stop. This monster lived inside him, and it had resided there for a long time. The demon was a voracious beast. Even now it clamored and groaned. The beast wanted to be fed. The only thing quieting the fiend was drugs and sex. He needed some type of hit. He glanced over at Gio. If Tiny wasn't here he could put the moves on this Carly. Jaysus, where did that come from?
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