A heavy fat paw clapped him on the shoulder. Carston turned, found a jovial-looking, cigar-chewing individual grinning into his face. “I’ll bet you and Sherry have a lot to say to each other, seeing both of you are in the same line of business.”

Life looked ugly again. “Line of business?”

    “Sure. Entertainment. You know what I mean.”

  Carston knew, instinctively, this man was tenacious and would never be warned off by a frigid look or icy tone of voice. Still, he had to try. “Being a playwright is not a line of business.”

   The man ignored him, of course. His fat paw waved in the air to attract the attention of the country music singer. “Come over here, Chicken. Come chew the fat with Carston Hewlett. I told him you have a lot to say to each other.”

    Carston grimaced. Thought about the sort of conversation you could have with a country music star: chart and audience ratings, fan magazines, business deals, contracts, the ins and outs of the entertainment business. Okay, okay. Maybe he was being unjust. Perhaps it the long legs and glamour that reminded him of screaming fans. But her face, well, he had to admit something in her eyes provoked, even danced. Her high, almost austere, cheekbones hinted at discipline but smile lines around her mouth and eyes indicated humor.

   Without much enthusiasm, she sauntered in his direction and stopped in front of him. Boldly, she let her eyes slide up and down. Carston almost laughed. She was evaluating him, sizing him up like a chunk of roast beef or a steak, calculating how tender he might be. Well, he had nothing to be ashamed of. He had a trim body and easy grace. But this singer giving him the once-over didn’t look so pleased about the physique. Who did she think she was?

   He met her eyes with an equal lack of warmth. Ms. Valentine would learn, very quickly, she was out of her depth when it came to him. But even as the thought crossed his mind, he felt his fatigue and pent-up hostility trickling away. To be replaced by interest. And something akin to desire. Desire? How could his body betray him in this way? He searched for meaningless conversation to hide his reaction from her. “Hard to understand why we’re being interviewed together.”

      “Exactly what I thought.”

    Carston stared harder. Her voice had taken him by surprise: low, vibrant, it clashed with her flashy appearance. Now he really was intrigued. Very much so.

“We are on opposite sides of the cultural world.” He noted how condescending he sounded. Did it matter? Well, in a way, it did. He had the vague suspicion that condescension might not be the right tactic to take with Sherry Valentine.

   A sarcastic smile slid over her beautiful lips. “That’s why you were sneaking out the door?”

    Her words pulled him up short, shoved soft, sensual thoughts to the back of his mind. So she’d seen what he’d been up to? He felt himself squirm and sensed he had to justify himself for some crazy reason.

    He shook his head. “Fatigue. That’s why I wanted to get away. What I need right now is a nice big bed with crispy sheets, just like the one waiting in my hotel room. Believe me, I know how good those sheets will feel when they slide over my skin tonight.” He stopped, shocked by his own words. Was he crazy? Talking about a bed, sheets, skin? He’d intended to keep the conversation on neutral ground — then had dropped into the trap. Reacted the way all men would. Did Sherry Valentine now expect him to pull out the big guns? Invite her back to that bed of his for a torrid night?

    But she ignored the innuendo. Her lips crooked up into a smile of complicity. “A comfortable bed? Sounds heavenly. Just add a glass of wine and a good book to that picture.”

   Had she just suggested they crawl into bed together? With a book? She must be having him on. She didn’t look like the sort of woman who’d spend bedtime hours indulging in literature. “You read a lot?” He sounded arrogant again.

    Her amiable expression faded, became something warlike. “I actually liked reading, Eye of the Storm.”

    He gaped with astonishment. “You read my play?” Few enough people even went to see live theatre these days.

    “Oh yes, Mr. Hewlett.” Her voice dripped sarcasm. “I can assure you we singers do know how to read.” She opened her eyes wide. “Guess what else? Way back when, I even went to school.”

    He was ashamed of himself. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to insult you. It’s just that people very rarely read plays.”

    She observed him thoughtfully for a few seconds. “You weren’t by any chance thinking that as a singer of country music, I spend all my time posing for gossip magazines and chewing hay?”

   He couldn’t deny she’d put her finger on it. He felt like a squirming eel. “I also find my own arrogance intolerable.”


The air sizzles when a country music star and renowned playwright meet, but can opposites fall in love?


The instant Sherry and Carston meet, there's desire and fascination in the air...but they're complete opposites. Smart-talking Sherry Valentine has fought her way up from poverty to stardom as a country music singer. Now, ever in the limelight, ever surrounded by clamoring fans, male admirers, and paparazzi, her spangled cowboy boots carry her from one brightly lit stage to the next. But Sherry's been on the star circuit for far too long now, and she wants a change: is it too late for her to begin an acting career?


A renowned, but reclusive playwright, Carston Hewlett cherishes his freedom, the silence of the deep woods surrounding his home, and his solitary country walks. Long-term commitments have been out of the question for many years, so why is he so fascinated by a flashy country music singer? Perhaps a very short, but passionate, fling will resolve the problem.


When their names are linked in the scandal press, and Sherry's plans to become an actress are revealed, Carston is furious. Is their budding relationship doomed?


Buy link: https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/a-swans-sweet-song


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