Killian Desmond’s dreams died in a flash of pain and the scream of twisted metal. He lost it all the night a tour bus sailed off a mountainside, sending his band—with his brother—to their deaths.
Killian is dead too, if the papers are to be believed, and living a half-life of odd jobs, rodeo rides and pick up gigs. The road that once meant freedom is now Killy’s exile. No strings, no ties, no names for the one-night stands.
Answering a tribute band’s ad thrusts him face to face with his past, and into the arms of the one man who just might understand.
Excerpt: Highway Man
“But we need a lead guitar for more than one night, man! Our guy won’t be back for two weeks.”
Killian Desmond sighed, cell phone braced in one hand a few inches from his ear while half-eaten bacon and eggs congealed on a plate in front of him. The clicks and clacks of a busy diner competed with his call—an amazing feat, since the guy on the other end of the line shouted to be heard over a rock band in rehearsal.
In deep bass tones once described by a reporter as “smoky, with a hint of enter at your own risk,” Killian replied, “And I done told you, one night’s all I got. Take it or leave it. Gotta be in Denver the next morning.” Yeah, he’d love the gig, but no way in hell was he sticking around any longer than one night. He frowned, both at the waitress offering more coffee and the caller refusing to understand plain English.
Ignoring his cold breakfast, he fired up a cigarette. Bluish smoke swirled toward the ceiling, to be batted away by the currents of an overhead fan. Nobody charged his table, demanding he put it out—despite the “No Smoking” signs plastered on the walls every few feet like grease-spattered pop art.
“What’d you say your name was again?” Killy’s would-be employer’s voice danced the razor’s edge between cautious and paranoid.
“I didn’t. I said I play lead guitar and do vocals, all you asked for in your ad. I can front or I can backup. Your choice.”
“How long you been playing?”
“Long enough.” The asshole didn’t need to know about Mama bringing him and his older brother onstage starting at six and eight years old, hoping to squash junkie rumors by projecting a motherly image. The act hadn’t worked, and the kiddies grew up on a tour bus, with pot, cocaine, and other drugs more readily available than bubble gum. Of course, trade a tour bus for cheap hotel rooms, drugs for booze and caffeine, and pot for tobacco, and you got la vida del Papa. Oh, yeah, and enough prescription painkillers to choke one of the broncs the man rode.
“I e-mailed you a lineup. You do know Trickster’s songs, right?”
Trickster? Did he say “Trickster”? Oh shit.