As Dust Dances by Samantha Young
Once upon a time Skylar Finch was the lead singer of a hugely successful American pop-rock band. But fame made her miserable. When years of living a lie suddenly ended in tragedy, Skylar fell off the map.
Eighteen months later she’s sleeping in a tent in a cemetery in Glasgow, making just enough money to eat by busking on the streets. She manages to avoid recognition, but not the attention of one of Glasgow’s ambitious A&R executives.
Killian O’Dea works at Skyscraper Records, Scotland’s most successful record label. Raised by his uncle and owner of the label, Killian’s upbringing would have been devoid of affection entirely if it wasn’t for his loving sister. Killian is unflinchingly determined to bring the label more success than ever, and the young homeless woman who busks on Buchanan Street is going to help him do that. Her music speaks to him in a way he refuses to over-analyze. All he knows is that if it can touch his dark soul, it’ll set everyone else’s alight.
Skylar makes it clear that she doesn’t want to sign with him. But when she experiences the dangerous reality of a woman sleeping rough, Skylar has no one else but Killian to turn to. An undeniable connection forms between them. But Skylar doesn’t want the career Killian is trying to forge for her, and when her past comes back to haunt her Killian will be faced with a decision that could ruin him. He must either free Skylar from his selfish machinations and destroy everything he’s ever worked for, or lose a woman who has come to mean more to him than he ever thought possible…
“You wanted to talk?” I asked after the waitress left.
He nodded. Then sighed. Then shifted as if uncomfortable. This progressed to him playing with the tongs of the sugar cube bowl. Finally, he glanced around the diner, back at me, and then back to the tongs. I’d never seen him so unsure and I realized why as soon as he opened his mouth.
“I spoke to Autumn. She, uh …” His eyes flicked up to mine and then back down to the table. “She said that you told her …” He exhaled slowly and again lifted his gaze. There was a quiet intensity in his dark eyes that held me captive. “I hurt you. You told me some very personal things. I acted like a friend and then I was hurtful at the label. I hurt you.”
I didn’t reply. My expression said it all. Yes, you hurt me.
Regret softened his gaze. “I don’t like that I hurt you, Skylar. I’m sorry.”
Grateful for his apology, I replied, “I forgive you. I’m sorry for being rude to your uncle but not for his sake. For yours.”
Killian smirked. “Well, I forgive you. And if you must know, I want to punch him every time he calls me boy.”
I grinned. “I knew it.”
The smirk fell; the warmth bled from his expression. “I acted like an arsehole because of him. It’s not the first time. It’s just the first time anyone has called me out on it.”
Since he was being so honest, I decided to test the boundaries of that honesty. “Why do you need to prove yourself to him?”
Anger flashed across his face. “It’s not about proving myself. It’s about beating him. He’s held the fact that he took Autumn and me into his home over our heads for years. Every failure was our own but every success belonged to him. I want to surpass him. I want him to know that everything we have we have because we earned it. That we’re better than him. That we don’t need him.”
God, I truly disliked James Byrne. “He holds the fact that he took in two kids over their heads? So what? He had one tiny bone of decency in his body and that makes you forever in his debt? Fuck that.”
Killian’s eyes danced at my anger.
I realized I’d cursed quite loudly. “Sorry. It’s just … you don’t see it.”
“Why he calls you boy when you became a man long before other boys had to. You became a man the moment you realized you were all that Autumn had left.”
His eyes flared and he sank into the booth like I’d knocked him off balance.
I nodded. “You did, Killian. You’ve been a parent since you were eleven years old. You’re not perfect. We both know that. But you’re one of the most passionate, determined men I’ve ever met. And your uncle, who is a typical bully, calls you boy because he knows you’re more of a man than he’ll ever be. You’re there for your sister to protect her, love her, in a way he’s probably never been there for anyone. And he knows what you’ve done for that label and I have a feeling it scares him. Maybe you tap into his insecurities. Maybe he’s afraid you will surpass him because he knows you can, and so he does what he can to make you feel small and worthless—knowing it affects you makes him feel powerful again.” It all came out in a rush of sympathetic frustration.
And Killian stared at me with an open awe I’d never expected to see on his face. He was so closed off, so good at hiding positive emotions, I thought I felt my heart skip a beat at the naked warmth in his eyes.
“I … that makes sense.” He sounded winded by the realization.
The waitress appeared with our food, breaking our gazes.
I felt a little off-balance, my skin flushed. After the way he’d treated me at the label, I’d promised myself I was over my crush. Yet all it took for me to forget that vow was an apology and those dark eyes melting like chocolate as he stared at me.
I wanted Killian O’Dea.
I couldn’t help myself.
I was tethered to him somehow and I didn’t think I’d be able to cut myself loose so easily.
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Samantha Young is the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of adult contemporary romances, including the On Dublin Street series and Hero, as well as the New Adult duology Into the Deep and Out of the Shallows. Every Little Thing, the second book in her new Hart’s Boardwalk series, will be published by Berkley in March 2017. Before turning to contemporary fiction, she wrote several young adult paranormal and fantasy series, including the amazon bestselling Tale of Lunarmorte trilogy. Samantha’s debut YA contemporary novel The Impossible Vastness of Us will be published by Harlequin TEEN in ebook& hardback June 2017
Samantha has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for On Dublin Street, Best Romance 2014 for Before Jamaica Lane, and Best Romance 2015 for Hero. On Dublin Street, a #1 bestseller in Germany, was the Bronze Award Winner in the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2013, Before Jamaica Lane the Gold Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2014 and Echoes of Scotland Street the Bronze Medal Winner for the LeserPreis German Readers Choice Awards for Best Romance 2015.
Samantha is currently published in 30 countries and is a #1 international bestselling author.
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