Ace (Band of Brothers #1)

By: Lyra Parish



Nik squeezed my shoulder as he loaded the bus with me. Rex and Jex loaded the other bus with a wave. We had to be in Pennsylvania in two days so we would drive straight there. Exhaustion covered me and all I wanted to do was sleep.

Every band had an asshole, and if one didn't know who that was, then it was most likely you.

Not that it was a secret, but after tonight, I realized that I was the lead asshole of Hathway. But my brothers were assholes too.

Nik cleared his throat as he chugged a bottle of water. "I still can't believe you fucked that blonde. Blondes aren't your thing."

I gave him my signature smirk. "It was Florida. What do you expect? They were all blonde."

I sat on the couch and watched the lights of the passing vehicles. I was living the life. I was in charge and I feel powerful.

I was Ace—definitely a fucking spade.





2





Elizabeth




Papers scattered across the floor and around my feet covering the eggshell-colored tiles. I huffed and bent down to pick them up, then made my way to the morning meeting. Late. Of course I'd have to be late to an emergency Monday morning meeting that my boss insisted we all attend.

I walked in with my disorganized notes tucked in my arms and sat down at the conference table looking like a hot mess. Jack, my asshole boss, glanced over at me and I saw his nostrils flare. I had agitated him again. This day was already fucked.

There were moments when I wished I were invisible, days I wished I could sink into the chair, wall, or table. Or even have the power to snap my fingers and disappear, especially when people looked at me the way everyone had right then.

Jack tucked his lips inside of his mouth and waited for me to sit, then continued on and on about the upcoming projects. I knew the analogy "beating a dead horse" in real time because he had a habit of repeating the same idea several different ways even if we all understood him the first time. Meetings that should last one to two minutes usually lasted at least thirty. These were the things I hated most about my job.

"As you noticed, Jules is out and will be for the next few weeks. She's been put on bed rest indefinitely due to complications with her pregnancy."

I already knew all of that because Jules is my bestie. Although she’s seven years older than me, you’d never notice. When we met it was as if we’d known each other our whole lives. Some people were destined to be friends. As I stared out the window and watched the silky strings of clouds pass behind Jack's head, I tried to think of the band and tour she had been assigned to but nothing came to me; all I could think about was Jules talking about what needed to be done before she left.

"Did you hear me, Elizabeth?"

I swallowed and looked at Jack. His eyes bore straight into me. If they were laser beams, I'd have no head.

"Jules insisted that you follow Band of Brothers and they've already played seven shows so we're behind." The harsh tone in his voice wasn't lost. He was pissed. I was confused. And as I looked around the room, I noticed everyone was relieved they weren't the ones being assigned to that band for the summer. The whole room sighed in happiness, which meant I was fucked.

"I've never toured before," I said.

"You've helped Jules with her articles for the past three years," he said.

"I'm not the right person for this," I protested.

"Then you should work elsewhere."

"Aren't they—"

"The most difficult group of musicians to work with in the industry? Yes. Congratulations on obtaining the new project." Jack slid a huge stack of papers across the table with a sarcastic beaming grin smacked across his face. His smile was reminiscent of the Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Unfortunately, Jack was stealing something much more important; my sanity and happiness, or maybe he was stealing my soul. Maybe I was being too dramatic?

"Meet your new assignment," he said, tapping his finger anxiously on the desk, waiting for me to say something else—but I knew when to accept my position. It was something I learned a long time ago.

My mouth dropped open in disbelief as Jack went over the schedule, the different bands, locations, and deadlines that each of us would take. As if nothing had happened, he dismissed everyone to go on with their merry day. I sat in the conference room staring at the huge stack of research Jules had left for me. With a defeated sigh, I turned to look at the schedule. I would fly out tomorrow, to-fucking-morrow and had nothing packed for a month of travel. Apparently my accommodations were already set for Atlanta. The Ray Charles song Georgia on my Mind popped into my head and for a moment I told myself I could do this. I could do this, right?

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