Love Songs and Lullabies(3)

By: Amy Vastine

Piper wasn’t nominated for a Country Artist Award this year but had two proudly displayed at home on her mantel. She was here to promote the new album she’d written over the summer with Sawyer’s help. He may have been a newbie to the country music scene, but he was also an excellent songwriter. Piper had spent too many years singing other people’s music and it had been Sawyer’s job to teach her how to write her own.

Tonight’s performance would be crucial in setting the stage for her break into mainstream pop music. The new album had great crossover potential thanks to Sawyer’s help. Of course, all of that was in jeopardy now. Her stomach rolled and her head ached.

Heath slipped his phone back in his pocket. “This is your doing, Dean? Hasn’t my daughter shared the headlines with this boy enough? She’s a platinum recording artist while he just released his first album.”

“Together, the two of them are magic. Their song’s success is proof of that. The more we showcase them together, the better for both of them. I think Nashville deserves a preview of Sawyer and Piper before the rest of America hears them at the CAAs.”

Her chest constricted at the thought of Dean’s disappointment as well as her father’s when they learned she had ruined her perfect image. She trusted Dean’s business sense and knew he believed in her, even if his trust had been misplaced. Keeping the facade up as long as possible, until she could figure out how to break the news to everyone, was her only option. There had to be a way to save her career from disaster.

Piper took a deep breath before she had a panic attack. “It was a great idea, Dean,” she said, putting her smile back in place. “We’re here to sell records. Mine and Sawyer’s.”

The radio station rep’s relief was evident. The earlier tension had not been lost on her. “Let me show you to our hospitality room.”

Heart pounding, Piper followed the woman down the hall, into the elevator and up three floors. She could do this. She could sit next to Sawyer and answer questions about music. They could sing together like they did while writing songs and recording her album. Singing with him was the easy part. Avoiding his brown eyes, resisting his charm, ignoring the way he made her feel when he was near—those things might prove more difficult. Especially now.

It suddenly felt very warm. Piper was thankful she had dressed in layers. She peeled off her sweater and handed it to Lana for safekeeping.

Sawyer’s voice reached her in the hallway. His playfulness was infectious as he sang and strummed a guitar. It was his lightheartedness that had gotten her in this trouble in the first place.

She steeled herself as she entered the hospitality room. Sawyer Stratton had accepted there wasn’t a future for the two of them. How would he feel when he found out they’d be forever connected?


“YOU HAVE GOT to be kidding me,” Sawyer said, setting his guitar down. “You are unbelievable!”

His friend and bandmate Hunter pushed the last grape between his lips. His cheeks were puffed out like a chipmunk’s. He had somehow managed to get an entire bowl of grapes in his mouth. Hunter’s enormous cheek capacity was about to cost Sawyer ten dollars, and he was not a fan of parting with his hard-earned money.

“Impressive, but I can do better. If I can eat one of those sandwiches over there in one bite, you have to give me ten bucks,” Sawyer said, making his way to the counter full of snacks.

Hunter shook his head, unable to speak. He held up two fingers before slashing the air with both hands.

“Double or nothing?” Sawyer clarified. Hunter nodded. “You think you can eat this whole sandwich right after swallowing all those grapes?”

Hunter nodded again and picked up a water bottle. After a quick swig, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “If I do, you have to give me twenty bucks.”

The turkey sandwich wasn’t quite six inches long, but it was stuffed with all the trimmings and wouldn’t go down easy. Better Hunter fail than him. “Go for it.”

Hunter picked up the sub and took a breath before attempting to shove it all in his mouth. Sawyer couldn’t help but bust out laughing.

“We have some snacks and beverages for you,” a voice said from the doorway.

Sawyer turned, and there she was. Piper was always a sight for sore eyes. Her sunglasses rested on top of her head and her blond hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Even though she wore the same pale pink blouse and skinny white jeans he’d seen her in at rehearsal, the woman managed to take his breath away.

“Are you okay? Can you breathe?” The radio assistant came running at him.

Also By Amy Vastine

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