Kissing Vicious

Brooklyn Ann

Hearts of Metal, Book 1

ISBN: 979-8781525799

When Kinley Black becomes a roadie for Viciöus, beginning a foray into the unglamorous, male-dominated world of heavy metal, she won't escape with her pride or heart intact.

It's hard to be one of the guys…

Ever since Kinley Black's metal band broke up, bringing her back to only being a co-owner of a metal fan site, she's been dying to get back into the music industry. The opportunity arrives when her interview with Quinn Mayne, lead singer of her favorite band, Viciöus, goes off the rails. If she can beat up a pervy roadie, she can have his job. Kinley has no problem with hard work or being one of the guys. But fighting her attraction to Quinn is a bigger challenge.

When he makes her feel like such a girl

Quinn is furious with his road manager for insisting they hire Kinley. Taking a beautiful woman on the road was like dangling meat above a pack of feral hounds. Despite his reluctance, he can't help being impressed by his new roadie's strength and determination any more than he can suppress his urge to protect her when a crewmember's hostility escalates. As Viciöus's tour across the country progresses, Quinn's fury and frustration fall away, only to be replaced with a burning desire, with the promise of something deeper.


Chapter One

“C’mon, baby, just let me feel ’em and I’ll let you through.” The leering roadie uncrossed his arms to reach forward.

Kinley choked back a groan of revulsion and stepped away.

Her pulse had been jacked up, her steps light with anticipation as she’d gone backstage to interview her favorite band, Viciöus, for the first time. The last time they’d played in Spokane, Metalness, the website she co-owned with her best friend, hadn’t been big enough to merit a press pass and interview. Now she had one, and her interview with lead singer, Quinn Maybe, would be Metalness’s best feature to date.

But now, this asshole roadie was ruining her impending triumph with his disgusting come-ons.

“It’s not the seventies anymore. Let me through.” She waved her laminated pass. “I have a scheduled interview.”


There. That was as diplomatic as Kinley could manage. It wouldn’t do to piss off the crew if she wanted to talk to the band, but this Neanderthal made it hard to be cordial. With any luck, he’d back off and badger someone else. But considering those piggy eyes and that “Female Body Inspector” shirt, a woman would have to be desperate to allow his grimy fingers near her. The fact that a band as great as Viciöus had such a prick in their employ was beyond depressing.

She sighed. After she got her interview, it would all be worth it. Her ears still pounded from the glorious shredding guitar riffs, the throbbing bass, and the impossible speed of the drums. Viciöus had been gods on stage, and now she was going to meet them—as soon as she got past this prick.

“Sorry, sugar. Rules are rules. I gotta make sure the band’s getting Grade A titties.” With speed belying his sluggish appearance, the roadie shoved his sausage-like fingers forward, reaching for her breasts. She swatted his hand away.

Fury boiled from her toes up. “If you touch me again, I’ll wipe the floor with your ass.”

The roadie’s laughter, like from a cheesy sitcom, rang in her ears. “Sounds kinky.” The moron actually stepped closer.

Kinley rolled her eyes. If it weren’t for this once-in-a-lifetime chance, she would have answered him with an uppercut. “A little help here?” she shouted, trying to salvage the situation.

The mass of gawkers muttered and looked in all directions, avoiding her gaze. Some jackass in the crowd yelled, “Show your tits!”

The roadie grinned and nodded in agreement.

“Thanks,” she muttered, embittered but unsurprised.

After what seemed like hours of dancing out of the caveman’s reach, a man approached. Her eyes widened. It was none other than Curtis Scrimm, lead guitarist of Viciöus.

He pushed his dirty blond locks from his face and grinned. “What’s going on?”

She struggled to meet his gaze while keeping one eye on the roadie. “I have a pass, but this guy’s molesting me and won’t let me through. Can you please tell him to stop?”

Kinley waved her laminate at Curt in case he hadn’t noticed. He leaned forward and gazed at it with squinty, glazed eyes.

Damn. If the guitarist was high, he’d be no help at all.

The roadie gave him a pleading look. “C’mon, Curt, she won’t play the game.”

Curt shrugged helplessly, eyes darting between Kinley and the roadie, then back at the swarm of groupies visibly panting after him. One already had her breasts bared.

“I’m serious,” Kinley growled. “I’ll kick his ass if he touches me again.”

Her harasser licked his lips. “Oooh. I like it when they fight.”

The guitarist shook his head, blinking at the roadie. “Harry, are you drunk on the job again? I thought Gaffer warned you. Besides, she doesn’t look like she has much under her shirt anyway…” he trailed off as the groupies slinked closer, eyes feral with curiosity.

Kinley’s chest tightened with trepidation. Where were the other security guys? Where was the rest of the band?

The roadie reached for her again.

She jumped out of his way, her stomach churning with anxiety. Then again, maybe it was a good thing the rest of the band wasn’t here to witness this disaster. The situation was quickly getting out of control. And it looked like she wouldn’t be getting her interview after all.

“I’ll fuck him up,” she stammered, flipping her braid over her shoulder. “I swear!”

Curtis chuckled, eyes roving over her body, visibly assessing her odds. Though she was tall and fit, she was lean, and the roadie outweighed her by at least eighty pounds. “Lady, if you can kick Harry’s ass, you can have his job.”

Her breath left her lungs. Kinley had been prepared to just break the roadie’s nose and walk out, but now the proverbial carrot had been dangled.

A chance to work for Viciöus? Hell, a chance to be back in music?

A wave of longing rushed over. For that pump of adrenaline in her veins, for the roar of the audience in her ears. To have the heat of the stage lights on her skin—Needing to feel the soul-searing passion of the music flowing through her being. To return to that life, even if only on the fringes, Kinley would do anything.

Beating this perverted scumbag to a pulp would be no hardship.

She dropped into a fighting stance and slightly relaxed her fists, the better to do more damage.

One last time, she tried for diplomacy. “As much as I’d love to work for you, it really would be better to call him off and let me—”

Harry’s porcine hand gripped her breast.

Kinley saw red.

Her fist connected with Harry’s nose, and she felt the satisfying crunch. He bellowed like a boar and blindly swung a ham-like fist.

Kinley easily ducked the punch and followed up with a knee to his gut.

He doubled over with an agonized groan but surprised her with an uppercut that thankfully missed her jaw and instead struck the side of her head. Kinley stumbled back, one ear ringing from the blow, the other echoing from the noise of her audience. Are those cheers or jeers?

Her mind struggled to unscramble. Another punch whistled past her head, and she dodged it just in time. Her heel slammed into Harry’s kneecap, and he went down shrieking.

This time Kinley didn’t give him a chance to recover. Her fists pummeled his face like the punching bag she practiced on in her garage.

Savage glee infused her with every strike. Her enemy collapsed after another blow to the jaw, but she wasn’t finished. Kinley raised her fist.

A voice rang out: “What the fuck is going on here?”

She froze. Quinn Mayne, the lead singer of Viciöus, strode forward, his long black hair framing a chiseled, godlike face with green eyes foreboding as a hurricane sky.

Reality crashed down upon her. Suddenly, she could see how insane she must appear.

Heart pulsing, Kinley released the unconscious roadie, her lips quavering to form a response to the titan looming over her. His skull thudded on the cement floor. Oh fuck, how bad did I hurt him?

Quinn was her hero. She’d had a full-on crush on him for years. The man was capable of brilliant vocals and shredding guitar riffs—not to mention his stormy good looks. Securing an interview with him had been a dream come true. And now she’d turned it into a nightmare.

A horde of groupies squealed and scurried toward Quinn, but he waved them off. His gaze fixed on his band, not on Kinley. “I’m waiting.”

The audience warbled enthusiastically, albeit with contradictory responses. They fell silent as Brand Kife, the bassist, stepped forward. Broad-shouldered and with wavy auburn hair, he was almost as handsome as Quinn. “Curt told her to kick his ass…and, well, I was going to step in, but she handled it herself.”

“I didn’t tell her to kick his ass,” Curt interjected. “I said if she can kick his ass—”

“The son of a bitch had that ass-kicking coming,” a new voice intruded. Tony McVries, the drummer, shook his head. “Harry was up to his old shit. Couldn’t keep his hands to himself. This lady gave him fair warning and then laid his ass out before any of us could do anything.”

Damn, Tony was there too? Too bad he hadn’t intervened. The drummer was built like a brick house. Kinley’s mouth went dry as a question sprang up: How long had the rest of the band been watching?

Quinn’s gaze darted back and forth from his band members to Harry’s pudgy form on the floor—and then to Kinley.

Every time he looked at her, her pulse sped up, his presence stealing the breath from her body.

He’s really there. I am standing here before Quinn Mayne! The girlish voice squealed in the back of her mind. She loathed that voice. That voice made her want to slap herself, now more than ever. She wasn’t going to turn into a stupid simpering idiot just because she was attracted to the guy. This was business.

She took a deep breath and faced Quinn head-on. “I tried to get him to leave me alone, but he wouldn’t quit. Then he grabbed my breast and…and…” She looked down at the bruised and beaten man on the floor, who groaned with pain, thankfully regaining consciousness. Why hadn’t that asshole just listened? “I just lost it.”

“I’m pretty sure he was drunk again,” Curtis supplied, finally being of some help.

A bearlike, older man came up behind Quinn. “Then that means he’s fired.”

Quinn nodded and turned to Kinley, staring at her with unnerving intensity. The impact of his stormy eyes made her suck in another breath. Heat unfurled within her stomach.

“I’m so sorry about this.” He reached forward to shake her hand but lowered his arm at the last minute, grimacing at the blood coating her fingers.

Kinley’s face burned in humiliation at the rejection, understandable though it was. She’d anticipated shaking Quinn’s hand since the minute his publicist had approved the interview. Now he was clearly repulsed at the idea of touching her.

“What the hell were you all doing when this was going down?” He turned his thunderous gaze on his bandmates.

“I…uh…” Curtis shrugged.

Brand flushed. “We really were going to help, but she handled herself just fine. Besides, what do you care about it anyway? Don’t you have interviews and autographs and other shit to do?”

Tony held up his hands. “Hey, man, I told you I wanted to do something, but…”

The singer ran an exasperated hand through his thick dark hair. “Are you telling me you just stood here and let Harry harass a chick to the point where she was forced to defend herself?” A sound of protest came from the floor. “Shut up, Harry.”

One of the groupies stepped forward, wrapping her fingers possessively around Curt’s bicep as she pouted up at Quinn. “They had a bet.”

His frown deepened. “What do you mean?”

Kinley sighed and explained. “Your guitarist said that if I could kick your roadie’s ass, I could have his job.”

“What?” Quinn roared, rounding on Curtis. “Why the hell would you do that? Not only is a deal like that completely fucked up, but since when do you call the shots?”

The big man behind him nodded. “That’s my job, Curt.”

Oh shit! Dread filled her stomach. That guy must be the road manager.

Quinn frowned at the bloody mess of Harry on the floor. “Look. I don’t have time for this clusterfuck. I have an interview in ten minutes.”

The thudding of her heart increased. Kinley opened her mouth to inform him that the interview was with her. All that came out was a pathetic squeak. Thankfully, no one heard. She gritted her teeth. Toughen up, Kinley.

The manager glared at Tony, Brand, and Curtis. “Go see if there’s a medic still around and if there isn’t, call a cab and get Harry to the nearest hospital to get patched up. Then you three are paying for his bus ticket home.”

“Aw, man!” Brand protested.

Quinn silenced him with a glare. “His medical expenses are on your dime too. You should have stopped this.” He eyed Kinley and sighed. “And she can—”

“We can reschedule our interview, maybe do it online or over the phone,” Kinley finally managed.

Quinn’s expression was one of sublime confusion.

“Our interview. I can reschedule. I…um…” She looked down at her gore-encrusted hands, resisting the urge to wipe them on her jeans. “I need to clean up anyway.”

If he even wanted to talk to her after this. She glanced at the bleeding mess of the roadie being helped to his feet by Brand and Tony. She’d hurt him worse than she’d intended.

The manager burst out laughing. “You’re Kinley Black? The host of Metalness? This is too rich.”

Quinn’s gaze returned to Kinley, gleaming with momentary interest before darkening again. “Wait, you’re the one who’s interviewing me?” He shook his head and turned back to his band. “So not only did you assholes let Harry harass a woman, then stood there with your thumbs up your asses while she took care of him, but that woman is a fucking journalist too? What the hell is wrong with all of you?”

Kinley’s spirits sank further. Great, he was seriously pissed off now.

“I didn’t want to get hurt,” Brand replied, eyes twinkling with merriment. “That chick packs a serious punch.”

“Yeah,” Tony added, jerking Harry’s arm when he opened his mouth to protest. “She handled herself just fine.”

“Yeah!” Kinley’s foolish mouth chimed in. “I didn’t need their help. And I’ll handle working for you fine as well.”

Quinn spun to face her; his eyes widened, then narrowed. His long dark hair hung in his face, making him look dangerous. “That’s all well and good, but what makes you think you can be a roadie?”

His scornful tone sent a prickle of anger up her spine. Kinley squared her shoulders, rising to her full height of five feet eight inches, and returned his glare. “I happen to have over two years’ experience loading and unloading gear, setting up instruments, working with sound, basic lights, and all the rest.”

“Who did you work for?” Quinn asked.

“Just a small-town band.” Kinley looked down at her boots. She didn’t want to reveal that her experience came from being part of a local tribute band, playing in bars across the inland northwest. She and her bandmates had been their own roadies by necessity. If Quinn Mayne mocked her for that, she’d die from embarrassment.

Defensively she added, “I’ve also worked for five years as a construction laborer, so I’m good with grunt work.”

The manager’s eyes gleamed with interest as he scratched his silver beard. “I see…”

Quinn frowned. “Still, I don’t think—”

“Quinn, may I speak to you in your dressing room for a moment?” the man interrupted with subtle authority before he addressed the other band members. “And could one of you help Ms. Black clean up and show her to the other dressing room? It won’t take all three of you to deal with Harry.”

“I’ll take her.” Tony released Harry—who thankfully didn’t topple over—then beckoned for Kindle to follow him.

Normally, Kinley would have been ecstatic to spend time with her favorite drummer. Now, the burning intensity in Quinn Mayne’s eyes continued to haunt her as she followed Tony with a sinking heart. I finally met the man of my most secret fantasies and I blew it.

Reviews:Lial on The Romance Reviews wrote:

She wanted to be a boy so she could play music like her favorite musicians. Her later sexual desires to be with some of those musicians changed that idea fast. Kinley is a women with dreams that she has never given up on. Music is her joy and she turns to it when she needs to escape and be free. She is not going to do anything to jeopardize her opportunity to be on the road with one of her favorite bands, even if it means denying her heart.

I am going to start off with an admission. I am not a huge fan of a lot of many of the rock star romances. They seem to have the same kind of story with just a slight difference from the others. Most have lots of random hook-ups and characters with not a lot of self-respect. They get jealous all the time and have these screaming matches. After reading KISSING VICIOUS, I have decided to give the genre another try. This book was totally different from the others I have read and really captured my interest with the strong characters and not the usual rocker types that frequent the genre.

The first major difference is the main characters, Kinley and Quinn. Kinley is a strong woman who has a lot of respect for herself and her career. She was in a metal cover band but that broke up, and she and her best friend run a website devoted to the fans of metal music. She has a tough childhood with a father that wanted her to be more like his deceased wife and be devoted to family and home. He had no respect for her musical abilities and anything he did not consider feminine. Kinley deliberately took on male typical jobs and did her own thing. She hasn't had a lot of success with men so she focuses on work.

When the opportunity presents itself for her to be in the crew, she doesn't hesitate to pack her bags and head out with them. She has always had a crush on Quinn but knows pursing any member of the band would cause an issue with the others. Instead of being a professional, she would be just a groupie or maybe even another Yoko who breaks up the band.

Quinn is the leader of the band. He is not spending all his time with women and drugs and drinking. He is focused on making the band a success and creating good music for the fans. He is actually very protective of women due to an incident in the past. He wants to keep Kinley safe and worries that the all male band and crew won't be open to her joining the ranks so he keeps an eye on her at all times. He is also dealing with his feelings for her. Quinn really likes and admires her as well as being attracted to her. She stands out from the rest. When the feelings are too hard to resist, he does everything he can to respect Kinley's wishes. Quinn is smart, honest, kind, and sexy and just the kind of man any woman would want in their life.

The author really focuses on developing all the characters and the story. There is a lot of description of time on the road and the work the crew does to make each event a success. There is no rush to push Kinley and Quinn together so the attraction simmers for quite awhile and is all that much sweeter when it does happen. The reader gets to see Kinley grow as she takes on new roles and gets the respect of those around her.

There is also a call for more equality in the music industry. The author works in the idea of women needing to be better represented. There are plenty of women fans but not many women on the stage or in the studio. It is great that the author was able to push that issue along without compromising the storyline.

This is not your usual rocker romance. The girl is not waiting for the lead singer to see her in the audience and fall in love (or lust). Kinley just wants an opportunity to be true to herself and be part of the music she loves. When her feelings for Quinn could destroy that dream, she faces a real conflict. There are some very dangerous situations some of them face and even during adversary they stand strong. I thank the author for creating strong characters and taking a different course from usual. We really need more strong characters like Kinley and Quinn in the romance genre.

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Teen Playing Guitar


Brooklyn Ann

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