The Gunny & The Jazz Singer





Here's a description of The Gunny & The Jazz Singer -

U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant Marc Rahn, Jr. enlisted after high school graduation to escape the pain of his parents' fatal car wreck. Now on leave after eight years and multiple Middle East deployments, he returns to his hometown to put to rest his suspicions that the "accident" might actually have been anything but.

What he doesn't expect on move-in day from the neighbor across the street is an intriguing flash of pierced nipple. The breast's owner, Phoebe Barnes, is a beautiful young jazz singer who has plans to make it big in the music business. Her early years in foster care made her hungry for attention and fame, and she's out to achieve both at almost any cost.

Despite their differing goals, Marc and Phoebe quickly give in to the sizzling attraction between them. But will their passion turn deadly when the person who killed Marc's family decides two murders might not have been enough?

Author's Note:  This book was originally published as Lost and Found.
It now has a new title and new cover.


Chapter One

Birchwood Falls, Iowa
Early May

In the inky blackness of the small club, a lone spotlight beamed down on her. At this moment in time, Phoebe Barnes was the center of the universe, all eyes on her. She heard only her accompaniment, Hank One at the piano, Hank Two on sax. The minor notes of both instruments filled the room, overshadowing the clinking of bottles and glasses and the low-toned conversations. Blocking other sights and sounds, she sang of the sadness of trying to save love only to lose it in the end.

Her petite body sheathed in a floor-length black tank dress with ruffles running diagonally across the bodice, Phoebe warbled into the microphone. The campy thick streak of her bright fuchsia bangs belied the melancholy, bluesy tones of It Doesn't Matter Any More by Eva Cassidy.

Deep in the moment, she closed her eyes, tipping her head to the side, her pursed lips stretching out the words "over you". Selling the sorrowful lyrics wasn't hard for her. In her soul she'd never gotten over being left literally on the firehouse doorstep as an infant. Her adoptive family loved her, and she loved them back, but there was still an emptiness inside her. She'd been abandoned as some woman's mistake.

She held the last note, softening it, gentling it into a dreamy musical sigh. Head bowed, hands clasping the microphone to her chest, she waited for reactions. Then at the sound of applause and with a gracious smile, she raised her head to make eye contact with the audience. A lot of them were friends here to support her in the new series of songs she was trying out. She knew they would have cheered her on even if she'd sung flat. But she hadn't. That was the best part. She was succeeding in her chosen profession, and she'd never been happier.

Moira Logan, a model-tall svelte redhead, approached the small stage. "Phoebs, that was wonderful. Did you send a tape to William Morris?" She referred to the iconic artistic agency.

Phoebe stepped down and leaned in toward her best friend. "Tomorrow. I wanted to see if anything needed to be re-recorded after this set."

"Well tonight was fabulous, so it's a go."

The noise level in the club had kicked in and seemed even louder compared to the moody silence when she'd been singing. She loved the clubs, the excitement, the din of laughter and conversations. She loved being out with people and having fun. But unfortunately she had to go home. Singing at night and working a day job was an exhausting combination.

"Baby." Davy bumped shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. "You were hot."

"Thanks, honey. And thanks for coming." Sliding an arm around his waist, she gave him a quick squeeze. Davy, her other best friend, had features almost as pretty as Moira's but softer and sweeter. His glacier-blue eyes were the most striking color she'd ever seen.

"I wouldn't have missed it. I can't wait to go to the Grammys and tell everyone that I knew you when," he said, offering her a glass of white wine.

"You're not going alone on that trip, Davy," Moira chimed in.

"You guys are totally welcome. If I'm ever lucky enough to even go to the Grammys, let alone win one, I'll want you there." She rolled the cold, crisp liquid around her tongue and swallowed it with a tired sigh. "But I've got to get some sleep. It's been a long day."

"The most hyper woman I know is finally tired?" Moira grinned sympathetically.

"I had to be at work early this morning to open the store. At least I can sleep in tomorrow. Thank goodness my neighborhood is quiet."

***

Unhhh, what's that? Phoebe cranked open one eye to check the time. Nine twenty-two. Shit. She'd wanted to sleep until at least ten. Nine twenty-two wasn't really too early but still—

Rolling off the bed, she slowly trekked to the front room of her small house and peeked out the picture window to see what the ruckus was about. Someone was moving into the bungalow across the street. Finally. The house had been empty for quite a while and was too cute not to have a family living there.

A big man at the back of a truck directed movers into the house. It was a small truck so there wasn't all that much furniture. An iron bedframe balanced against a tire while the man bent over, his gray t-shirt riding up exposing a muscular back and giving her a peek at a gorgeous ass in snug jeans. He and another man in work clothes hoisted a black leather couch into the air and marched it up the porch steps and through the door.

She put out a hand to balance against the window frame, too curious now to go back to bed. When the man bounded back down the porch steps, his chin lifted and his gaze riveted on hers.

His face with its hard features, strong chin, and dark shadow of a beard tugged at her heart. Short black hair stuck up over his forehead, which would have made him look boyish if he hadn't been filling out that t-shirt and jeans so well. She saw all this clearly. The street was only two lanes wide. Did this small amount of furniture mean the fascinating-looking man didn't have a wife and family? Not that it would make any difference to her.

He lifted a hand to shade his eyes, a big grin splitting his face.

She shivered. The arm holding her up shook. "Oh my God!" Slamming back to the side of the window, she pressed both palms against the wall's rough plaster.

Naked! She'd just shot him full-frontal nudity. She'd been so engrossed in the sight of him she'd completely forgotten her own bare-assedness. Oh shit! He'll either never speak to me or he'll be over here in five minutes.

How the hell was she going to get back to the protection of the bedroom? Her tiny house offered a clear view from the front window all the way through to the back. Afraid to peek around the curtain to see if he was still watching, she realized how cold she was. Her nipples—with a little gold ring piercing one tip—stood out like ripe, hard raspberries. Of course it was the chilly temperature and not her immediate attraction to the man's jeans. And chest. And flat belly…

Okay. Pull yourself together. Just sprint to the bedroom. He's probably not looking any longer. Just go!

She flew through the bedroom door, threw herself onto the rumpled bed, and pulled the covers up to her chin. A fine time to be embarrassed by her nudity but she liked to pick the time and place to grace a man with her body.

And welcoming a new neighbor with a buck-naked flash wasn't quite the same as taking over a plate of cookies or a tuna casserole.

Then it hit her again. She had just flashed the new neighbor. Laughter pealed out in a rush. Jesus. What a nutcase. Well it probably wasn't the first naked woman he'd ever seen. Unless maybe he was gay?
       Crap! What a waste that would be.
 
***

Mike Banning, Marc's childhood friend, watch
Marc and Phoebe struggle against a foe and
then are rewarded by finding love with each other.
Look for Mike's love story in
The Bride Takes a Powder
***
Two county deputies, Hank and Pete, from Parkersburg, a neighboring town,
appear briefly in this story as Phoebe's home town friends.
These deputies have their own love stories also available now.
Hank's story is Home to Stay http://amzn.com/B00P3AQ8WQ.
Pete's is The Keeper http://amzn.com/B0087RW3KI.


The Gunny & The Jazz Singer available here:

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