Excerpt: Provoke - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken comes a new story in her Seaside Pictures series…

The music industry called me a savant at age sixteen when I uploaded my first video and gained instant fame. And then Drew Amherst of Adrenaline became my mentor, and my career took off.

Everything was great.

Until tragedy struck, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to perform again. I fought back, but all it took was a falling light to bring it all back to the fore. So, I walked away. Because I knew it wasn’t just stage fright. It was so much more.

The only problem?

Drew and the guys are counting on me. If I can’t combat the crippling anxiety threatening to kill me, I might lose more than I ever dreamed of.

Enter Piper Rayne, life coach, with her bullshit about empowerment, rainbows, and butterflies. She smiles all the damn time, and I’m ninety-nine percent sure there’s not a problem she can’t solve.

Until me.

She was given twenty-one days to fix me. To make me see what’s important. What’s real. The problem is, all I can see now is her. The sexy woman who pushes me. Provokes me.

Only time will tell if she’s able to do her job—and I can make her mine.


Seaside Pictures

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Excerpt: Provoke
By Rachel Van Dyken

Excerpt: Provoke

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken comes PROVOKE — a new story in her Seaside Pictures series. Read a sneak peek below!

I swallowed the lump in my throat, then shoved away from the chair, taking care to put most of my weight on my good leg. My limp was noticeable if I sat too long. My right leg was just tired, but it was a constant reminder of the incident.

A nagging reminder.

That I’d had everything.

And in the blink of an eye, a psycho had used my music, my concert, to rip it all away.

I squeezed my eyes shut. “It was my lyrics, guys. My pain that caused this.”

“Bullshit,” Zane swore. “You didn’t make him pick up a semi-automatic weapon, Braden. That was all him, he was insane.”

“Yeah,” I croaked. “We all have a bit of that inside, don’t we?”

“Nope.” Drew shook his head. “Not going down that path. Look, I’m glad you’re here, Seaside has helped all of us relax. I mean, look at Zane. He used to walk around half-naked holding warm marshmallows in his pocket. Today, he’s wearing a shirt.”

We both looked at the garment in question. It had at least three gaping holes, and both of us were very aware of a pierced nipple.

Drew winced. “Yeah, bad example. But you get what I mean.”

“I don’t know.” I bit down on my lower lip. “I want it. You guys know how bad I want this, it’s the tour of a lifetime. I just…I can’t let you down.”

“You won’t.” Drew grinned.

I narrowed my eyes. “I don’t like that smile.”

“Nobody does,” Zane muttered. “He does it on purpose.”

“Spill.” I eyed Drew. “What did you do?”

A knock sounded on the door.

“Please let that be pizza,” I muttered.

“Highly doubt that, bro.” Zane slapped me twice on the back. “What Drew wants, he gets, and he wants you to play. Your songs are the reason their last album sold over five million in pre-sales. So just…go with it. Or try.”

That was the problem.

I’d been trying.

And I still felt like I was going crazy.

I wasn’t sleeping at night.

I couldn’t check social media without seeing my name or the incident trending. And I refused to watch the news.

Too much hatred.

Too much sadness.

Too many shots of my shell-shocked face and bandaged leg.

A woman in her early twenties walked into the room and hugged Drew. She had on a black pencil skirt and a tuxedo jacket that looked as if it belonged in an expensive store. One that I refused to shop at because spending more than fifty dollars for a T-shirt was wasteful.

The soft click of her patent leather heels made it feel like I was getting walked toward the plank, and then her eyes locked with mine.

She had jet-black hair that went past her chin, icy blue eyes, and full, red lips that begged for a man to suck.

I almost asked if they got me an escort.

As if that would cheer me up.

Hell, I was losing it. Even the idea of sex with a hot girl made me want to run headfirst into the ocean.

“Braden…” Drew cleared his throat, that creepy damn smile still in place. “Meet Piper Rayne.”

I hesitated for a minute and then held out my hand.

One arched eyebrow lifted before she shook.

I ignored the weird pulse between our palms and simultaneously wondered how Drew would feel if I just bolted out the window.

Our hands dropped.

I cleared my throat. “Do you, uh, work for the band?”

“Management,” she said in an almost robotic tone. “Okay, gentlemen, I think I’ll take things from here. We’ll see you in a few weeks.”

It was then that I noticed her suitcases—plural—at the door to my rented beach house.

“Wait.” I grabbed Zane, only to have him give me a panicked look that said you’re on your own.

“Drew!” I clenched my teeth. “What the hell, man?”

“Desperate times call for desperate measures, and she’s the best. You have twenty-one days to get him ready to tour.”

“We’ll be fine,” she said smoothly.

“Look, lady, no offense.” I held up my hands. “But I don’t know you, and you sure as hell aren’t staying in my house with your giant Louis Vuitton luggage and condescending attitude and—”

“Contract,” Drew interrupted. “It states in your contract we’re allowed to intervene, and you must exhaust all options before you pull out of the tour.”

“Oh yeah?” I sneered, suddenly angry. “And what’s she? A shrink?”

“Don’t be silly.” She smirked. “I’m your new life coach.”

I had just enough time to glare at Drew’s and Zane’s disappearing forms before the door closed with a resounding click.

“I think I’ll pass.”

“If you do,” she informed me with a grin, “you’re in breach of contract. Put up with me, and the band won’t be forced to sue you. Now where shall I put my bags?”

Rage filled me and affected my vision. “Pick a room.”

“Why don’t you pick one for me? Oh, and sorry, they’re a bit heavy. I’m not a light packer. I’ll just go search for some wine. It was a long flight.”

And just like that, Piper Rayne, life coach and pain in the ass, invaded my kitchen.

And my life.

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