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The son of an icon.
He was a legend. Rock royalty.
A man I never met.
But I’m measured against him in every aspect of my life.
The only time I feel like me … the real me … is when I’m onstage with my band. But the more we grow in popularity, the more people compare me to him.
I’m not him. And I never will be. If only everyone could figure that out for themselves.
I need a break from it all.
Then, a confrontation has me jumping in my car, putting LA in my rearview mirror. And a stupid mistake ends up with my car on the side of the road. And straight into the path of a girl who is the exact opposite of everyone else in my life.
She’s like everything I used to know.
And she has no clue who I am.
Even if she did, I don’t think she’d care.
She thinks I’m cavalier.
I think she’s intriguing. And hot. Let’s not forget hot.
I’m stuck in this town overnight while my car is being fixed. But I’m thinking I’m gonna stick around a bit longer.
I’m Storm Slater, lead guitarist in Slater Raze and the only child of the late, great Jonny Creed. But, here, right now … I’m nobody. Just a regular guy.
I’m liking it a whole lot.
And I’m liking her even more.
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“We’re Slater Raze. And you’ve been fucking awesome!”
I’m already walking offstage before Raze has finished speaking, handing off my guitar to one of the roadies.
I’m just not feeling it tonight. Actually, I’ve not been feeling it at all recently.
I’ll always love the music. But something’s missing. I have this hollow feeling inside of me. And no matter how much coke I take, weed I smoke, whiskey I drink, or pussy I fuck, nothing is filling it.
I’m twenty-four years old and starting to wonder if I’m already burned out.
Now, wouldn’t that be an LA fucking tragedy?
Not that I’m saying I didn’t give those people a good show because I did. I always show up and give my all.
Just lately, my all is more of an act than reality.
I swipe an unopened bottle of water off a passing table, downing it as I walk toward our dressing room.
I let myself in the room, savoring the peace that won’t last long.
I sit my ass down on the sofa and light up a cigarette when Raze comes striding in.
He pulls off his shirt, tossing it aside, and grabs a clean one that’s been left in here for him, pulling it on. Raze always sweats like a motherfucker onstage.
Fuck knows why ’cause all he does is sing.
He grabs one of the chairs from a dressing table and pulls it over. He turns it around and sits down on it. “Sup?” he says to me.
I toss my pack of smokes and lighter to him. He catches them and takes a cigarette out, putting it between his lips.
Before lighting it, he pulls his long hair back off his face and ties it up, using a band from around his wrist.
He takes a drag of his cigarette. His words come out with the smoke. “Good show?”
It sounds like a question. But all I answer with is, “Yep.”
“You left the stage pretty quick.”
“Nope. Just needed a smoke.”
He’s watching me. Thing about Raze is, he’s a smart motherfucker, and he knows me well.
He’s my best friend. Has been since I moved to LA.
I met him because his dad used to be a producer for The Mighty Storm—biggest band in the world and my official and unofficial adopted family.
Raze was always at the studio with his dad. I was there because Jake, Tom, Denny, and Smith were there, and where they went, I went.
My biological father was Jonny Creed.
Jonny used to be the guitarist in The Mighty Storm. He died in an automobile accident when I was about five years old.
Not that I ever knew him.
And he never knew me.
My mom kept me a secret from them all.
But when she was diagnosed with incurable cancer when I was thirteen, she reached out to Jake.
My mom used to be a TMS groupie. She’d slept with both Jake and Jonny around the time she got pregnant with me.
Back then, Jake’s and Jonny’s lifestyles were very similar to how I live mine now. Women, drugs, drinking, constant partying, and nonstop traveling.
Mom didn’t want to raise a baby around that.
It took me a long time to understand why she’d kept me away. Living the life I do now, I get it.
So, she moved away and kept me secret. Until she was dying.
There was a DNA test, but it was set on that I was Jonny’s kid.
I look exactly like him.
So, it was no surprise when the results came back that I was a Creed.
Jake moved me and Mom to LA. When Mom passed, I moved in with Jake and his wife, Tru, and their kids JJ, Billy, and Belle. My grandpa, Jonny’s dad, moved in too.
Grandpa died three years ago though. He had a stroke that he never recovered from.
The last of my blood gone.
Even though I had my grandpa back then, Jake and Tru adopted me. My mom had asked them to. She wanted me to have a legal guardian after she was gone.
I had a ready-made family. And I love them all. I do.
But, really, music was always my home.
I never felt more comfortable than I did when I was at the studio with them.
But Raze eventually stopped coming around the studio when his dad decided that he preferred drinking to working.
Now, the asshole just spends his days getting wasted and leeching off his only son.
But that’s a story for another time.
Raze and I continued being friends though. I didn’t have many friends around that time, so I wasn’t letting go of the one I had.
Raze and I were friends long before we formed our band, Slater Raze.
Speaking of our band …
“Where’s Cash and Levi?”
Cash is our drummer, and Levi plays bass. I’ve known them almost as long as I’ve known Raze.
I met them both at high school. Eventually, I introduced them to Raze. The four of us created Slater Raze when we were fifteen. We’ve been together ever since.