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Rich Groom (The Dirty Thirty Pledge #1)
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I have two weeks to get married.
This novel contains a hot billionaire hero who won’t waste his second chance at putting a ring on the finger of the woman he loves. NO cheating, lots of kindle-melting action, and always a happily ever after!
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Entering the grounds of the Green Hills music festival is a little bit like entering a dream. Something that’s so familiar, and yet you can’t quite remember it again until you see it. It hasn’t been as long as it feels, yet I’m still getting some serious déjà vu. In the last few years I’ve been all over the world, to every festival imaginable, scouting talent. I’ve found some amazing people. Artists so good that coming back to scout Green Hills wasn’t high on my list of priorities, but here I am. Back home, surrounded by memories and ghosts.
If I’m perfectly honest, the festival isn’t why I’m here, even if it’s my excuse. I’m here to see my family, who I haven’t seen in a long time, and to celebrate the five-year anniversary of my company. And right after that is my thirtieth birthday, which my friends have promised to celebrate in style. These are all good things, and while I’m here I can sit through a few mediocre country acts on the off-chance that that there’s a diamond in the rough.
But there’s always the other side of the coin, that I might confront some things that aren’t as pleasant, and pain that I’d hoped to leave behind for good. My friends bug me about not spending enough time here in town or making appearances at our flagship bar, but it’s hard to be here. Green Hills has a lot of things I left behind. Wounds that never got the closure they needed. I push away those thoughts—I don’t need them chasing me today.
The drive to the festival grounds is slow because everyone else is heading there too. Even if the festival has dropped off in the last few years, it’s still the event of the season for Green Hills, and it still draws its fair share of decent headliners. But the headliners aren’t the reason I’m here. Today is going to be a lot of local acts, my bread and butter. If I can find anyone I can bring back, I’ll be surprised, but I’m always hopeful. Bands or artists with organic roots tend to be better than groups that are put together by labels to fit a particular image. That’s how we’ve found success. I’ve never taken an artist away from what they were meant to be, only encouraged them to be more of what made them great when I found them.
I’m proud that that’s the legacy Farbell Records has started, and I’m determined to keep it that way.
There’s a huge faded sign over the drive into the grounds, the same peeling green paint that was there when I was a kid, and a teenager, and a college student, and even a few years ago. It’s a part of the festival’s charm, that sign that always greets the crowd as they flock to the grounds.
There’s something beautiful about the way this town never changes, and something a little sad about it too. Once upon a time I had dreams of being a headliner at a festival like this. I played a couple of times on the local nights, but I figured out quickly enough that I wasn’t good enough a musician. I’m much better at guiding people, seeking out talent and making it shine. And that’s fine with me. I was never really cut out for fame, and seeing an artist blossom under my guidance is almost as big a rush as getting on stage. It still fulfills that creative itch that I’ve always had, and I’m lucky enough that I can do what I like without the pressure of immediate success. Thank God for First Shot.
It takes a while to get into the lot where everyone parks, and then to trudge across the muddy field, but once inside the festival grounds it’s like you’re in another world. Music is everywhere, coming from the main stage and the players at booths promoting local bands. Lights are strung over the walkways, and even in full daylight, the way they’re lit up feels like you’re entering someplace new and beautiful. The grounds are spotless and manicured with flowering trees and hedges along the walkways. There’s plenty of room to breathe out here. It never feels crowded, even with crowds of people. I’d love to bring some of the people from my label out here and show them how beautiful this festival can really be. Honestly, I had forgotten. Not all of them appreciate the charm of local music the way I do. I have a feeling that this might change their minds.
I buy a bottle of water and find a place near the back of the stage where I can lean against the fence and just listen. The whole hat-and-sunglasses routine isn’t something I usually have to worry about, but in Green Hills, people know me. I’m something of a local celebrity, much to my own chagrin. All three of us are: Glenn, Wallace, and me. The guys that started the First Shot bar franchise that’s now all across the country. It’s amazing how well the hat-and-glasses disguise works, though. Only a couple of people glance my way, and they don’t do more than nod in acknowledgement. Nice of them.