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Wait For Me
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My life is a mess. Literally.
I’m a single dad, which means If I’m not cleaning up spilled milk or changing a diaper, I’m pulling gum from my daughter’s hair. I barely have enough time to eat—let alone sleep.
And women? Forget about it. That ship sailed two years ago along with my ex-wife. My brother says I need to get laid. I say, screw that. I’m content with my life, until pop star Nora Hayes walks through my best friend’s front door and flips my world upside down.
She’s beautiful, famous, and completely off limits.
My life is a headline waiting to happen. Literally.
It all started with fishnet stockings and ended with a baseball bat to my boyfriend’s Porsche, putting me on the front page of every newspaper and gossip magazine in the country.
My life is spiraling out of control and I’m ready to make some serious changes. What I’m not ready for is a hunky man to strut his jean clad tush into my life. Grayson Calhoun is as rugged as he is sweet. He’s also way in over his head with his kids, and I have an offer I’m hoping he can’t refuse.
What starts as an agreement, turns to a friendship, and quickly escalates to stolen kisses and heated nights spent wrapped in each other’s arms. What we have is temporary. I promise him that I won’t fall in love.
But I make that promise already knowing it’s a lie.
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“What the hell was that?” My manager, Becky, grabs my jean jacket from the side of the stage where I tossed it during the middle of my last set and shoves it at me.
“It’s called a performance, and I did a damn good job, if I do say so myself.”
The crowd is screaming, sweat is running down my back, and I can barely breathe. If that isn’t a sign of a good show, I don’t know what is.
“Yeah, up until you decided to do a little strip tease. What were you thinking?”
Dramatic much? “It was hardly a strip tease.”
I was hot. And, yeah, okay, maybe I was being a little rebellious when I pulled the jacket off and threw it across the stage, revealing bare arms and a hint of cleavage, but who can blame me? For years, I’ve been Nora, teen sensation. But I’m no longer a teen. I’m twenty-two, almost twenty-three. I’m a woman, and I should be able to wear a dress and show some skin if that’s what I want to do. For years, I’ve played by the rules of the industry, the rules given to me by society, and I’m tired.
Tired of watching what I say, and every step I take, for fear that I’ll damage my reputation or inadvertently influence my young fans into acting or dressing the way I do. Being a clean-cut good girl is part of my job description—part of who I am.
Or, who I used to be.
Times have changed.
I have changed.
Twelve years ago, I was plucked from the stage of a county fair talent show. By the time my eleventh birthday rolled around, I had a multimillion-dollar contract and my own television show. Dear Diary, It’s Me, Nora! was about a young girl, her unsuspecting rise to fame, and the struggles that followed. The show blew up. In the blink of an eye, I became America’s sweetheart.
Everyone between the ages of eight and eighteen knew my name and had likely heard at least one of my songs. It was the greatest thing in the world…until I grew up.
People still expect me to braid my hair and wear Mary Janes. But I’m sick of looking and feeling like a child. I want dresses that show off my curves and heels that make me look sexy.
I want to look and feel like a woman.
I want to go out on the weekends and have a glass of wine or two without worrying about paparazzi and what the next headline will be.
I’m ready to show the world I’m capable of more than singing pop songs. Unfortunately, it’s harder than you’d think.
A few weeks ago, during a performance at an awards show, I walked onstage in a leather romper, fishnet stockings, and stilettos, and I performed a song I’d written rather than one approved by my team. It wasn’t my normal upbeat tune; it was edgy, and dare I say suggestive? Gasp!
The only people privy to my plans were my band and the producer of the show, who was more than willing to help me step out of the box, so to speak.
He was thinking about ratings. I was thinking about breaking free of the invisible shackles around my ankles.
I knew it would cause an uproar. I didn’t expect it to start World War III. To say Becky was pissed is an understatement. The press went crazy. Pictures of me in that leather romper found their way to the covers of newspapers and rag mags across the country.
Sweet Nora Hayes isn’t so sweet anymore
From pop princess to crazy train, what happened to Nora Hayes?
I looked damn good. Sexy, even. And people didn’t know what to do with that. My music producer said I looked trashy. What a hypocrite. I gently reminded him that his wife, who happens to be in the same industry, performs in less clothing than that on any given night.
“Because that’s who she is,” he replied. “You’re not like that.”
Don’t they see? I want to be like that. I want men to look at me and lose their breath, and as much as I love my young fans, I want to appeal to an older, more mature audience. Needless to say, my publicist and manager were inundated with emails and letters from angry parents wondering what on Earth I was thinking. Kids asked to download the song parents deemed inappropriate, and department stores sold out of anything that resembled the leather romper.
I thought it was awesome.
America did not.
“It’s not a big deal.” I toss the jacket onto a nearby chair and grab a bottle of water from the cooler. I suck it down faster than I should as I listen to the crowd go crazy. They’re chanting my name in hopes I’ll come back on stage.
And I will, because that’s what I do.