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Chapter 19


Holy sweet baby Jesus! I stood outside the recording studio, my knees knocking so loud they rattled my bones. Brock’s strong arms wrapped around me. I took a deep breath and we walked through the doors. Lucy was standing at the front desk along with my mama. Mama squealed and hugged me. I could tell she was over the moon. She and JuJu always said I’d make it big. Maybe they were right and this was my big chance.

“Oh my God you got even cuter!” Lucy exclaimed with a big smile, rounding the desk and engulfing me in a bone crushing hug. I giggled and hugged her back. “Brock, honey how in the world can you stand all this adorableness!” Brock laughed.

“Quite easily, Luce,” he said, kissing my cheek. “Can’t live without her.” Man I sure loved this boy! I looked at Mama who was beaming at me from the corner. She came forward and scooped me in her arms.

“This is it, mon ange,” she whispered. “Je suis tellement fier de toi mon bébé (I’m so proud of you, my baby)!” She kissed my cheek. “Now go knock ’em dead!” Lucy led us down a long dimly lit hallway to the recording studio. The gang was already there and I got lots of hugs and well wishes.

“You weren’t kidding, Luce she is ridiculously adorable!” A striking ebony haired man with the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen was standing there smiling at me. Wow he was handsome. Actually, beautiful was a better description but I don’t think he would take that too well being a man and all. But…he sure was a fine specimen. “Paulie DeAngelo, nice to meet you.” He held his hand out for me to shake but I was glued to my spot, unable to move.

“Babe,” Brock whispered. “You’re staring.” I shook my head and you know what came next. Yep. I blushed the color of the crimson carpet under my feet.

“I’m so sorry, sir. I’m Amber Stone. It’s nice to meet you too.” I smiled and took his hand. He winked and pulled Brock in for a hug.

“Son you better take care of this little cutie pie. She’s precious,” he said, a gorgeous smile spread across his face. Dang it. I couldn’t help it. The man was pretty, y’all. Brock laughed and kissed my cheek again.

“I know she is, Paulie. She’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” I whipped my head to look at him, surprised to hear him say something like that. He was beaming down at me, that beautiful heart stopping smile of his shining on his face.

“Aw I love you too, babe,” I cooed, giving him a peck on the lips. I talked with Paulie and Lucy a little more and it was decided to record JuJu’s song for real this time. Mama was dabbing tears away because she knew what the song meant to our family and to me. Ryder was already in the studio playing around on the piano. He smiled brightly at me when I walked in.

“You ready for this, Red?” he said with a grin and a wink. I smiled and winked back.

“You know it, big man!” He laughed and we chatted quietly while Paulie adjusted the controls from the recording booth. After a few minutes, he signaled for us to begin. Ryder’s fingers skimmed over the keys effortlessly as the intro to Man I Love in the arrangement he wrote for me filtered through. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Finding my inner diva, I opened my mouth and sang. The song seemed to flow from my throat with ease, lifting off my tongue and floating through the studio on clouds. I blocked out everything around me except the sound of the piano and let the music overtake me.

When the song was finished, I felt a little sad. I could stand here and sing it all day and never lose the joy the song brought me every time I sang it. I opened my eyes to a stunned group in the recording booth. My nerves tried to kick back in and spoil this moment for me. Even if I never made it big as a singer, I would treasure this moment for the rest of my life. Now JuJu could listen to me anytime she wanted to and that was enough for me.

Ryder led me out of the studio and into a plush lounge with lots of fluffy couches and room to stretch. It was an amazing room, I had to admit. This must be where the musicians relaxed between sessions because it was built to provide the utmost in comfort. Not even ten seconds later the doors burst open again and I was lifted off the ground in a pair of strong arms. Brock’s arms as he planted a big kiss on my lips.

“Damn baby you were on fire in there!” He beamed.

“Little girl you sing like that at the upcoming competition and you can call yourself the winner. Holy hell! You’ve got an amazing voice! And that arrangement of Man I Love is out of this world! Ryder compose that for you?” Paulie was excited, I could tell. The gang piled in along with Lucy and Mama who were deep in conversation.

“OMG Amb! You killed it!” Miranda gushed, crushing me in a hug. Lucy broke away from Mama and pulled me into another huge hug, squealing her excitement.

“You, cutie pie are going to be a huge star!!” She patted my cheeks. “Who knew there was so much talent packed in such a tiny adorable package!” I was blushing profusely, probably all over. I wasn’t used to any of this and the attention I was currently getting was overwhelming. We settled down on the couches and talked for what felt like forever on a career in the music business when I graduated. Looks like I had a big decision to make and I needed time to think everything through.

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