When You Had it All and Then Had Nothing…

I have a sexy new piece coming out on July 3rd and for me it’s very appropriate that it’s just before America’s celebration of Independence Day. I love being an American and there are so many aspects of being here in this country that’s beautiful and extraordinary. We have mountains and oceans, forests and deserts and lakes so pristine you need to dive in. We have so many cultures and colors and religions and nationalities and we are truly a melting pot. For all the bad press the United States continues to receive, a heck of a lot of folks from other countries want to be here. Hmmm..

Like River incorporates so many parts about America we love including our military heroes, country music, mountainous terrain, love and passion, and heart break. I also highlight Smoke Jumpers in this piece and am proud of the work I did. I hope you will enjoy a taste of one of my favorite m/m pieces coming from Rebel Ink Press.



Dusty Walker’s country music career came to a screeching halt after the heart-wrenching breakup with the man he thought would be forever. Unfortunately his band was in jeopardy of losing their recording contract. Determined to help break Dusty’s writer’s block one of the band members suggested a change of scenery — cowboy country. Intrigued, Dusty booked a flight to Missoula Montana and was amazed at the sights and sounds of the stunning snow capped mountains. Hurting for money, fixing up the cabin nestled in the woods seemed like the perfect opportunity to boost his carpentry skills while penning several new songs. Hiding behind a new persona he worked hard to rebuild his career while his demons nipped at his heels.

Damon Shade was a smokejumper by trade. Wounded in Afghanistan he lost not only his innocence to the war but his pride as well. Anger burned within him and he couldn’t control his raging emotions as more than one secret threatened to derail everything he had left. When he met Dusty, he didn’t like the guy but little did he know they both held their past horrors at bay in an effort to begin a new life. As sparks flew and they began to open their hearts another tragedy intervened. Would their respective secrets stymy what was awakened in a secluded cabin in the woods?

EXCERPT – Unedited

“And when I hold you I know it’s right, girl. You’re my forever girl and when I look at you I see a future so strong. This time is ours. Forever.” Smiling, Dusty Walker grinned as he finished the chorus and while he strummed the last few chords he tapped his foot on stage. The lights were slowly lowered into a soft blue hue enveloping the stage and leaving a haunted feeling, which was perfect to highlight his number one seller. The moment the song ended the audience clapped and whistled their appreciation, but instead of feeling happy he groaned. The crowds weren’t coming out in droves any longer. Why would they?

“So glad to see all of ya’ll out here with us tonight. Members of The Rush thank you and we’ll be here tomorrow night so don’t forget to tell your friends and family we’re here.” The words had become his standard line and unfortunately he didn’t think there was any more than the few hundred people crowded into the country joint. And this was one of the larger establishments in town.

“Good set, man,” the dark voice boomed from behind him.

Nodding, he turned to glance at his drummer and exhaled slowly. “Yeah. Thanks, Bronco.” As he placed his beloved guitar on the stand he shook his head. The rumor mill had him washed up and after nights like this he had a feeling the critics were right. He needed some new material and he wasn’t just experiencing writers block. Hell, no. The Grammy award winning sensation of three years ago was completely paralyzed with regard to his writing. He hadn’t penned anything in over a year plus.

“Hey, Dusty. You want to grab a beer with the guys?”

Eyeing his bass guitarist he nodded. “Be right there, Bart.” A cold beer or five would go down easily right about now. Scanning the bar patrons he realized he’d been riding a high from his past for far too long. At this rate no one was going to hire him by the end of the year, let alone the fact he was racing through what was left of his savings.

“I’ll order a round,” Bart said as he patted Dusty on the back.

Dusty sucked in his breath and brushed his hand through his hair. Something had to give but he just didn’t have the verve like he used to. The band had been with him through the lean years, playing on the road in seedy country joints and the moment they garnered a record deal they really thought they hit the big time. Five long years later and they certainly had their share of solid gold records and fabulous awards, but the music business was like every other entertainment arena, hard as shit to stay on top. As he turned and gazed at the dimly lit stage his pulse raced. There was no way he could loose all of this. His five minutes of fame were waning rapidly.

“So you going to sulk on your own or can I join in the pity party?”

Shaking his head Dusky had to laugh. Tim was not only one of the best keyboard players in the business but his fiddle playing rivaled any of the big boys. He was also Dusty’s best friend and knew the majority of his darker secrets. They’d been friends since high school and now twenty plus years later they were still tight. “Where’d you get the idea I’m sulking?”

“From the sour puss look on your face and the fact you ignored the copious flirting by some pretty foxy ladies in the audience.”

“Yeah well maybe they’re not my type.” Stepping off the stage, he gave Tim the finger in the darkness before breaking into a grin. “And you know my type.”

“Yeah, but those sexy ladies who claim to have all your CD’s don’t know that and since when do you ignore your groupies anyway?” Leaning against the back wall, Tim gave Dusty a look as he folded his arms.

“I don’t know. Just not feeling it tonight.”

“Tonight? You haven’t been feeling it in months. What the hell is going on with you?”

Dusty shrugged as he glanced around the perimeter of the room. In days gone by he’d be swarmed with girls wanting more than just his autograph. Now he was nothing more than a two-bit guitar player and mediocre singer. “I just don’t have any inspiration.”

Leaning over, Tim lowered his voice. “We’ve all had difficult break-ups. You need to get over the asshole.”

“Yeah I know it but I thought Drake was the one.”

“He was a two timing pig who just wanted to fuck a star,” Tim growled.

“Why don’t you say it a little bit louder so the entire crowd knows I’m a loser?”

Tim hissed as he rubbed Dusty’s back. “Let’s get that drink. Something has to spark you again. I’ve never seen you like this. Hell, even when your parents died you used the horrible moment of your life and created some of the best fucking work you’ve ever done.”

“You called it my dark and moody period,” Dusty said as they headed for a table in the back of the oversized bar. While Raleigh North Carolina certainly had its share of country bars it wasn’t the most happening mecca of entertainment. He’d considered moving to Nashville but his band members all had family here and the small winery his parents willed to him was something special. Unfortunately even their band manager had grown disillusioned of their less than stellar draws lately. In truth the band was on the verge of losing their recording contract.

“Well hell, boy. Dark and moody sell like a son of a bitch!” Tim chortled as he adjusted his cowboy hat.

Dusty laughed as they headed for the group of guys who were already downing beer and tequila chasers.

“Took the liberty of ordering you a tall bourbon. Neat of course,” Bronco huffed as he pushed the glass in Dusty’s direction.

“What? Do I look like I really need a drink tonight?” Dusty asked as he gazed at the group of men surrounding the table. They all knew the answer. His band members were simply trying to get him to become remotely creative. In truth they needed to kick him in the ass more than once.

“Boys – does this man need a drink?” Bronco called into the crowd.

“Hell yeah!”

“Fuckin’ ‘A’!”

Hearing the shouts from the crowd Dusty shook his head and took a swig of beer. “Okay, so you guys are right.”

Tim leaned in and bumped elbows. “I have an idea for you.”

“Am I going to like this?”

Easing his back against the table, Tim sniffed and gazed at the crowd as he sipped his beer. “You need a change of scenery.”

“What’s that going to do?” Dusty asked but he’d been contemplating the same thing for a while.

“Might perk your sorry ass up and then again you never know, you might finally get laid. That would certainly help give you some lines in a song or two.”

Spewing a mouthful of beer Dusty coughed. Wiping the froth with the back of his hand he turned slowly to glare at his best friend. “Oh, that’ll help a lot.”

“It just might and I’m being serious. You haven’t allowed yourself to enjoy almost anything since the jerk left you. Why not take a couple weeks and go somewhere you’ve never gone before? It’ll be just you and your guitar and maybe you can take in some of the beautiful country you always write about but have never seen.”

“I’ve seen plenty.”

Tim rolled his eyes.” Uh-huh. From a plane. I even have an idea for you. My cousin lives in Missoula, Montana. Been there a few times. The whole area is gorgeous country with bright blue skies and snow-capped mountains this time of year. Imagine the creative juices that could flow. And maybe some other juices could too.” Grinning, he rimmed the shot of tequila with the tip of his finger before lifting the glass in a salute and throwing back the entire amount. Setting it down with a hard thud he locked eyes with Dusty.

“Again, a little louder so the entire bar can hear you,” Dusty said through clenched teeth but he had to admit the idea sounded promising.

“Come on, man. Go for it. What could it hurt? We have the gig next Wednesday night and then nothing for four solid weeks. Use the time to recharge your batteries. The worst that could happen is you take a vacation.”

“Honestly? I don’t know if I can afford to go.”

“Things that bad?” Tim asked as he shook his head.

“They’re tight. I can’t lie to you.” Tight wasn’t the word for it. Dusty knew he’d have to find a day job soon just to pay the mortgage. He loved his house and it was one luxury he’d purchased when things were riding high. Well, that and his beloved Harley. The thought gave him a shiver. What if he lost everything he’d worked so hard for?

I hope you enjoyed.

Kisses   xxx




Email:  cassandre@cassandredayne.com








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About Cassandre Dayne

Cassandre Dayne is the pseudo for the best selling author of romantic suspense and thrillers
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4 Responses to When You Had it All and Then Had Nothing…

  1. Christopher Craven says:

    Very nice, especially the pictures!


  2. I can’t wait for this book. Just a few more days and I can read it.


  3. Yay! I can’t wait to read it!


  4. Lisa says:

    This sounds really good. Can’t wait to read it!


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