by Mina V. Esguerra
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Haley Reese is going back home to Houston and she's dreading this trip. She volunteers as a mentor to young musicians at an annual festival, and the longer she's been doing it, the more she feels like a fraud. It's been years since the web videos that made her sort-of famous first came out, and she hasn't done anything else to pursue the career in music she's always wanted. Things start looking up when she shares a plane ride with Oliver Cabrera, music prodigy, rock star, and the reason why she picked up an instrument in the first place.
Oliver Cabrera hasn't called any place "home" since he started touring professionally in his teens, but Houston is as close to it as any. He's also nearly broke, his career just about over. When he gets the invitation to mentor at the Breathe Music Festival again, he decides, what the hell, he should finally show up. He meets Haley, Hot Piano Girl herself, and finds her own fear of failure might be easier to fix than his own.
Playing Autumn was first released in 2013 in the Rock Gods of Romance ebook anthology. This is a revised, expanded, and steamier edition.
It wasn't a full flight, and he was relieved to see that she had her row to herself. So as soon as the “fasten seat belt” sign was off, he jumped out of his seat and asked to join her.
“Are they going to let you do that?” she said, but it looked like she was going to, anyway.
Oliver took the aisle seat, leaving the middle free, hoping the gesture made her feel that he wasn't a creepy seat-jumper. “I do this all the time,” he said nonchalantly. When he was a kid, yes. And when he flew coach. Both those events were separated from today by more than a decade.
He buckled up, tossing her a smile as she watched him, and settled in.
She was smiling all right, but it was the cautious smile of someone looking at a rattlesnake. “You're going to tell me what this is about, right?” she said. “Because I can press a button and those flight attendants will be so on you.”
“Of course. I'm sorry, I didn't get your name—”
“Haley, I'm Oliver. What you're doing is helping someone who has, um, quirks whenever he has to travel like this. Believe me, you're being a hero right now.”