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Image - A Romance Novel

Novel By: Megan Mackenzie

Demi Brooks appears to be leading a charmed life on the outside. On the inside, however, she is just a normal, slightly quirky girl, silently suffering from an abusive relationship. After a bad breakup from her boyfriend, she has no money or home. As result, her reputation and her mentality are on a rapid decline. She has a last-ditch effort to repair her singing career, but it wouldn't be a particularly fun experience. She has to tour with an all-male alternative rock band from Seattle and is not looking forward to touring with a group of men for a month.....that is, until she meets the cryptic, playful lead singer, Landyn Stone. There's an instant, undeniable, connection between the two of them as they perform at each of their wild concerts. After the tour, Landyn offers for Demi to live with him as his roommate when he finds out she has no where to go. He wants a friend, a partner in crime, and a kindred spirit, but over time, Demi wants much more. She hides her feelings because she is too afraid to risk their relationship. Instead she stands by him in all of his crazy pursuits of parties, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. As time passes, Landyn struggles with his recklessness and Demi struggles to keep her feelings in check when he becomes involved with a woman. Demi learns of his haunting past and knows staying with him is risky, especially when he has another woman in the house. Things worsen when Landyn falls back into old habits and Demi struggles with her fear for his well being. Her past eventually comes back to haunt her and after a violent confrontation, she has to decide which direction her life is going to go. Will she tell Landyn how she feels? Will she give up her dream or will she give herself a new one? View table of contents...


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Submitted:May 1, 2012    Reads: 1,079    Comments: 47    Likes: 15   

|© C O P Y R I G H T 2 0 1 4|

|A L L R I G H T S R E S E R V E D|

^^^Yeah....you see that :)

I WILL report you if you plagiarize me. And I'll take you to court. I mean it. I've read enough Jodi Piccoult books to know how that shit goes down. And I check other people's books regularly for plagiarism. I'm THAT dedicated and I'm THAT crazy. Did you know that just stealing someone's IDEAS also qualifies as plagiarism? Oh, well now you do. So if you try it, I'll find you. I will. *insert evil laugh here*

Plagiarising is just not cool, bro. And it shows how you lack the basic intelligence to form your own ideas. In simpler words, you're stupid as hell to do that.

Anyway, give this a few chapters and you will be HOOKED. And then it only gets better from there. Absolute chaos.

I rate this story R and then NC-17 for later chapters. The reasons are for: strong language, strong drug/alcohol use, crude humor, sex scenes/content, brutal violence, gore......etc. All of the above, really. I try to be as classy as I can about it. It shouldn't read like an erotica and I give a heads up before each chapter with adult content.





I was just about to fall asleep when Lucy barged into the bedroom. I knew it was her by the scent her overpowering perfume. She said it was lilac, I said it was pure alcohol. Its putrid scent stung my nostrils.

I listened to her tiny feet as she crossed the room. The sound was like the patter of little puppy feet without the carefree spring in gait. Lucy didn't patter. She meant business.

My stomach rolled, slow and sickening, when I realized I had to get up. I was not ready.

Lucy thrust open the curtains. I hadn't seen the sun in a few days. Like a vampire, I imagined steam rising from my pale skin, blistering from the sunlight. I'm melting, melting. Ohhhhhh what a world, what a world.

"What are you doing here?" I groaned and yanked the covers over my head. I thought of myself as a mole, burrowing deep in the dirt for the comfort of darkness. The comfort of being unseen.

Lucy snorted. She had terrible allergies, so it sounded a bit wet.

"It's my house, Demi. What are you doing? How long have you been in bed? There's paparazzi outside, you know."

I closed my eyes with exasperation.

Ryan and I were the A-List couple in Hollywood. However, it was all on his part. I had no desire to become famous and I wasn't before I met him. I just wanted to sing.

I was the daughter of a director and I tagged alongside my dad sometimes. Lounged around on his movie sets. Mostly to ogle celebrities and acquire free donuts, but I never schmoozed to any of the actors there. I just liked to watch.

Mostly, I loved the scenery of it. Sometimes we were on a beach, or on the top of sky scraper, or in the middle an ethereal forest for a fantasy scene. I loved watching the actors become different people entirely. Watching their easy smiles transform into brooding glares. I loved observing the villains especially, because most of them were the nicest people in real life.

"Are you going to answer me?"

"I'm sorry," I sighed insincerely.

"When are you going to tell me why he broke up with you?"

Lucy tore the blanket away from my head, exposing the black-and-blue bruise underneath my eye.

I had told her it was an exercising accident and I couldn't believe she fell for it.

How could she not understand what happened to us? To me?

Maybe she doesn't want to believe what is so apparent. Maybe she doesn't want to see it.

Even I didn't want to see it.

She asked, "were you cheating?"

I shook my head vehemently. "I wasn't cheating. He said there was.... someone else."

Lucy raised her perfectly plucked eyebrows in disbelief. "What? But he loved you...but he looked at you like....."

My barren stomach twisted with pain.

"I don't want to talk about it right now," I told her, pulling the blankets back over my head.

She tore them back off, leaving my hair frizzy.

"God, Demi. You look horrible. Your nose is running, your eyes are bloodshot, and for crying out loud, brush your hair."

"When was the last time you've answered your phone?" Lucy snatched my Blackberry up from the bedside table and her glossy mouth dropped. "You have 112 messages! Demi-"

"Lucy!" I snapped, wrenching up from the bed. "I really don't give a shit right now."

"Sorry," she said immediately, her eyes widening in reaction to my outburst. "I was just really worried about you." She set my phone back down.

I sighed and apologized. "I'm going to take a shower. Thank you again for letting me stay here. It means a lot."
"No problem. Can I use your laptop? Jim took mine."

I nodded and watched her leave the room.

My eyes scanned Lucy's guest bedroom like it was the first time I've seen it. My chest tightened. The space seemed like too much. The walls were too white and the floors were too pristine. And there were corbels everywhere.

I dropped my head in my hands, imagining the satin sheets coiling around me like a snake and each time I inhaled, the grip tightened.

Realizing I was driving myself crazy, I jumped out of bed and rushed into the bathroom. I locked the door behind me, hoping for some relief in a smaller room.

The sight in there was not much better than the rest of the mansion. It was just as daunting, if not more.

The cotto floor chilled my feet as I stepped over to one of the speckled counters and twisted the knob on the sink. Then I ducked my head and splashed a few handfuls of cold water on my face. It didn't help. The shock of the cold only increased my anxiety. When I turned the knob off, I noticed my hand was trembling.

Stop freaking out, I begin chanting to myself.

I yanked one of embroidered hand towels off the rings and wiped my face.

Then I noticed in the reflection of the mirror, the steps leading to Lucy's whirlpool tub and a memory instantly leaps to my mind:

"We need to talk..... right now."

"What do you need?"

"I checked your phone and I saw a few texts that you sent to a guy named Ben?"

"You checked my phone? Why would you do that?"

"No, you answer me first. Who the fuck were you talking to, Demi? You said you loved him."

"That's my cousin, Ryan. Family. Why are you being so paranoid?"


When I snapped back from my reverie, I realized my hand was on my throat.

Shaking my head violently, I stepped out of my clothes and into the shower.

The water was so hot it stole my breath, but I stay planted underneath the stream.


When I was 18, I went along with my dad to Elk Cove beach for a movie scene. It was cold and windy, but the sun was out, so the actors were supposed to act like it was summertime. No matter how cold they actually felt.

I was sitting underneath one of the large tents they had pitched in the sand because of the risk of rain. My dad was standing underneath another one with the crew members to protect his equipment.

My body was swaddled in a quilt my grandmother made for me and I had on my brother's beanie. I was so cold that I pulled it down past my eyebrows.

I watched the scene play out while shivering my butt off, but I didn't complain. I had it much better than the actors. The main actor, Ryan Cameron, was shirtless and maintained his composure throughout the entire scene. There were really no visible signs he was cold. Not a shiver nor a chatter of his flawless teeth.

I shuddered and lifted my thermos of coffee to my lips. I took a tentative sip because I was afraid I would scald my tongue.

The coffee was nastily cold. I had been so engrossed in the movie scene that I let my only source of heat go cold.

When I lowered my thermos, Ryan Cameron was standing in front of me. It was a little strange seeing him so close.

"Hi," he said, grinning his signature grin. His raven hair was messy from the wind.

"Hi," I replied. "Do you need something?"

His smile fell a little, along with some confidence. "Uh, no. I'm not in this next scene and I was wondering if you wanted someone to talk to."
I blinked at him.

He laughed a little uncomfortably and ran a hand through his hair. "It's just you're always kind of sitting in the back..."
"Well, I'm not an actor or a crew member, so I stay out of the way," I said, shrugging.

I felt like I was being mean.

"But that's nice of you," I added quickly. "You don't have to if you don't want to."

"But I want to," he assured and plopped down in the sand beside me.

He smelled like salt water and I felt a yearning to go to the beach with my family. My whole family. I thought of memories my family should have that didn't exist. Me buried to my neck in sand, my brother, Thomas, riding waves, my parents sprawled out on a beach towel, watching us and laughing.

I lowered my eyes to my quilt when he pulled half of into onto his own legs. "Why?"

He shrugged his shoulders and smiled at me. He had a few freckles underneath the makeup.

"You seem interesting."

My eyebrows furrowed. "But all I do is sit here. How am I interesting?"

And this is why I've only had one boyfriend.

In middle school.

He grinned. "I have a way of knowing."

I rolled my eyes.

"Why are you hitting on me?" I asked him, my eyes narrowing warily. There was no way this guy would be hitting on me. Not when he could have any girl in the world. And he was one of the shallowest guys in Hollywood. This had to be a cruel joke.

He laughed. "What do you mean 'why?' Why do you think?"

I just stared at him. This was so unlike him. He never goes for girls like me....at least from what I've heard.

"I'm not what people read in magazines," he said, as if he read my mind.

Then he reached forward and brushed my hair away from my eyes. "Why don't you go on a date with me sometime so you can get to know me? Decide for yourself if I'm a good guy?"


"Holy shit," Lucy said when I shuffled into the kitchen. She's sitting at one of her marble counters with my laptop set in front of her.

Once again, the room felt too bright. Too large. The myriad of shining metal lining the kitchen felt blinding.

I tore my eyes away. "What's wrong?"

Lucy's eyes were wide with horror. "You're wearing sweatpants."

I shrugged. "It's comfortable."

The loose clothing against my skin felt safe, secure. Something I hadn't felt in a while.

Lucy was still looking at me funny. "You're not having a mental breakdown, are you? Because if you are, I know some great doctors...."

I snorted and walked towards her, wringing out my thick hair. Droplets splattered on the floor. "What're you doing?"

She jumped and quickly minimized the page she was on.

"What?" I ask.

She grimaced, thumbing her pierced ear. "I was just seeing what people are saying."

"About what?"

Her gaze left mine guiltily, drifting to the computer screen. "You and Ryan."

Hearing his name felt like ripping off a fresh scab. "I don't wanna know. Please, just drop it."

Sighing, she exited out of the website and stared at me with her mossy eyes. "Sorry I'm just really worried about you."

"You're worried about my image," I quipped, making my way to one of the cabinets for some cereal. I had to bring my own cereal to Lucy's house because she didn't eat breakfast.

"Yeah, and you should be worried too! What about your singing career? Everything you've worked for? Your fans, your awards...?"

My body tensed and I gripped the box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch so hard that I dented the cardboard. I wasn't a very strong person either. Must have been adrenaline.

"I didn't work for any of that. That was all Ryan. He's the only reason why I'm......." I cringed. "Well-known."

"You have a beautiful voice. Your songs are great. They're on the radio all the time. Your music videos have been in the top ten...."

"I don't even write my own fucking songs," I growled, slamming a bowl onto the counter. "Ryan got a bunch of washed up artists to write them for me. You know that."

Ryan didn't want me releasing my own songs. He said they were too dark. Weren't "me."

Wouldn't I know what's me?

"Why are you so mad?" Lucy asked as she watched me pour half of the cereal onto the floor.

"Oops," I muttered and knelt to pick them up piece by piece. I pretended I didn't hear her question although I was positive she'd ask it again.

I picked up each square of cereal, culling each one with the most cinnamon for my mouth.
"Why are you so mad?" she repeated.

Sugar melted on my tongue. "No reason."

This is probably the biggest lie I've ever told.

I threw away all of the faulty pieces of cereal and began my second attempt at making breakfast.

"You're freaking me out, Demi," Lucy said softly.

I smirked to lighten the mood. "I've always freaked you out. It's nothing new."

"You're a weird one, all right," she mumbled.

I finished pouring my cereal and put the box back. Then I made my way to the fridge to pour myself a glass of milk.

"Anything interesting on my phone?" I asked her to change the subject.

"Yeah, your mom's worried about you. She's wondering how you're dealing with the breakup and being kicked out. I called her to help her feel better. She wanted to talk to you but I told her you were in the shower. She wants you to call her back."

My mom was a little movie-obsessed, hence naming me Demi. When I was born, I was very dark-featured. I had hair black as pitch and eyes just as dark. Whenever my mom told me that story, I pictured myself as a soulless demon.

At the time, my mom was obsessed with the movie Ghost. And because I was a dark-featured baby, she named me after the leading actress.

A few days after I was born, my mother realized that my eyes, alas, were not brown. They were sort of a dull, gunmetal gray. My hair was still dark but now I looked like an albino.

It became an annoying story to tell everyone who wondered if I was named after the actress, because I no longer looked anything like her. But I couldn't say I hated my mom for it. I loved her for all her eccentricities.

A lump rose in my throat. I felt bad, but I didn't want to talk about the breakup or the fact that he took everything away. Not at the moment. Not ever.

"Okay," I said, picking up the milk jug and heading back to the counter. "Anything else?"

"Um...oh yeah, Stephanie called....."

I gritted my teeth as I opened another cabinet and fetched a glass.

"What did she say?" I asked curtly.

Stephanie was my agent. She was extremely anal, but she helped keep things together for me. I was such a mess, I wouldn't know what to do without her. I appreciated her a lot, but at the moment, not so much.

Lucy paused. "Well, she's not happy. She basically said that your singing career is in the toilet."

"Fantastic," I said dryly, uncapping the milk and pouring myself a glass.

"But she said you can still fix it."

"How?" I asked unenthusiastically.

"If you go on tour. Promote your album."

Silently, I put the milk jug back into the fridge. There wasn't one single picture on the front of it. Not a bit of memorabilia.

"I'm not really interested," I said quietly and carried my breakfast over to where Lucy was sitting.

Her brows drew together as she watched me take a seat in the stool beside her. "What do you mean? Music is your life."

"I can still have music in my life without being famous," I said simply. I took a handful of cereal, tipped it into my mouth and sipped my glass of milk.

Lucy wrinkled her nose at my peculiar way of eating breakfast. She should have been used to it by then, but I guessed not. "But you won't have any money....everyone will forget about you. No one will be able to hear you anymore...."

When I heard that, I paused. I would miss that.

I would miss the rush of adrenaline coursing through me when I performed in front of thousands. Hearing them chanting my lyrics back to me.

That temporary connection. That feeling of being loved unconditionally.

My eyes stung. "But I don't want to pay to tour. It's a waste and I need an apartment...."

Lucy put her hand on my shoulder. I looked down, unsettled, at the blinding pink diamond on her finger.

"Steph worked out something," she said. "This band's manager agreed for the band to tour with you. You guys will be using the same tour bus to cut down on cost. It's a win-win situation, really. They're a popular band, so they'll be promoting you. You're a popular singer, you'll be promoting them. You guys will be touring together, resulting in an instant popularity boost for both of you guys!"

I frowned. "The same tour bus? You can do that?"

She shrugged. "It's unconventional, but sure. Just agree to it. You really need the distraction."

I agreed with her on that. I wouldn't be able to take staying in this house everyday, wallowing in self-pity.

"Is the band going to be like The Runaways?" I asked, smiling slightly.

Lucy grinned and threw her arms around me. I flinched at the abruptness of it, but she didn't seem to notice.

"I'm so happy, Demi. This will be great for you. You'll be doing what you love and who knows, maybe you'll make a few new friends."

That last part made me feel like I was a five-year-old getting ready for kindergarten, and she was my mother.

I pulled away. "So who's the band?"

She paused thoughtfully. "I think Steph said something about Hell."

"Hell?" I asked, eating a few more pieces of cereal. My appetite hadn't been very strong lately and I felt like I was gorging myself even with the small amount I was eating.

"Yeah," Lucy said, turning back to my laptop. "I'll look it up."

I watched as she painstakingly typed with her pointer finger the words: HELL BAND into Google.

"Oh, here we go," she said. "Private Hell (Band), Wikipedia page."

She clicked on the result and read, "Band Members: Landyn Stone....."

She turned her head to me, a confused look on her face. "Is that a girl's name?"

I shrugged, looking back down at my cereal. I felt full.

After a moment, I heard a click and the sound of Lucy choking.

I whipped my head around, looking at her like she was crazy. "What's wrong with you? Are you okay?"

Her eyes were bugged and she was pounding a fist against her chest, trying to catch her breath.

I gave her a pat on the back. "Get too excited?"

After a few more gulps, she said breathlessly, "It's not a girl. It's a guy."

I stared at her, puzzled. "So?"

"And he's attractive!" she fanned herself comically.

I laughed. "Why is it so surprising?"

She giggled. "I just wasn't expecting it. Rock stars aren't hot. They're all greasy and scary. But this guy doesn't even look like he should be a rock star...."

I snorted. "I find that offensive. There are plenty of gorgeous rock stars. And since when do you have any knowledge on rock music or the artists?"

"Even his name doesn't sound like a rock star name...." she shook her head.

"Well, what did you expect? Sid Vicious? Iggy Pop? Meatloaf?"

She stared at me blankly until her phone rang. Lucy glanced at the screen of her phone and got up from the stool. "It's Jim...." she murmured and left the room.

Jim was Lucy's perfect boyfriend. He was the son of the owner of some famous sock company that I didn't care about. He was another reason why I wanted to leave Lucy's place. He really didn't want me there. I could hear them arguing about it all the time.

Bored and slightly curious, I switched to Lucy's seat and typed the lead singer's name into Google. It corrected my spelling for me when I typed in Landon. It was spelled Landyn. Weird name. Then again, it would be hypocritical for me to say.

I clicked on a video result that brought me to Youtube.

When the video started, the first thing I noticed was that Lucy was right on the first two counts. It was indeed a guy. And it was most definitely a good-looking one.

I snacked on some more Cinnamon Toast Crunch like popcorn as I watched the young man crossed the stage, clad in only a pair of ripped jeans. He was tall and very thin, but his shoulders were quite broad. I was trying to figure out why this guy struck me so. Then I realized that he had a very strong presence on stage. Like he was meant for it.

The dim lights brightened as he approached the microphone.

His slender fingers curled around the mic, gripping it tightly. The camera zoomed into his face.

Some features of his face were cherubic, while others were more masculine.

He had round eyes, rosy cheeks and a plump mouth, but his cheekbones and jawline were more prominent, sharp.

Landyn's eyes were different. Almost innocent-looking in their prettiness. His expression was intense as he scanned the crowd.

The camera panned to the crowd.

There were no detectable faces. It was a rippling black sea.

The camera zoomed back on Landyn.

He had glorious hair that curled at the nape of his neck and forehead. At the moment it was damp with sweat. It must have been really hot beneath the lights.

The camera lowered to the beaded necklace hanging to the middle of his long torso.

I moved back from the computer like a guilty teenage boy when I caught myself staring at the moderate line of hair leading to the area underneath his jeans.

Then the camera cut to the drummer. A tall man with russet brown hair begins a rough percussion on the drums.

I was almost dizzy by all the camera movement when it cut back to Landyn once again.

His lips parted and he began to sing.

My handful of cereal stilled in front of my mouth.

The sound of his voice was surprising. Dark and soulful.

I was shocked that such a thin frame could expel a voice of that caliber.

His lips curled fiercely as he continued to belt out the lyrics. I could tell that music mattered a lot to him, and I admired that about him above all things. There was so much intensity in his eyes and voice.

It was cliché but I really felt like I was having a look into his soul. Everything was so raw. I could feel his hurt as he wailed into the mic, his voice alternating between the most beautiful, sorrowful whimper, and the biggest growl I'd ever heard erupt from a man's chest.

I clicked on one of the related videos. An interview.

Landyn was sitting in a chair across from a very pretty woman with lots of red lipstick on. He looked like someone out of the movie Grease with the whole leather jacket and dark jeans bit. Except he was wearing sunglasses, and a cap with wisps of his golden hair curling out from under it. He had a little bit of a goatee there, which I didn't find attractive in most men, but this guy looked like he could get away with a lot.

The interviewer asked, "how do you think the fans will like the new album?"

"Oh, they'll hate it. It's horrible." Landyn's speaking voice was much different from his singing voice. It was soft, almost boyish.

The interviewer didn't look fazed by his facetious remark. In fact, she looked like she found it charming.

"So Landyn what do you consider to be your best work?" she asked, moving closer to him.

He had this impish grin on his mouth, a complete adverse in attitude of him at the concert. "No, baby, what do you consider to be my best work?"

I rolled my eyes.

The interviewer just grinned wider. "I understand that you designed the album artwork?"

Landyn nodded, tilting far back in his chair and for a moment I fantasized it falling. "Yeah, I've always been really into drawing. Not abstract art or landscapes or anything like that. Just drawing people."

"How do you draw them?"

"Like stick-figures," he laughed softly. "Not really.... but I'm not real good at it." He was tapping a pack of Marlboros against his leg. "I don't draw people realistically and I don't draw them in a contemporary way....they look really antiquated and stiff.....I usually draw them with marker...."

He suddenly looked at the camera and quirked an eyebrow. He turned his head back to the interviewer. "I sound really boring. Sorry." He laughed a little nervously.

I laughed when he went to take a sip of his water bottle and realized the cap was still on.

There was something warm about him. Something humble, human. I hadn't noticed it before.

"Oh," I heard and whirled around.

Lucy was standing behind me with her closed phone in her hand. She had this smug look on her face.

"Shall I leave you and the laptop alone?" She crossed her arms.

"I was just...." I stammered, exiting out of the page.

I looked at her and she was grinning at me.

I glared. "What?"

Lucy suggested, "maybe, you should...you know...talk to him."

I blinked at her. "In what way?"

"You know what I mean."

I knew what she meant, I just hoped she wasn't saying what I thought she was.

"What makes you think I want to talk to anyone in a romantic way right now?"

Lucy shrugged. "Well, firstly, your face is beet red...."

My hand flew up to my burning cheeks.

"....and secondly, you need a distraction. You need someone to talk to. If not romantically, a friend would be good for you."

"What are you talking about? I talk to you. You're my friend," I countered, legitimately confused.

Lucy pushed a ringlet of hair away from my eyes. Her face was solemn. "You don't tell me everything and don't try to say you do. I get it. You're a private person. It doesn't bother me that much. But it's not good to keep all these things inside...."

It was hard for me to absorb what she was saying, rather I was more focused on how it was probably one of the most insightful things I'd ever heard her say.

I must really be fucked up.

"So you're saying...... I should tell a complete stranger about my problems?" I asked, my eyes narrowed in puzzlement.

Lucy groaned and plopped down in the stool next to me. "Ugh, now you make it sound weird. That's not what I meant, really....."

She stared at me for a long moment. Her face was sad. "Just....call me, alright? Whenever you need me when you're on the road."

I offered her a weak smile. "I'm fine, really. I've done this before. I know how to take care of myself. I'm a big girl."

"Not really. You're really short."

I rolled my eyes. "I meant I'm twenty-two and I know what I'm doing."

She squeezed my shoulder. "Alright. Just promise me you'll call me. Keep me up to date on everything....."

"I promise."



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