Martinis & Musicians is here!!!

Posted March 14, 2023 by katrinamarieauthor in Journal / 0 Comments

Y’all!!! Martinis & Musicians is out in the world! I can’t wait for y’all to read about Lisa and Devin. They were so much fun to write. I’m hard at work on the last book in the series. Until then, I hope y’all check out this small town, best friend’s brother, romance.

My best friend’s brother, Devin, is the reason I high-tailed it out of Asheville.

Now, I’m back because this place feels like home and I’m ready to put down roots. Even if everything at Out of the Ashes has changed since I last worked here.

I have every intention of avoiding Devin this time around. Not only because it would never work, but because we hid our relationship from his sister. A guilt I still carry with me.

The only problem…he’s performing at the bar every weekend, and he wants to pick up where things left off.


Welcome to Asheville. That sign has never been more beautiful than it is right now. My headlights spotlighting it in the fading sun. Never in a million years did I think I would be back here. At least, not with any intention of staying. But I’ve missed this town. The way everyone feels like family… even if they don’t really know you. That sort of feeling isn’t something I’ve ever been used to.

The ticket to the event happening at Out of the Ashes for New Year’s Eve is sitting on the seat beside me. I’m not sure what they have on the agenda, but I need to be there. It’s a sign of how much has changed since I left. The stage was barely under construction back then. Now they are holding events. And not just that, but ticketed events. The bar seems to have grown so much, and I hate I haven’t been a part of it. 

Hell, I wouldn’t have known about it if they didn’t have a social media presence, which is also new. They would have turned me away at the door without a ticket. It won’t be my first stop, though. I need to check into my room and get ready. 

My foot lifts off the gas pedal as I come into downtown. The speed limit drops drastically, and I really don’t need to get a ticket on my first night in town. That won’t bode well for what I hope to be my grand return.

The parking lot at the bar is full as I pass by, and I wonder if I should forego stopping at the hotel. The FOMO is hitting hard, but I’ve been in the car for hours, and I really need the time to decompress before I stop by and see everyone. 

Staying my course, I leave Out of the Ashes behind me. They’ll be there when I get back. If I know Angie and Carlos, it’ll be all hands on deck tonight. It’s also where everyone who wants to be a part of the celebration will be. Hopefully I’ll see some people that don’t work there. 

The hotel is a couple of blocks up, and I pull into the parking lot. There isn’t a driveway to pull into before checking in, so I park my car in the closest space I can find. Grabbing my bags out of the backseat, I lug it to the lobby. An older lady I’ve never seen before is sitting at the front desk. “Hello, dear. How can I help you?” 

“Hi,” I wave, “I have a reservation for Lisa Cole.” 

The woman hunts and pecks at the keyboard for a few minutes before finding my name. 

“Ah, yes. Lucky for you, we had a cancellation when you booked. The event happening at Angie’s bar has filled up most of the hotels in town.” As if I didn’t already realize that when I tried to book at the other ones. She pauses for a few minutes, checking my details. “I have you down for three nights.” 

“Yes, ma’am.” I just hope that’s long enough to find a living situation. Maybe Delilah will have pity on me and let me crash at her house for a couple of days. Or until I get back on my feet. That’s if she hasn’t gotten wind of my betrayal and will take me in. I’m hoping like hell Angie and Carlos will give me my job back. I loved working there, and I’d like to continue that. As soon as I get steady work, I can find a place of my own.

Finally, the woman’s name tag is visible. Vicky works on getting a key ready for me and asks me to swipe my card. As soon as I do, and I’ve signed the agreement, she hands me the key. “Here you go. There’s free breakfast in the mornings, and check out when you leave is at eleven.” 

“Thank you so much, Vicky.” I grab my bags again and head toward the elevators. There are only five floors, and my room is on the third. I haul my things into the elevator and wait until it hits my floor. Once the doors open, I step out and make a note of the direction of my room. Turning to the right, I follow the hall to the last room on the left. 

As soon as I’m in, I take two steps and drop my bags on the floor. Finally, a space bigger than my car. I glance at the clock and decide I have time to lie down for a bit. A little cat nap before getting ready will do my body good. Hopefully, everyone else will be as happy to see me as I am to see them. Only time will tell, and I’ll worry about that in a few hours. I flop on the bed, and push a pillow under my head. For now, sleep is all that matters. 


I rush to the door at Out of the Ashes. My alarm didn’t go off, and I’m getting here with little time to spare before midnight. Rushed is not how I planned to enter the bar, but here we are. My hand pounds on the locked door. This is a first. The door has never been locked. A person who I assume works here comes to the door. “I need to get inside, please.” 

“I’m sorry. It’s a ticketed event.” 

I pull the piece of paper out of my back pocket. “I have mine right here. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to get here so late.” 

“Okay. Stop by the bar and grab your drink.” He opens the door wider. “Enjoy the rest of the show.” 

The inside looks the same, but different. Besides the music coming from the stage area, there are decorations all over the rest of the bar. Christmas trees are tucked into corners, and mistletoe hangs from entryways. There are even small bulb lights against the edge of the bar. This never happened when I worked here. If I had to guess, this was all Stella’s idea. It’s not a bad one considering it gives the space a photographic aesthetic. I’m just surprised Angie said okay. Or, better yet, Carlos. He doesn’t seem the type to go all out for holidays. 

My eyes widen as soon as I see Delilah and my feet carry me toward her. “Lilah, it’s been forever.” 

“Lisa!” she screams and throws her arms around me. “What are you doing here?” 

There’s a guy standing next to her, but until she introduces him, I won’t say anything. 

“I’m back. For good this time.” 

“You sure about that?” It feels good to have my best friend teasing me once again. Even if I’m not sure I deserve it.

“Definitely. The world out there doesn’t hold the family I have here,” I notice the stage and gasp, “it’s finally finished. And…Devin is playing?” I mean, clearly, he’s on the stage, but it comes out like a question, anyway.

“Yeah, he’s opening for the next act.” Delilah grins while looking at the stage. No doubt proud of her brother for realizing his dream. “How did you get in?” 

“I bought a ticket. I didn’t know it was going to be a concert. I thought it was just a party.” When Lilah turns toward the bar, I let my gaze linger on the stage at what could have been. 

“Lucky you. It’s the first sold out show of the year. I imagine there will be many more.” She grabs one flute of champagne and hands it to me. “We’re about to do the midnight toast if you want to hang out.” 

I look between the two of them and smirk. “I’ll just go over there.” I wink before joining the crowd. As much as I’d love to toast with her, I’m worried she’ll see how my eyes stay on her brother a little too long. 

I don’t go to the front of the stage. He doesn’t know I’m back, and I want to keep it that way for as long as I can. 

As soon as I’m settled between a group of people, he stops the music and starts the countdown. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. I lift my glass into the air and toast to a year of smarter choices. At least, I hope it will be. I don’t want to leave this town again because I fucked up.

He starts singing again, finishing up his song, and I make my exit. I’ll see everyone else tomorrow. Right now…I need to get away from temptation. 

Because if there is one person who can break my will, it’s Devin.

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Posted March 14, 2023 by katrinamarieauthor in Journal / 0 Comments