Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Romance

I have read few Romance novels, and I have seen few Romance movies that I have any affection for (but Romance Adventure movies like High Road to China, Jewel of the Nile, and Romancing the Stone are outstanding, IMHO). But one thing I know about the Romance genre–all Romance-themed novels or movies have this in common: sexual tension. It is not tension during the act of sex, but tension between the sexes involved with the romance relationship.

For instance: in High Road to China–one of my fave movies ever–the Bess Armstrong character and the Tom Selleck character (named O’Malley), in between hugging and kissing and bedding with each other, are constantly arguing, yelling at each other, her screaming, “O’Malley!” every few seconds or so, and O’Malley all pissed off because she demanded to fly her own plane and later crashed his plane named Dorothy in Nepal, as they headed to China to find her father, who was being screwed out of millions by his crooked business partner. In the end, of course, they decide to build a good relationship upon leaving western China where her dad is leading a rebellion against some overlord in the 1920s. All novels, Romance genre or not, that build some sexual tension, always have that tension relieved at the end, when love abounds.

And there is plenty of sexual tension in The Prodigal Band Trilogy. I have already discussed this marriage tension between the bassist Keith and his wife Jarris, in the Drama snippet.. In fact there is sexual tension between each band member and his woman throughout the three-books-in-one trilogy that get resolved at some point.

But the key “romance-sexual tension” partnership within the band and their women is between keyboard-synthist Bryan and his wife, Mo, who marry early and then things begin to go awry as they bring forth children. Prior to having kids, the relationship is as good as it could be; having children become the linchpin for what develops into a rocky relationship, as I will describe below in three snippets.

The first “sexual tension” episode comes from Chapter Four of Battle of the Band. Bry and his band Sound Unld have been temporarily banned from their UK home and are stuck living in the New York metro area. Bry and Mo and their children live in a fancy apartment in lower Manhattan. For various reasons Mo feels she must return to London every few weeks to see her psychiatrist (spoiler alert–lover) named Rimsgate because she feels Bry is not properly supporting her “needs,” spending much more time with his biker buddies (who also make up the band’s road crew) or with his synth-project business partner, Reg. Upon returning to the apartment after spending a day in a recording studio, Bry enters the place as Mo is getting ready to leave for London and her “lover.” The time frame is late 1990.


Contrasted with the austere nanny wearing dark woolen coat, matching hat hiding pinned-up gray hair, and low-heeled support shoes standing with a young child and holding an infant wrapped in somber colors, the young woman of the house herself soaked in bright red—hair, lips, earrings, bracelet and necklace of ruby, and metallic jump suit under a silver gray sable coat—moved excitedly about her Village Square townhouse making sure she had everything for her latest biweekly trip back to London.

“Five suitcases should be enough,” Mo McClellan said with the air of a street tough elevated in station. She inspected her hair in the front hallway mirror, fussing with it. “Take the kids out to the limo, Nanny. I’ll be there in a jiff.”

Just as Nanny opened the door, the limo driver appeared to take the suitcases out to the car. Nanny took Craig by the hand and held baby Sean while going out the doorway down the five steps out to the car.

Then a taxi pulled up in front of the limo. Out stepped the wild, red-haired man of the house. Bry greeted Nanny and his sons. “Going out for a bit of air, eh?”

“Hi, dad,” Craig said. “You come, too?”

“No. Too bloody tired, eh?”

Nanny said nothing.

Mo, dismayed by her husband’s entrance, swiftly turned around as she finished reapplying her winter lip gloss. Damned, Bry, you would show up just as I was about to leave.

As Bryan walked over to the bar in the adjoining living room, he greeted his wife. “Eh, luv, you a bit dressed up for a walk, eh?” He poured himself a drink.

Mo followed him, wanting a showdown. “No, Bry. I’m going back to London for a few days.”

“Is it Rimsgate time again?” He took a belt, then plopped the glass on the bar. “How two weeks fly, eh?”

“Really! Especially when I never get to see you anymore. I mean, somebody has to be there to help me with my problems.” She stood legs spread in confrontation.

Your hormones acting up again? Shit, luv, I’ve been arguing all day with Jack and Mick, and now I have to put up with your crap? “You have a problem, Mo?”

“Yes, I have a problem! Does that surprised you?” She stormed up to him at the bar. “I ran away from home so I could be with you. So what happens? I never get to be with you! Even when you’re around.”

Bry had heard all that before. “Well, I told you not to run away from home. I told you I’d be too busy to spend much time with you. You said you wanted us to be married. Well, you got pregnant, so then we had to get married.”

Mo had heard all that before, too. “Are you saying I got pregnant to hook you into marriage?”

“No! I’m glad we got married. I love you, Mo.”

“You have a funny way of showing it. I never see you.”

He shook his head. “Oh, come on, Mo. You know what the life of a professional entertainer is like.”

“I’m not complaining about that. Why do you have to spend all your free time with Reg or those damned bikers? Sure you’re here now, but you’ve spent the last two weeks with The Bikers out in California. Thank God we didn’t move to L.A. the way you wanted to. I really would never see you then!”

Time for some reefer. Bry took a joint out of his shirt pocket, lit it, and toked. “You know bloody well why I need to spend time with Reg. He can’t build the synthesizer alone. The bikers? They’re just mates I can unwind with. They help me to relax.”

“And I don’t?”

Not when you’re like this, you don’t! He drew her to himself and kissed her. “You relax me—differently. But there’s times I need to, you know, ride. It’s fun, eh? Why don’t you, you know, come riding with us sometime?”

She withdrew from him. “I’m not a biker—a moll! I don’t know how to ride, and your mates go for those one-night-stand types.”

“They like you enough, or do you consider yourself superior to them?”

“No, Bry, it’s just that I resent them taking up so much of your free time. Plus you spend all your time with them on tour as your roadies, too. You probably don’t even spend much time with the rest of the band. They probably consider you a snob.”

“I just don’t go for all that ‘image’ bullshit, or that ‘star’ trip like the others do. It’s the glamor scene I avoid, not them.” Again, he kissed and caressed her. “Look, you say you want to spend time with me, yet you’re gonna take three days to travel and see this five-hundred-pounds-an-hour celebrity shrink you don’t need to see. Doesn’t make sense.”

Pushing him away, Mo snickered. “Don’t lay a guilt trip on me, Bry. I need someone to talk to, to provide answers that you can’t, or won’t. Maybe Rimsgate can.” She turned from him coldly and went out the door into the limo.

Bry said bitterly to himself, “Well, I guess he’ll have to.”

The second snippet, in Chapter Eight, occurs in the summer of 1994 after another North American tour ended. At their southeast estate near a small lake, while entertaining Bry’s biker buddies before he and the bikers head north for a retreat, the married couple get into another argument. Mo had recently had their third son, and that was her excuse for not partaking in the biker ride. But Bry saw the excuse as Mo not wanting anything to do with his “course and unrefined” biker mates.


“How long are you biking, Bry?”

He opened the can. “Oh, three weeks or so.” He laughed and said, “By then, the others’ll be recovered enough to work on the next record.”

His cavalier attitude annoyed her. “Sure, Bry, sure. When are you going to recover?”

“Me?” He laughed again. “I never have to recover.”

“And what if your back goes out?”

“Mo, I can handle meself, eh?” He swilled his brew. “And if you’re so concerned, come with us. I need you on these rides.”

“I can’t leave Logan!”

Another silly excuse! Another one of her persecution guilt trips! “Oh, shit, Mo. We have a nanny and a nurse maid. For god’s sake! For my sake! For your sake!”

“For my sake? And how would it look for a mother of an infant to be in jail?”

“Jail? I’m not getting thrown in jail this time.”

She would bring that up! “Shit, only because Chet and Stu got carried away. We’re headed north this time, and we’re gonna spend a day or so at our lakeside retreat, eh? All the more reason for you to come. You can leave that baby for a week or two.”

That baby? His own son is ‘that baby?’ “No. I can’t leave ‘that baby’.”

Bry stood up and consumed his beer. He frowned and retorted, “Or, you won’t, eh?

The argument continues back and forth over why she refuses to go on the ride. While Mo again complains that Bry spends too much time with the bikers and refuses to see to her “needs,” he complains that the time she spends with the other band member’s women, such as shopping, could have been spent with him. The spat eventually ends with her leaving him working at his motorcycle. And then leaving him for good, so she believed.


“I may not be here when you get back.”

Bry sighed in disgust. Must be her hormones. Must be Rimsgate time.

Sure enough.

Two days later she was home again, having hatched a plot with her analyst-lover.

When Bryan returned, the two of them met with Rimsgate at his office.

Dr. Neville Rimsgate, on behalf of his client-lover, Mo McClellan, asked Bry squarely, “But why can’t you attend to at least some of her needs? At least when you are with her?”

Two against one. No matter what I say, I’ll lose. He blew off some steam. “Her needs? Is that all you’re concerned about, though you told me on the phone before I came here that both our needs must be— Harmonized, that’s how you put it, eh? So, you want me to satisfy her needs when I’m not on the road? What the hell about my needs? Our needs?” He turned to Mo across from him, holding out his hands. “You know, our needs?”

“Our? What our? We don’t see each other often enough for there to be an our! That’s why I’m saying ‘my needs’ or ‘your needs.’ There aren’t any mutual needs when you’re gone most of the year.”

He threw out his arms. “I can’t help that. It’s what I do! It’s what that band o’ mine does! Are you saying I should just bug out of a year’s worth of commitments?”

“That’s not it, Bry. It’s our relationship that’s hurting, and you being with the band is no excuse. None of the other married members of your band have this problem. They’ve resolved their problems because they wanted to. You don’t want to, Bry.”

“I’m here, ain’t I?” What the hell more does she want?

“We’re getting nowhere, though. You’re just too damned busy with Reg or those damned bikers.”

It’s no use! What I do is me, and she knew it when she got pregnant and used that to get me to marry her. Never mind that I told her that wouldn’t be necessary and that I’d support the baby. “Okay, Mo, what do you want us to do?”

“Until we can work this out, Bry, I want a separation. I mean, you’re never really with me, anyway.”

Never?

“Because the children and I are just another frustration you have no time for.”

No time?

“That way, you won’t have to feel guilty about being with Reg and the bikers all the time.”

Guilty? I mean, who’s really guilty here? “Guilty, Mo? You think I’m the guilty one here? You think I’m the one who doesn’t want to resolve this? But that ain’t what’s coming down, eh? I think the two of you— Shit, Mo. That’s all it could be. I’ve exhausted the possibilities why you won’t see reason. It’s because you two’ve been lovers. For a wee bit, eh? Ain’t that right, Mo?”

Upon hearing that Bry had figured out her motivation, she looked ugly at him and stood up angrily, leaving the office with a door slam.

He followed her.

She got into her car and left him standing outside Rimsgate’s office building seeing the look on her face—a conniving sneer mixed with merciless loathing.

Mo finally got what she wanted—Rimsgate, a man of slavish love for her whom she could control completely.

Several years pass before they manage to see each other again, during which time he desperately wants her back while she considers the reunion as a possibility if not a done deal. In the meantime, she dumped Rimsgate for fake healer and cult leader Cole Blessing and became a chief ‘disciple’ of his. But, when she and her estranged husband meet again the afternoon before a concert at a music and trade festival back home at Victoria Park, they begin to resolve their differences. This snippet is from Chapter Ten of The Prophesied Band. Mo had just met with her band-member’s-women friends who had told her about a “mission of God” their men vowed to partake in.


“Look, Mo,” Bry said to her as he moved to touch her hand, “everything the girls told you is true—though even I find it hard to believe. But we are on a mission.” He leaned against the tour bus, facing her.

Smirk. “From God.”

“Yeh, or at least from The Tooters. Crazy, eh?”

Her left shoulder nudged against the bus and she faced him as a friend. “It is.” But I’ve seen much crazier things with Cole. Should I tell you a few?

At the same time he thought. You’re not making this easy, are you? “Yeh, it is.” What else can I say? “Speaking of crazy, where’s Cole? Didn’t you say he was gonna accompany you?”

“He got sick in front of The Tooters. The others think the statue made him sick because he acts like a god. And he does act like a god sometimes. The way he cured Ger.”

“Humph.” Cocked his head. “Hmmm. A security guard came into the bus before and told us a guy who looked like Cole Blessing was standing outside the south gate. The guard told him he could come backstage, seeing as how he was Cole Blessing and he was supposed to be with you. But Cole wouldn’t come inside. Really nasty about it, too. Like he was pissed he couldn’t come in.” Stared into space as two others came out of the bus. “Sounds like he’s more than just a bit sick. Maybe The Tooters—” No, that’s too ridiculous. “But why would a statue—angels or not—be able to force Cole Blessing to stay outside unless—” Too ridiculous! Blessing’s not bloody Corion, eh?

“Unless?”

“Forget it. But if Cole is playing god like you and the others think, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging out with him, eh? Megalomaniacs have a way of being dangerous.” He moved to be with her. “Besides, babe,” he said with a playful whine, “I’ve been wanting you back for a long time now.”

“I know.” A tear fell from her eye. Then a humble smile. “I know, Bry. Maybe—”

Her heart wanted to say it, but her emotions garbled the message.

“Maybe, you will?” Beam of excitement. “Please say yes.” His heart pounded out, “I really don’t want anything else but you. Honest. I’ve never stopped—”

Her love-heart was suddenly a pitter-patter. “Loving me? You’ve never stopped loving me?”

“Never, babe. Not even when I felt you’d never come back. Not even when I found out about Rimsgate. About Blessing. Not even when that receptionist of yours said you changed your name. Now that hurt, eh? But it didn’t mean I didn’t love you.”

Now in his hairy arms, she shivered with cold chills of guilt.

From that point on, aided by the fact that Blessing is taken out of the way by his own evil spirit guide the following morning, Bry and Mo become a truly married couple again.

Want to read more sexual tension between Bry and Mo and the rest of the band members and their women? Buy the book using these links!

The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.

Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Horror

I grew up immersed in the Horror genre, movies mostly, but also some comic books. When I was a pre-teen and teenager, some local TV station had aSaturday night movie series called “ChillerTheater.” Today that has morphed into the DirecTV and DishTV channel “The Chiller Channel” or whatever it’s called now. It was on this show series I saw “Godzilla,” “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” “The Crawling Eye,” and various Japanese and other monster movies, various zombie/ghoul/vampire/Frankenstein-type monsters and serial murder movies many of which starred my fave actor at the time, Vincent Price. Basically, if Vincent Price was in the movie, I watched it.

In my twenties, I started reading horror genre fiction but I thought horror movies were more exciting. There was one book–I have no idea what the title was but it’s one of the few I actually finished reading–about some vampire-like rock band that recruits roadies or fans or whatever and then turns them into vampires, but one small group of fans turns against the band. Eventually, the vampire band gets “burned” if you know what I mean. But I did not buy the book because it had vampires, but because it had vampires who were rock stars!

And around this time, Ozzie Osbourne was making it huge…And. Oh yeah, AC-DC, “Highway to Hell” and all that…

One of the reasons I began writing the books that make up the trilogy was the notion, which has some merit but which can also be debunked, that rock stars are all “devil worshipers” and rock music is “the devil’s music” which quite a few Christians still believe is true. Many supposedly Christian YouTube channels try to verify this over and over and over while mentioning a few, such as the guitarist for MegaDeath–I forgot his name–are avowed believers in Christ (as is rapper DMX). My point is not to prove rockers are not devil worshipers; some clearly are (such as Marilyn Manson). My point is wanting folks to get over the notion that listening to rock music is going to turn one against Christ or for Satan. As if listening to country music and someone like Miley Cyrus is going to turn one to Christ!

But anyway…

To contrast the band called Sound Unltd’s beginning and rise to fame and fortune with their inability to handle it wisely later, and then the coming trials and tribulations they face, I thought it would be a good idea to bring in the most debauched period of their ‘supremacy’ in rock music. This is where the horror comes in. There are no monsters or vampires or zombies or mass murders, but it still has horror themes including ‘rituals of the craft’ if you know what I mean.

The following snippet which is a bit long comes from Chapter Six of Battle of the Band. The scene is a Hellside Horror House party for the touring band Sound Unltd given by the estate owners Andre’ and Cheetah, owners of a horror TV channel who use snakes and lizards as props on their show. Both are occultists as well. The night of the party is Thursday, July 12, 1993, in the fictitious city of Richmont, California, in the Bay Area. Band guitarists Jack and Mick (the occultist of the group), drummer Tom, singer Erik and bassist Keith are all mentioned, as well as various groupies, some of whom are wiccans, and Adam Bloodlove, Mick’s ‘partner’ and rock superstar of satanic bent.


Ring around the rosy, pocket full o’ posy

Ashes, ashes, all fall down

“A song about the Black Plague? Can’t you play a happier song than that, Jack?” Cheetah asked as she, the guitarist and six others finished the gruesome children’s rhyme.

Another asked, “What about your song, Jack? The Rune of Seven Crag Mountain? About the burning children?”

“Right. All in the name of religion. I can barely tolerate Mick’s cultist crap, let alone Swami Negran.” He readied his guitar to play the song. “But I love playing this piece.”

Jack began the music as a skuz tray was passed around.

They rounded up the young ones

And tied them to the trees,

And lit the grass.

The wood did burn

And then young skins.

You could feel the screaming breeze.

Cheetah broke in at the end of three verses. “I got an idea. Why don’t we play like the song says in the woods by our pond?”

“Let’s do it,” someone said.

 

Mick, Andre’ Cool, and Adam Bloodlove lounged in Cool’s dungeon-like bedroom, listening to the guitarist’s tales of the Crag-Dwellers.

Cool asked, “Where’d you learn these stories?”

“I formed the Druid Family. Mostly, for fun—and sex. But these people weren’t really Druids, eh? My cult’s based on the Order of the Crag-Dwellers, a secret society that lived at the time of the Druid priests. The Crag-Dwellers were cannibals.”

“No shit? Cannibals?”

“Yeh. They turned cannibal when the Druids tried to drive them out of their huts by the crags. The Crag-Dwellers believed that if they ate the flesh of an animal, they acquired the spirit and power of that animal. So, they applied that rule to people’s spirits as well. If they ate Druid priests, they acquire the Druid’s power.”

“But why did the Crag-Dwellers burn the children instead of eating them?”

Mick said cynically, “Because children have no power. So, they fried.”

“What else did the Crag-Dwellers do?” Bloodlove asked.

“Well, they also— Hey, wait a bit, eh? You know, I could show you outside. Andre’, you got a pond here, eh?”

“Yeah, about a half-mile behind the house.”

“Okay, I’ll show you what they did, and, on the way, I’ll tell you about it.”

Mick proceeded to tell the story of how the Crag-Dwellers gouged the eyes of their victims.

 

Tom, Princess Tina, and Lady Moira Sedgewick sat at a patio table on the veranda, deep in discussion.

Her Grace said, “Now, Tom, I read an editorial in CounterCulture that said due to inflation, consumers were being priced out of live entertainment. For instance, the outrageous cost of your concert tickets. And sixty bucks is outrageous.”

“Yeh, but in our case, sixty is worth it. And if what they said was true, we wouldn’t be perennial sell-outs. You know what the gripe is? A lot of acts would love to charge what we do, but they can’t. They don’t have the reputations for excellence and outrage like we do.”

Just then, a rush of singing, partying people from the solarium passed the trio. Cheetah called out, “Hey, Tina, you guys want to play Crag-Dwellers and Druids?”

“Oh, how super! You want to Moira? Tom?”

“Sounds ducky to me.” The two women got up.

“Oh shit,” Tom said. “When is that Skinny gonna get off this Druid crap?” He got up, disgruntled, and followed them.

 

“You mean, they took skewers and jabbed them into the eye sockets and wriggled the skewers around ‘til the eye popped out?” Bloodlove now couldn’t wait to play-act the scene at the south end of the pond.

“Yeh,” said Mick, “and then they ate the eyeballs. Raw. Whole. Like this.” Mick made believe he had an eyeball on his finger and stuck the finger into his mouth. “Delicious!”

“So where we supposed to get the eyes?” Andre’ asked nervously. “We’re supposed to kill something?”

“Shit, man, just a frog or something,” Mick answered. “Don’t worry, we won’t kill one o’ your lizards.”

“Gila monsters, not lizards!” Cool performed surrounded by the poisonous pet reptiles. “And I’m not killing anything!”

“Party pooper!” Bloodlove sneered.

“Come on, Adam,” Cool yelled in annoyance. “You’re just sucking up to that devil worshiper to get a record contract.”

“No. I get high off doing this. I thought you did, too.”

“I just make believe. I’ve never killed anything in my—”

“Shut up!” Mick whispered loudly. “I see a frog and I’m gonna catch him.”

“But not kill it, Mick. This is my pond, and—”

“I won’t do anything.” Andre’s hesitancy wearied Mick. “We’re just playing, Andre’. Who told you I was a devil worshiper?”

“Well, I thought you were, with all those altars at your place.”

“It’s just décor, eh? I collect Druidic artifacts and other witchy things. And you should talk, with all that ghoulish shit in your own house. Anyway, I’m not a devil worshiper.”

“Come on,” Bloodlove said, “let’s get on with it.” He turned to Cool. “We can’t waste any frogs, eh?”

“No.”

“Well then,” Bloodlove winked at Mick, “we’ll just have to kill you.”

He and Mick jumped Cool, sending the victim to the ground. Adam grabbed at Andre’s eyes.

“Get the hell off me!”

Bloodlove and Mick rolled off Cool, laughing with gusto.

Suddenly several bodies flailed at the three, chanting nonsense while grabbing at hair.

One of the new arrivals carried some twine and yelled, “Tie them up!”

The gang picked up the trio and shoved and marched them over to some trees. Mick, Adam, and Andre’, by now having been stripped to their ankles, were tied to an oak tree.

The curly blond among the gang got out his cigarette lighter and torched some tall grass under the trees, shrieking, “The Crag-Dwellers be avenged!” He gathered the others in a laughter-filled war-dance around the growing fire. “Burn the beastly Druids!” Tom’s face glowed orange by the budding blaze as he jabbed at Mick. “Skin them alive!”

Mick and the other two had enough and broke free of the bondage. “Okay, Shorty, put the fire out! Now!” The three stomped on the fire, and others used whatever devices they carried to take water from the pond onto the now smoky blaze.

Once the fire was out, Jack jibed at Mick. “So, you can’t take a joke, eh? What’s the matter? It’s you that believes this shit.”

Mick dusted himself off and snickered, “Did you have fun, Jack?”

The other laughed. “We need to do this again sometime.”

Tom joined in. “Yeh. Tomorrow night. Hey, Jack, you think we can do ‘im up during the show, a new skit?”

“Fuck you, Shorty!”

“Not in this lifetime.”

“Tom, I wouldn’t waste me time with this loony lad. But maybe we can grab our road manager, tie ‘im to our monolith—”

“Aaaaaarrrrrruuuuughhhhh,” came a blood-curdling scream from the pond’s north end.

“Everybody,” Bloodlove called out, “let’s see what that is. Quietly, okay? Let’s sneak up on him.”

Some carried wooden torches as they followed the satanic singer.

Another snippet that follows continues the bizarre party scene.

“God, Erik! You sounded like you enjoyed killing that poor baby frog,” Rona pouted as she squatted down to kiss her man for the evening.

The singer, still grasping the hapless amphibian, cocked his head to face the nineteen-year-old with cascading, shiny black hair. “Haven’t you heard? I eat frogs before I make love. That way, my pecker becomes more slippery and—juicy.” He ran his tongue over his sweaty lips and whispered, “Join me, luv, in my carnal feast.”

Their lashing tongues caressed each other’s mouths.

The frog squirted out of his grasp.

“Oh, no!” Rita shouted. “My frog got away!” She looked down at the writhing couple. “I thought you killed that frog, Erik! Why’d you let him get away?”

“Because,” the singer looked at her and smiled, “some things are more important than frog’s eyes for your witches’ brew, eh? Why don’t you and Lindsay go see if you can find that frog again, and Ro and I will catch you later, eh?”

Rita, disappointed, turned away. “Fine, Erik. Let’s go Lindsay. We’ll get our own frog, and we’ll make a potion and cast a spell on the two of them.” When she looked back, a naked Rona mounted a naked Erik.

Later, a torchlight parade saw the two girls coming toward them. “Witches!” Cheetah called out. “Burn those witches!”

The gang war-whooped and swooped down on the two.

“Wait! Wait!” Rita shouted. “We’re not witches. We’re hunting witches, and we got two of ‘em over there.” She pointed to where they left the lovers.

The growing throng danced down upon the passionate twosome, who got up immediately and ran furiously toward the house, still naked.

When Erik and Rona reached the veranda—the others in hot pursuit—they shut off the outside lights, then walked silently into the pool. The darkness caused three others to fall into the water.

Then— Flash went the lights. Crash! Went the music, to begin the next party round. Splash! Went half the wasted guests into the light-sparkling refreshment.

Untouched by the ‘witch-hunters,’ Erik and Rona walked arm-in-arm out of the water toward the bath house to towel themselves, their clothes still out at the pond. When they entered the small building, they found Keith and Lolita resting limp with exhaustion on the floor.

“Oh, sorry about interrupting,” Rona apologized.

Lolita covered herself with a towel.

“No need for that, girl,” Keith snickered. “They were just leaving.”

“Fancy meeting you here, bro.”

“Oh, fancy that. You still here.”

Rona sensed trouble between the two blood brothers. “Well, that’s okay. We just came in for towels and—”

“No matter, lovely wench,” Keith said. “We’ve been here long enough. Shall we go, my precious?”

He and Lolita strutted outside to a scene of rollicking hedonism exploding to the sound of gnashing metal and ghoulish cries.

Let’s party in Hell. We make it so well!

Move over, Sweet Satan for the party in Hell!

They ran, crying, “Let’s party in Hell!” as their momentum hurled them into the water.

 

There are more horror snippets I could have included but I figure this one is long enough as it encompasses most of the chapter. Want a much more serious horror scene? Buy the book using links here:

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The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.

Snippets of The Prodigal Band Trilogy: Drama

Throughout the three novels that make up The Prodigal Band Trilogy, drama is everywhere, between the six band members, between their women, and especially between a band member and his woman–with double the drama when the two are a married couple. The snippets in this post concern bass player Keith and his wife, Jarris, whom had married prior to Keith rejoining the band Sound Unltd on the cusp of their huge success.

The first snippet from Chapter 5 of Battle of the Band (all the snippets here are from this first novel in the trilogy) occurs at a bash to celebrate the ending of Sound Unltd’s banishment from their home country, the UK (if you want to find out why they were banned, buy the book!) In the midst of the party at their manager’s estate in the southeast of England, Keith sees an up-and-coming pop singer he would like to get to know for various reasons. Her name is Lisa Brent, and she is conversing with another rock singer when the bassist sees her. At some point months later, Keith’s wife Jarris notices the relationship but appears to blow it off.


February 23, 1991

 

Of all the parties celebrating the ban’s end, Joe’s Torquay Hall jamboree with over four-hundred notables beat them all. Among those making themselves known to the society and gossip press was the manager’s latest sensation, Lisa Brent, formerly a southeast cabaret singer who loved to be surrounded by gaping fans.

Keith Mullock, his leather-clad, gold-chained body parked on a velvet futon and silk pillows, now tired of the mundane questions offered by two of his London groupies. His mind wandered to the view of the sexy white-blonde diva conversing with Peter Slade.

Isn’t that Lisa Brent? She’s just starting to hit the big leagues, and she’s still looking for a new songwriter. Maybe I could just—yeh, I’d love to have someone to write songs for. What a splendid babe she is. Yeh, I’d like to—need to see her right now. If I can get her away from that bloody Slade.

He turned to his groupies. “Look, babes, I got to take care of a business proposition. Would you excuse me?”

Lisa and Slade, a twenty-three-year-old screaming rock singer with very long straight brown hair marked by a streak of blond hair cascading down his left shoulder, spoke over by the smoking room mantle.

“I heard you were forming a group with Bruce Letham,” Lisa said. “Can you handle his ego?”

Slade snorted with a laugh. “Do you know that everyone who brings that up always asks me if I can handle ol’ Brucey? That’s not the point, dear girl. The point is, can Brucey handle my ego? Shit, babe, I’m not forming Hot Bandits with him just so I can watch him grab star billing.”

“But, sweet Pete, do you really get along with him? I mean, nobody really gets along with Brucey!”

The young man from lower aristocracy couldn’t handle any woman believing he was in any way inadequate. “Well, I don’t let his jealous streaks and his obsession with riches get to me. Actually, we’re quite together now, eh?” Slade took a goblet off the wine tray. “Cheers, eh? Actually, the only problem is bass. Rob Falcone won’t leave John Mocke.”

“Of course not. They’re only best lovers.” Lisa turned away from Slade just in time to notice Keith walking toward them. “Speaking of bass players—”

Peter then turned at her cue. “Well, Keith ol’ boy, how’s the night treating you?”

With smiling black eyes for Lisa, the bassist told Slade, “The night’s not doing anything for me, eh? It’s the highs and the babes that are. You dig?”

Keith needed to get rid of Slade fast. He asked Lisa straight out, “Are you still looking for a songwriter?” Oops! I forgot to introduce myself.

“Yes, I am.” Teasing smile.

“I’m sorry, love. I neglected to introduce myself. I’ve been hanging around low-life rock musicians most of my life. I’m—”

“Keith Mullock. Of course I know you. You don’t have to introduce yourself to me, sweet love.” Her eyes glowed with fresh opportunity. “And I’m—”

“Lisa Brent. The loveliest new singing sensation around. I wondered about you when I was stuck Stateside, wanting to meet you. I’m so glad you came.”

They said Keith Mullock was a devilish rogue. But he’s also quite gallant! Totally handsome with his Adonis curls and those scars and sideburns. Soooo scrumptious. Only one thing wrong with him. He’s married. Yet maybe, just maybe— “Thank you for being sooo sweet, Keith. But listen,” Lisa said with a honeyed voice as she ignored Slade, “we need to talk business. I need a good bass player—”

“And you also need a songwriter—”

“Indeed, yes. The one I have now is—well, he just doesn’t understand my style. He won’t do bold and bruising. Just sweet and light. I need someone like—”

“Me?” Keith put his right arm around her waist and turned her toward the room’s exit. “Am I the man you need, babe? ‘Cos if I am, I will take care of you. That’s my new mission in life. Taking care of my women the way I would have them take care o’ me, eh?” He kissed her cheek. “So, babe, how can I take care of you?”

“Be my new songwriter. And be with me tonight.” She turned to his face and engorged his full lips. And my mission in life is to snare you, Keith Mullock, married or not!

 

And into a steamy summer, 1991

 

Tattle Tales “Exclusive! Keith Mullock Smooches Lisa Brent While Performing At a Theatre Homeless Benefit:  While singing her latest hit, ‘Make Me Yours,’ Lisa sauntered over to Keith playing as her bassist and patted him on his rear. They blew each other kisses, assuming no one else—especially Mullock’s wife Jarris—would notice.”

Jarris saw the pat and the kisses—or thought she did.

In the second snippet at another party given for the band while on tour of the US in the fictitious Bay Area city of Richmont, Keith and Lisa are again together but this time conspiring to undo his marriage. This is from Chapter 6.


However, as the bash reached full swing, the bassist stood with Lisa at the foot of the stairway leading to the guest rooms. She wore silver lace panties and halter top while Mullock wore his usual black leather trousers and assorted chains.

Lisa teased him. “Will you be spending time with me tonight, or do you have other plans?”

He answered with a rogue’s smile. “Will you spend time with me now? This party’s a bit of a bore, eh?”

Keith then looked around. Man, there hasn’t been a bash arranged for us on this whole bloody tour that can compare to what we could do for ourselves. And where the hell is that skuz tray? To Lisa he said, “So, what you need, babe?” Lowered her halter top and plucked on her exposed nipple.

“I want you for longer than just now.”

But he didn’t hear her as he saw a ghoulishly dressed waiter approach with the tray. “Is that skuz?”

“Yes, sir.”

Keith took a pinch in his left index finger and thumb and sniffed. Instant ego trip.

“I’m a married man. It’s gonna have to be now.” He butted his forehead against hers. “I live for now, sweet love, and what I want now is a damned good lay.” Laughing with abandon, his black eyes glowed. “You’re me lover, not me wife.”

“I don’t mean to be your wife. I mean your woman. And I want you for my co-star.”

“Co-star?” He laughed with sarcasm. “You want me to leave Sound Unltd? The world’s top band? To play second-fiddle to you?”

“No, Keith. Not second fiddle. We’ll be like Andre’ and Cheetah. We’ll be superstars together. That way, you can get out of your marriage. Isn’t that what you want?” Lisa snuggled up to him, rubbing her clothed ladyhood on his thrust thigh while he squeezed her rear.

“You know,” he said with a snort, “I’ve been thinking about getting a divorce as soon as I get back home.” He looked up and around the mock-horror expanse. “I got too much going on to be married. Should never have done it.”

“Won’t a divorce violate your Code?”

The skuz tray came by again. Keith took another pinch.

“No,” he said with a sneer. “I don’t really follow it anymore. Besides, the Code says a woman must be faithful, not the man. I haven’t been faithful in years, babe, and neither has she, eh?” He turned to her disgustedly as he remembered another excuse to leave his wife—Brent, whom Jarris just gave birth to. “Now I have a baby son I’ve barely seen, and, shit girl, I really couldn’t care less about.” Me? A father? For two weeks here, two weeks there? What the hell kinda father is that? Why’d you do that to me, Jarris? To keep me married to you? Really screwed me over, didn’t you, wife o’ mine?

They walked up the winding stairs, arms around each other in bliss.

“You’ll live with me, then?” she asked.

“Lis, I’ll buy us an eleventh century stone castle on the Isle. But I’m not leaving Sound Unltd. They’re me brothers, girl.”

Later that evening, Keith has a relationship with a groupie, and, when Lisa sees the two together outside by the pool looking out the bedroom window on an upper floor of the party estate, she fumes and conspires to get revenge on Keith. In the third snippet from Chapter 7, she plots with that other rock singer her ‘revenge’ while at a night club. But her plan was just a ruse. And when Keith’s wife Jarris finds out from a tabloid that her marriage really appears to be on the rocks, she nearly loses it! When Keith returns from tour, Jarris’ lawyer hands him divorce papers.


Swami Negran, two hours late for the start of the circus at Forkyz, had to fight through hundreds of stargazers milling outside the club. Then he had to push and shove his way through a host of silky-tanned bodies raising their fists or jutting their hips to the tom-tom honky-tonk beat of Uh-uh-oh-oh-oh-oh! Until he made it to the northwest corner. He was almost accosted by a bikini-briefed Lisa Brent and a Peter Slade in nothing but spandex shorts and Denny Spradlin’s mojo-sandals as they tried to move Keith’s skuz-wasted, pulsating body which grasped his bass in his left hand and Lolita’s bra in his right.

While the lame bassist howled and laughed through Slade’s and Negran’s attempts to prop him against the wall, Swami shouted, “This is even worse than fighting my way in here. There’s a couple o’ thousand people outside clawing to get in!”

Keith slurred loudly. “Well why the hell don’t we bloody let ‘em in? There’s room for—” Down onto the floor he fell in a heap. “Ah, shit! Get me the hell up, eh Mystic Man?”

Lisa, still acting disgusted from Keith’s perfidy the night before, snickered. “Just leave him there!” She then turned to her back-up lover, Slade. “Sweet Pete, listen to this, babe. I got a plan that’ll get us mucho headlines. Help bolster your career, eh?”

“And yours, Lisa love.”

“My career’s doing nicely, thank you!”

“So’s mine, thank you very much!”

“Oh, shut up, Pete, and listen. Both of us’ll go out there in front of the people out there—” Lisa turned to Swami. “Did you see any paparazzi out there?”

“Dozens of photographers, and some with camcorders.”

“Super! Okay, Pete, we’ll go out there and I’ll do my little act. You know, yell and scream about how Keith has betrayed me? And you escort me in your limo to the airport. I need to go on to Phoenix anyway to see my agent there about next year’s tour. I’ll meet you again when the Party Machine lands in Phoenix. Then, I’ll finish the little bastard off! How’s that sound, Pete?”

Slade answered noncommittally, “Sure, babe.”

Lisa then looked down on Keith. “Is that okay with you, you little shit?”

The bombed bassist mumbled his assent, knowing full well that the night before, he and his prime lover planned to greet each other with lavish affection aboard the jet—in full view of perplexed reporters.

Just as most of the horde of stargazers thought they’d leave the sidewalk in front of Forkyz and go home, just as reporters decided to call it a night, an enraged Lisa Brent blew out the front doors of the night club, escorted by a confused-looking Peter Slade. Seeing the mass of reporters hovering in front of Slade’s limo, she saw her chance. “Now listen to this, press boys!” she yelled for their benefit. “You can forget that goddamned Keith Mullock! We’re finished! You understand that? And you can quote me!” She stomped into the car.

Some scribes held Slade back.

“She’s just upset, eh?” he told them. “I’m just here to help her get over it.”

“What happened, Mr. Slade?”

“Listen, I can’t get into that here.”

Slade shut the door on the reporters and the limo beat a hasty retreat to the airport, where Lisa caught a plane to Phoenix, Sound Unltd’s next stop.

 

One week later at Cedar Woods

 

“Though Lisa Brent made her wounded feelings loud and clear in front of her fans at Forkyz, her rendezvous the following weekend, when she jumped into Mullock’s arms upon entering the Party Machine at the Phoenix Airport, caused tour reporters to believe a publicity stunt was at hand. But one thing’s for sure—Keith and Lisa are alive and well.”

 

Jarris read the Tattle Tales item in her parlor and blew up. First she trashed the tabloid, then the parlor.

The breaking of bone china brought her maid onto the scene. “My God! What happened, miss?”

Jarris plopped into her seat, exhausted, and broke into sobs. “I can’t take it anymore!”

“I’ll get you something—”

“No.” The redhead poked her tearful face out from her hands. “I need to be alone. I’m going up to my room.”

Once there, Jarris popped six valiums at one time.

Her maid found her lying on the floor semiconscious an hour later.

A ‘close confidant’ notified Tattle Tales of the incident, and, after her recovery, Jarris told the tabloid editor over the phone from her room, “I know it was stupid of me to do that, but I felt barraged with items of his cheating on me. I just overreacted.” Later, she told the editor, “I am considering divorce. It’s obvious our marriage hampers his bloody lifestyle, and it’s not doing me much good, either.”

Fully better and more mentally resolute for a pre-divorce battle, Jarris took her infant son Brent and moved back to her mother’s comfortable Parkside flat in Walltown.

In the next snippet Jarris, back home with her mother and sister along with her baby son, finds out that her abusive father, Gus, in prison for assault on her mother several years before, is getting released for ‘good behavior.’ Jarris remembered Keith’s promise to protect her from her brute dad if Gus ever tried to come after her again, and knew that he would come to harm her upon release from jail. But he would not protect her if the divorce went through, so he and she and the lawyers got together to try to work out some agreement.


The editors of Tattle Tales didn’t miss a beat with their World Beater Exclusive: ‘It’s True! Jarris to Divorce Keith over Love of Lisa.’ The story contained a lurid account of ‘rendezvous’ at the Isle castle called Dragonhead, once owned by a man “known as the ‘Warlock of Isle,’ who used to de-vein girls” after love making. Inside sources reported Keith and Lisa “participated in pagan love-spirit-rites” before pleasure “using candles at pentagram points and chanting pagan love-psalters, which is no surprise considering the alleged before-sex rituals of Mullock’s band mates.” A confident of Miss Brent was quoted saying, “Miss Brent and Mr. Mullock will come out of seclusion as soon as they are notified by Mrs. Mullock’s attorney of the proceedings.”

Jarris threw the open tabloid face-down on her mother’s parlor table so that Lisa’s face landed in Jarris’ coffee. “That son-of-a-bitch! Does his father know what Keith’s doing?”

Her mother, living in style now in Parkside but still wizened from past years trapped in poverty and fear of husband, said doubtfully, “And what of it? Keith’s dad was a bit of a ladies man in his day. Never mind what he says about The Code.”

“Like father, like son,” her sister Jesse said, scarfing a pastry. “You don’t have to worry what Sean Mullock says. Take my word, he doesn’t like what Keith’s up to, but he’s not about to argue with his bread and butter. You need to worry about if Gus Melby knows about it.”

Anxious at the mention of her brute father’s name, Jarris stared hard at Jesse. “Don’t you ever mention him to me again!”

“Oh, begod!” Mother anguished. “Begod, Jarris, I forgot— No, I kept this from you because this news will terrify you!”

“What news?” Jarris gripped her chair.

“We heard a month ago. The prison warden told us Gus would be released on parole in a couple of months. Good behavior.”

Jarris trembled. “And when he gets out, he’s coming straight for me, isn’t he?”

“He’s coming for all of us.” Mother got out of her chair and placed her left hand on Jarris’ shoulder. “And now that we’re all here, he can get three birds with one carving knife.”

 

Gus Melby—forty-three, bald with head tattoos and scars on both wrists from his wife’s knife swings in a dark kitchen after he broke her chin with his pounding fists three years ago—read the divorce story in his cell and wickedly smiled. “Well now, lass of mine, you won’t have your Prince Charming t’ save you now, eh?”

 

“But he’s mainly coming for you, girl,” mother said. “He has a score to settle wi’ you over your wedding he wasn’t invited to. And now’s the perfect time. He’d never think to go after you if Keith was still with you.”

Jesse sat up. “Aye! That’s it! Keith promised by The Code to protect you, eh? With dad coming after you—”

“No, Jess! Nothing will stop me from leaving that son-of-a-bitch! I can hire body-guards—” Not that I want body-guards. Keith promised me, and I want him to protect me! “—because even if that lout was still with me, he’d be so skuzzed up, he’d never know dad was taking an axe to me head. I don’t need him!”

 

“Jarris wants to make these proceedings very, very simple, and very, very to the point, Mr. Mullock—”

“Yes, simple,” said Brooks. “Simply highway robbery!”

“Mrs. Mullock has been caused tremendous anguish. Her valium overdose and all.”

“My client isn’t quite convinced that episode wasn’t just good acting. After all, Mrs. Mullock was in a movie—”

Jarris lunged for Keith, who slouched in a leather chair across from her at her lawyer’s mahogany desk. “You son-of—”

“Please!” Her lawyer barred her with his right arm. “Jarris, this will only—”

“I nearly killed myself over you, Keith Mullock!”

“Sure, babe, if you say so.” Keith laughed to himself.

“In any case,” her lawyer continued, “these are her terms. Twenty percent of Mr. Mullock’s annual income—”

“No way, man! I work too bloody hard for my money,” he looked at Jarris, “just to hand one-fifth of it to you, woman!” He turned to Brooks. “About how much are we talking about, eh?”

Brooks leaned to Keith and whispered, “According to your accountant, you should gross about twenty million pounds this year. In other words, about four mil this year.”

“Yeh, yeh,” Keith sighed. “And which estate, eh? I ain’t giving her Cedar Woods. Me studio’s there. She can have any other place.” Snickered at Jarris. “Is that good enough for you?”

“No,” she sneered back. “I also want your London townhouse. I need a place close to my cosmetics company. And two mil a year child support. It’s the least you could do for a son you never see, eh Keith Mullock? It’s the least you can do to win your freedom from married bondage so you can keep seeing those silly groupies. Besides, you’d only waste it on your skuz habit!”

“This is not an atmosphere conducive to negotiations,” her lawyer argued. “And—should I tell him, Jarris?”

“I wouldn’t dream of keeping this news from him,” she sneered. “Might make him feel guilty enough to sign the agreements. Or stop his gallivanting and come back to me.”

Her lawyer’s eyes bored into Keith’s. “You might be interested to know Gus Melby gets out of prison next month on parole and will likely come looking for your wife. Remember your Code promise protect her? If you divorce, you won’t be able to keep your promise, if that means much to you.”

Though the bassist had given up The Code for all practical purposes, his anxiety over a promise to protect a woman for whom he still felt love sent a wave of goose flesh down his sweaty spine. Keith bowed his thoughtful head. I can’t go through with this divorce now. I’m stuck! Stuck as if I’d stayed a riveter in Walltown. I want to be free of all obligations. Promises! Code! I’ll never be free of it!

Forced to reconsider, he spoke with a quivering sigh. “Ummm, look babe. A promise is a promise, eh?” Nervously toe-tapping the floor, he leaned to Brooks and asked, “Can we go with a waiting period?”

Her lawyer stood firm. “We’ll want some kind of restraining order.”

“No, wait,” Jarris said, upbeat. “I want him around when my father comes.”  Her eyes set to lay a guilt trip on him. “Will you be with me, Keith, and keep your promise?”

Humble, he slowly lifted his head with the relief of a headmaster’s pardon. “Yeh, babe, I will.” Weak was his smile. “I promise, eh?”

“And you won’t be skuzzed up when he comes?”

Keith, reminded he was overdue for his next hit, nodded with jitters. “Promise.”

As they got out of their chairs, Keith felt the awkward weight of two heavy crosses on his back, craving the skuz to throw off his burdens.

The final snippet has the brute father Gus invade Keith’s and Jarris’ fancy estate. A character that would become important later in the trilogy, Keith’s butler Rodgers, is introduced.


The Ides of March, 1994

 

Early March came in like a lion in the Cedar Woods area. A revenging angel named Gus Melby knew he needed to take advantage of stormy weather to sneak into the twenty-four room Victorian mansion where Jarris would be alone when the ‘missing’ bassist was out working, or, as Melby still believed, out ‘working’ with Lisa Brent.

Not even the fortress-like atmosphere Keith’s money bought, complete with a round-the-clock company of security guards, stopped Melby from breaking into the pantry via the garage on the night of March 14, less than a week before Mullock’s departure for North America.

At half-past nine the next morning, Melby knelt behind an opened opaque black lace-patterned drape in the morning room as Jarris and unknown voices intruded upon him. Probably servants. And no Mullock.

At half-past nine, Keith was still asleep.

Outside the house, a tall, brawny figure approached the morning room window from the east, front, wall, a pistol at his hip.

Rogers, the butler, entered with the morning mail. He placed a tray with two personal letters next to Jarris’ cup and poured her more coffee. Then the butler looked between the curtains and saw the guard walking toward the window. When he thought he saw the curtain move, he raised his eyebrows. “It’s not a terribly bad day, is it, miss?”

“Yeh.” Jarris didn’t turn around.

“So much milder than it has been. I see some trees getting their leaves, miss.”

Still she didn’t turn around. “Yeh.” She opened a letter.

The alerted butler definitely saw something move behind the curtain and began to move with open arms between her and the window.

The guard’s heavy footfall outside startled Melby. Who turned around. The pistol was drawn on him. Nowhere else to go. Melby stood up from behind the drapes into the awaiting arms of Rogers.

The guard then fired at Melby’s upper torso.

Crack!

Jarris, startled—screaming—shot out of her chair and stood terrified facing a madman struggling to grab her.

The guard fired again, this time at Melby’s head, and missed.

Keith woke with the first shot, flew out of the bedroom in cotton shorts, rode the stairway railing down with the second shot and intercepted another guard rushing into the hallway leading to the parlor. First the bassist and then the other guard zoomed into the room.

While Keith grabbed Jarris and flung her to the floor leaving Melby wide open, the second guard blew away the assailant’s chest.

Jarris, her head hidden under Keith’s protective body, heard the body of her father thud on the carpet. She asked her man with a frightened voice, “Is he dead?”

Tender sweet whispers expressed Mullock’s relief, his thanks, and his renewal of breathtaking love for a woman he’d wronged. “Yes, he is, love. And you’re safe forever and always. Thank God you safe. And you always will be, my love. I’ll never leave you again.” He caressed her life.

Yet, after tender minutes, he stared into space. But what of my childhood vow to kill him?

Talk about drama!

The Prodigal Band Trilogy © 2019 by Deborah Lagarde, Battle of the Band © 1996 by Deborah Lagarde, The Prophesied Band © 1998 by Deborah Lagarde and The Prodigal Band © 2018 by Deborah Lagarde. Permission needed to copy any materials off this page.