Home > His Scandalous Commands (The Jamison Sisters #2)

His Scandalous Commands (The Jamison Sisters #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox


Albany, New York

The pulsating music surrounded her, the beat pounding in her ears as her body swayed to the rhythm. Lila belted out the lines, feeling the music deep in her soul, throbbing and pulsing. She lifted her face up, ignoring the brutal heat of the stage lights, the sharp pain of her shoes, the pinch of her dress against her back where the zipper had broken about an hour ago. She ignored it all as she pushed her voice harder, sensing the excitement of the crowd, feeling the passion in her song as her voice rose, the music throbbed, the drums pounded, and all of it rising to a crescendo just as her voice did. With everything inside of her, she belted out the last line of the song, her body trembling with the effort.

There was a long moment of silence after the final note. Her eyes slowly opened and she looked out at the crowd, her body still vibrating from the effort she’d put into the concert, but it was all worth it. After a pregnant pause, the crowd roared with appreciation, screaming and clapping, stomping their feet and jumping up and down.

Lila smiled, relaxed her shoulders and bowed. The crowd was going crazy! They were clapping and jumping, so enthusiastic that her whole body felt the vibrations, their energy. This was why she did it, she told herself. Moments like this, on stage, ignoring the hot lights and the painful costumes, pretending that her feet weren’t aching as she stood on the stage. This was the reason. This was her moment. Everything inside of her focused on this instant and the roar of the crowd.

Bowing one more time, she walked off stage. The lights dimmed and the audience continued to call for her. But that was her third encore so she took a deep breath and shook her head, indicating to the stage manager that she wouldn’t be going out again. Her band was just as hyped up as she was, but they were a bit more demonstrative. While they jumped around, their faces broke into huge grins and their voices rose above the noise as they went through the performance again, still jazzed up while they talked about the highlights and the crowd’s reaction…

She watched them for a moment, feeling strange. Something wasn’t right, she thought. Her head tilted slightly to the side. Nope, definitely not right, she thought.

Lila stood still, her mind trying to focus. Everything started to lean to the left. She had no idea what was going on. People were talking to her, they were shouting something. But she couldn’t hear. She could see their lips moving, their hands gesturing…

And then everything went blank. Nothing.

 

The press would say it was drugs. The gossip columnists would speculate about her diet, how she ate less than five hundred calories per day. At the after-concert parties that night, everyone would assume she’d had too much alcohol before the performance and was too drunk. Others would hypothesize about the illegal drugs she’d taken prior, during, and after the concert.

At the hospital, around two o’clock that morning, her manager shook his head adamantly as he rejected all of those ridiculous possibilities. “She never does drugs,” he told the emergency room doctor, “and the woman doesn’t drink anything other than water and fruit or veggie shakes.” Marcus Benton rubbed his hand across the back of his neck, worried about the slender woman who had passed out on stage only hours before. “So what is wrong with her?”

The doctor looked over at the woman lying still in the bed. Despite her pale cheeks and the copper curls that were spread out wildly across the plain, white pillow, she still looked achingly lovely. It wasn’t much of a mystery, the doctor thought, angry on behalf of the woman who tugged at his heartstrings even while asleep. “She’s exhausted. And her blood pressure is dangerously low. She needs to gain at least ten pounds, preferably more, and she needs to rest. Eat and rest, get some exercise. Lots of exercise would be good. It forces the blood to flow through the body more efficiently, getting nutrients to all the places the body needs them.”

Marcus nodded his head, memorizing everything the doctor said. “What else?”

The doctor kept his eyes on the manager, who looked frantic. “No stress. She’s exhausted because she’s been working too hard.”

Marcus knew that. She’d been pushing herself for five long years. The woman wouldn’t slow down. He’d even scheduled breaks in her concert timetable so she would rest but instead of resting, the darn woman hibernated in one of her houses and created another hit album during those periods instead of taking it easy.

He rubbed his face, trying to figure out what to do. “Okay, so exercise, gaining weight, and rest. Anything else she can do?”

The doctor placed the chart on the hook at the end of the bed. “We’ve tested her blood and she’s not anemic, she could use more vitamin D, but that should come from being outdoors in the sunshine. There is no medical reason for her fainting other than exhaustion and needing more calories during the day. The dark circles under her eyes, and the fact that she can barely keep her eyes open when I talk to her, indicate that she just needs to rest more than anything else. Send her to a place where she can’t work. A place she’ll enjoy relaxing.”

Marcus nodded his head, but as he looked at the woman on the bed, he wasn’t sure if there was a place where she wouldn’t work. Maybe in the wilds of Africa or the jungles of Brazil…

That gave him an idea and he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, and slipped it back in when another gorgeous redhead rushed into the hospital room. “She’s fine,” he assured Lila’s sister.

Kara James had driven across the state as soon as she’d heard that her baby sister, the famous Delilah James, born Lila Jamison, had passed out after her concert tonight. She’d been driving home when she heard the news, immediately called Lila’s manager, Marcus, demanding answers even as she’d steered her car towards the hospital. Lila was the only family Kara had, and they were close, calling each other as often as their schedules allowed, meeting for lunch whenever Lila was nearby and texting each other jokes when one of them was feeling down or frustrated. The two sisters might be thousands of miles apart because of Lila’s concert schedule, but they still were there for each other.

Stepping into the clinically bare hospital room, Kara stared at her sister as Lila slept on the too-large hospital bed, looking so small and broken. “What happened?” she whispered, trying to keep the worry out of her voice. “Everyone is saying that she took too many drugs but Lila doesn’t do that stuff.”

“I know,” Marcus replied. “She’s just exhausted and pushing herself too hard.” Marcus noticed the dark circles under Kara’s eyes as well, but he didn’t know her well enough to say anything. Lila would neuter him if he even approached Kara for a date. Lila’s big sister was off limits, as he’d been told on numerous occasions. And Lila was not a woman who gave out idle threats.

Besides, he was entirely wrapped around another gorgeous woman’s finger.

Not that she would know it, he thought with another shot of frustration.

He took in a deep breath, trying to look only at Kara’s lovely features and not her smokin’ hot body. He liked his man parts exactly where they were, thank you very much. “She needs to relax and eat more. She’s put herself on a strict diet and has lost too much weight.”

Kara took her sister’s cold hand, trying to shelter Lila from the world, or just this small part of the world. “The press tear her up if she gains any weight,” Kara said, sitting down in the plastic covered hospital chair, tightening her fingers around her sister’s cold hand. “I’ve told her that she’s too thin.”

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