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A Little Night Music: In Perfect Harmony Series, #1
A Little Night Music: In Perfect Harmony Series, #1
A Little Night Music: In Perfect Harmony Series, #1
Ebook380 pages5 hours

A Little Night Music: In Perfect Harmony Series, #1

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It's not every day you find a naked rock star in your bed.

But that's exactly what happens to former violin prodigy Elise Wolf, who has left her failing indie rock band for home, only to discover that her family sold their music shop to famous rocker, Tristan Morgan. Elise has hocked her family's heirloom violin, needs a job pronto, and violins are all she knows. Even though she believes all rock stars are self-centered, narcissistic a$$es, she is desperate for cash and begs Tristan for a job. 

Sidelined at home with a vocal cord issue and not knowing if he'll ever sing again, Tristan bought the local music shop as a backup plan. He just never imagined he'd wake up to a cat running across his baws, as his Scottish grandfather would say, or deal with the previous owner's daughter when she keeps popping up at the music shop.


While Tristan finds Elise persistent and annoying, he admits he knows very little about the music shop business. He hires her to help him sell off the inventory and prove he is the antithesis of the rock star she believes he is. When she leaves her laptop open on an internet dating site, he uses an anonymous name and befriends her on the site. His plan is to set her straight on a few things and never meet face to face. Surprisingly, through their messages, he discovers they have a connection and working side by side, he feels a spark.

Tristan knows he's screwed. Not only has he fallen for Elise, whether he comes clean and admits his identity, or tries to delicately end their online relationship, someone's heart will be broken. And it will probably be his.


Workplace romantic comedy with a You've Got Mail vibe. High heat. No cliffhanger.

Release dateAug 24, 2021
A Little Night Music: In Perfect Harmony Series, #1
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Sera Cassell

Sera Cassell is addicted to writing fun, steamy romance with feisty heroines and the swoon-worthy heroes who fall for them. Her books always have a happy ending and more than likely, a nod to her Irish/Scottish heritage. Sera is living her own happily ever after in New England with her adrenaline junkie husband, three grown daughters, and two granddaughters. When she's not spending time with her girl tribe, she enjoys reading, eating New Haven pizza, sipping London Fog tea lattes, and binging on chocolate. Any kind. She's never met a piece of chocolate she doesn't like. Sign up for Sera's newsletter and never miss a new release! www.seracassell.com!

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    A Little Night Music - Sera Cassell


    When Elise Wolf left home four years ago, the plan had been to start a band, struggle for a year or two, then make it big in the music scene.

    Her beat-up Econoline van rumbled down Main Street, and she hated thinking about how things hadn’t gone as planned with the band or anything else in her life lately. But at that moment, the bucket of bolts made the two-hour trip from New York City back home to central Connecticut. She’d consider that a win.

    She drove into the parking lot in the back of Wolf’s Music Shop and turned off the engine so she wouldn’t wake everyone in the center of town. The van coughed, then sputtered a few times before it finally choked out one last breath and stopped. She waited for the white smoke to clear before she got out.

    We’re finally home, buddy, she said to Jarvis, now meowing from his cat carrier on the floor in the back.

    The apartment her parents had fixed up for her, their gift to her for her eighteenth birthday, sat above the music shop that had been in her family for half a century. Too early for the music shop to be open, she headed up the back stairs.

    Even though her parents promised they would keep it vacant, she hadn’t exactly left on the best terms, and worried they might’ve changed their mind. Relief flooded through her when her key slid into the lock.

    The apartment appeared the same, except for a few moving boxes near the big window overlooking Main Street. She strolled over and looked inside one of them. Someone neatly stacked her books in there, yet the empty bookcase stood where it always had. Everything else remained the same, too. The living room furniture, the television, and the dinette table in the small kitchen.

    Maybe they reconsidered and packed up her things?

    Elise sank into the cushions on the sofa. For the year that she’d lived there, the place served its purpose. It allowed her to be independent, something she had craved since her violin prodigy days when her mother suffocated her being the overbearing ‘stage mom.’

    Only after she’d been on her own for a few months had she regretted leaving.

    Elise would never admit it to them, but she had done things these past couple of years that she hadn’t exactly been proud of. But when you’re struggling to survive and too proud to admit you’re wrong, you do what you must. And if dumpster diving ever became an Olympic sport, she could probably win a medal.

    She curled up in a ball, closed her eyes, and let the quiet envelope her until Jarvis meowed from inside his carrier. She opened the front door, and he bolted out, happy to be free.

    Oh, no you don’t, little buddy.

    Until she went back down to the van to get his litter box, she would put him in the bathroom. Much easier to clean cat pee or poo from linoleum than from the carpet.

    She chased Jarvis into her bedroom. He ran over the guy who’d been sleeping in her bed and now bolted upright, grabbed Jarvis as he ran by him, and held the cat in front of his, uh, well, his master of ceremonies, while she screamed like an actress in a cheesy slasher flick.

    She slapped her hands over her eyes while her heart jackhammered in her chest.

    Who the hell are you?

    I should ask you that question. His raspy voice made her cringe.

    She splayed her fingers and peeked at him. This is my place.

    No, this is my place. I just bought it two days ago.

    She dropped her hands. Her family would never sell Wolf Violins. Would they?

    Her heart fell with the silence between them, neither of them moving.

    Never one to make too much eye contact with anyone, her stare wandered to his muscular biceps, both sporting colorful tattoos. On his right arm, the maple leaves in black and white gradually turned into the reds and golds of autumn. The other arm had a shield, most likely his family’s crest.

    As he held Jarvis, his muscles tightened across his chest and six-pack abs. Her gaze traveled lower to his dark-haired happy trail which led to—Jarvis. The cat glanced up at her and meowed.

    She dragged her gaze back up and in the quick second she caught his eyes with hers, recognition dawned on her. The guy holding her cat in front of his private parts stood Tristan Morgan, lead singer of the hugely popular band, YOUR MOTHER’S WORST NIGHTMARE.

    Tristan’s brows rose slightly, and his expression softened.

    Her stomach bottomed out. Her father would give her the same sympathetic look every time her mother would announce another North American violin tour. The same compassion and truth in Tristan’s eyes at that moment.

    He hadn’t lied about buying this place.

    Give me a sec to get dressed and I’ll explain everything, Tristan said.

    Elise shook her head and cleared the emotion from her throat.

    Don’t. I’ll just take my cat and go.

    She left the room and bit down hard on her lip to stop it from wobbling.

    Jarvis ran past her and disappeared behind the bookcase.

    Come on, Jarvis. Don’t give me a hard time. She got on all fours and stuck her arm behind the bookcase. She grazed Jarvis’s tail, and he ran out, then jumped up on the windowsill. Elise grabbed him around the middle and attempted to put him back in the carrier, but he wiggled free. She turned to go after him again and found him weaving in and out of Tristan’s legs.

    Tristan had epic bedhead. She’d seen him in concert about four months ago and his bangs were slicked back. Now they hung down over his left eye. The rest of his hair stuck up all over his head. He wore a wrinkled black Ramones tee shirt and skinny jeans. On his left wrist, he wore a beaded bracelet tied into a knot.

    Tristan bent down and picked up Jarvis. He’s purring.

    He’s a traitor, she said, taking Jarvis out of his arms and holding down the cat’s front paws to place him back in the carrier.

    Why don’t you come with me to the café next door so I can fill you in on the details? I’ll buy you breakfast, too.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    She got to the door, and he had followed her.

    Are you sure? How about a cup of coffee or tea? He asked.

    She opened the door and headed to the stairs.

    Can I offer you anything? He said, his voice straining.

    Can you offer me a life? Because that’s what I’m in desperate need of right now.

    She glanced up in time to see another one of his half grins and kind gaze. Worse than anything, she hated people pitying her. During her entire violin prodigy career, she’d fielded those looks from people. People came out to her performances to hear the gifted child. The musical genius. But they also gave her that same empathetic stare, knowing her life consisted of lessons, rehearsals, and performances instead of soccer, ballet, and whatever else ordinary kids did. No wonder she hated making eye contact.

    Back in the van, she rested her cheek on the steering wheel and let the dam burst. She hadn’t allowed herself to cry since she caught Neil in a compromising position with another woman in that backstage closet two nights ago.

    On their drives between gigs, they’d talked about their future. Whether they made it big in the industry, he had promised her that eventually they’d settle down and have a normal life. Well, what normal looked like to her, anyway. A loving relationship between two equal partners. Not the constant bickering her parents had always done.

    A knock on the van’s window dragged her back to reality. She quickly wiped the tears from her face as Tristan motioned for her to roll down the window.

    She ran her hand over her cheek and felt an indentation. In her side-view mirror, she saw the Ford logo imprinted on her face.

    If Tristan noticed, he didn’t react. You want my advice?

    Not really. She stared straight ahead.

    I’m going to give it to you, anyway. Talk to your family.

    Elise remained silent. Admitting defeat by coming home had been hard enough.

    Tristan leaned in closer. No one in your family called to tell you they sold this place?

    No, but to be fair, they offered it to me, and I told them I had no desire to work or live here. She sniffed. That was at Christmas. She never would’ve guessed four months later she’d change her mind. Now that her family sold the place, she didn’t know what to do. She’d never go back to Neil or their band.

    Tristan nodded. You should still talk to them. I know it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but unless living out of your van is a new dream of yours, I don’t think you have a choice.

    Elise started the engine, and the van roared to life. She didn’t want advice from another musician, even if he was the famous Tristan Morgan.

    Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to go home and talk to them. She said it to shut him up, then closed the window.

    Tristan moved out of the way, and she backed up. She gave a little wave and pulled away slowly, the van bucking as if it took its last breath. At the end of the driveway, she took a right. For the next hour, she drove around aimlessly until she ended up in the empty parking lot of a boarded-up restaurant.

    Going home to her parents wasn’t out of the question. She just hadn’t exhausted all her options yet. And once she figured out exactly what those other options were, she’d be in great shape.

    Home from his band’s world tour for the past month, Tristan would soon find out if surgery would fix the issue with his vocal cords or if he’d never sing again. He and his band had only performed one show when he woke up the next morning with no voice at all.

    Tristan trudged back up the back stairs to his apartment. He’d been in recovery for alcoholism for almost two years now, so it had to be at least that long since an attractive woman woke him for a sound sleep. Thinking about Elise letting out a scream and covering her eyes brought a smile to his face. One thing he knew for sure — the entire episode got his mind off his vocal cord problem. For a few minutes, anyway.

    He’d only been home a couple of days when he started hanging out with his sister-in-law, Sam, at the café next door. Sam managed the café and would chat while she worked, but eventually she’d get tied up with something. Boredom propelled him next door to Wolf’s Violin and Music Shop. As a kid, his mother would take him there to buy the music books for his piano lessons. Those were very pleasant childhood memories.

    It had been years since he’d been inside and nothing much had changed. Violins still hung from the ceiling. Cellos stood at attention against the far wall. Yet probably only he would notice the biggest change to the place.

    A glass case housing bows and strings had replaced the bulletin board behind the front counter. That’s where he would see the newspaper clippings showcasing Elise as a prodigy.

    He vividly remembered staring at the little girl in those pictures. Part of him envied her. He wanted to travel and perform the piano for people, the way she performed her violin. But the longer he looked at those pictures of her, he noticed her brown eyes were always wide with fear, the same look she wore standing in his bedroom just minutes earlier.

    He may have only been eleven, but he always questioned why her parents made her do it. She obviously hated it. She never smiled.

    His parents never forced him to play the piano. He made that choice, and he loved it.

    After he revisited the shop that first day, he Googled Elise. She hadn’t performed her violin in public since she turned eighteen, but he couldn’t find any more information than that.

    Tristan returned to the music shop the next day. He brought treats from the café and really hoped to see her there.

    When Mr. Wolf, or John as he insisted Tristan call him, informed him that Elise had left home and the business a few years earlier, his heart fell in disappointment. Conversation then turned to the music shop itself. That’s when Tristan discovered that Elise’s parents, along with John’s brother Alaric, were looking to retire and sell the music shop. John mentioned they had asked Elise to take it over, but she refused.

    To pass the time, Tristan visited the music shop regularly. He enjoyed talking music with his new friends. Then the Wolf brothers asked him if he’d be interested in buying the place.

    Judging by the way Tristan had found Elise crying in her van moments earlier, he guessed the gifted violinist regretted her decision of not staying in the family business.

    Back in his apartment, Tristan unrolled the architect’s plans for the music shop onto the kitchen table when someone knocked at the door.

    Hi again.

    Elise stood there looking everywhere but at him.

    That was quick, he said, referring to her visit with her family.

    I haven’t gone back home yet.

    He figured as much.

    Why not?

    I have my reasons. What do you really know about running a music shop?

    Nothing. That’s why I need to hire—

    Me. She brought her eyes to his. You should hire me.

    A hint of desperation glinted in that cocoa gaze of hers. Then she blinked and defiance flashed. He gave her credit for not going down without a fight.

    I should? he asked.

    Absolutely. Before I left home, I apprenticed to be a luthier, but I also worked in the music shop. Are you planning on keeping the inventory?

    Your family insisted I purchase the shop with the inventory, but I plan on selling most of it off.

    Tears shimmered in her eyes.

    Oh no. Not all of it, just some of it.

    Why would you do that? Her voice strained with emotion.

    Because I’m turning this into a music school.

    Elise nodded, then pulled her shoulders back and raised her chin. You’ll need some help selling the instruments, though.

    She held her shiny black hair up with a clip. A few pieces had escaped and framed her pretty face while she championed her cause.

    How about this? When I get ready to do that, you’ll be the first one I call.

    Elise hooked the stray strand of hair behind her ear, looking around him to see inside. Her stare landed on the table.

    What’s that?

    The plans for this place. Would you like to see them?

    She nodded, and he motioned for her to come inside.

    I’m going to soundproof the rooms in the basement for music lessons. I’ll keep some violins and cellos for lessons. He pointed to the drawings. After seeing the violin workshop at the back of the store, I’ve been thinking of expanding it so we could teach kids how to make guitars.

    Elise remained quiet as he continued showing her the plans to convert the apartment to an office.

    What do you think? I’m pretty proud of it.

    He thought the idea was genius.

    Elise just kept nodding. So, you would only need me here until you sell the inventory?


    Okay. Well, thanks anyway.

    Her voice cracked with emotion, and his stomach flipped. She wore the same expression she had earlier, the one that told him she had just lost everything. Shit. Crying women were his Kryptonite.

    In the doorway, she swiped her sleeve across her face at her tears. Thanks again.

    She closed the door behind her, leaving Tristan staring at the door, battling the sudden silence.

    What the hell did she mean by ‘she had her reasons?’ He never intended to get in the middle of some family feud regarding the business. Yet something nagged at him.

    He skipped down the stairs and ran across the parking lot as Elise climbed back inside her van. With his knuckle, he knocked on the window.

    She rolled it down.

    I bought this place with good intentions.

    For the first time since they met, her eyes searched his for more than a nanosecond.

    I’m happy for you, she said, attempting to roll up the window until he stuck his hand in to stop her.

    She spun her eyes heavenward but stopped.

    I don’t want you to think I had any part in putting a wedge between you and your folks. Family is important and life’s too short to let petty shit keep you away from them.

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. She rolled up the window and started the van.

    He went back inside. He said what he needed to say. Hopefully, Elise would listen to him this time and go home.


    Fifteen minutes later, Elise knocked on Tristan’s apartment door for the second time. His eyes widened in surprise when he saw her.

    Hi. It’s me again.

    I can see that.

    She’d been socially awkward her entire life and making eye contact had been incredibly difficult. But earlier, Tristan regarded her with more than compassion. She had the gut feeling he understood her.

    Standing in the doorway, she forced herself to stare at him without turning away. No wonder he had legions of girl fans. His green eyes were bright against his dark five o’clock shadow. All his features were perfect, from his straight nose to the stubble around his lips and chin. In fact, a small scar near his right eye, the only imperfection he had, if you could call it that, added to his appeal.

    So why is the rich and famous Tristan Morgan living here in this tiny apartment? Why not buy a mansion or something? Isn’t that what douchebag rock stars do?

    Her heart skipped a beat when his forehead creased, and he drew his beautifully manscaped eyebrows together. She never expected that her questions would wound him.

    His cell phone played an Irish tune, startling them.

    Tristan glanced at the screen, and his face brightened. Which meant the person on the other end had to be a girl.

    Come in. I’ll take this and then answer your questions.

    Hey Ker, he answered the phone, his voice more gravelly than raspy.

    He took a few steps into the small kitchen with the phone up to his ear. Elise wandered around her living room, then into her bedroom, having no desire to hear Tristan speak to his girlfriend.

    She stood exactly where she had when Tristan hopped out of her Queen-sized bed, scanning the room.

    It looked like he had just moved in. There were only a couple of boxes by the dresser. Some pictures were leaning against the wall, waiting to be hung. To her surprise, though, no evidence of a woman. Made sense. Probably a one-night stand kind of guy. She knew his type. A girl in every city. Love ‘em and leave ‘em.

    Elise moved over to the bedside table and tugged open the drawer. In the back, near the corner, she retrieved a small box of condoms.

    The same box she bought when she first moved in there, after her family remodeled the office space into this apartment for her. Back then, she wanted to be prepared for anything. She thought being an adult meant having meaningless sex. Another preconceived notion from being under her mother’s thumb all the years she’d been a prodigy.

    She tossed the box back in the drawer and slammed it shut.

    You can take those, but they’re two years past the expiration date, so I wouldn’t advise it.

    She hated that his smoky tone affected her, but she couldn’t tell whether she hated it or liked it.

    No thanks. You’re welcome to them, unless, of course, you have your own stash hidden somewhere.

    He chuckled but didn’t answer.

    You must, right? Hey, why isn’t there a well-worn path in the carpet from the parade of women that come in and out of this place?

    He leaned against the dresser and gave her that glance again. The one that said he pitied her.

    Are you gay? I never even thought of that. Or even worse, celibate? That would be horrible. I can practically hear hearts breaking around the world.

    I’m straight and celibate by choice, for the time being anyway. And buying a mansion for just me is overkill, hence the small apartment. My turn to ask you a question.

    Elise shrugged. Okay. It was only fair.

    Why aren’t you with your band right now?

    Just then, she’d decided that the rasp in his voice sounded damn sexy. I just left.


    Look, Tristan, if you’re going to get so personal with your questions, I’m going to need a safe word. She tried to make it sound like a joke until Tristan moved into her personal space.

    He took one more step to close the small gap between them. Elise backed up into the night table behind her and gripped the edge for support, blood pounding in her ears.

    What’s your safe word, Elise?

    She hoped he’d drop the whole inquisition thing. His question told her otherwise.

    Her eyes darted around the room. In the corner near the closet, Elise saw what looked like a ... didgeridoo?

    One corner of his mouth twitched up. Every time I ask a question that’s too personal, you’ll say didgeridoo?

    Again, he gave her that see-into-her-soul stare.

    Never mind. Let’s not play this game, she said.

    You’re not getting off that easily. He still wore that sly grin. You’re sticking with didgeridoo, then?

    I’m sticking with didgeridoo. God help her.

    Why did you leave the band?

    I finally came to my senses.

    About what?

    About how I want to live my life.

    He eyed her suspiciously. Are you sure you’re not running from something? You’re not in trouble, are you?

    No. I left because I realized touring in that van out there with three guys isn’t my life’s dream.

    He nodded, then took a step back away from her.

    She immediately missed his scent.

    Hey, I’d like a shot at this twenty questions thing.

    You can ask me anything, but the same thing applies. I’ll use the ‘D’ word for questions I think are too personal.

    Were you talking to your girlfriend on the phone? The question tumbled from her lips before she could stop it.

    He rubbed his hands over his beard stubble. Keri is my sister.

    The Rock Star Handbook clearly states rockers must have a waif-like woman clinging to you at every moment and she must be an actress, a supermodel, or at the very least, an artist.

    Tristan stepped near her, though not close enough for her to catch another whiff of his mix of what smelled like minty toothpaste and aftershave.

    I just said I’ve been celibate. I don’t have a girlfriend and before you ask why, didgeridoo. As for the Rock Star Handbook, you obviously don’t have the revised copy.

    That playful twinkle in his eyes returned. She gulped when Tristan moved back toward her.

    Because if you had, you’d know that as of 2017 the new rule states it’s totally legit for a rock star to date women who are unknown to the elite social circles of Hollywood or New York City. It’s actually preferred.

    That’s interesting. I’ve heard nothing about that. What harm would it do to play along?

    Oh, it’s a real thing, he said. All of us had to do something. Guys like Adam Levine would only date supermodels. It hardly seemed fair to all the other single girls in the world, you know?

    That’s so generous of all of you, she said in her best sarcastic tone, so he wouldn’t detect the effect he had on her.

    Hey. It’s the least we could do.

    Tristan exited the room, and she followed him back out into the kitchen.

    Look, I came back to offer you a proposition.

    He leaned up against the counter and crossed his arms over his chest.

    I don’t sleep with women I’ve just met.

    Embarrassed heat tingled over her from the top of her head down to her toes. His playful grin made her relax a bit, but she still moved her gaze to the floor.

    Not that kind of proposition. I’m thinking more like a job in the music shop.

    When I sell off the inventory, I’ll call you.

    I need a job now.

    Tristan rubbed his hands through his hair and made a gruff noise that told Elise she had annoyed him.

    Like I said earlier, go home and work things out with your folks. I’m sure they won’t have a problem with you living back at home until you decide what you want to do.

    I can’t. Tears stung the back of her eyes.

    Why not?

    She clenched her fists the way she always had when talking about her family life. Before Tristan could say anything else, she had to set him straight.

    I appreciate what you’re trying to do, but you don’t know my family. The business always came first with my father and my uncle. My prodigy career always came first with my mother. No one ever thought about me and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Then I met a guy. They all hated him. Things got really tense around here, so I left.

    She did a lap around the dinette table, then continued.

    But two days ago, I left my band to come back because the only other thing I can do is make violins and now they have taken that away from me, too. Can you just cut me some slack and let me crash here? I don’t care if I sleep on the floor. I can’t go home. Not yet. Not tonight.

    Even though her chest became lighter after her rant, she needed to apologize. I’m sorry to unload that on you.

    Tristan’s expression turned soft again. Stay here for tonight. In the apartment. In your bed.

    Elise’s heart dropped. Really?

    One night.

    She’d take it and not complain. Fine. But where will you stay? she asked, genuinely concerned for him. She hated putting him out but had no desire to deal with her family. Not now anyway.

    I’ll go downstairs to the music shop and sleep on the sofa.

    So elated and tingling with relief from his simple action, in a knee-jerk reaction, she kissed his cheek.

    Oh shit, she said, stepping back, realizing what she’d just done. Embarrassed heat burned

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