Today we are sharing a chapter from SHUFFLE by Lisa Swallow. This is a contemporary romance title and the second book in the series Ruby Riot! The book will be released January 28th and it is available for pre-order now, exclusively through amazon.
Will Campbell, Ruby Riot bassist, is back at university and failing badly at everything apart from partying.
With Ruby Riot on a break, Will returns to university to finish his degree. He needs major help if he wants to pass his final year and attempts to join a not-very-rock star study group. Will is horrified to discover the person organising the group is Fleur Roberts, the girl he’s secretly crushed on for two years and who recently threatened him with a restraining order.
Fleur’s rock stars are history academics. She has no interest in any variety of pierced, tattooed slacker, especially not the jackass rock star who humiliated her at a party. There’s no way in Hell that Will Campbell is joining her group.
Faced with losing the easiest way to fix his academic problems, Will has the perfect solution: pretend he’s his twin, Nate. Will and Nate have swapped identities before so nothing can go wrong. Surely.
Fleur is successful academically, but her love life is a failure. Following a number of disastrous dates, she finds herself falling in love with a guy who is lying to her. But Will’s deceit isn’t the only thing about to shatter her world. When another man Fleur trusted betrays her, and she attempts to retaliate, Fleur discovers how dangerous he is. And when Will becomes involved, the repercussions threaten both of their futures.
Shuffle is the second standalone book in the Ruby Riot series and can be read separately to the first book.
Pre-Order Exclusive to Amazon
Purchase the previous book in the series
Touring with Blue Phoenix fooled us into thinking we’d hit the big time and would never return to our ordinary lives again. Yeah, Ruby Riot dominates our corner of the music scene, we’re bombarded with questions and posts on social media, fan mail, and the whole deal. But, at the end of the day, we’re three guys and a girl in a band.
The band’s progress halted and life rewound when our lead singer, Ruby, danced off into the sunset with the Blue Phoenix guitarist and a baby on the way. Jax lost his shit over Ruby getting knocked up by Jem; but what’s the point in freaking out? She’ll come back; Ruby lives and breathes her music more than any of us. Apart from Jax, who was recently caught in feminine wiles of his own. Tegan, Bryn Hughes sister, kicked his backside into line in a spectacular fashion. I can almost see the thumbprint on his forehead. Things lulled as we finished the album and while Ruby has her baby. Then, we try again.
So, me and Nate rewind several months, back to studying and fulfilling our promise to parents. Mine still think we need a back-up plan for when our little musical venture fails. If they’d bothered to pay attention to our lives over the last few months, Mum and Dad would know this isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
We spent all our money from the tour within weeks. Now the choice is a job, which equals less time and energy to rehearse, or doing what the parents want and dutifully completing our degrees. No big deal, only a year left now.
Okay, big deal because I fucked up last year. I need high marks in all my courses this year or I’m going to fail my degree. An Arts degree. Nobody fails an Arts degree.
Living the rock star dream involved more than the odd weekend gig – rehearsals, obligatory partying, and girls. Hangovers equal missed lectures; but somehow, Nate juggled his student/rock star life as adeptly as his drumsticks. Nate studies the same course as I do, but we choose different class times. As only a handful of people in the world can tell us apart, between us we manage to attend at least one of the classes a week and keep our attendance average.
Nate became slack at note-taking last year, his hungover haze interfering with the ability to open his laptop, but somehow he muddled through and passed. I came a tiny percentage away from failing the majority of courses.
I only have myself to blame.
The worst subject is history. Nate talked me into this as our major, and I agreed, thought it would be easy, but no. Hardly any classes to attend, but so much fucking study. We study English lit too; that’s easier to scrape through by reading notes and creating my own crazy theories. History is bloody complicated.
Two weeks in, and things are off to a bad start.
“Shit!” I throw my paper at Nate, across the table in the cafe.
He looks at the assignment-marking sheet on the front and screws his nose up. “Oh, man. Fifteen percent? Was that for getting your name right?”
“I’m fucked!” I grumble and sit next to him. “What about you?”
“How? How do you do that?”
“I do study!”
I swear under my breath and pull out my phone. A text from Dee, the chick I hooked up with at the beginning of term; a starry-eyed Fresher who won’t take the hint I’m not interested. Times like this, I need to remind myself who I am. Will Campbell, bass player for Ruby Riot heading for the big time. Not Will Campbell, failing Arts student trying to keep his parents happy.
“What the fuck do I do? I tried this time! Really tried. I’m shit at history.”
“Man, if coming back to uni sucks this much, find a job instead.”
No way. As long as I’m here, I have cash flow from my parents. I promised that when Ruby Riot started making more money, I’d pay them back a thousand times over. Behind their smiles of agreement, I see what they really think: never going to happen.
“I can’t. I’m not doing some shitty job at a supermarket while I wait for Ruby to come back to the band.”
“Well, suck it up, princess. Keeps Mum and Dad off our backs if we get a ‘proper’ qualification.”
“When do you think they’ll believe we can make a living from the band?”
“When we actually do. The album launches next month, we have a few small gigs lined up. A bit of cash. Ruby’s coming.”
“With her kid?”
“Dunno. Maybe baby-daddy Jem will come and babysit.”
I laugh; we both do, at the image of Jem Jones – bad-mouthed, bad attitude, reformed addict – with a baby as his new accessory. “I’d pay to see that. Reckon he changes nappies?”
Nate screws his face up. “Dude, I’m eating.”
I steal one of his chips and watch the other students around. Most pay little attention to us, although we have hangers-on some days. Their belief we’re partying rock stars draws them to us, and the partying is one of the reason for my bad grades.
Nate slurps from his can of energy drink. “There’s a study group if you’re that worried.”
I stare. “Study group? Are you mad? I suppose that’s a group of chicks who meet in the evenings in the library and argue about feminist interpretations of history. Like the one in my class, can’t remember her name. Jeez, she doesn’t shut up and the guy teaching the class hardly gets a word in. No wonder I’m not learning anything.”
“Just a suggestion.” He pushes my paper across the table. “Fail this semester and you’ll be stacking supermarket shelves.”
“As if! What about the album? We’re gonna be big.”
“There’s no guarantee, you know that.” Nate stands. “Whose turn is it to go to the Shakespeare class this afternoon? Yours?”
“Oh crap, no, please don’t make me sit through that again. I bloody hate Shakespeare.” I stand too.
“Your name sake? No affinity there? What did you expect when you signed up for Lit as part of your degree?”
“Please,” I beg. “Do this. After that shit mark, I’m not in the mood.”
Nate wrinkles his nose at my pleading look. “Fine, but you do the next two classes.”
“I love you, man.” I grab the side of his face and kiss his cheek hard. Nate pushes me off. “Jesus, Will!”
He hauls his messenger bag across his shoulders and wanders away. Slumping back in my seat, I chew my lip. Study group sounds like a viable option. Unfortunately.
The Blue Phoenix Set is on sale now!
Lisa is originally from the UK but moved to Australia in 2001 and now lives in Perth in Western Australia with her husband, three children and dog.