Learning To Fly
The Fated Love Series; Book 1
Pages ~ 196
Published By ~ Lauren Firminger
Estimated Publishing Date ~ 4/16/16
Genre ~ New Adult; Romance
Cover Designed by ~ MadHat Covers
Maddison was just your average Aussie girl. Raised by her uncle when her mum and dad died, she worked, hung out with her friends and had a boyfriend she loved. Or so she thought. When she found her boyfriend had been cheating on her with her best friend, Maddie decided it was time for a change. She quit her job and started working on a plan to travel.
Enter Morgan Young.
Morgan Young is a Country Superstar and rising higher. He always knew what he wanted and went for it. Maddie was no exception.
What happens when this Aussie meets a country superstar? Secrets revealed and sparks will fly. Will Maddie get her happily ever after or is she destined to fall.
I always wondered what happened right before died. there white lights and seeing your life flashing before your eyes? Would you only see the good things, or would all the hurt and pain come back, too?
I got my answer. I watched the images hit me one by one. From the smells I remembered in those moments to the feelings I felt. I watched people I hadn’t seen in years who made an impact in my life flash before me. Faces I would never see again brought a tear to my eye. All because I had to be on that stage with him. I couldn’t leave him, and now it was going to cost me my life. Could they save me in time, or was evil about to win out?
Let’s go back to the beginning, though. Who am I? My name is Maddison Lee. I was born and raised in a small country town just south of Tamworth. When I say town, I mean it was one of those blink and you miss it kind of towns, but I loved it. I wasn’t the popular girl in school, but I had good friends. It didn’t matter that I could count them all on one hand. They all mattered to me, and I trusted them. I was on my own for the most part. My uncle was my only living relative. My mum and dad died when I was little. Mum died from complications during childbirth, and dad, who had spent his whole life with just one person, died from heart complications. Well, that was how it was explained to me when I was old enough to understand. At the time, I was told he died of a broken heart. That was something I still believed to this day.
Once my uncle found out about my dad, he moved to Tamworth to live with me until I finished high school. Once I got a job and moved out on my own, he relocated back to Tasmania where he has been living ever since. Sure I still spoke to him every other day, but I hadn’t seen him in a few years. My uncle had never married or been in a serious relationship that I knew of. He was quite happy to live like that. When he wasn’t running his hotels, he was seeing a different part of the world. That’s what I was dreaming of now, and I had now finally decided it was the time to do it, but first, I needed one last weekend with my friends. I needed to say goodbye.
Girl’s weekends were supposed to be about fun, right? Girls drinking too much and making memories. That’s what I thought too until I got to the camp grounds. Yep, camping. The last thing I ever expected to be doing with this bunch. My friends were the complete opposite of me. Their idea of a night under the stars was five-star hotels with room service and bars in pools. How I had gotten them to agree to a five day camping trip in the middle of QLD was something I still had no clue how it had happened. So after packing up my truck, Ellie and I hit the road. We had a seven hour drive ahead of us before we got there and could set up camp. Maybe I should have flown instead.
When I turned the music up a little, Ellie got the hint I didn’t want to talk and went off to sleep. I enjoyed the drive with only the music playing. It gave me time to think. I had recently split from the guy I was seeing, and I was using this weekend as my chance to leave him behind me. Seven hours in a car with Ellie was painful, to put it mildly. You see, Ellie had started dating someone new. The new guy Ellie was dating happened to be my ex, so there was no chance of leaving that all behind me. I had tried everything I could to get out of bringing Ellie with me, but we had this planned before everything came to light about her and Josh, so I couldn’t back out at the last minute, and none of the girls had room with them. I had almost pleaded to swap but work commitments wouldn’t allow that.
“Maddison?” I turned to look at Ellie.
“I thought you were asleep.”
She nodded her head. “I was… I… I just wanted to say… I didn’t steal him from you. I know what you are thinking… I wouldn’t do that to you.”
I couldn’t help but snort and roll my eyes. “El, I think you should find a different way home.”
“What? Maddie, come on. We can talk about this...” Shaking my head, I focused on the road ahead of me.
“I’m not going home, Ellie. This is it for me.” I saw her frown from the corner of my eye. Before I left for our weekend away, I had quit my job. There was something unsatisfying about sitting behind a desk for hours on end when all I wanted to do was be in the big wide world seeing it all. I looked over at Ellie. “I quit, Ellie. I can't sit in that town for the rest of my life. You can have Josh. Hope he treats you better than he ever did me. I just won’t be around to see it.”
“So what are you gonna do, Maddie?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I will get by some way or another. Sell my photos maybe. I have enough to get me by for now. Not one for making any plans right now.”
“Do the other girls know?”
I shook my head. “And I ask you not to change that, Ellie. I will tell them when I am ready.” Ellie nodded and closed her eyes again. Hearing “Going out like that” by Reba McEntire, I turned it up louder and focused back on the road. I took a deep breath. What was I gonna do from here?
Once we arrived, I almost kissed the ground as I got out of my truck. God, I was glad that was over and done with. Ellie and I were the last to arrive. I moved to hug the girls, and they could tell there was something up between El and I. I guessed they just put it down to Josh and moved on. After the hellos, I started to set up camp before it got too dark to see what I was doing. None of the other girls knew how. I had to stop and ask myself why was I doing this? Then I remembered this would be goodbye. I caught myself looking around at the girls from time to time. Who knew when I would see them all again. Who knew when I decided to come back home if we would even still be friends.
After the camp had been set up, we showered and relaxed. We got a campfire going and had some music playing while we had a few drinks. The rest of the weekend would start tomorrow, but for now, it was just me and the girls. Taking a sip of my Southern Comfort and lime, I took a deep breath. Looking up, I went to open my mouth when Ellie’s phone started ringing. She looked at me before getting up and walking away from the group. I downed the rest of my drink after that.
“Are you okay Maddie?”
“Just peachy Jas.” With a sigh, I got up and walked away to make another drink. Hearing someone come up behind me, I looked over my shoulder.
“Come on Maddie, we have been best friends since preschool. What’s going on in that pretty little head of yours?” By now, the girls had stopped talking to listen to the conversation. Looking past them to Ellie, I could tell she was listening too despite the phone still being in her hand. I moved to sit down with my drink in hand and looked into the fire.
“I was hoping this could wait, but since you asked...” I looked up at them all watching me. “I won’t be coming home after this weekend. I got someone to look after my place indefinitely and I quit my job. I can’t sit around and wait for my life to start. I’m gonna start living it.” I took a drink from my glass and just listened to the music and the sounds of the fire going because right now, all the girls were looking at me like I had been speaking another language.
I raised a brow. “After all the shit these last few years has brought me, I need a change. I can’t sit here any longer. You are all settling down and starting families, and that is great for you all, but I can’t see that life for myself. I want to travel the world with my camera and take photos of it all. I want to shoot for the biggest names. I need to do this now or I am going to be miserable for the rest of my life.” One by one, they all nodded and we silently agreed this had to be the best weekend of our lives.
The next few days seemed to fly past. Before I knew it, it was our last night there, and we were having a few drinks in the “bar,” as they called it. The music and drinks were flowing and it was almost time to call it a night when I felt a tap on my shoulder. The girls’ jaws all dropped before I had the chance to turn around, so I didn’t know what to expect. Quickly downing my drink and turning around, I stumbled seeing who it was. Standing before me was Morgan Young. All of him. I had just spent the last few days drooling over this man. Not to mention the months beforehand since his music was released a few years ago. His hands found my arms helping to steady me as I looked up into his beautiful brown eyes.
“Are you okay, darlin’?”
My God, that accent made me swoon. I nodded. “Yeah, thanks. Might be time to switch to water, though.” I laughed. His grin widened, and he led me over to the bar. Signaling to the bartender, he came over with two waters and handed me one.
“Ya know, I have been watchin’ ya all weekend.”
“That’s funny, Morgan, I have been watching you, too.” I grinned and took a sip of my water.
“See now that’s unfair, darlin’. You know my name but I don’t know yours.”
I held my hand out to him. “Maddie.”
Moving outside for some fresh air with Morgan, I kept sipping my water. The air inside had been thick while the girls and I dancing in the bar, so it was good to get away from it all. Walking a little way down the path, I found some logs and took a seat on one while Morgan sat on the other. “Are you headed back to the States tomorrow?”
Morgan shook his head. “No, I was taking some time off while I was here to just unwind. Touring these last few months has been crazy.”
I nodded. “You’ll love it. It’s a beautiful country.”
His eyes never left me. “I like the gorgeous views I have seen so far.” I felt heat rush to my cheeks and knew my face would be red right now. Clearing my throat, I took another drink. “Are you headed back to your partner tomorrow, Maddie?”
I couldn't help but grin. “Smooth Morgan, but no. No partner to go back to. I am actually about to start traveling for a while.” I could see his brows raise in curiosity.
“Where ya headed?”
I took another drink of water I looked away for a minute to compose myself. I had no idea when I left home a few days ago that I would be sitting here with Morgan Young. Not that I was about to admit this to him, but my laptop was a stalker’s paradise to this man. Obsessed was an understatement. I looked back at him and swallowed my water. “Around Australia to begin with, then who knows where after that. Maybe the States. I would love to see Italy and Greece. The UK, too. Germany for Oktoberfest, Switzerland, Finland to see the Northern Lights from an igloo…” As I talked, his eyes never left my face. I felt my cheeks heat up again “Sorry, rambling.” I took another drink.
“Don’t be sorry. I love to see that passion in someone’s eyes.”
I nodded as I swallowed. “It’s something I have always wanted to do. Photograph my way around the world.”
He shook his head and took a drink from his bottle. “Hard to believe I stumbled on the one person who has ambition and I have to leave her here.” I watched as he heaved a sigh and took another drink.
“When do you fly out?”
“A couple of weeks.”
“Then why don’t you come with me and see some of what my country has to offer then? Then when I get there, you can do the same?”
He looked up and his grin was back. “You have yourself a deal.” He held out his hand to me. I shook it and met his eyes. I didn’t pull my hand away, and neither did he. Hearing someone coming up behind us and a throat clear, we both reluctantly let our hands drop.
“I’m not interrupting anything, am I?”
I moved to sit next to Morgan. Taken or not, I knew what was coming next. “As a matter of fact, Ellie, you were. Don’t you have a boyfriend to go and check up on? Would hate for you to turn your back on him for too long.” As she narrowed her eyes and took a step toward me, I stood up. I let my lips curl into a smirk because the look in her eyes told me not everything was as picture perfect as she had been painting it all weekend. Out of nowhere, Jas came running up, grabbed Ellie by the wrist, and pulled her away. As my best friend since preschool knew, I was vicious when pissed off, and I had only just scratched the surface with Ellie. I had a lot of ammunition I wouldn’t hesitate to pull out in the future. When she was well away from Morgan and me, I sat back down, and he took my hand again. He laced his fingers with mine and gave them a squeeze.
“You okay?” I nodded, running my free hand through my hair. I rested my elbow on my knee and my cheek on my palm.
“She is part of the reason I am so happy to be anywhere but home. My ex was cheating on me with her, and she still refuses to own up to it despite him telling me everything. They are still together. She has been rubbing it in my face all weekend trying to make out that they are perfect together. All she is doing is trying to convince herself of that. That’s not my problem anymore. I won’t be around to see it crash and burn.” He took his hand from mine, and I felt a little disappointed. That didn’t last long, though. Morgan wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me closer. Leaning my head against his shoulder, I let out another sigh. God, I hated her right now.
“Stay with me tonight?” I blinked and pulled back to look at him
“Sorry, filter didn’t quite catch that thought...” He chuckled and ran his hand along my arm.
“What I meant was, I don’t think you should be going back to stay at camp if the she devil is going to be there. It’s your last night here and I think you should be leavin’ on a high.”
I could see his point. If I went back to the camp, then Ellie would start shit to try to get to me, which would result in me doing something I really wouldn't be sorry for after. If I was going to be taking photos for a living, I couldn’t risk hitting her wrong and doing something that would see me stuck back in that town with them. Biting my lip, I nodded
“Okay, I’ll stay.” The grin that spread across his lips was enough to make me forget what just happened and relax. I tucked myself back into his side and wrapped my arms around his waist as I fought to hide a yawn. This was what happened once I stopped after a night of drinking. The buzz would make me sleepy as hell, and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was crashing. “Do you mind if we get out of here? I have a feeling I am about to meet a wall, and sadly, there is no crashing through it after this weekend.”
“Of course, darlin’, let's get you comfy shall we?”
I smiled and we both stood up. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders and I tucked myself into his side as we made our way back to where they were camping out. Well, I wouldn’t so much call it camping as I would sleeping in tour buses and campervans, but eh, I wasn’t about to complain. They needed to sleep and when you are camping in tents with this many people around, I can understand why they needed to put a solid wall between them and that. Once we got through the security guys who kept the crazies away from them, Morgan opened up the door and pulled his arm away.
“After you, my lady.” I couldn’t help but grin when he motioned with his hand and dipped his head.
“Why thank you, good sir.” I stepped in after a small curtsy and walked inside the bus, Taking his hand as he led me through to the back. He pointed out everything including the bathroom and kitchen in case I needed anything before he stopped when he got to the bedroom. Yeah, maybe I was rethinking how I should be travelling. I shook my head at the thought and moved to lay down on the bed.
“You take the bed Maddie. I can sleep out in the front part.”
Sitting up slowly, I shook my head. “You should have the bed Morgan. It is your bus after all.” Morgan shook his head and I tilted my head to the side a little. “You could always come and lay with me…” It took him half a second to think about that before he was pulling his shirt up over his head and moving to lie down on the other side of the bed. “Morgan, where are your shirts?” He raised a brow and pointed to a case in the corner.
Getting up off the bed, I moved to grab a comfy looking one and ducked into the bathroom. Losing the boots and jeans, I took off my shirt and bra folded them all neatly and left them in there. Putting on his shirt, which was swimming on me, I took a deep breath, walked out of the bathroom, and moved to lie down again. I looked over at him, and boy, did I ever regret that. That smirk. My God. I was going to have very good dreams of that smirk tonight. While getting comfy under the covers, I wiggled back against him. “No funny business mister.”
He chuckled and lay down letting his arm wrap around my waist, pulling me closer. “Wouldn’t dream of it…well, maybe I would.” I let out a soft groan as I hid my face in the pillow and closed my eyes. He clapped his hands, and the lights went out before he wrapped his arm back around me. “Sweet dreams, Maddie.”
I mumbled something as sleep kicked in and took me from Morgan. That was the first night I’d had a good night's sleep in I don’t know how long…
Lauren Firminger grew up in a small country town only a couple hours away from where she currently resides in Sydney, Australia.
During high school, Lauren fell in love with books and reading, and like most, was a Potter-head then turned Twi-Hard, Vampire Academy soon followed by the Mortal Instruments.
However, it wasn't until she got her hands on Sylvia Day's Crossfire Series that Lauren fell in love with reading again. Soon after, her new writing journey began, bringing her to her official debut release of Learning to Fly.
Will you be in Sydney in 2017? You can find Lauren and many other amazing authors at the “Books by the Bridge” author event. You can find more information on their Facebook page.