The next book in the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel series is Can’t Help Falling in Love. Look for it in August!
When Randa Whitmore pushed open the limo door, the furnace blast that was Memphis in August nearly knocked her over. She cursed under her breath about this latest assignment and straightened her shoulders before she slid over the cool leather seat to stand on the sidewalk. Thanks to the shade in this drop-off area at the front doors of the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel, the concrete was solid instead of tarry goo as she’d expected. Eggs wouldn’t fry on the sidewalk; they’d sprout legs and run away screaming.
“Can I take your bags, miss?” Randa turned to see a tall young man wearing a tacky Hawaiian shirt. He had a pleasant smile even in this heat. His name tag said “Sam.”
She smiled her “Mother Theresa” smile and tilted her head to the side. “Why, Sam, I would appreciate that so much. Thank you. Could you take them on inside? I want to take a quick look at this beautiful hotel before I go in.” She pressed a tip into his hand and nodded as he turned to the sliding doors of the hotel. She made a mental note that Sam seemed like a personnel asset.
“A very quick look,” she muttered as she forced herself out into the bright sunshine. The Rock’n’Rolla Hotel was boutique property situated right in the shadow of Graceland. Approximately 150 rooms, small meeting areas, and a full service bar and restaurant…all of them dedicated to the King of Rock and Roll. She shook her head. When the W Group bought it and renovated it, all that would be washed away in a sea of beige sameness. Then it would match every other property of the W Group and every member of her family for that matter.
The façade of the hotel was acceptable. Pink brick. White columns. It looked a little like what she’d seen of the pictures of Graceland. But when she turned the corner to check out the parking lot and the rest of the hotel, she knew she was in for an experience. Instead of the nice enough brick, these outer walls were painted with black silhouettes of music notes and records and the King, shaking his hips and doing his thing. Randa smiled as she tried to imagine hiring a mural painter who could translate pelvic gyrations. This one had done a damn good job. It was too bad it was about to be wiped away. This would never do on a Whitmore hotel.
She wiped the beads of sweat off her forehead and wished she’d put her hair up in a sleek ponytail as she walked back along the front of the hotel. Sweat was another thing that would never do on a Whitmore. Cold blooded, calculating, and nearly perfect was the way to be in her family. She hadn’t quite mastered any of those things but her father and brothers did their best to lead by example and sometimes by lesson. And when they were on a teaching spree, she ended up in places like the Rock’n’Rolla Hotel. In Memphis. In August.
Her Brazilian blowout was about to be tested mightily. It had been her first and last. The price tag was impressive but not nearly as impressive as her stylist’s gas mask. She was willing to suffer for perfection, but she had to draw the line somewhere.
She stopped in front of the doors but they automatically swung open. The music notes were probably a nod to the gates of Graceland. They weren’t so bad. She decided to take a picture and think about it before she made a recommendation to replace them. And the air conditioning that wafted out was as beautiful and welcome as the smell of fresh-baked cookies. If she were a cartoon character, she would have floated in with her eyes closed in ecstasy.
Sam nodded as she waved and she stopped to absorb the lobby of the Rock’n’Rolla. It was green. Really, really green. And not like green paint or carpet. Green like the rainforest. Plants exploded along one wall of the lobby and she could hear the faint trickle of a waterfall. Heavy wood chairs were scattered around and the floors and walls were some kind of natural stone. What she could see of them. She could feel the cool stone through her shoes and she wanted to sigh with relief.
But she was distracted because right in the middle of the lobby floor was what appeared to be a dead dog. Well, not dead but surely dead to the world. Every now and then the loose lips would twitch. She approached it carefully because while Randa Whitmore thought she loved dogs, she didn’t really have much practical experience. Dogs didn’t work with the all-white, all designer, all expensive Whitmore design aesthetic. Her mother had told her that often enough.
Randa squatted and teetered on her four-inch heels for a minute before she reached out to pet the dog’s silky long brown ears. Little green bows fluttered as the dog drowsily stretched and moved closer to her. She knew she was wearing a stupid grin, but the softness of his…no, her droopy ears, and the satisfied “hmph” she let out before she went back to sleep were reasons to smile. Randa didn’t care who saw it.