Love Me Tenor

By: Annabeth Albert

To Wendy Qualls, whose careful beta reading and musical knowledge enriched this story and whose friendship continues to enrich my life.





ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

As always, an enormous thank you to the entire team at Kensington. Their enthusiasm for the #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series makes working with them gratifying. A special thank you to the graphics department for the amazing cover—they absolutely captured my vision of Trevor. Thank you to my editor, Peter Senftleben, and my agent, Saritza Hernandez, for believing in the #PerfectHarmony series. Thank you to my beta readers, who read early versions of this book and whose comments helped flesh out the journey for Trevor and Jalen.

This book was written during the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s annual Winter Writing Festival, an online event I highly recommend for writers of all levels. Thank you to the festival participants for pushing me during sprints and for providing companionship on what is often a lonely journey. My family was particularly understanding during the push to finish this book, especially during the phase where it seemed like I had “Story of My Life” and “Kerosene” on constant loop in my office.

Finally, no book ever truly lives until it has readers. Thank you to everyone who read Book One in the #PerfectHarmony series and especially thank you for sharing, reviewing, reaching out to me on social media, and the countless other ways that readers have spread their love for the series and my books. Each and every one of you is special to me.





Chapter One



@NextDirectionShow Ready to find the next big Boy Band sensation? We are putting together groups now! The winning group gets a record deal, post-show tour & other prizes!





@NextDirectionShow We can’t wait for our groups to arrive! Filming starts in June & we can’t wait for you to meet our contestants!





The heater was broken again. Trevor shifted around, trying to find a stray bit of warmth from the ancient radiator in his tiny dorm room. The pile of textbooks on the foot of his bed went skittering to the floor as he adjusted the phone to his ear.

“Come on. You’re perfect boy band material,” Dawn said, her voice all sparkle despite the bad cell phone connection. She was in LA, home of sun and happy people and the best, most terrifying three months of Trevor’s life, when he’d played a minor part in the a cappella reality show Perfect Harmony.

“A boy band? You want me to be in a boy band?” Here in Iowa, land of reality and final exams and thirty-seven days from homelessness, Trevor couldn’t match Dawn’s enthusiasm. She had been a production assistant on Perfect Harmony but now had an assistant producer gig. Everything was awesome in her world, including the new show she’d landed on.

“Yeah. You’re exactly the kind of harmless cute that wins over audiences.”

“Harmless cute? You mean I look fifteen?”

“Okay. Hot in a nonthreatening manner. That better?” Dawn sighed, and there was a sound of papers shuffling. “Look. I loved you on Perfect Harmony. And I’m sorry that didn’t pan out for you, but you’re photogenic and you’ve got a decent voice and I really have to fill these slots so we can make housing arrangements—”

“Hang on. Did you say housing?” Trevor looked at his gray cement-block walls and college-issued furniture that were only his for exactly thirty-seven more days. And then? Nothing. He’d sent out stacks of ré-sumés, but every other soon-to-be graduate in the state was also looking, and most had way more employable skills than he did. No job had miraculously appeared, and he had no savings for a deposit on a place and no lead on a roommate situation, thanks to what had happened with his family.

“Yes. All the competing boy bands will be sharing a house together. It’ll be a big part of the show, and meals will be included, too. We’ll pay for you to fly to Vancouver next month. I’ve got the perfect group to put you in. A bunch of other guys like you. It’ll be terrific.”

“Not LA?”

“Vancouver is cheaper for filming. I’ll get you paperwork for making sure you have a passport. So are you in?”

No, I’m out. Out, out, out. Out had landed him in this predicament. He’d been stupid enough to come out to his family at spring break. Now he had no job at his father’s church waiting for him, no money, no hope of money, and no place to live after graduation. His dad’s harsh words still rung in his ears and his mother’s bleak face wasn’t something he’d forget anytime soon.

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