BLOG TOUR: Under His Sheets by R.L. Merrill (Excerpt & Giveaway)

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Instagram Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
Under His Sheets
By R.L. Merrill

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Accidentally Undercover, Book 3

Indie rock star Randall Sutter is hard at work creating a new life for himself in Spain after his band was robbed and decided to break up. The inspiration for his reinvention? The passionate night he spent with a Spaniard who encouraged him to consider spending more time in his country. So Randall 2.0 decides to dust off his credentials and take a job teaching music at an international school in a suburb of Barcelona. But questions soon arise when the stranger Randall can’t stop thinking about appears at the school—as Alonso the Custodian. And pretends not to recognize him. And claims to not speak English. Randall then discovers his new community—like the rest of Catalonia—is experiencing political turmoil, and Randall isn’t sure who he can trust. When Alonso reveals the truth about the night they met and just what he was doing there, Randall will have to have faith that Alonso’s feelings for him are real and not just part of his mission, or they may both end up victims of a centuries-long dispute playing out in modern Spain.

Under His Sheets is part of the Accidentally Undercover shared romantic suspense series.

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Chapter One

November 13, 2019

10:53 PM Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

All crowds were not created equal, nor did they evoke the same sensations.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with thousands of music fans at the rail on a rainy day in Nuremburg at Rock am Ring after playing a wild set with my band, MoonCraft, was one of my favorite experiences.

Standing back to front on Las Ramblas in Barcelona, with hundreds of protestors shouting in Catalan their desire for independence from Spain and justice for the separatists while police barricaded the side streets, not allowing anyone in or out of the protest, getting shoved and stepped on in the sweltering late-summer heat, wasn’t likely to rank in my top ten of anything other than terrifying.

“Por favor. Soy americano,” I shouted to one of the officers dressed in riot gear. “No quiero estar aqui.” I thought that was the right way to tell him I didn’t belong anywhere near this damn protest. I just wanted to get to a bar and lose my worries in a bottle of something strong enough to wash away the stench of what my life had become in the last two weeks since we’d come to Catalonia.

The cop pushed me back into the crowd of protestors who were waving yellow flags with red stripes and a blue triangle with a white star and into…

A frowning Spaniard with short, curly hair, long sideburns, a hard body, and a deep chin dimple covered in dark stubble.


“Lo siento,” I said before another wave in the crowd pushed me into him again. I lost my balance and was about to go down when he caught me under the arm.

“Ves amb compte.”

“I’m sorry.”

My English must have startled him because he pulled me back in close and his eyes widened in surprise.

“You’re the American.”

Not an American, but the American? And he wasn’t asking. When I kept gaping like a fish out of water, he adjusted his grip and yanked me forward, somehow making the crowd part for us. I tripped more than once as he dragged me through the chanting crowd that was yelling “independencia,” and I ended up draped over his back as he dragged me toward the barricades on the far side of the corridor. He said something to the cop, who moved aside just enough for my savior to slip through with me in tow.

“Where are we…” I started to ask when he stopped to punch in a code in an alcove of a building a block or so off of Las Ramblas.

“You’ll be safe inside.”

“Thanks, but I was just trying to get to a bar—”

“I have drinks upstairs.”

He led me up three flights and down a dark hallway to an apartment door. Another keypad dealt with and he opened the door, moving inside quietly and disappearing into the darkness.

Should I follow? The last time I’d followed a stranger into a dark, unfamiliar apartment… Okay I’d never done this before. You’d think as a musician who’d been touring the world with his band for the past four years, I’d have had wild, adventurous experiences like that. If you did, well, you’d be sorely disappointed.

“Ven aquí, guiri.”

“Excuse me?” I asked. “What did you call me?”

I walked down the entry hallway into the apartment and into the dimly lit living room with sparse furniture and no decor to speak of. Not even a wall calendar or a plant.

The man stood in front of a large window, which overlooked the chaos we were just in. The lights from police vehicles bounced off the bare walls, giving a red hue to the place.

“¿Hablas inglés?”

“Yes, I do, better than you speak Spanish.” His words were soft though, so I didn’t take offense.

“Thank you for getting me out of there,” I said, looking down into the crowd. It was much denser than I’d thought and went on as far as I could see. “I shouldn’t impose.”

“You’re Randall, right? From that band MoonCraft?”

That was the last thing I thought he’d say. “I was. We broke up. Now I’m just Randall.”

“Why break up? You were good.”

“Have you seen us?”

He nodded. “I have. At Sala Razzmatazz. It was a good show.” He opened a bottle of wine and poured two glasses. “I loved the cover you did of that Mike Patton song, ‘Deep Down.’ Wasn’t expecting that.” He handed me a glass and when I paused, he gestured to it. “I said I had drinks. You look like you could use one.”

“Thanks.” I accepted the glass and pushed all thoughts of stranger danger out of my head. “Yeah that Mike Patton stuff is a vibe.” And super niche. How did this guy know the album Mondo Cane?

He nodded once and turned his gaze back to the street below the window. There was surprisingly little noise from the protest inside his apartment, and though it had been a sultry night outside, it was cool, probably due to the ceiling fans.

“It is lucky I saw you. You could have been arrested. Being American might have made things difficult for you.”

“Losing my passport would do that too.” I finished my wine and without missing a beat, he refilled it.

“How did you manage that?”

“The same reason my band broke up. We got robbed two weeks ago, right after that show that you saw. All of our gear? Gone. Most of my personal stuff gone. That was the last straw. We were on our last few Euros we’d budgeted for the tour and couldn’t play the rest of the gigs we’d booked without buying all new instruments and equipment, so the guys decided to bail. I’ve been sitting around my hotel waiting for my appointment at the embassy, trying to figure out my next move. It was not my plan to get involved with a protest, I was just looking for a bar to spend my last night in Spain, potentially, before my appointment tomorrow. Then I can go home, not that I’m looking forward to that.”

Last sip. He refilled. I didn’t know why I was unloading my tale of woe on him, but he was the first person I’d spoken to in a couple of days and he carried himself like someone who…cared. I still wasn’t sure why he’d brought me to his home, though. No red flags had jumped out, but I was still a bit…confused.

“I suppose I was in the right place at the right time, then. Can’t have you being detained. Though it’s too bad you’re leaving.”

I was halfway through my third glass of what was exceptional wine when his words struck me. “Why’s that?” It almost sounded like he was flirting?

He moved my way with the bottle, filling my glass before I could finish.

He shrugged. “Seems a shame for you to leave España on a low note.”

For the first time, he made prolonged eye contact with me, and while I wouldn’t call it a smile, there was definitely humor in the curve of his lips, his dark red lips that cut dramatically into his olive skin. His short, dark brown, curly hair was lightly sprinkled with gray, making it tough to tell how old he was. Maybe he was prematurely gray? But I felt like, the way he carried himself, he was older than my twenty-seven years old. But not like old old.

The weight of the past two weeks seemed to dissipate as I looked at this incredible specimen of Spanish finery. He wasn’t much taller than me, maybe 5’10”, but the way he filled a pair of jeans made me want to weep, and when I’d been draped over his back, I’d felt his powerful grip, his exceptionally large deltoids, and he hadn’t faltered under my weight, which wasn’t insubstantial.

I’d been told I had a pretty face, pretty hair, and a stunning voice, but I certainly wasn’t built like most rangy, lanky singers in rock bands. My DNA meant no matter what I tried, I always carried extra padding around the middle and my ass really didn’t quit. It hadn’t mattered to me much until MoonCraft fell prey to the number two band killer: number one is feuding siblings; number two is members getting romantic. In a moment of weakness, I blurted out my feelings for my guitar player, Rig, and two years into our tenure, I fell into his bed.

Such a cliché, hoping to make harmony with a bandmate. I should have known better. It wasn’t like MoonCraft was my first band. Our affair didn’t last long before he’d moved on, leaving me to pretend everything was okay. Now Rig and our drummer, Halo, were together together and headed back to the U.S., most likely making plans for a new band without me.

Four years I’d invested in them. I’d told myself that if I could manage to keep us focused, this could be the project that launched my career into the stratosphere. Perhaps band killer rule three should be European club tour.

“What do you suggest I do?” It must have been the wine, or maybe he was responding to my downtrodden forlorn look, but as he gazed back at me intently, I thought, It sure would be nice to not be alone tonight.

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About the Author:

Whether she’s writing contemporary romance featuring quirky and relatable characters or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, R.L. Merrill loves creating compelling, diverse, and inclusive stories that will stay with readers long after. Winner of the Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, and a Foreword INDIES finalist for Summer of Hush, and Daphne DuMaurier finalist for Connection, Ro spends every spare moment improving her writing craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real-life and happily ever after. She contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and recently joined the Carnival of Mysteries shared world project. You can find her connecting with readers on social media, advocating for America’s youth, cruising around town with Great Dane Velma, cuddling with twin black cat familiars Frankenstein and Dracula, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area! Stay Tuned for more…

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