2025 Cover Memo_RayneLacko  

Cover memo

BOOK TITLE: The Secret Song of Shelby Rey



SUBTITLE: It’s the first time she’s truly been heard.



AUTHOR NAME: Rayne Lacko
Legal name for copyright purposes: Rebecca Lacko



CATEGORY (genre)Young AdultComing-of-age



TRIM SIZE: (default is 5.5 x 8.5)



PRICE: (default is $17.95 for paperback, $9.95 for ebook)



SHORT “ELEVATOR PITCH” DESCRIPTION: This is a short paragraph, as it might appear on the back cover of your book, something you could say without rushing in less than a minute.
In THE SECRET SONG OF SHELBY REY, a young woman with an extraordinary gift meets a narcissistic rock star longing to find his true voice. Their journey through music, love, jealousy, and redemption aims to captivate the hearts of readers who enjoy magical realism.


LOCATION/TIME PERIOD: Where does your book take place? In what historical era?
Los Angeles, California. 2008.



CHARACTERS: Who are the main characters in your book? What do they look like? If there are specific facial features important to your character(s), such as eye color or skin tone, please include that information here. We invite you to please describe your character physically if you want this person to appear on your cover. It can be helpful to include photos as a guide for our designer team. 
I’m open to covers with or without people. My main characters are as follows:
Shelby Rey: 18 years old, blonde, grey eyes, very thin (underfed/malnourished)wearing either a minidress or oversized tee, either barefoot or in ill-fitting heels
Zac Wyattfit, muscular rock star, 20 years old, chestnut hair and blue eyes, heartthrob, lead singer/frontman confidence.
Stanford Lysandre: Black, braided hair, 20-22 years, wiry/slender body, guitarist, sunglasses, heroin addict but deeply caring, poetic, and wounded.
GENRE: Identify one to three genres your book could fall under (i.e. self-help, spiritual, memoir, mystery/thriller, romance, historical fiction, literary fiction, women’s fiction)


Realistic fiction, contemporary, literary


Appropriate, specific Amazon categories:


MOOD: What is the emotional mood/tone of your book?
Philosophical, lyrical, psychology/mental health, neurodivergence, musical, literary.


The overall mood is contemplative, doubt-filled, grievingloner who is seeking her purpose and path.


A beta reader said, “Tackling issues like drug addiction, mental illness and young power/fame is no easy task. You’ve done a commendable job here building out a world of rock and roll, excess, love and longing that reads like a cross between a romance and a thriller.” (Emphasis mine)



VISUAL: What is central visual idea in your story?Identify an object or place that captures the themes and tone of your book.
Southern California. Scenes take place in Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood. There are scenes in a music studio, the Hollywood Bowl, and a televised music awards show.
IMPORTANT** Headphones figure prominently in this music-themed story. Shelby manages her neurodivergence by wearing her deceased father’s headphones, but they are taken from her in the first chapter, and she wants them back throughout the narrative. 



TARGET AUDIENCE: Describe your ideal reader.Adult? Teen? Age range? Gender?
This book will primarily appeal to teen readers and women readers ages 18-50. It’s important to note that the protagonist is an 18-year-old female who eventually goes to college after a lot of deliberation. The story also includes sex and the use of heroin and pot. (AKA: It’s not aimed at the 13-year-old YA reader.) Considering that the story is set in 2008, it will appeal to millennials and some younger Gen X. 



YOUR BOOK’S MESSAGE: What do you want your reader to get from reading your book? How would you like them to feel when they finish the last page? Please summarize in a short paragraph.


While this could easily be considered a “sex, drugs and rock and roll” story, it’s actually quite literary, and consistently philosophical. My protagonist is as deep a thinker as she is a feeler. Also, the setup in the early chapters appears to be a romance novel wherein the rockstar bad boy is redeemed by love—but he isn’t. This book is not a romance. It has a realistic, literary ending


Still, the final scene is filled with hope, and there is a suggestion of a great romance in the future, so long as the protagonist follows her dream.


So, the final mood is realistic and hopeful and evokes the kind of feeling a young person has when they get accepted into college and are mature enough and ready to leave their (pain-filled incidents inchildhood behind them. It’s that hopeful feeling of choosing a college major, of moving to a first apartment, the feeling of finally believing in the capacity to become a successful adult. 


What are the key themes of your book?
Musicmental healthgrief and grieving (suicide); counseling, therapy, and social work; poverty; military families; choosing a path after high school, particularly for those in poverty and/or with emotional challenges and neurodiversity; pressures of fame; dating and sex; self-esteem and reliance; coming of age; transition into adulthood.


What is the point of view(s)? Is there anything unique about it? 
The novel is in first-person POV, and alternates primarily between Shelby Rey and rock star Zac Wyatt. There are also a few chapters from the first-person POV of rival/secondary love interests Stanford Lysandre, Dr. Roland Gibson, and Jaclyn Spenser.
Make a list of 5 adjectives that describe your book:
Not sure how to approach this…
Coming of age, rock and roll, family trauma, fame, self-determination
Gritty, introspective, hopeful, musical, thought-provoking


Make a list of 5 adjectives that do NOT describe your book.
Horror, science fiction, simplistic, formulaic, happy-ever-after



Does your book reference or connect to any cultures and/or lifestyles? List them here. 
Los Angeles, music industry, songwritingyoung Hollywood, audio engineering, military families, counseling/therapy and social work, poverty/living below the poverty line, US high schools, drug addiction, arts and creativity, music and music performance, fame/celebrity, neurodiversity/neurodifferences.



BOOK SYNOPSIS: Please share your book synopsis—the more detailed the better. We are expecting a full page or more of detail. We need the full plot, beginning to end, all spoilers included. This is not meant to be a teaser. The designers use this to help them grasp the entirety of your project. We will not share any of this externally, so include as much as you want. A chapter-by-chapter summary is very helpful (SEE BELOW for chapter summaries.)
It’s 2008, and 18-year-old Shelby Rey just graduated high school with a secret: she can hear the music inside a person by touching them. She’s not sure what’s worse: busting out another person’s innermost secrets in song or trying to maintain a no-touch zone around her body at all times, but she’s getting lonely. When her drug-addicted mother kicks her out of their tiny apartment, she has nowhere to go.
Zac Wyatt, the enigmatic lead singer of the world-renowned rock band Grounder, is desperate for a solo career. But his self-absorption stifles his authentic artistic expression.The true genius behind the band is Stanford Lysandre, a self-taught musical prodigy hooked on heroin. Zac’s jealousy of Stanford verges on a dangerous obsession.
Their lives intersect when Zac encounters Shelby outside his therapist’s office, mistaking her for another privileged L.A. partygoer. Yet, Shelby is unlike anyone he’s ever met and an undeniable attraction sparks between them. Shelby recognizes Zac’s voice from the radio but is bewildered by the dark and hot-tempered music she hears within him.
As Shelby secretly attends Grounder’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Zac’s on-stage energy and electric charisma captivate her. Backstage, he lures her into his world, and Shelby is unsure whether to reveal her unique gift and risk losing him. When Zac confesses his struggles as a songwriter, Shelby decides to teach him to hear music as she does, leading to transformative moments in Zac’s recording studio.
Stanford Lysandre hears everything and feels everything. He channels the incessant noise into writing songs for Grounder. But it isn’t enough, so he drowns the constant rock and roll pumping through his veins to a lull with heroin abuse. When Stan meets Shelby, he hears in her a path to sobriety. For Shelby, it’s the first time she’s truly been heard.
Zac’s internal battle results in an empty, contrived song performed live on TV, pushing Stanford to reveal his feelings for Shelby and setting the stage for a devastating confrontation.
Stanford’s overdose is no accident, and Shelby risks everything to save him. Her heroic efforts lead to her incarceration for attempted murder, leaving Zac in disbelief about her true identity. He turns his back on her, allowing the police to believe she’s guilty of manslaughter.
While Zac is heartbroken over Shelby, she has awakened his senses to the world of sounds within and around him. In the recording studio, he conquers the chaos and achieves his dream of producing a solo album. Zac discovers that Ashtynn was behind Stanford’s overdose, driven by a callous desire to free Zac from Grounder. He’s appalled by her heartlessness but faces a painful dilemma when she reveals she’s pregnant with his child.
Shelby’s redemption comes when Stanford regains consciousness and tells the truth about her attempts to revive him. As she faces adulthood, Shelby embraces her unique gift, pursuing her passion for music at audio engineering college. Stanford commits to rehab and asks for a chance at love with Shelby.
THE SECRET SONG OF SHELBY REY is a music-inspired Young Adult novel that explores the complexities of love, music, addiction, and self-discovery.


**See also Chapter by Chapter Summary attached to this document below.



DESIGN CRITERIA: Imagine your finished book on Amazon. Which books would you expect to see listed under the heading “People who bought this book also purchased . . . ”?  Please insert any other visuals or book covers whose design you admire. (


Link to my Pinterest page of gorgeous cover designs I admirehttps://www.pinterest.com/SELsolutions/gorgeous-book-covers/


Link to a page of comp titles one might expect to see listed under the heading “People who bought this book also purchased” : https://simonteen.com/2021/05/17/ya-books-for-music-lovers/


AUTHOR BIO: Please tell us about yourself—where you grew up, where you live now, anything you want to share about your career and family, things you love to do, personal passions, your education, and any previous publishing experience.


where you grew up, where you live now: London, Ontario, Canada. I also lived for many years in Southern California, and for the last 10 years, I’ve lived on an island in the Pacific Northwest. 
anything you want to share about your career and family: I’m a publisher author (see list of works below).Additionally, I create social-emotional learning materials for kindergarteners through Grade 12 and for adults. I help educators learn to integrate social-emotional learning into their regular classroom curriculum. I have taught Creative Writing to grades 6-12 for about 8 years, and this fall I’ll beteaching English Comp I and II, and History of American Literature at a private university.
I am the mother of two sons; both have experienced challenges with neurodiversity. 
My husband and I have been happily married since 2005.
things you love to do, personal passionsI absolutely live to travel. I love animals, being outdoors in nature, and reading books from almost every category and genre. I love to write, and to help other people discover their unique voice and learn to express their ideas creatively and effectively to others. I am an avid researcher and also love to read nonfiction. I’m interested in ancient civilizations and cultures, spirituality, philosophy, and mental wellness. I often care for others’ animals, and I enjoy volunteer service through various nonprofit organizations to help others in my community. 
your education:

Higher Education Teaching Certificate

Harvard University, Boston, MA

Master of Humanities in Creative Writing and Social-Emotional Learning

Antioch University, Yellow Springs, OH

Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies in Creative Writing and Leadership

Antioch University, Yellow Springs, OH

Writers Studio

University of California, Los Angeles, CA

Diploma in Graphic Design

Vancouver Community College, Vancouver, British Columbia, CA


any previous publishing experience: Yes, see works list below.


If it helps, this is the bio on my website:

Rayne Lacko is the author of Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Self-Discovery and A Song For The Road, a social-emotional learning-themed Young Adult novel, and Eric Hoffer Book Award honorable mention. 

An expert in social-emotional learning, Rayne is the founder of SEL Solutions Pre K-12

Rayne delivers lectures in creative writing, English Composition, and social-emotional learning (SEL) for K-12 and adults and trains educators to integrate SEL in classroom settings. Rayne is committed to inclusion, diversity, and social justice,

Her short fiction and poetry appear in Writer’s Digest, Ariel Chart International Literary Journal, Gravel, Mixtape Methodology, and Poetry Corners Anthology 2023. She has contributed to several publications to help families and teens stimulate change, help themselves and others, and be a force for good. She served as president of Bainbridge Performing Arts and is a volunteer assistance dog trainer for canine programs serving hospitalized children and children in trauma testifying in Washington courts. 

Rayne has cohosted thoughtfully inclusive creative writing youth workshops, an annual writing camp, and a teen arts showcase for seven years as a writing mentor. Rayne made TV appearances representing her former blog on new motherhood. For over a decade, she edited an outdoor adventure magazine. 

Rayne is a Canadian residing on a forested island in Washington, US. Rayne is married with two children and a noisy cat.

She earned her Master’s in Humanities in Social-Emotional Learning at Antioch University. She has a BA in Liberal Studies, with concentrations in Creative Writing and Leadership. Rayne attended UCLA’s writer’s program and Creative Writing at Harvard University.


Home/Shipping Address: 13074 Manzanita Road NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110


Phone: 949-573-0803


Susan Doupé Photography. **Updated photo to come!


Social Media handles + actual hyperlinks links


List places you have lived (noting your hometown) and dates: 
London, Ontario, Canada (Hometown)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
San Diego, CA1996-2005
Corona, CA2005-2007
Dana Point, CA2007-2014
Bainbridge Island (Greater Seattle), WA 2014-present


Previous books you have published (list publisher and dates of publication). Include copies of your best reviews and blurbs:
• Author: Lacko, Rayne. The Secret Song of Shelby Rey. SparkPress/Simon & Schuster, 2025. 
• Author: Lacko, Rayne. Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery. Free Spirit Publishing, 2020.
• Author: Lacko, Rayne. A Song for The Road. SparkPress, 2019. Eric Hoffer Book Award Honorable Mention.
• Featured in Poetry Corners Anthology 2023: Bainbridge Forest Sonnet; and Slow to Rise.
• Featured in Bainbridge Press’s Coyote anthology (2024): Courage v. Comfort.
• Featured in Orange County Fare: A Culinary Journey through the California Riviera (2009) Rebecca Lacko’s Ultra-Healthy Brownies with Icing.


Best Reviews and Blurbs for A Song for the Road:
“A sweet, twangy tale about a boy finding his future on the way to his past.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A boy, a guitar, and the open road. In A Song for the Road, Rayne Lacko brings this timeless archetype to full, vivid life as fifteen-year-old Carter embarks on a journey that will define him as an artist, a son, and a man. Beautiful music abounds in these pages―in the story, the language, and the hearts of these well-defined characters. Tune up your six-string, grab a mic, and join Carter as he takes his memorable song on the road.”
―Mark Sarvas, award-winning author of Memento Park


“Full of heart and soul, A Song for the Road is a beautiful road trip through friendship, self-discovery, and the kindness of strangers. Carter’s story of searching for his father and finding his own musical identity will strum on your heartstrings and make you sing with joy.”
―Lisa Manterfield, author of The Smallest Thing and A Strange Companion


Reviews and Blurbs for Dream Up Now: The Teen Journal for Creative Self-Discovery:

My daughter is currently using this workbook and loves it. It’s an incredibly helpful tool not only for learning to name and understand emotion but for self-discovery as well. I think that not only teens but many adults could benefit from this workbook.

The teen years can be some of the hardest in our lives. We feel so much but don’t know what to do with these grown up feelings. Having a book like this for guidance and exploration of these feelings is really a priceless tool to use and navigate these especially emotionally challenging times. The book helps to validate what your teen might be feeling but even more importantly, gives them the tools to understand these feelings and to know how to move through them. I love the casual text and layout. Very relatable.Well done!


It’s easy to use right away, and the material is easy to access for a teen, but isn’t just applicable to teens – ie sleep hygiene (part of Courtney Oliver’s “I feel tired” section) is applicable to everyone. Great book.


Honors, prizes or awards you have received: 
Earned Honorable Mention in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards for A Song for The Road (SparkPress, 2019).


Do you have experience writing content – essays and articles? 
Yes, I LOVE writing content for magazines and online media.


Magazines to which you have contributed, or with which you have personal contacts: 

Articles & Essays

Short stories
• Like Father, Like Son Wordhaus – Voted BEST OF WORDHAUS for its category, Thriller/Horror (2015)
• Clothes The Door Gravel
• RADIO HEAD, a novel Book excerpt, Mixtape Methodology
• It Was Easier Mixtape Methodology
• Short Story: “Letter to a Librettist” Skyline
• Victoria Theodore and the Musical Life Mixtape Methodology
• alt rock band Minus The Bear on the art of song-writing collaboration, Mixtape Methodology
• Rock musician Alex Rose on transmodal neuroplasticity and making music, Mixtape Methodology


• Writer Ariel Chart International Literary Journal
• Twelve Years Old Academy of the Heart and Mind
• Mind Your Step – haiku Grand Little Things
• “Slow to Rise” Poetry Corners Anthology 2023


What inspired you to write this book? 
Years ago, I moved from Canada to a tiny beach town, San Diego. The year-round sunlight and endless waves called me to the shore. Perhaps it was the ocean’s song, but I wasn’t alone. Surfers, tourists, and families, athletes and addicts, shouting preachers and meditative yogis, heeded the ocean’s melody, bringing to the beach their musical instruments, speakers, and playlists as an offering. 
While learning to surf, a “what if” question captured my curiosity: What if a person could hear music in people? Below the surface of our skin, the heart beats around one and a half gallons of blood every minute, and a single neuron can send one thousand nerve impulses every second. Like a fingerprint, what if we all have our unique anthem beating inside?  
As my protagonist, Shelby Rey, began to come to life on the page, I couldn’t help but notice the faraway, preoccupied gaze of teens wearing headphones. I recognized how music transports the soul and distracts from the daily demands of life. Song lyrics come to our rescue when it feels too hard to put feelings, experiences, or worries into our own words. 
I began to ponder why Shelby’s headphones were vital to her and what might happen if she lost them. I wondered what caused her to retreat from the world, and why she chose headphones as her safe place. I also developed a deep affinity for the musicians and songwriters who help listeners navigate the often confusing journey of growing into adulthood.
The ocean is always crawling toward the shore and filtering away. It is the same each day, and yet never quite the same way twice. Music offers a similar gift. A listener might choose a song to fit a mood, but then another unexpected song follows, and that random song touches the heart. That chance song contains the exact words or melody to describe a feeling yet unnamed or acknowledged, as if echoing the listener’s own heart. 
Music is present from our earliest days. Babies hear their first lullaby and then a nursery rhyme. Throughout adolescence, tweens and teens share an affinity for bands, performers, and songs with peers. When a couple pledges their lives to one another, they select a meaningful song for their first dance at their wedding. Over the decades, favorite songs brighten commutes to school and work. 
A person’s life may be both illumined and charted by their music choices throughout their life. I wondered what it might be like to have the gift of charting that journey. When I gave Shelby that gift, acknowledging her hardships during her young life, I discovered it might not be so easy to hear the truth in others. Sometimes, the truth hurts. But it’s worth listening. 


What cities or countries does your book have a connection to? 
California, USA: Los Angeles, Laguna Beach, Beverly Hills, Hollywood 


The Secret Song of Shelby Rey, by Rayne Lacko
Set in 2008, Los Angeles


Chapter One – Shelby:
The main theme of the chapter is the protagonist Shelby’s struggle with her unique ability to hear people’s innermost secrets in the form of music when she touches them. This ability, initially discovered when she inadvertently hears her teacher’s secret, leads her to feel isolated and different from others. The chapter also explores her complex family dynamics, her yearning for connection, and her search for purpose amidst the challenges she faces. Shelby’s internal turmoil, her feelings of being trapped by her ability, and her efforts to cope with it are central to the chapter. The narrative delves into her emotional journey and the impact of her ability on her life, creating a sense of loneliness and a longing for a place to belong.


Chapter Two – Zac:
In Chapter Two, the protagonist, Zac Wyatt, a musician facing public scrutiny after a drug-related incident, attends a therapy session with Dr. Roland Gibson and encounters unexpected personalities at the psychiatric practice. Dr. Gibson is joined by Elliott Rachman, the director of the practice, and Carly, the receptionist. Despite initial skepticism, Zac engages in a conversation with Dr. Gibson, expressing his reluctance to conform to the stereotypical narrative of a troubled musician. The chapter unfolds with Zac’s defiance and the revelation of his motive for experimenting with drugs, linking it to a desire to find his own voice as a songwriter apart from his successful band, Grounder. Dr. Gibson assures Zac of his support in exploring his authentic self and mapping out the changes needed to achieve his goal of writing hit songs. The chapter concludes with Zac agreeing to undergo a physical evaluation and daily drug tests during his six weeks of therapy.


Chapter Three – Shelby:
In Chapter Three, Shelby, the protagonist, faces an unexpected arrest and is placed under a section 5150, an involuntary hold for people with mental disorders. Despite trying to explain her side of the story and the injustice she feels, she is taken to St. Cecilia, a psychiatric facility. The chapter delves into Shelby’s perspective, her resistance to being labeled as mentally unstable, and her strong attachment to her father’s radio, which holds significant sentimental value. At the facility, she encounters a social worker named Jaclyn Spenser, who engages her in conversation and attempts to understand her experiences.The chapter ends with Shelby being introduced to Dr. Lopez, a doctor who prescribes medication for her, leading to a clash between Jaclyn and the medical professionals over Shelby’s treatment and the flaws in the healthcare system. Despite the ongoing struggle, Shelby remains determined to retrieve her father’s radio.


Chapter Four – Zac:
Zac, a musician and member of the band Grounder, faces a public relations crisis after a live TV appearance goes awry.A supermodel, Danika Branislav, falsely claims he wrote a song for her, causing trouble with his girlfriend, Ashtynn. Zac contacts his therapist, Dr. Gibson, demanding immediate attention. Despite Zac’s urgency, Dr. Gibson emphasizes the importance of defining emergencies and schedules a session for the next day. During their conversation, Zac reflects on the challenges of fame and the pressures of maintaining a public image. Later, in Laguna Beach, Zac encounters a confident and enigmatic woman named Shelby, leading to unexpected interactions. The chapter delves into Zac’s struggle with identity, fame, and the creative process as he navigates his career and personal life.


In his interactions with Dr. Gibson, Zac, the musician from the band Grounder, faces a public relations crisis triggered by a false claim from supermodel Danika Branislav. Upset about the situation and its impact on his relationship with girlfriend Ashtynn, Zac contacts Dr. Gibson for immediate assistance. However, Dr. Gibson, the therapist, prioritizes defining emergencies and schedules a session for the next day. During their conversation, Zac reflects on the challenges of fame, the limitations of his public image, and the need for a breakthrough album. Meet cute: In Laguna Beach, Zac encounters Shelby, a confident and enigmatic woman, leading to unexpected and intriguing interactions.These encounters highlight Zac’s struggles with identity, fame, and the creative process as he navigates both his career and personal life.


More meet cute info: Zac and Shelby in Laguna Beach is characterized by unexpected and intriguing interactions.Zac, dealing with a public relations crisis and the aftermath of false claims by Danika Branislav, encounters Shelby, a confident and enigmatic woman. The theme of the meeting revolves around Zac’s struggles with identity, fame, and the creative process. Shelby’s confident demeanor and mysterious aura add an element of unpredictability to the encounter. Zac, already grappling with the challenges of maintaining a public image and seeking a breakthrough in his music career, finds himself drawn into a unique interaction that prompts further reflection on his personal and professional journey. The meeting with Shelby serves as a catalyst for Zac’s contemplation of his life and artistic path, adding depth to the narrative as he navigates the complexities of fame and self-discovery.


Chapter Five – Shelby:
Shelby, as she navigates the challenges of poverty, a troubled family history, and the aftermath of her father’s death. The introduction of social worker Jaclyn Spenser and therapist Dr. Roland Gibson injects the theme of mental health into Shelby’s story, presenting her with unexpected choices. Struggling with her living conditions and strained relationship with her mother, Shelby faces the options of legal troubles, following her mother’s path, or accepting professional help. The chapter intricately weaves themes of social inequality, stigma, and Shelby’s pursuit of identity, providing a complex exploration of her journey toward self-discovery and the potential for transformative change in the face of adversity.


Extra: the intricate web of Shelby’s tumultuous life, marked by challenging living conditions, strained family dynamics, and the lingering impact of her father’s death. As Shelby grapples with the hardships of poverty and her mother’s choices, the narrative takes an unexpected turn with the entrance of social worker Jaclyn Spenser and therapist Dr. Roland Gibson. These professionals bring the theme of mental health into focus, offering Shelby a potential lifeline amid her struggles. The chapter delves into the choices presented to Shelby, including legal troubles, following her mother’s path, or embracing the prospect of professional help. Themes of social inequality, stigma, and Shelby’s quest for identity and independence add layers to the narrative, creating a complex exploration of her journey toward self-discovery and the potential for transformative change.


Chapter Six – Zac:
he narrative unfolds with the protagonist, Zac, engaging in a staged dinner with Ashtynn, carefully orchestrated by her management. The duo, embarking on what seems to be a strategic relationship, discusses a potential movie project with OmniMotion. Ashtynn, projecting conflicting personas, shocks onlookers with the announcement of their collaboration before any formal agreements are made. The chapter delves into the complexities of fame, negotiations, and the personal struggles of the characters. Zac, conflicted between his desire for artistic independence and the lure of fame, faces a pivotal moment in his relationship with Ashtynn, who asserts her influence and demands reciprocity for facilitating Zac’s involvement with OmniMotion. The chapter raises questions about the authenticity of relationships in the entertainment industry and the sacrifices individuals make for success.


Chapter Seven – Shelby:
, the protagonist, nervously approaches the home of Dr. Roland Gibson and Jaclyn Spenser, desperate to retrieve her radio and find a place to stay. She reflects on her strained relationship with her mother and contemplates various strategies to gain shelter. Surprisingly, Dr. Gibson warmly welcomes her, inviting her in for food and a place to stay. Despite expecting anger or rejection, Shelby finds herself in their home, indulging in a much-needed meal.Jaclyn, Dr. Gibson’s partner, shows kindness by offering Shelby clean clothes and a warm bath. As the evening progresses, Shelby witnesses a tense moment between Jaclyn and Dr. Gibson, learning about his professional achievements in clinical psychology and his role in helping a famous performer named Ashtynn Kingston overcome addiction. The chapter ends with Shelby contemplating the complex dynamics in the household and the unexpected kindness she has received.


Chapter Eight – Zac:
In Chapter Eight, Zac arrives at Dr. Gibson’s house, expecting a grand setting but finding it comfortable and minimalist. themes of frustration, unexpected encounters, and emotional turmoil are prominently featured as Zac navigates a series of revelations. Zac’s emotional concerns revolve around the disruption of his plans for a night out with his girlfriend, Ashtynn, who appears to be entangled in Dr. Gibson’s unconventional methods. The unexpected presence of Shelby, a figure from Zac’s past, further complicates his emotional landscape. Zac’s frustration intensifies as he grapples with the unconventional approach of Gibson, the revelation of Shelby’s connection to the doctor, and his own creative struggles in producing meaningful music for an upcoming performance. The chapter delves into Zac’s inner conflict, as he seeks answers, battles self-doubt about his musical abilities, and confronts the complexities of his relationships, setting the stage for deeper exploration of these emotional concerns in the narrative.


Chapter Nine – Shelby:
Shelby, reflects on a childhood zoo trip, contemplates escaping her current circumstances, and encounters a mysterious black box in a room where she wakes up.Jaclyn, her caretaker, informs her of a Celiac disease diagnosis and proposes a day out. Later, a delivery from Zac Wyatt, including a note and a box of fashionable clothes, surprises Shelby. Jaclyn questions the appropriateness of the gift, hinting at a potential romantic interest between Shelby and Zac. The scene unfolds with Shelby navigating her new reality, torn between her love for music, her reluctance to accept help, and the uncertainties of her relationships.In this excerpt, Jaclyn and Roland discuss Shelby’s recent acquisition of a box of clothes from Zac Wyatt, a musician. Jaclyn expresses concern about the nature of the gift, given that Shelby is still in the process of establishing her identity. The debate touches on whether Zac, one of Roland’s rehab patients, should play a role in defining Shelby. The narrative then shifts to Shelby trying on the clothes and reflecting on her uneasiness. Later, she discovers backstage passes to Grounder’s concert in the box and contemplates attending.Despite internal conflicts, Shelby decides to go to the concert and ends up backstage. The story takes an unexpected turn when Shelby and Zac share an intimate moment in a dressing room. Roland interrupts them, and the situation becomes awkward as he raises concerns about Shelby’s well-being. Shelby asserts her independence and chooses to stay with Zac, emphasizing her desire to explore a career in music. Roland, although cautious, ultimately leaves them to their decisions.


Chapter Ten – Zac:


In Chapter Ten, titled “Zac,” the protagonist arrives home in his Ferrari with his love interest, Shel. As they encounter technical difficulties with the gate entrance button, Zac’s attempt to impress Shel with his high-end lifestyle takes a humorous turn. They navigate the issue together, and Zac, eager to showcase his house, invites her for a meal. The chapter unfolds with Zac preparing food in the kitchen, engaging in playful banter with Shel, and eventually enjoying a late-night dinner on the terrace overlooking Los Angeles. The interaction reveals Zac’s internal thoughts and his genuine interest in Shel. The chapter concludes with Zac proposing a relaxing bath, highlighting the couple’s developing connection and Shel’s comfort in her own skin.The narrative captures the blend of romance, humor, and vulnerability in Zac and Shel’s budding relationship.
Zac and Shel share an intimate moment after their earlier encounter in the bath. Zac attempts to learn more about Shel’s background, but her evasiveness hints at a deeper, possibly painful history. The conversation becomes more serious as Shel reveals she’s not in rehab and discloses the recent death of her father. Despite the emotional disclosure, the mood shifts when they engage in passionate and transcendent physical intimacy. Afterward, Zac reflects on his feelings for Shel, realizing that she appreciates him for who he is rather than any external trappings. The chapter concludes with a spontaneous dance, where Zac captures a video of Shel, emphasizing the unique connection they share. The narrative explores the complexity of their developing relationship, blending moments of vulnerability, passion, and shared understanding.


Chapter Eleven – Roland:
Roland returns home in the early hours of the morning, and Jaclyn questions him about Shelby’s whereabouts. Roland reveals that Shelby has chosen to stay with Zac Wyatt.Jaclyn is skeptical and expresses concern about the decision, accusing Roland of possibly influencing Shelby’s choice. The tension escalates as they discuss their different approaches to therapy, with Jaclyn emphasizing the importance of immediate intervention and Roland advocating for Shelby’s autonomy and trust-building. The chapter takes an unexpected turn when Elliott Rachman, a friend and colleague, arrives. Elliott shares his recent challenging experience treating a patient on a yacht, leading to a discussion about professional boundaries and compromise. Jaclyn becomes suspicious about Roland’s involvement with Zac Wyatt, prompting Roland to defend his ethical stance. Elliott suggests using Zac’s celebrity status for publicity, but Roland refuses to compromise the integrity of his therapeutic approach. As Jaclyn leaves for work, she vows to bring Shelby back home, even if she has to visit Zac’s house herself. The chapter delves into the complexities of therapy, professional ethics, and the challenges of treating high-profile clients.


Chapter Twelve – Shelby:
the protagonist describes her new life with Zac, emphasizing the contrast between their carefree existence and her troubled past with her mother. The two share breakfast, and the protagonist reflects on the lie she started with and wonders how long she can keep it hidden. While setting the table, she encounters Stanford, a man who evokes a sense of familiarity, and the two share a strange connection through music. Zac’s friend warns her about Stanford, but she is intrigued by the mysterious encounter.The chapter unfolds with moments of intimacy between Zac and the protagonist, but tension arises when she requests to hear Zac’s new song before its scheduled debut.Despite her apprehension, Zac agrees and takes her to the recording studio, where they embark on making music together. The protagonist discovers a newfound sense of expression and empowerment within the recording studio, feeling liberated from the limitations of spoken language.The chapter concludes with her determined to record the sounds within herself to finally have the last word.
Shelby, experiences a surreal and disorienting event while in a recording studio with Zac. After attempting to record an original song, the room seems to collapse, and Shelby feels trapped in a silent, otherworldly space. Despite the strange occurrences, Zac remains unfazed and suggests returning to the studio to create music together. Shelby grapples with her fear and uncertainty, questioning whether she can trust Zac and if she’s willing to enter the studio again. The narrative explores themes of trust, creativity, and the transformative power of music in a seemingly mystical setting. As Shelby and Zac collaborate on a song, they navigate the complexities of artistic expression and personal connection. The passage unfolds with a mix of suspense, emotion, and a touch of the supernatural.


Chapter Thirteen – Zac:
In the midst of a lively party, Zac reflects on the significant changes in his life since Shelby’s arrival. Despite his past inclination for socializing, he now finds solace in being with Shelby and focusing on work, experiencing newfound progress. Eager to showcase a video of Shelby dancing to their upcoming release, “Vertical Wire,” Zac faces resistance from the band’s former creative director and struggles with the influence of Stanford, the guitarist. As the band approves the video, Zac, excited about his new song, shares a tender moment with Shelby, who provides insightful musical input. The narrative captures Zac’s evolving priorities and the challenges he faces within the band dynamic and his relationship with Shelby.


Chapter Fourteen – Stanford: 
In the solitude of a darkened patio on the property, lead guitarist Stanford Lysandre reflects on Zac’s return to the studio with renewed energy, hoping for a departure from familiar pop themes. The upcoming Asia tour provides an opportunity for Zac to explore a different musical perspective, aiming for honesty and unique sounds. The narrator shares the experience of growing up amid chaos and noise, finding solace in music. The mention of Zac’s new girlfriend and her dance in the “Vertical Wire” video triggers conflicting emotions, revealing the narrator’s struggle with addiction and the impact of the girl’s presence on his life. As the narrator attempts to capture her internal song on his guitar, he grapples with the realization that she is with Zac and resolves to find his own way out. The narrative captures the complexities of artistic inspiration, addiction, and unrequited feelings, offering a glimpse into the narrator’s internal turmoil.


Chapter Fifteen – Shelby:
In the music studio filled with anticipation, the band Grounder, led by Zac Wyatt, prepares to showcase a new song. However, when the initial attempt falls flat with unoriginal lyrics and melodies, tensions rise among the band members. Wyatt’s attempts to impress with his own lyrics also face criticism, leading to doubts about the authenticity of his creative process, especially with the involvement of Shelby, who assisted in the song’s development. The band insists on maintaining their signature sound for an upcoming show, urging Wyatt to provide original lyrics. Despite the challenges, Wyatt is determined to prove himself, facing skepticism and internal conflicts within the band.Shelby, describes a tumultuous scene in Zac’s bedroom and later in the recording studio.Zac is struggling to write a song, feeling the pressure from various sources, including the record label and the expectations of the band. Shelby, torn between her loyalty to Zac and her desire to help him, eventually goes to the studio where she finds Stanford, who is in a drug-induced state. Despite the complexities of the situation, Shelby and Stanford collaborate to rearrange Zac’s song, creating a transformative musical experience. The narrative explores themes of artistic struggle, addiction, and the powerful connection between individuals through music, ultimately revealing the intricate emotions and dynamics within the characters. 
Shelby wakes up in Stanford’s arms in the live-room floor, disentangles herself, and heads towards Zac’s room.However, she encounters Deshi in the foyer, who, apologizing for a previous comment, becomes aggressive and inappropriate. Deshi’s unwarranted advances escalate until Stanford intervenes, rescuing Shelby. Deshi dismissively retreats, and Shelby, asserting her independence, runs upstairs, grappling with the realization that her relationships with both Zac and Stanford have shifted. The passage highlights Shelby’s resistance to objectification and her determination to maintain autonomy in the midst of evolving dynamics within the band.


Chapter Sixteen – Zac:
Zac wakes up beside Shelby, excited to share that he wrote a song as per her guidance. Shelby, still groggy, shows enthusiasm and asks to hear it. However, Zac decides to finalize the song with the band first. The scene transitions to Zac’s decision to break up with Ashtynn Kingston, who is allegedly cheating and using drugs. Zac visits Ashtynn at the Chateau Marmont, discovering her intoxicated state and suspecting her involvement with Roland. He decides to confront Roland about it, leading to a meeting at Dr. Gibson’s office. There, Zac accuses Ashtynn of cheating and substance abuse, but Dr. Gibson defends her sobriety.The chapter ends with Zac expressing his love for Shelby and contemplating the possibility of involving her in a therapy session for honest communication.


Chapter Seventeen – Roland: 
Roland observes two musicians playing on the patio of Café Concord in Beverly Hills. As he orders an iced coffee due to the heat, he notices Shelby dancing wildly, seemingly in a trance. When he approaches her, she doesn’t respond and continues dancing. Concerned about her well-being, Roland contemplates calling Zac but refrains, considering Zac’s recent paranoid delusions. Realizing he needs to intervene, Roland joins Shelby in dancing, hoping to connect with her and bring her to safety. As they dance, Roland discerns a language in the music, and Shelby cracks a smile. They dance until the band takes a break, and Roland suggests getting drinks and food at his office.Shelby, in a dazed state, agrees. Roland later finds Shelby some clothes, feeds her, and attempts to understand her experiences with Zac and the band Grounder. Shelby reveals her feelings for Zac and her disappointment upon discovering his relationship with Ashtynn Kingston.Roland then drives Shelby home while discussing potential goals for her future, including pursuing a career in audio engineering.


Chapter Eighteen – Zac:
In this chapter, the protagonist, Zac, is dealing with the fallout from the departure of Shelby, the girl he cares deeply about. He strategizes to confront Elliott Rachman, who appears to be involved with both Shelby and drug-related issues. Zac orchestrates a meeting with his therapist, Dr. Gibson, hoping to find out more about Shelby’s whereabouts. During this encounter, he confesses his feelings for Shelby and learns about her plans to attend college for audio engineering. Despite Zac’s invitation for Shelby to join him on Grounder’s tour, Jaclyn, Gibson’s wife, firmly insists that Shelby focus on her education. The chapter ends with Zac and Shelby sharing a moment of intimacy, and Zac expressing his feelings for her through a song he wrote. The complex dynamics between the characters, Shelby’s reluctance, and Zac’s determination add emotional depth to the unfolding narrative.


Chapter Nineteen – Shelby:
helby contemplates the advice given by Jaclyn regarding her relationship with Zac. Jaclyn urges her to carefully consider whether Zac is the right person for her and emphasizes the importance of making informed choices in relationships. Shelby reflects on her past, including her troubled relationship with her deceased father and the challenges she faces with her mother. When faced with the unexpected arrival of her mother at Roland’s office, Shelby is confronted with the reality of her chaotic home life.Despite the difficulties, she decides to return home with her mother, feeling a sense of responsibility. The passage concludes with Shelby seeking solace and support from Jaclyn and Roland, finding comfort in their embrace.


Chapter Twenty – Zac:
Zac Wyatt, a musician, expresses his frustration at having to share a dressing room with his ex-girlfriend, Ashtynn, for the Choice America Awards. He refuses to wear the coordinated outfit they had selected months ago and asserts his independence. As tensions rise between Zac and Ashtynn, he taunts her about drug use and exposes her secrets. The conflict escalates when Zac learns that Shelby Rey, a girl he’s been spending time with, contributed to the arrangement of a song, leading to a dispute over songwriting credits and royalties within the band Grounder.As the band prepares for a performance, Zac faces challenges with the band members and Ashtynn’s unexpected introduction on stage, causing tension and raising questions about his relationships and professional life.


Chapter Twenty-One – Shelby:
Shelby Rey recounts her apprehension about attending the Choice America Awards with Zac Wyatt. Despite Zac’s efforts to make the day special for her, she struggles with the idea of facing the red-carpet scene and the pressure of being in the spotlight. Shelby conceals the fact that her mother has been calling, pleading to attend the event. As they arrive backstage, a mix-up with Zac’s dressing room leads him to ask Shelby to sit with other acquaintances.Confused by the sudden change, she overhears a disturbing revelation from Jaclyn about Zac’s involvement in drug-related activities and exchanges of narcotics for sex.Meanwhile, Ashtynn Kingston, whom Zac claimed to be done with, unexpectedly introduces him on stage, revealing a potential deception. As Zac performs, Shelby notices his lack of confidence and stumbles, raising concerns about the authenticity of the situation. The tension deepens as Shelby grapples with the unfolding events and seeks refuge in Zac’s dressing room, leaving the reader with a sense of uncertainty and emotional turmoil.


Chapter Twenty-Two – Zac:
Zac Wyatt, the lead singer of Grounder, faces a disastrous live performance at the Choice America Awards.Struggling with the unexpected revelation of Shelby Rey’s mother, Darlene, accusing Shelby of mental disorders and drug addiction, Zac’s performance goes awry as he forgets lyrics and loses his composure on stage. Later, in a shocking confrontation, Zac learns that Stanford Lysandre, a bandmate, claims to have touched Shelby to understand her, leading to a violent physical altercation. Feeling betrayed and enraged, Zac contemplates leaving everything behind, but a realization dawns on him about the conspiracy between Stanford and Ash, a girl who is convinced Zac will join her project. The narrative leaves readers on edge, with Zac’s emotions spiraling out of control and the future of Grounder in jeopardy.
Chapter Twenty-Three – Shelby:
In the aftermath of the tumultuous events at the Choice America Awards, Shelby Rey finds herself caught between the emotional fallout of Zac Wyatt’s anger and Stanford Lysandre’s sacrifice to save Zac’s life. Attempting to reason with Zac as they leave the dressing room, Shelby faces his intense reaction to Stanford’s actions. Back in Stanford’s room, Shelby discovers him battered but alive, acknowledging the profound connection they share through their ability to hear Zac’s music. As they contemplate openly embracing their unique gifts, Shelby is surprised by the sudden appearance of her estranged mother and Ashtynn Kingston, who reveals Zac’s ongoing relationship with her. Tasked with taking Stanford home, Shelby navigates a complex situation involving secrets, injuries, and the pressures of fame. Meanwhile, her mother’s erratic behavior adds another layer of chaos to the night. In a moment of desperation, Shelby leaves the after-party, determined to reach Zac and resolve the tangled web of emotions and revelations that have unraveled Grounder’s world.


Chapter Twenty-Four – Zac:
In a disoriented and intoxicated state, Zac Wyatt arrives home to find Ashtynn Kingston waiting for him. Convinced he’s hallucinating, Zac opens the gate for her, only to realize that she’s indeed there. As tensions rise, the gates collide with Zac’s Ferrari, adding to the chaos of the night.Inside, Ashtynn confronts Zac about his perceived failures and the revelation of Shelby Rey’s mental health status.Despite his attempts to dismiss her, Ashtynn persistently pushes her agenda of collaborating on a commercial R&B duet, promising success and a chance at redemption. In a vulnerable moment, Zac contemplates the offer as Ashtynn seduces him. However, his resolve strengthens, realizing the destructive nature of their relationship. As Ashtynn departs, Zac is left grappling with the aftermath of the tumultuous evening, determined to regain control of his life and pursue his own musical path.


Chapter Twenty-Five – Shelby;
Shelby, determined to reach Zac’s house, navigates the steep hills and secured neighborhood where his band resides. The borrowed painful heels are discarded as she searches for Zac’s residence. Remembering the security code, she eventually finds his car wedged between open gates and proceeds to infiltrate a party at the mansion.Hiding barefoot, she reaches the music studio, hoping to confront Stanford. Shockingly, she discovers him collapsed on the floor, seemingly lifeless. In a desperate attempt to save him, Shelby provides her breath, but when Ashtynn arrives, Shelby pleads for assistance. However, Ashtynn locks them in, revealing her sinister plan to eliminate Stanford and control Zac. Eventually, Zac intervenes, calling for an ambulance and accusing Shelby of trespassing. The situation worsens when her past is exposed, leading to her arrest as the police arrive. Shelby reflects on her misguided connection with Zac and the tragic consequences of her choices.


Chapter Twenty-Six – Zac:
Zac is arrested for the attempted murder of Stanford Lysandre after the latter is found in a coma from a drug overdose. Shocked and dismayed, Zac protests his innocence, claiming it was an accident. Despite expecting his friends Deshi and Oslo to intervene, they offer no help.At the police station, Zac learns of the serious charges against him, including assault, battery, and attempted murder. Arturo Benevento, from the label’s litigation team, informs Zac about the evidence, including methadone prescribed in Zac’s name found on Stanford, bruises, and security footage of an alleged assault. Facing the possibility of a life sentence, Zac is devastated. In a twist of events, Ashtynn Kingston’s manipulations come to light as she locked Zac and Shelby Rey in the room, orchestrating the situation to eliminate Stanford and control Zac. Despite Zac’s protests of innocence, the legal complications escalate, and he contemplates the dire consequences of the unfolding events. After negotiating bail, Zac is released, and Benevento advises him to keep a low profile. As the media frenzy surrounds him, Zac seeks refuge at Ashtynn’s place, but tensions rise as the truth becomes obscured by sensationalism and deceit.


Chapter Twenty-Seven – Shelby:
In jail, Shelby Rey reflects on her incarceration and the accusations against her, grappling with the question of her mental state and the events leading to her arrest. Despite the harsh environment, Shelby finds some respect among fellow inmates due to the seriousness of her charges. Her musings touch on the impact of her ability to hear on her life, the complexities of her relationship with Zac Wyatt, and the challenges she faces in the prison system. Shelby struggles with the truth surrounding Stanford Lysandre’s overdose and her involvement, feeling trapped and misunderstood. As she contemplates her future, her parents visit, revealing a shocking revelation about her father’s demise. The visit leaves Shelby speechless, her mother distancing herself and abandoning her, adding another layer of complexity to her already tumultuous situation.


Chapter Twenty-Eight – Zac:
In Santa Monica, Zac Wyatt, following Benevento’s advice to lay low, rents a recording studio where he’s been hiding out and working on a solo album. Despite his earlier reluctance to return to the home studio he shared with Shelby Rey, Zac collaborates with Oslo and Ashtynn, channeling his emotions into angry, intense tracks that resonate with fans. Meanwhile, Zac grapples with the aftermath of Stanford Lysandre’s overdose and Shelby’s incarceration, regretting not revealing the control room’s lock-in to the police. The investigation intensifies, involving accusations against Dr. Elliott Rachman, and Zac faces a dilemma as he covers up Ashtynn’s relationship with the doctor. As tensions rise, Ashtynn surprises Zac in the studio with news of her pregnancy, leading to a confrontation about their relationship and her unexpected connection with Dr. Rachman. The revelation leaves Zac stunned and conflicted about the future.


Chapter Twenty-Nine – Shelby:
In the aftermath of her time in prison, Shelby Rey recovers from a fever-induced hallucination and learns that Stanford Lysandre, the musician she saved, has awakened. Upon her release, Shelby is surprised to find herself free and offered a second chance. Facing reporters and questions about her relationship with Zac Wyatt and Ashtynn Kingston, Shelby reflects on her journey, grateful for the support of Jaclyn and Roland. The charges against her are dropped, and she decides to start anew, pursuing her passion for music and audio engineering. With Jaclyn and Roland’s guidance, Shelby begins her transformation, offering designer clothes to a transitional home. As she packs to move on, she receives an unexpected visit from Stanford, healed and ready for a fresh start. With the support of Jaclyn and Roland, Stanford seeks therapy, and together, they propose building a rehabilitation practice. The story ends on a hopeful note as Shelby and Stanford embrace a new beginning, their songs intertwining in a harmonious future.