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Pop Tart

Asian Idols

Painted Hearts Publishing

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 64,897
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ePub
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Taemin Park was once a member of the hottest K-Pop group in South Korea, but he isn’t a cute kid anymore and he hasn’t been on a stage in four years. Taemin has been blacklisted in the music world and labeled a trouble-maker for standing up for his rights. But after two years of military duty and two years of soul searching he decides to go back into show business. He offers his services to his old friend entertainment mogul Ace Reign, who jumps at the chance to put Taemin back at the top of the charts again and knows just the guy to manage him.

Aiden Reign is very popular with both the ladies and the men, but he’s never held down a legitimate job in his life. So when his father suggests he take on a job of manager of a pop-star turned R&B singer, Aiden freaks out. He’s used to his father giving him an allowance and he is perfectly okay with that. But now faced with the dilemma of growing up, Aiden decides to do give it his all, especially after he meets the gorgeous young man his father wants him to manage.

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Excerpt

“You want me to do what?”
Ace Reign smirked. “You’d think I’d asked you to rob a bank or something. I want you to manage a singer. You know, one of those people who support your lavish lifestyle.” The look on his son’s face was priceless.
“I don’t know anything about managing a singer,” Aiden said.
“Of course you do. You literally grew up here. Besides, it’s time you learned the family business in the event I die.” Ace saw the concern in Aiden’s eyes.
“Are you ill?”
“No,” Ace answered. “But people do drop dead from heart attacks and strokes without any warning.” There, that should do it.
Aiden rubbed his chin as if giving what he’d said some thought. “Who is this singer?”
Ace wished Aiden would get rid of the beard. It made the twenty-five year old look older than him. “His name is Taemin Park and he used to be a part of a Korean boy band named MoM,” Ace answered.
“Never heard of him or them,” Aiden said.
Ace wasn’t surprised that Aiden didn’t know the singer. There were hundreds of idol groups around, and MoM, short for Men of Meaning, hadn’t had a hit song in years. “Taemin has a beautiful voice, and I think he will work well with rhythm and blues.”
“I don’t know,” Aiden said. “Seems to me like managing an idol can be a lot of trouble and time-consuming.”
“What else do you have to do?”
Aiden had a college degree in business and a minor in goofing off. Ace thought his son would have a job by now, but as far as he knew Aiden hadn’t even tried applying for one. That was the problem with rich kids. Most of them expected their parents to continue to take care of them when they reached adulthood, too.
“Plenty of stuff,” Aiden answered.
“Like what?” Ace asked. Aiden didn’t answer. “Thought so. All you have to do is make sure he gets to his shows on time, rehearses, and eats. The pay is good and you can continue to be the life of the party at those clubs you like to visit.”
Aiden scowled. “Socializing is important.”
“Yes, but so is becoming a productive member of society. Do you think you can live off of the inheritance your grandparents left you for the rest of your life?”
“No, I do plan to get a job eventually?”
“When?” Ace asked. “Most young people your age are already working and would kill for this opportunity. Managing an idol does come with perks.”
“Like what?” Aiden asked, sounding just like him.
“An expense account and a luxurious apartment.”
“It sounds like you’re trying to get me to move out,” Aiden said. “Does Mom know about this?”
“Yes,” Ace answered. “She thinks this would be good for you, too. Of course you would have to share that luxurious apartment with Taemin.”
“Me, live with a guy I don’t know?”
“You’re gay, aren’t you?” Ace asked. “I’m sure you’ve spent one or two nights with guys you don’t know.”
Aiden rolled his eyes at the ceiling. “What does he look like?”
“Why don’t you see for yourself?” Ace pushed a button on his phone. “Yes, Mr. Reign?” his secretary asked.
“Could you please send in Taemin Park?”
“Yes, Mr. Reign.”
A few minutes later there was a knock. “Come in,” Ace said. The door opened and a young man walked in. The smile on his son’s face let Ace know he had nothing to worry about. Aiden hopped out of his seat. “Taemin Park, I’d like you to meet my son and your new manager, Aiden Reign. Aiden, this is Taemin Park.” The two young men bowed to each other. They were exactly the same age, both twenty-five. Taemin was two inches shorter than Aiden and about twenty pounds lighter. Aiden looked older because of the beard and mustache. The smiles and the twinkle in their eyes meant they were a perfect match.
Aiden bowed to Taemin again. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.”
Taemin rewarded Aiden with a big smile. “Thank you. It’s nice to meet you, too.” He bowed again. “Please take care of me.”
“Please sit down,” Ace said once he got their attention.
“My father tells me that you used to sing in a pop group called MoM.”
“Yes,” Taemin answered. “We broke up several years ago.”
“Why are you switching over to rhythm and blues?”
“Because I’m getting too old to sing K-Pop,” Taemin answered. “Plus R&B is more universal.”
“Wait, you’re twenty-five years old. Don’t you have to do your military duty by the age of thirty?” Since Aiden was born in South Korea, he too had to do military duty. He got it over with as soon as he graduated from high school.
“Already done it,” Taemin answered. “I entered right after MoM disbanded. “The other three members did, too.”
“Are they still performing?” Aiden asked.
“I’ve heard rumors that they are trying to make a comeback,” Taemin answered.
“But without you?”
Taemin nodded. “I decided not to re-sign with that company. I wanted a new start.”
“Do you think the two of you would be good together?” Ace asked.
“I must be perfectly up front,” Aiden said. “I’ve never managed anyone before.”
Taemin looked over at him. “I can teach you everything you need to know.”
“Thanks,” Aiden said. “Have you eaten?”
Taemin shook his head.
“You two kids go on and get acquainted,” Ace said.
“Do you have a car?”
“Yes,” Taemin answered, “but I got a ride here earlier.”
Aiden stood up. “Good, then I’ll make sure you get home safely if your business is done here for the day.”
“He’s free,” Ace said, happy to see the two of them getting along, “but we need both of you here by ten tomorrow. We have a big meeting planned.”
“Thanks for the opportunity, Pop,” Aiden said.
The pleasure was all his. He was finally getting his grown son off his ass, into the work world and out of the house. Ace was also giving him the opportunity of a lifetime. He hoped Aiden was smart enough not to mess this up. “You’re welcome. You can see your new place tomorrow.”
“What new place?” Aiden asked.
“I’ll tell you about it,” Taemin said as he led Aiden out of the office. Taemin winked at Ace as he left.
Ace pressed another button on the phone after he heard the elevator door open and close. “Isuel, this is Ace. Can you come to my office for a moment?”
“Yes, Ace,” the voice on the other line said. “I’m on my way.”
Isuel Ghang was Ace’s friend and the best public relationship guy they had in the business. The two of them had known each other over forty years ago when Ace first arrived in South Korean. They hit it off splendidly. Isuel vouched for Ace and helped him get established in a country where foreigners couldn’t own land or start a business. Ace hired Isuel and made him a Public Relations person. Isuel spoke several different languages, including English, Japanese and Mandarin. Ace valued his opinion. The middle-aged South Korean gentleman entered.
“Taemin and Aiden just left. I still think it’s a mistake,” Isuel said. “You know I love my godson, but Aiden still has a lot of play in him. Taemin Park is a big name act. If Aiden is not serious, this could mess up both of their careers.”
“Yes, I know, but I think the only way to do it is to give him a chance. He’s really not qualified for anything else, despite that business degree he’s never put to work. How can I go to my grave happy without my oldest son capable of running the place?”
“You’re as strong as an ox and are going to outlive all of us, but I understand,” Isuel said. “Taemin Park is spoiled and used to getting his way.”
Ace chuckled. “So is Aiden. That’s why I thought the two of them would be a good fit. You know birds of a feather flock together.”
“Yes, I understand the reasoning behind your decision, but Taemin has been out of the public eye for nearly four years. He’s going to have to impress the hell out of everyone from day one. How do you say it? He has to bring it.”
“He’s going to do just that,” Ace said. “I can’t wait for you guys to hear him perform tomorrow. He speaks several different languages just like you so he can be a successful crossover artist. I think he will he can put Reign Entertainment on the top of the charts again and keep us there.”
“Does Aiden have any idea what it takes to manage an idol?” Isuel asked.
“He’ll learn,” Ace said.
“I hope you know what you’re doing,” Isuel said.
“I think I’m a good judge of character,” Ace said. “I think Taemin and Aiden will work beautifully together.”

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