Page 50

Author: Olivia Cunning

“We’ve got another week on the road, and then two weeks off at the end of June,” Sed said. “We’l get some recording done then. For now, we’l just keep writing so we’re ready when the time comes.”

“As often as Sinclair gets laid, we’l have enough guitar music for ten albums,” Trey said around his sucker. Jace thumped Brian on the back. “You need to start composing bass riffs, too. I can’t keep up.”

Brian glanced at Jace over his shoulder and smiled. “I’l give it a try.”

“Where’s your lady love, anyway?” Sed asked.

“She’s on the other bus working on her research stuff,” Brian said. “She said we’re too distracting and she’s never going to get it done if she doesn’t hide from us for a couple of hours.”

“So that’s why we’re having a session on the pigsty bus. That woman knows how to get exactly what she wants, doesn’t she?”

Trey chuckled. “No wonder Brian’s in love.”

Jace thumped Brian on the back again.

“Too bad the feeling isn’t mutual,” Brian muttered under his breath. He reached for a sheet of music from the stack on the table. This one had splatters of chocolate syrup al over it. Recal ing what he’d been doing when this gem had come to him, he grinned to himself.

“What do you mean, it isn’t mutual?” Trey asked. “You stormed the castle and saved her from the evil dragon. And no woman would put up with five slobs for five weeks for the sake of research. She loves you, man. She wouldn’t be here if she didn’t love you.”

Brian snorted. “Try convincing her of that. She’s just here to work.”

“Who cares if she loves him?” Eric said. “She fucks him wel , keeps the bus clean, and cooks us meals. As far as I’m concerned, no one loses in this game.”

Sed shoved Eric off the counter onto the floor. “Don’t talk about Myrna like that, you prick.”

Eric climbed to his feet and shoved Sed, before retreating to the other side of the bus and sitting next to Trey at the dining room table. “I don’t mean any disrespect. She’s a great woman. I just mean, if she doesn’t want to admit that she loves Brian, what’s the big deal?”

“It’s nice to hear it,” Sed murmured to the floor. He glanced up at Brian and smiled. “You’d like to hear her say it, wouldn’t you?”

Brian shrugged. “Neither one of us has said it.”

“You haven’t told her?” Trey asked. “Dummy. She’s probably one of those chicks who refuses to say it first.”

Brian shook his head. “She forbids it. You’ve heard her. When anyone asks her about us, she just laughs and says it’s nothing serious. We’re just having a good time.”

“No one believes that, Brian,” Trey said. “You don’t believe it, do you?”

Maybe. “Just drop it, okay?”

“That woman has got you by the bal s, Brian,” Jace said.

Brian glanced up at him and laughed. “Yeah, but the way she grips them—hard enough to get my attention, but not so hard that I want to get away—feels so good.”

Eric commenced to banging his head on the table.

Maybe he did need to tel her how he felt and to hel with her barriers. What’s the worst that could happen?

She could leave.

His stomach plummeted.

He’d wait a while longer.

Brian shook the chocolate splattered sheet music at Trey. “I think this solo fits wel with that last riff.”

Trey offered him a sad little smile. “Okay, then. Let’s hear it.”

Chapter 38

Myrna entered more numbers into the spreadsheet on her computer. Her survey gave consistent, reliable data and showed two strong behavioral trends among the groupies. She had no doubt that this research was going to save her entire career. And if it didn’t, it wasn’t the end of the world. She’d started working on a proposal for a nonfiction book guaranteed to be a bestsel er.

“I hope you’re smiling like that because you’re thinking about me,” Brian said.

She glanced up from the computer screen. She hadn’t heard him enter the bus. He kissed her cheek and slid into the booth across from her.

Her smile brightened. “I’m always thinking about you.”

There was a clatter near the front of the bus as Trey entered. “Myrna,” he said, “look what I’ve got.”

“Cherry suckers?” she guessed.

“Fresh shrimp. One of the roadies bought them. Wil you make some shrimp scampi?” He set the bag on the table and gave her his puppy dog look. The one he knew she couldn’t resist. “Pwease.”

She smiled at him and nodded. “After I finish entering this data.” She started typing in the next row of numbers.

“You mean, after I finish entering you,” Brian said.

She glanced up from her computer screen. Brian gave her that other look she couldn’t resist. That “get naked immediately” look. She saved her file and closed the laptop, stuffing the stack of papers under the computer. “Sorry, Trey. Brian wins.”

“But I’m starv ing.”

“We’l be finished in an hour or two,” Brian said.

“Or four,” Myrna said.

“Or four.” Brian slid out of the booth and extended his hand toward Myrna.

“Four hours? I’l die by then.” He took Brian’s vacated seat and peered into the fishy-smel ing bag.

“I’m sure you can find something to eat in the fridge.” Myrna slid from the booth, took Brian’s hand and glanced back at Trey.

“What did you guys do with yourselves before I joined the tour?”

“We were barely alive,” Trey said. “Drowning in our own filth. Malnourished. Scrawny. Anemic. On our last limb.” He stretched out a hand toward her, his head col apsing on the table as he played dead.

She chuckled. “You poor babies.”

Brian tugged her toward the bedroom. “You’re too good to us.”

“I like taking care of you guys. You’ve al become important to me over the past month.”

“Even Eric?”

She laughed. “Yes, even Eric.”

“You’re important to al of us, too,” he said. “I can’t remember the last time we felt so… settled.”

Settled? Ugh. “I’m a drag, aren’t I?”

Brian tugged her through the bedroom door and pul ed her against his body, kissing her hungrily. He kicked the door closed.

“Not a drag,” he murmured. “You’re wonderful. Like I said, too good for the likes of us.”

She kissed the corner of his mouth. “Your lies are good for my ego.”

“I’d never lie to you,” he whispered, his lips trailing lightly over the skin of her cheek to her ear. He drew her earlobe into his mouth, pressing it against his upper teeth with his tongue. Her breath caught. She forgot about everything but him. His hands moved to the buttons of her shirt, releasing them one at a time as his tongue rubbed the sensitive spot behind her ear. Her fingers curled into his hard chest as she swayed against him.

He brushed her shirt off her shoulders and moved his mouth to her col arbone, kissing her skin gently. So gently it made her want to cry.

“Brian?” she whispered.

He lifted his head to look at her. “Hmm?”

“You’re being tender.”

“You don’t like it?”

“I didn’t say that. I just wondered what brought it on al of a sudden.”

He grinned. “Jace needs bass music. I have to slow it down a little.”

She placed her hands on his face and rose on tiptoes to kiss his lips. “Is that al ? I thought maybe you had something to tel me.”

His brows drew together. He swal owed hard and fixed his gaze on her forehead. “Like what?”

“You’ve thought up something kinky and figured you’d better soften me up before springing your trap.”

“You think I have a one track mind.” He sighed and shook his head slightly. “Sometimes I think this is hopeless.”

Her heart thudded painful y in her chest. Ever since they’d returned from Kansas City, he’d been acting strangely. Like he wanted to break up with her or something. And after being so rudely introduced to Myrna’s past baggage, who could blame him? But it wasn’t something she could change. Jeremy had left a big impact on her life whether Brian liked it or not. “I don’t know what you want from me, Brian.”

“Yes, you do. That’s why it scares you when I’m tender with you.”

So this wasn’t about her past. This was about their future. “I’m not scared.” But she was. Terrified. Mostly because she couldn’t picture a future without him in it.

“Can you let me be tender without making it into a joke?”

“I’m not making it into a joke.”

He quirked an eyebrow at her. “You’re not?”

“I’l be quiet.”

“Just stop thinking so much and feel,” he said. “And I don’t mean your body. I know you feel me with your body. I mean here.” He placed three fingertips on her chest over her heart. “I don’t think you ever listen to what’s going on in here.”

“I lis—”

He covered her mouth with his fingertips. “Shhh.”

Something had changed in him. She could see it in his eyes. He looked… desperate.





She nodded. He removed his fingers from her mouth. She bit her lip. He stared down at her, obviously struggling with words. She waited for him to say something, but he lowered his head and kissed her instead. His feelings of desperation came through in his kiss as wel .

“Just love me, Myrna,” he whispered against her lips. “Please.”

She turned her head to break his kiss. “What did you say?”

He stared over her head, swal owing several times. “Make love to me, Myrna. Please.”

That’s not what he’d said, but she could accept his amended words. She couldn’t accept his original plea. The look on his face as he struggled to conceal his emotions made her heart ache. She touched his face and his gaze shifted to hers. “Tenderly. That’s what you need, right?”

He nodded slightly. She nodded, too, tears prickling her eyes. She would have given anything to have met Brian before Jeremy. Then it wouldn’t be so goddamned hard to uncover what she concealed in her heart and accept what was in his. They undressed each other slowly until they stood before each other naked, both excited and soothed. Her hands slid over the warm skin of his chest. Her lips fol owed in their wake.

“This is when you sweep me up into your arms and carry me to bed,” he said.

She laughed. “Hey, I’m trying to be serious.”

“Who said I wasn’t being serious?” He grinned down at her, and then gasped as she wrapped her arms around his waist and lifted his feet several inches off the floor. She took a couple of steps and dumped him on the bed. He laughed, covering his eyes with his hands. His laughter warmed her heart. It was one of the many things she loved, erm, liked about this man.

“Sorry, I kind of flubbed that one. I need to work out more. Puny biceps.” She climbed onto the bed beside him, urging him to scoot up toward the headboard. “And this is the part where I rub rose petals over your skin, right?”

“I think we’re fresh out of rose petals.”

“Close your eyes.” She loosened her hair from the clip holding it in place at the back of her head. He closed his eyes. She leaned over him and trailed her long, thick hair over his bel y. “Imagine this is rose petals.”


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