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       Xander_Part 2_The Present, p.1

           Anne Mercier
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Xander_Part 2_The Present


  Xander: Part 2, The Present (Rockstar Book 14)

  Anne Mercier

  Contents

  Xander: Part 2, The Present (Rockstar Book 14)

  AUTHOR’S NOTE

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Untitled

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Epilogue

  Acknowledgments

  Xander: Part 2 Playlist

  Stalk Me

  Also by Anne Mercier

  About the Author

  Xander: Part 2, The Present (Rockstar Book 14)

  It's eleven years later, and we're still living separate lives. While I know she isn't comfortable with my lifestyle after everything she’s been through, I can't be without her anymore.

  * * *

  I need her.

  * * *

  She's my wife.

  She's my heartbeat.

  She's my every breath.

  She's my everything.

  * * *

  I want to know every detail of her life. I want to be part of it all. I want to work as hard to get there as she did to get here.

  * * *

  She's always been my girl—even at the age of eight. As I face her now, there's no doubt she'll be mine until I draw my last breath.

  * * *

  It's time for our forever to begin.

  Xander: Part 2, The Present

  Rockstar Book 14

  © 2018 Anne Mercier

  ISBN: 978-0-9984402-8-6

  All rights reserved.

  * * *

  No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  * * *

  Cover Image and Cover Design: Sara Eirew at Sara Eirew Photography.

  * * *

  The use of actors, artists, and song titles and lyrics throughout this book are done so for storytelling purposes and should in no way be seen as advertisement. Trademark names are used in an editorial fashion with no intention of infringement of the respective owner's trademark.

  * * *

  PERSONAL NOTE: The only pirate I like is Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow which means should I'd appreciate if you'd keep my books to yourself. Pirating shows a clear lack of respect for the author—me. I'd rather not meet you on bad terms, so let's not do that, let's not meet that way. Let's meet at a signing or conference instead, or let's go have a cup of coffee or a drink. Thank you for respecting the time and effort put into each book. I appreciate it very much.

  AUTHOR’S NOTE

  I'd like to thank you being so incredibly patient while I battled health issues as well as a bout of writer’s block. I hope you enjoy the book.

  It still starts with the past (BL or Before Lucy). It’s only when we get to “The Present” that it’s AL or After Lucy.

  It’s highly recommended to read Xander: Part 1, The Beginning, before reading Xander: Part 2, The Present; possibly even rereading to refresh your memory. I’d also suggest rereading Interlude as some of that relates to the continued past of Tera, Xander, and all of Falling Down.

  The next book in the series will be Refrain, Rockstar Book 15, Ethan and Lincoln’s story (m/m).

  Be sure to keep an eye on my website, Facebook page, Twitter, or Instagram for updates. Sign up for my newsletter to be kept up to date on all things Anne Mercier.

  Dedication

  For all the Rockstar fans.

  This one’s for you.

  Prologue

  XANDER

  As always, it’s recommended to listen to the playlist while reading

  SPOTIFY - YOUTUBE

  We’re on the road again. Falling Down is kicking ass and taking names. I hate being away from Tera. Hate it. She’s going through so much, so I go visit her when I can for as long as I can. Sometimes, I can stay weeks at a time, other times it’s only days. It depends on the tour schedule, and those schedules are getting more hectic by the day. Jerry keeps adding additional dates and three months has turned into five.

  After the attack, Tera was dead inside. I could see it—everyone could see it. There was no light in her eyes. She was despondent and lost. Who could blame her? I can’t imagine how she felt—I don’t want to imagine how she felt because if I do, I’ll kill someone. That won’t be helpful to her at all.

  Dad talked to a friend who talked to a friend who talked to a friend, and they found a psychiatrist who would help Tera without her having to leave her apartment. They have online or home visit sessions. I don’t care what it costs—I want the best for my wife and I’ll do anything, pay any price, to ensure she gets it.

  I die a little inside every time I have to leave. It hurts deep into my soul. I walk out the door and I leave a piece of myself behind. That piece of me belongs to her.

  Speaking about Dad, when Tera moved to New York, he moved to LA to be closer to us. He just packed up his practice and started over—taking Sandy with him. She's been with him from the first day he opened his practice, and I think she'll be with him until the day he retires.

  Dad and Sandy visit Tera often and stay with her some weekends when Linc's out of town and Tera doesn't have plans to have friends over. She and Shea are still best friends, and though I hate it, she and Carter Winters are still in contact. That guy got all the firsts I was stupid enough to let him take. He'll get nothing else.

  Time has gone so fast in some ways and extremely slowly in others.

  It's nearly a year later when Tera and I are finally able to be intimate—not sex, but holding one another, sometimes kissing—nothing too heavy. She’s not ready for that. It hurts me to know what she's been through and what she's still battling every day.

  Three months after she moved into her apartment post-hospital release from the attack, she told me I could fuck other people. I didn’t want to fuck anyone then and I certainly don’t want to now.

  One night, the decision was taken out of my hands—sort of. I was drunk and stoned and partying hard with the guys. Jesse all-but pushed us out the door, and when I leaned back against the building and the girl dropped to her knees, I imagined it was Tera. I hated—hate—myself for it.

  It'd been I don't know how many months and I didn’t even come. Couldn’t do it. The self-loathing I felt after I pushed the girl off me had me wanting to kick my own ass. I showered in the hottest water possible and let it scald me to wash off the dirty—and it was only a blowjob. I didn’t even touch the chick. I wouldn’t—won’t fuck someone else. I just can’t.

  I haven’t been that drunk or stoned like that again. She means too much to me.

  1

  XANDER

  I’ve got so much shit on my mind, but what’s topping my list is how cramped our space is—and the
lack of privacy. It’s getting on everyone’s nerves. We’re on our fourth “mini” tour and it’s really bad. Correction—Ben’s really bad.

  “What’s going on?” Jesse asks.

  “Fucking Ben’s puking his guts out, man,” Kennedy explains.

  “Jesus. How much did he drink?”

  I shake my head. “I don’t know. A lot. He was doing shot after shot with the guys from Burners.”

  “Shit. Can he even stand up?” Jesse asks, looking at his brother slumped against the toilet on the tour bus.

  “I don’t think so. We might have to take him to the hospital, Jess,” Kennedy answers.

  “Fuck. That’s gonna get out.” Jesse paces. “Let’s get him there. Find a car. We aren’t taking the fucking bus.”

  “Shit, okay.” Ethan jumps down the stairs of the bus to find someone who’ll let us use a car.

  “This is getting worse and worse,” Jesse murmurs.

  “It doesn’t help he’s hanging with those guys. They party every fucking night—and the drugs are insane,” I mention.

  Jesse looks up at me. “Has he been doing them?”

  I shake my head. “As far as I know, just weed. Hell, we all smoke a little weed.”

  “I’m not worried about the weed, but the coke they’ve got out every night, that does,” Jesse admits.

  I sigh. “Me, too. Let’s get through this and try to get some control when he’s sobered up. Maybe having his stomach pumped will help him gain a little perspective.”

  “Maybe,” Jesse mutters just as Ethan comes barreling through the door and jingles some keys.

  “Let’s go.”

  Jesse and I pick Ben up off the floor. He’s dead weight, covered in puke, and smells like a distillery.

  “Well, they didn’t have to pump your stomach, dickhead,” I bite out to Ben when his eyes blink open.

  “Fuck. I feel like I got hit by a truck,” he groans.

  “Nope, just a fifth of good ol’ JD,” Jesse announces as he takes a seat. “We don’t have to cancel the shows since they’re a few days away. They’ve pumped you full of fluids.”

  Jesse continues to glare at Ben, who closes his eyes and tilts his head back.

  “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to drink so much.”

  “How could you tell? Shot after shot without any thought,” Kennedy chastises.

  “You need to chill with Lucian. He’s been out longer than we have, a lot longer. We’ve got a shit load of touring left to do, bro,” Jesse reminds him.

  I nod. “Yeah, man. You don’t have to party like it’s 1999.”

  Ethan snorts. Kennedy grins. Jesse chuckles.

  Ben starts to laugh, but then groans instead. “Nice, Xan.”

  “Dude, you know I’m full of ‘em.”

  Ethan snorts again. “You’re full of something, alright.”

  “Funny fucker, aren’t you?” I tease.

  Ethan laughs.

  The next day, we’re back on the road.

  2

  TERA

  Something’s wrong.

  The dream feels real. But it’s a dream so it can’t be. I try to wake myself time and again, but I fail—until the first twinge of pain hits me. I sit up and a gush of warm fluid flows between my legs.

  Ugh. My period. It’s so different from what it was before… well, before. Now, it’s so heavy all the time.

  I make my way to the bathroom and feel the blood run down my legs.

  Something’s wrong. Too much blood.

  I step into the bathtub and shout for Dad. With Linc out of town, Dad—Dr. Matthew Mackenzie—has come to stay for the weekend.

  “What’s wrong?” he asks.

  I look down and his gaze follows.

  “Let’s get you out of those pants, Tera. You need to wash up,” he tells me calmly.

  “But—what’s happening? This isn’t right, Dad.”

  He shakes his head. “No. No, it’s not. When’s the last time you and Xander were intimate?”

  There’s no time to blush from embarrassment. I’m too panicked.

  “Five or six weeks ago.”

  He nods. “Tera,” my dad says softly, gently, “I’m sorry, but you’re having a miscarriage.”

  I flinch. “What? But how? We were safe, and the doctors said…”

  “They never did the extensive testing, and condoms are only 97% effective.”

  “We didn’t use a condom, though. I’m on the pill. I take it every day at the same time. This shouldn’t be,” I say again, my breath getting stuck in my lungs. I know I’ve not skipped any pills. Since the attack, I’ve been pretty controlled in everything that pertains to my body. The doctor calls it obsessive-compulsive disorder due to my need to control what they took from me.

  Cramps hit me hard and I bend over, clutching my abdomen.

  “Hurts,” I wheeze.

  “Breathe, Tera. You were sick and on antibiotics for your bronchitis. Antibiotics decrease the efficacy of the pill.”

  Shit. I remember. I was so sick, but we were together only twice that weekend. My mind flickers back to those times. How slowly and tenderly we made love. The first time since the attack. I didn’t flinch. I was finally, finally able to give myself to him again. It was beautiful and so poignant. It healed me just a bit more. I’m almost there. I’m almost whole again—oh, God. The cramping steals my breath.

  I’m losing our baby.

  I begin to hyperventilate as tears pour from my eyes and my heart hurts so much inside my chest I wonder how I’m still alive.

  “Shh,” Dad whispers. “It’s okay, sweetheart.”

  “I-it’s n-not! L-losing our b-baby!” Pain lances through my entire being. Was it something I did? Am I damaged beyond all hope?

  “I did something wrong.”

  “You did nothing wrong. Miscarriages aren’t uncommon, Tera.”

  “I’m defective,” I whisper. “Xander deserves children. I know he wants them. What if I can’t give them to him, Dad?” If I lose him… I’ll lose what’s left of myself.

  “To find that out, you need to undergo those tests they mentioned after the attack two years ago. You do that when you’re ready,” he reassures me.

  “What am I going to t-tell Xander?” I wail. I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop the pain. The hurt in my heart is much worse than the cramping.

  “You tell him whatever you want to tell him or you tell him nothing. It’s up to you. I’ll stand by whatever decision you make.”

  “Oh, Dad,” I cry, then reach out and hug him.

  He holds me and rocks me side to side for a few minutes.

  “It’ll all be okay.”

  I have doubts.

  He pulls back from the embrace. “Let’s get you cleaned up.”

  The doorbell rings and I look at Dad like a deer in headlights.

  “That’s Sandy. I texted her since she was out shopping and asked her to pick up some heavy flow pads,” Dad tells me.

  “You interrupted her day. It was her day to shop and splurge.” I hang my head. I’m ruining everything.

  “I’ll let her in since she didn’t take a key.”

  He leaves the room and I pull off my shorts and panties, both of which are soaked in blood. I kick them to the other side of the tub and turn on the shower. I watch and cry as the red bleeds into the clear water, turning it a hazy pink. A multi-color whirl of blood flows down the drain. Our baby.

  I sit down and wrap my arms around my knees.

  I wouldn’t be able to see it yet—the baby—but I know it’s in there—in the blood, in the cramping pain, as well as the pain shattering my heart.

  Swallow it down, Tera. Swallow it down and stay strong.

  “Honey,” Sandy says softly. “Let’s get you out of those wet clothes.”

  I nod. I’m going to try. For Xan.

  I wake to voices in the living area. They’re angry—Linc’s back. Maybe he lost last night? I can’t imagine it. He was up against a guy he’s beaten twice before.
Stan “The Hammer” Jones. What a tool.

  I ease up from bed and stand before the full-length mirror. I stare at myself and I don’t even know who I see. The last four years have been hell on earth. I survived.

  I place my hand on my abdomen where my baby would be—our baby. I bite my lip as a tear falls from my eye. Telling Xander is going to kill him inside, much the same as it’s doing to me.

  I make my way to the bathroom and do my business, noting that the bleeding is better but not stopped. Dad said this would be like having a period. I don’t know anything about miscarriage—only that it breaks your heart.

  The voices are louder again and Linc is swearing. Uh-oh. Something happened.

  I throw a sweatshirt over my tank top, not bothering to change my sleep shorts. No one cares. It’s just family.

 
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