Touch me, p.21
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       Touch Me, p.21

         Part #4 of One Night with Sole Regret series by Olivia Cunning
 
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  this sorted out. Don’t worry.”

  So he held the woman who might or might not be pregnant with his child, a woman he had no interest in on an emotional level, while the woman he really wanted had left, perhaps forever. Why did he have to be so fucking weak to a woman’s tears?

  “I know it’s your baby, Owen. When I feel him move inside me, I know he’s your son.” Lindsey’s sobs increased without provocation. “Oh God, I love our baby so much.”

  Every hair on Owen’s body stood on end. No. Just no. He was in no way ready to be a father and certainly didn’t want to have a baby with a woman he didn’t love. “You can’t know that it’s mine,” he said. “You slept with every guy in the band that night. What makes you so sure I’m the father?”

  Her sob fest made him wish he hadn’t said anything.

  “You hate me, don’t you? I should just kill—”

  He took her by both arms and shook her. “Don’t finish that sentence. Even if it isn’t my baby, I’m not going to toss you out in the street. Come inside while I figure out what to do with you.” He really wished Kelly’s calming presence was here. Kelly would help Owen figure out what to do. As it was, Owen couldn’t think. What he really wanted was to push Lindsey aside and go after Caitlyn. Not that he expected Caitlyn to ever speak to him again after what she’d just witnessed. He rubbed the center of his chest, took Lindsey by the elbow, and helped her ascend the steep steps of the tour bus. Adam, Shade, and Gabe’s round of laughter died as their eyes settled on Owen with Lindsey in tow.

  “What happened to your other chick?” Shade asked.

  “She, uh, had to go. We have a little situation here,” Owen said.

  “I remember you,” Gabe said to Lindsey, a smile of recognition on his lean face. “Christmas Eve. We all…” His eyes widened as they settled on her distended abdomen.

  “Is she…?” Adam’s dark eyebrows rose to comical peaks.

  Lindsey avoided their eyes but straightened her shoulders. “I’m having Owen’s baby.”

  “You can’t be sure that it’s mine,” Owen insisted. “Is there anyone on this bus you didn’t fuck that night?”

  Her big blue eyes flooded with tears. “I know it’s yours, Owen. I just know.”

  “Did you do her without protection?” Shade asked.

  “No, I wore a condom. Did you forget?” Owen asked Shade.

  “Of course I didn’t forget. I might be dumb, but I’m not stupid.”

  “I wore a condom and I’m getting a vasectomy, so it’s definitely not my kid,” Adam said.

  “You have to actually have the procedure done before you have unprotected sex,” Shade reminded him.

  Adam turned green. “Shit! That’s right. But still, it’s not mine.”

  “Well, it sure as hell isn’t mine,” Shade said. “I already have one!”

  “That doesn’t matter. Having one does not decrease your odds of having another,” Gabe said.

  Owen looked at Gabe. His last hope.

  “I only came in her mouth,” Gabe said. “Adam and Tex were taking turns and she was sucking me and… Wait… I was drunk. Don’t remember everything I did. But I always wear protection. Always.” Gabe blinked hard and turned his green-eyed gaze to the floor. “It’s not mine.”

  “Was Tex wearing a condom?”

  “Yes, we all used protection, Owen,” Shade said, “so it must be yours. Or Kellen’s.”

  “Kellen didn’t even penetrate her. And I know I was protected. I didn’t even drink that night, so I clearly remember everything I did.”

  “This is the worst episode of Jerry Springer ever,” Adam said.

  Owen laughed so he wouldn’t start crying.

  “You were all careful,” Lindsey said. “Condoms are not one hundred percent fail proof, you know.”

  “Seriously?” Owen asked. She must have poked holes in their condoms hoping to get pregnant and make herself some bank off a group of idiotic rock stars just having a good time one Christmas Eve. They’d joked about it how many times? And now it had come to fruition.

  “You don’t think I wanted to get pregnant, do you?” Lindsey said, emotions going from distress to anger like a switch had been flipped. “I had plans for my life! Now I’m knocked up, homeless, and considered a whore by my entire family. I wouldn’t have even come to ask for help if I had a choice.”

  Owen looked imploringly at each member of the band and realized that even if the baby wasn’t his, he was going to be the one who took care of this. Why? Because he was a sucker. Or nice. Or something.

  “She’s not coming on tour with us,” Shade said. “Put her in a hotel until after our show tomorrow night and then we’ll figure out something more permanent.”

  Their driver, Tex, announced his arrival on the bus with a loud belch. “Y’all ready to hit the road? Where’s Kellen?”

  “Kellen will meet us in Beaumont tomorrow night,” Owen said. “And no, we’re not quite ready to go. We have a bit of a problem.”

  Owen shifted his position so he wasn’t blocking Lindsey from Tex’s view. Tex smiled when he recognized her. “Oh hey, honey, back for some more Texas-sized lovin’?” He wriggled his eyebrows and adjusted himself in the crotch of his pants.

  Lindsey burst into tears again.

  “What?” Tex said. “Hey, now, you didn’t complain the last time. Begged for more.”

  Owen cringed and shook his head, hoping to get Tex to shut his big mouth.

  “Did you remember to use protection that night, Tex?” Shade asked.

  “What? ’Course I did. Don’t know where these loose groupie girls have been, you know? Gotta protect Big Hoss. Wouldn’t want him to catch nuthin’.”

  Lindsey swayed sideways, and Owen grabbed her before she collapsed. “You okay?” he asked.

  She leaned heavily on him, clinging to his arm for balance. “I think so. I feel a little dizzy.”

  And who could blame her? He felt a little dizzy too.

  “What’s this all about?” Tex asked. “Y’all are acting kinda strange.”

  “You’re going to be a father, Tex,” Adam said. “Well, one of you are. It isn’t mine.”

  “We’ll figure out who the father is when the time comes,” Gabe said. “Just shut up about it for now. You shouldn’t get a pregnant woman emotionally upset. It can harm the baby. Owen, help her sit down.”

  But if she sat down, that meant she’d be staying.

  “What?” Tex said. “She’s pregnant?”

  “Just over six months pregnant,” Owen said. “Which correlates to—”

  “The Christmas Eve fuck-fest!” Tex interrupted. His eyes widened as one and one made three. “I swear it isn’t mine.”

  Lindsey flinched as if someone had slapped her. Now that his initial shock had receded a bit, Owen started to imagine what it must feel like to be her. To become pregnant while having a bit of sexy fun—which he did all the time, so he couldn’t judge her for it—and not know who had fathered the child. How would it feel to be ostracized by your family for making a mistake and have no one to turn to? He wouldn’t want to be in her shoes. But he could help her. Even if the baby wasn’t his. And he prayed to God it wasn’t his. He didn’t want to be a father but at the same time, he didn’t want harm to come to the child. It wasn’t the baby’s fault that no one wanted him.

  “Just so everyone shuts the fuck up,” Owen said, “I’ll claim the child until we find out otherwise, okay?” Under his breath he added, “Someone around here needs to take responsibility for the places he sticks his dick.”

  Owen eased Lindsey onto the sofa. She immediately covered her abdomen with both arms and gazed up at him with wide eyes. She had the face of an angel with the exception of the dark circles under her eyes. Physically, she was so Kelly’s type it was ridiculous. Kelly couldn’t resist a woman with big blue eyes and a look of innocence about her. But Lindsey wasn’t Owen’s type. Caitlyn was Owen’s type. Why did this have to happen just when he was finally ready to c
onsider a serious relationship again? Another snafu—situation normal, all fucked up.

  “You okay?” Owen asked her.

  Lindsey nodded and wiped her tears on the pink-striped T-shirt at her shoulder. As much as he didn’t want to be involved in this mess, Owen couldn’t stand anyone to look so upset. So desperate. So alone. “Do you want something to drink? Are you hungry?”

  She hesitated and then nodded again. “I haven’t eaten since yesterday.”

  “That’s not good for you or the baby,” Shade said. He opened the refrigerator and peered inside. “Neither is beer and leftover sushi.” He closed the refrigerator door with his foot.

  Adam rattled the single remaining peanut at the bottom of the can. “Have a peanut.”

  Shade slapped the can out of his hand. “Get the woman some real food. She’s pregnant. Have you ever dealt with a hungry pregnant woman?”

  “No.”

  “Well, I have and it ain’t pretty.”

  “I didn’t mean to get pregnant,” Lindsey whispered, gazing up at Owen imploringly, as if she’d been declared guilty and he was her executioner with a readied ax slung over one shoulder.

  Owen smiled at her and smoothed her check with one finger. Her eyes drifted closed, and large tears dripped from beneath her lids. He wished she’d stop doing that already. Did she have any idea what a sucker he was? Actually, that was probably why she’d approached him first.

  “I believe you,” he said. “Now don’t cry any more. We’ll take care of you.”

  “Let’s go get something to eat before we hit the road,” Shade said. “Then we can ditch her at a hotel until after the next show. We have a few days’ break before our two shows in New Orleans; we’ll get this mess straightened out then.”

  Lindsey ducked her head, but she didn’t argue. Owen wondered how she could stand being talked about as if she were a problem, not a person.

  “She can come with us to Beaumont,” he said. “It isn’t far. And she’s probably afraid to be by herself in a strange city.”

  She looked at him as if he were her personal savior. A warm feeling spread through his chest. He liked helping people, and he was glad they’d found a temporary solution to the situation. Now if he could figure out what he could possibly say to make things up to Caitlyn. He missed her already.

  If she’d have him, he wanted her for more than one night. A lot more.

  He’d probably have to do something spectacular to regain her trust, but he had no reservations about giving his all to rock her world.

  “Tex,” Shade said, “drive out of the city, but stop at a restaurant in some small town.”

  Tex was staring at Lindsey as if she had a forked tongue and horns.

  “Tex!”

  He jerked and forced his attention to Shade.

  “Did you hear me?”

  “Restaurant. Small town. Got it.” He rushed to the front of the bus and disappeared into the walled compartment that obscured the driver from the rest of the vehicle.

  “Thanks for being nice to me,” Lindsey said. She offered Shade a small smile.

  “Do you need to stop somewhere and pick up your belongings?” Gabe asked, settling onto the sofa beside her, his long legs extending for miles in front of him.

  “My car broke down in Oklahoma. Everything I own that’s not in this bag is there abandoned on the side of the road.”

  She lifted her blue-and-white-striped bag, which was about the size of a sofa cushion, onto her lap and hugged it against her.

  Gabe patted her shoulder. “How did you get to Houston?”

  “A nice truck driver gave me a ride. If you guys had refused to help me, I don’t know what I would have done.”

  “Five suckers form a band…” Adam said.

  Owen’s phone beeped, alerting him to the arrival of a text. He pulled his phone from his pocket and smiled to see Caitlyn’s name at the top of his new message.

  Call me in three days, the message said, but not before.

  There was a short pause before her next message popped on the screen. I need to pretend to be pissed at you for at least that long.

  “Yes!” he said aloud.

  I’ll try not to call you before then, he texted back, but no promises. I have a huge crush on you, beautiful lady.

  I won’t answer, she typed back.

  He somehow doubted that. She’d texted him less than thirty minutes after being confronted by a pretty, young groupie claiming to be pregnant with his child. Owen pressed Call and lifted his phone to his ear.

  Caitlyn answered on the first ring. “Owen! I said not to call me yet.”

  “I thought you weren’t going to answer.”

  “I didn’t.” He could hear the smile in her voice and the relief in his.

  “Are you free Monday? I seem to have a rare night off.”

  “That’s only two days away, and I’m determined to completely reject you for three.”

  “Okay, I’ll give you time to consider my offer. I’ll call back in an hour.”

  He grinned and hung up. He glanced at Lindsey, who jerked her gaze from him when she realized he was looking at her. And what in the world was he going to do with her while he romanced his new lover? Lindsey wasn’t going to move in with him, if that was her plan. There was no way in hell Caitlyn would understand that arrangement.

  He seemed to have one too many women in his life at the moment and if he was forced to choose, he knew who’d be on the first Greyhound bus back to Idaho.

  He didn’t care what it cost him. It couldn’t possibly cost him more than his heart.

  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

  I’d like to thank Wendy Christy for being the most faithful of beta readers, Jill Anderson for offering sound advice, and the amazing Beth Hill for her fabulous editing skills. Thanks ladies for helping me make this a better story.

  I also want to offer a shout out to all of my fans for the encouragement and support. I hope you’re enjoying the guys of Sole Regret. I know the serial progression of this series is driving some of you bonkers. I hope you’ll stick with it. The fit is about to hit the shan. *wink* And yes, this entire band’s saga is going to be told one night at a time.

  WHAT’S NEXT

  Next up is Kellen in Tie Me. Will he ever be able to get over Sara and find a new love to fill the emptiness in his soul? Or has the one he’s been searching for been standing beside him all along?

  If you missed the novelette, Share Me, it’s a prequel about the happenings of Christmas Eve mentioned throughout Touch Me. You don’t have to read it to understand Touch Me, but I do think it will help you understand Owen’s confusion about Kellen’s sudden change in attitude. It’s also where we first meet Lindsey.

 
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