Hot ticket, p.24
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       Hot Ticket, p.24
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         Part #3 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
Page 24

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  Jace shook his head vigorously. “That guy is going to kill her,” he said, slumping sideways in the bed as a wave of dizziness took him.

  He tried to get up again, but his body refused to cooperate. Get up, Jace. You have to get up. The nurse tucked him back in bed. “No. I can’t stay here,” he murmured.

  His right arm felt funny and not because he’d been shot in it. The thick leather cuff he usually wore on his wrist was missing. He covered the scars there with his left hand. “Where’s my bracelet?”

  Karen opened a drawer and handed it to him. He hurriedly secured it around his wrist, not releasing his breath until his shame was covered again.

  The nurse watched him with compassion. “We didn’t know who to notify of your condition. Do you have any family?”

  He shook his head. He couldn’t catch his breath. Who cared if he didn’t have any family? Aggie might still be in danger. He’d taken a bullet for her—two—but still had no idea if she was safe, injured, or dead. “No, no family. Please,” he said. “You don’t understand. Send someone to help Aggie. Send. Please. Someone. ”

  “Jace?” Aggie’s sweet voice came from across the room. He had to be hearing things. Delusional from his meds.

  And then she was beside him. He didn’t know by what miracle she was there. Not dead. Apparently unharmed. She fell against him, sobbing against his neck, clinging to him. The pain she caused reminded him he was alive. And more important, that she was alive.

  Ah God, hurt me, Aggie.

  “I’m sorry it took me so long to get here. Those stupid cops wouldn’t let me leave. Those two guys that mugged me have been in a rash of burglaries, and I’m the only one who’s seen the other guy’s face. They made me go look through mug shots and file a report. I just wanted to be with you. ” She looked up at the nurse. “Is he going to be okay?”

  “Not if you keep squeezing him like that,” the nurse said disapprovingly.

  Jace chuckled. “Squeeze me as hard as you like. How did you get away from that guy? Did the cops rescue you?”

  She winced. “Not exactly. After he shot you, I went crazy and kicked his ass. ” She flushed. “Mostly his nuts actually. ”

  Jace chuckled. “He had it coming. Wish I’d have thought of that. ”

  “He shot you in the back, the coward. I wasn’t going to let him get away with that. ” She kissed his lips gently, her eyes watery with tears. “I should have just given him my purse. Then you wouldn’t have been hurt. ”

  Jace concentrated on lifting his uninjured arm and stroked her hair from her face tenderly. “All I care about is that you’re safe. ”

  “I’m so glad you’re okay. So glad. ” She kissed him again. “I love you so much. If anything happened to you, I wouldn’t want to go on living. ”

  He touched her cheek. “Don’t say things like that,” he murmured. He kissed her gently. “I’m not going anywhere. ”

  She sniffed and stared down into his eyes. He’d never seen an ounce of weakness in this woman, and her tears tore at his heart. “Promise?” she whispered. When he didn’t answer her immediately, she grabbed two handfuls of hair and gave him a hard shake. “Promise me, Jace. ”

  “I promise. ” As weak as he felt at the moment, he feared it was a promise he might have to break.

  Chapter 21

  Aggie watched Jace sleep for over an hour before she thought about informing anyone else about his injury. He never talked about his family, so she didn’t know how to contact them, but she did have Jessica’s number. As Sed’s fiancée, Jessica had to know how to get in touch with the guys in Jace’s band. They needed to know what was going on. She was sure they would want to know, and they would know who else to inform. Aggie stepped into the hall so she didn’t disturb Jace’s sleep. He tried to pretend he wasn’t hurt too bad, but Aggie saw through the tough guy act. He needed his rest, and she was going to make sure he got it.

  “Aggie!” Jessica answered the phone. “How are you? Sorry I bailed on you after the show in San Francisco. Sed thought we needed to do more celebrating. ”

  “Don’t worry about it. Speaking of Sed, is he around?”

  “Why?”

  Aggie almost laughed at the jealous edge to Jessica’s tone. “Jace has been shot. I wasn’t sure who needed to be informed. ”

  “Shot?”

  “Yeah, shot. ”

  “What do you mean Jace has been shot?”

  “I mean some dickhead shot him with a gun. ”

  “Shot him?”

  “Yes, shot him. Can I just talk to Sed?”

  “He’s not here. He went to the studio. Eric said Jace bailed on recording this afternoon, so Sed’s working on vocal tracks. ”

  Aggie realized if she wouldn’t have surprised Jace with a visit, he’d still be safely in the recording studio and not lying in some hospital bed. “Will you let Sed know what happened? Jace will be in here overnight. Probably longer. ”

  “Which hospital are you at?”

  “County. ”

  “I’ll round up the guys, and we’ll come see him. How’d he manage to get shot?” Jessica asked.

  “Some guy tried to grab my purse, and I refused to give it to him. He pulled a gun, and Jace shoved me out of the way. He took two bullets for me—all because I was stupid. I should have just given that bastard my fucking purse. ” Aggie rubbed the center of her chest, her heart aching.

  “Don’t blame yourself, Aggie. Blame the guy with the gun. We’ll be there as soon as possible. ”

  “Thanks, Jess. ”

  Aggie returned to the room, sat in the chair beside the bed, and took Jace’s hand. She kissed his knuckles—pressed them to her cheek. She really did love him. She couldn’t deny it. Did he feel the same? He’d never said much about his feelings, but she knew he felt something for her. He always spoke far more in actions than he did in words. Of course, it could be simple sexual attraction on his end. She wasn’t sure if that was enough for her. It had once been, but now… now she wasn’t sure about anything.

  Over an hour of worry later, she heard a commotion near the end of the hall. “Yes, we’re his family. Get the fuck out of my way. ” Was that Sed? Had to be. That deep baritone was highly distinctive. “Jace,” Aggie whispered, shaking him slightly. “They’re here. ”

  He groaned, but didn’t open his eyes.

  “Jace!”

  “Tired,” he murmured. At least she was pretty sure that’s what he said. She was completely sure he was still asleep.

  Within minutes the room was packed wall to wall with people.

  The entire band had come to visit him? Aggie knew that would mean a lot to Jace, had he been conscious.

  “Thanks for coming. I didn’t know who else to call,” Aggie said, glancing from one rock star to the next.

  “The band isn’t complete without little man,” Eric said.

  Sed stood at the side of the bed, staring at Jace as if to heal him with the power of his will. “He’s in bad shape,” Sed murmured. “He looks like shit. ”

  “He’s not going to die on us, is he?” Trey asked.

  “His doctor said his surgery went well,” Aggie said. “They got the bullet out. The wound is clean. It just needs to heal. ”

  “Should have known something like this would happen,” Eric said, looking at Jace anxiously. “He was supposed to record in the studio this afternoon, and pow—he gets shot. This fuckin’ album is cursed, I tell you. ”

  “You recorded drum tracks this afternoon, and nothing happened to you,” Trey reminded him.

  “Yet,” Eric said, glancing over his shoulder as if searching for the curse cloud now following him.

  “Any idea how long he’ll be out of commission?” Sed asked.

  “A few weeks. ”

  “We leave for Canada in three days,” Brian said.

  “You’re leaving again alrea
dy?” Aggie hated to be the needy girlfriend, but she never got to see him, and Jace had no business touring the continent while he was injured.

  “Supposed to,” Sed said. “Can’t really perform without our bassist though. ”

  “How did he get shot?” Eric asked.

  “Protecting me. ”

  Eric grinned at her crookedly. “You’d never know it from looking at him, but the dude is badass. ”

  “I’m sure he’d like you to tell him that,” Aggie said.

  “No can do. We don’t need another egomaniac in the band. Sed’s got that persona covered. ” Eric winced when Sed slapped him on the back of the head.

  “What do you need us to do for you, Aggie?” Jessica asked, putting an arm around Aggie and rubbing the middle of her back.

  Aggie’s brow wrinkled in confusion. “Me?” She shook her head. “I wasn’t hurt. ”

  “That’s not what I meant. It must’ve been horrible to witness someone you…” Jessica’s eyebrows arched in question. “Care about?”

  Aggie nodded. She’d admit that she cared about Jace. Even in front of all these guys that meant so much to him and whom she didn’t know very well.

  “It must’ve been horrible to witness someone you care about get shot. I thought I’d stroke out when Sed blew out his throat onstage last month. ”

  Sed kissed his fiancée’s temple. “It wasn’t as bad as it looked, baby. ”

  “How would you like to watch helplessly while I lay unconscious in a puddle of blood?”

  Sed jerked Jessica into his arms and rubbed his lips over her silky, strawberry blonde hair. “Don’t even put that vision in my head. ” He offered Aggie a pat on the shoulder. “If you need anything, anything at all, just ask. We’ll help. ”

  “I’m fine. And I think Jace mostly needs to rest. I don’t know what he’ll want to do about the upcoming tour. ” Aggie could guess that he wouldn’t want to let his bandmates down, but she didn’t want to speak for him.

  “Actually, I might have a solution,” Eric said. “I’ll need to make some phone calls. ”

  “You have a solution?” Brian asked.

  “What? You don’t trust me to solve our problems?” Eric asked.

  Sed, Brian, and Trey shook their heads in unison. For the first time since Aggie had stepped out of her car in Los Angeles, she smiled.

  Chapter 22

  Jace moaned in his sleep.

  The gurney followed him. He ran down an endless corridor. White tiles, white walls, blinding white light from above. Antiseptic smells. Jason was too afraid to look behind him. He could hear the squeak of the wheels, so he knew the gurney was still there. Still following him.

  Kiss your mother good-bye, son.

  Jason stopped. The squeaky wheels stopped right behind him.

  Kiss your mother good-bye, son. Kiss your mother—

  He covered his ears to drown out his father’s voice. No. I can’t. Don’t make me.

  This might be the last time you see her. Don’t you love her? Don’t you care?

  That’s not her. It’s not her.

  He didn’t want to look at her, with her face smashed, swollen, and bruised.

  Unrecognizable. Not human. Her body twisted. Contorted. That thing on the gurney was not his mother.

  The gurney bumped into his shoulder blades. His heart lurched. He ran. Ran faster than he’d ever run before.

  Don’t step on a crack. He tried to jump over them, but they moved beneath his feet, and he couldn’t avoid them all.

  He stepped on one. He’d heard her body crunch when the approaching headlights disappeared. Over the sounds of the rending metal and shattering glass, he’d heard it from the backseat.
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