Hot ticket, p.28
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       Hot Ticket, p.28

         Part #3 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
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Page 28

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “Do we need to leave you two alone?” Sed asked.

  Jace’s face warmed instantly. “No. ”

  He nudged Aggie off his lap and went to the refrigerator. “I’m starving. What’s there to eat?” He looked back at the table, hoping he’d missed the feast sitting there waiting for consumption. Nope. Just empties and half empties and mostly fulls. So they were back to living on a diet of beer. Wonderful.

  “Whatever you cook,” Trey said. “Unless Aggie—”

  “I’m female, so I get cooking duty? Fuck that. ”

  “Not because you’re female,” Trey amended. “I’ve tasted the cooking of these guys, and let’s just say it isn’t good. ”

  “You’re the worst cook of us all,” Brian murmured. He lifted his head from Trey’s shoulder, a concerned look on his face. “Trey?”

  “Yeah, buddy?”

  “Is that your hand or mine?”

  “I think it’s yours. ”

  “M’kay. ” Brian’s head hit the table with a loud thunk. He grunted in pain. Trey helped him upright, settling Brian’s head against his shoulder again. Brian had a spreading red spot in the center of his forehead now.

  “I think Brian needs another beer,” Trey said, holding his hand toward Jace.

  Jace pulled a brown bottle from the refrigerator.

  “Brian’s done. ” Sed shook his head at Trey. “We all know what you’re trying to do, Trey. ”

  Brian poked Trey in the back of the hand repeatedly. “What are you try… hic… What are you trying to do, Trey?”

  “I’m just making sure you’re having a good time. ”

  “I’m having a verygoodfuckingtime, my friend, thankyouverymuch. ” His head hit the table again.

  Jace returned the beer to the fridge. He searched for something edible that took minimum preparatory effort. He settled for a stale toaster pastry, leaning against the stove while he munched it. Aggie watched him, looking confused. And a little hurt. He avoided her gaze. He really was just hungry. And craving meat. Steak preferably. Bloody rare. He moved to the front of the bus to talk to Dave.

  “Any chance we can stop somewhere for food? I’m fuckin’ starving to death. ”

  “I’ll keep an eye out for a place to stop. ”

  Jace’s stomach rumbled.

  Dave took his eyes off the road to glance at him. “Soon. Go sit down. You look like shit. ”

  “I feel like shit. ”

  Jace sat in one of the captain’s chairs across from the sofa where Jon and Eric were involved in a competitive card game. Jon selected one of Eric’s cards, and Eric sniggered.

  “Shit. I don’t want your old maid, Sticks. Take it back. ”

  Jon tried to return the card to Eric’s fan, but Eric held his cards securely to his chest.

  “Eh, no. That old bitch is yours now. ”

  Old Maid? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. And why was Eric wearing a motorcycle helmet on the bus?

  Eric glanced at Jace and did a double take. “You okay, little man? You—”

  “Look like shit. Yeah, I know. I’ll live. ”

  “Or not,” Jon said. “Whatev. ”

  Eric rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Dickhead much, Mallory?”

  Eric was sticking up for him?

  Aggie pressed a sports drink in Jace’s hand. “Drink this, sweetie. The doctor said you need fluids. ”

  “Yeah, sweetie,” Eric said. “Drink your fluids like a good little man. ”

  Well, that was to be expected. Jace climbed to his feet. “Come get me when we stop for food. ”

  He took his drink to the bedroom and closed the door. He sat on the edge of the bed, staring into the darkness. He wasn’t sure what to do about the band. He’d been with them for almost three years, and they felt like strangers. The door opened. He knew it was Aggie without looking up. He wasn’t sure what to do about her either. He liked her, but he didn’t want a solid commitment. He couldn’t give her what she needed, and he knew that wasn’t fair. She deserved better.

  She switched on the light and sat next to him on the bed, her soft hand resting on his lower back. She kissed his shoulder. He didn’t mind her affection now that they were alone—liked it pretty well actually.

  “You okay?” she asked.

  “Why does everyone keep asking me that?”

  “I don’t think you are. Not really. ”

  “I’ll live. ”

  “I didn’t ask if you’d live. Talk to me, Jace. You’re so quiet around the guys. Why is that?”

  “I—” He shook his head. He wasn’t about to spill his guts. He needed to keep them inside. Festering. Where they belonged. “You seem to get along with them just fine. ”

  “I get guys. Well, most guys. I don’t get you. I want to though. ”

  He wasn’t afraid of much, but she scared the hell out of him. Not the whip-wielding dominatrix. That part of her was enough for him. This open, caring, wonderful woman was too much. He didn’t deserve her. And he knew it.

  “Why do you crave pain?”

  “Why?” She wanted a reason? His throat closed off. “You shouldn’t ask me things like that. ”

  “You can tell me anything, Jace. It won’t change how I feel about you. ”

  “Are you sure?”

  She shifted closer, her arm brushing his. “I’m sure. Whatever it is, you can tell me. ”

  “Why don’t you tell me why you like to hit men?” he countered.

  She shrugged. “That’s easy. My mom pawned me off on neighbors while she went out of town chasing some stupid dream or some stupider man. One of the neighbor men, who I now know is a pervert, liked to spank me. He’d sneak around and try to catch me doing something wrong so he could drag me into his garage, pull my pants down, and spank me. I hated that bastard. One day, I got tired of taking it. I waited until he dragged me into the garage, and then I took a belt to him. I expected him to beat me for it, even thought it would be worth it, but instead he let me hit him. He cried at my feet and begged me to forgive him for all the times he’d spanked me. I’ll never forget the rush I felt when I wailed on that pervert’s ass for the first time. There were many times after that. He started buying me gifts—made it worth my while. ” She laughed. “That’s when I realized how easy it is to have complete power over men. I was eleven at the time. ”

  Jace shook his head in disbelief. How could she be so matter-of-fact? “Fuckin’ sick bastard. Didn’t anyone try to stop him?”

  “I didn’t need anyone to stop him. I stopped him. ” She patted his cheek. “Trust me, it was better that way. Now you have to tell me why you think you need pain. ”

  He sat in silence for several minutes. If he told her, she would no longer be able to accept him. She’d be like all the others who thought he was a freak.

  But she sat there in silent support, and he felt his wall of protection crumble.

  “Nine years ago…” He stared at his clasped hands, his stomach roiling. He shouldn’t tell her. He closed his eyes and whispered, “I killed my father. ”

  Chapter 28

  Aggie took a deep breath, her mind unable to comprehend what Jace had told her. He’d killed his father? As in murdered him?

  The bus shuddered and sputtered as it drew to a halt. “Food!” someone yelled. A clamor of voices and footsteps moved toward the bus exit.

  “Are you ready to go eat?” he said.

  “I… You’re just going to leave it at that? You aren’t going to explain why or how or—”

  “Aggie, I can’t change what I did. I can’t take it back. I can’t make amends. All I can do is cope—the only way I know how. ”

  Her heart ached for him. Whatever he’d done in his past, she didn’t care. She knew he was a good man. She took his hand and squeezed. “I want to help you. How can I help?”

  His gaze drifted to the ceiling, the
pain in his eyes so absolute, she felt it deep in her chest, in her throat, and behind her eyes.

  “Hurt me, Aggie. Just hurt me. ”

  She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him, wanting to reach him, but he remained stiff in her embrace. If he would just submit to her and admit what he really needed, they could make progress, but until he opened up and accepted the love she could give him, they’d go nowhere.

  She kissed his cheek and stood. “Get some clothes on. Let’s get you something to eat. ”

  He stared at his hands again, a muscle flexing repeatedly in his jaw as he worked at burying his pain. After a moment, he nodded, slipped into some clothes, and headed for the door.

  As they walked toward the exit, Aggie took his left hand in hers and refused to let go as he tried to shake it off.

  “I won’t make you hold my hand in front of the guys, but when they’re not around, you’re holding it. ” She poked him in the ribs. “Got it?”

  He chuckled. God, she loved it when he laughed. She wanted him to laugh hard and often. She hoped she could give him that.

  “Got it. ” He wrapped his left arm around her shoulders and linked the fingers of his other hand with hers inside his sling. She turned her head to grin at him, and he surprised her by kissing her.

  What started as an affectionate brush of his lips soon deepened into something that made her ache. She leaned on him for support, blaming the alcohol she’d consumed earlier for the sudden weakness in her legs.

  “Isn’t that the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen, Jon?” Eric said from just inside the door. He took off his motorcycle helmet and set it down on the driver’s seat. “Little man has a girlfriend. ”

  “If by sweetest you mean the most nauseating, then I’d have to agree,” Jon, acting as Eric’s shadow, said.

  Aggie extended an arm in their direction and gave them the finger.

  “Did you see that, Eric? She propositioned us,” Jon said.

  “All right!” Eric clapped his hands. “You bang her. I’ll watch. ”

  Jace eased away, his eyes drifting open slowly. “Did you hear something, Aggie? Sounded like a couple of pussies crying for something they’ll never have. ”

  “Or be able to handle. ” She slapped Jace’s ass hard and then squeezed until his breath caught with excitement. “There’s a paddle in the bedroom with your name on it, sugar. ”

  “She scares the hell out of me,” Jon whispered.

  “Me too,” Eric agreed.

  “What do you have to be scared of? My favorite whip was stolen, you wimps. ”

  Jace squeezed Aggie’s shoulder consolingly. “Don’t worry, baby, we’ll get you a new one. ”

  Her eyes widened with eagerness. “With a thorn?”

  Jace grinned. “Oh yeah. Definitely one with a thorn. ”

  They continued past Eric and Jon on their way out of the bus.

  “And can I get a new crop? And a flail?”

  “Anything you want, as long as you promise to break them all in on me. ”

  “Aww, can’t I hit them?” She nodded over her shoulder at Eric and Jon. “Just a little bit? I’ll clean off their blood when I’m finished. I wouldn’t want to spread their diseases. ”

  “I’ll think about it. ” As soon as they exited the bus, Jace burst into laughter. “Did you see their faces?”

  Not really. She’d been too busy looking at the smile on his.

  Chapter 29

  Jace’s eyes flipped open, his heart still thumping with terror. He hadn’t had that nightmare about his mother’s death in years. Now it haunted him regularly.

  A hand stroked his belly in the darkness. “You okay?” Aggie murmured groggily.
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