Rock hard, p.28
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       Rock Hard, p.28

         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
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Page 28

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  Her vision blurred as she left the brightly lit bathroom and entered the dim interior of the living room. She couldn’t walk in a straight line. Kept drifting to the right. She’d consumed way too much champagne. She stumbled through the living area with her arms extended for balance and bumped into a side table, whacking her shin on hard wood. Eventually the pain registered.

  “Ow!”

  As she danced away from the offending piece of furniture, she stubbed her big toe on the sofa leg.

  “Ow! Damn!” Tears of pain filled her eyes. She sat down heavily in a taupe over-stuffed chair, grabbing her smarting toe with both hands. Jessica sucked deep breaths through her teeth until the sharp pain faded to dull. Why did big toes have so many frickin’ pain receptors anyway?

  Comfy chair… She blinked slowly and leaned her head against the chair arm. She curled her legs under her for warmth and tugged her towel closer. So sleepy… Sed… Please don’t be mad at me… I’ll find you… Sorry I hurt you… I do need you… Please, hold me… Don’t leave me alone…

  Chapter 20

  Sed stalked down the wide sidewalk, oblivious to the crowds milling along the Vegas strip. The throngs of people parted before him like the red sea. Apparently, his pissed-off aura preceded him and alerted them to get the fuck out of his way. He didn’t even know where he was going. Back to the tour bus maybe. Or a bar. He could use a drink. And not that watered down shit they gave away at the casinos.

  “Oh my God, it’s Sedric Lionheart!” a feminine voice wailed.

  Sed froze. He wasn’t in the right state of mind to deal with rabid fans. He glanced around, looking for an escape route or a place to hide.

  “It is him. Sed!” a voice said from the opposite direction. “Sed. Sed. Sed! I love you. ”

  He spun on his heel, wincing at the large group of young women racing toward him. His only means of escape was the busy street beyond the sidewalk. He headed in that direction, but hesitated on the curb. Cars zoomed past.

  Several bodies careened into him and he stumbled, one foot landing in the road. A car blared its horn as it swerved, barely missing him.

  His fangirls wouldn’t push him to his death, though. Several hands grabbed his T-shirt and pulled him back onto the sidewalk.

  Fabric tore along his back. While he’d regained his balance, within seconds, he’d lost his shirt. Again. Why did they always have to rip his shirt off? Christ. There was a reason he kept his hair short and didn’t wear jewelry. If they could grab it, they considered it fair game for their collections.

  Hands, belonging to various females in the growing mob, touched, caressed, squeezed, poked, and prodded any bare skin they could get their hands on.

  A few of the more bold ladies copped a feel of his ass beneath his jeans.

  Another grabbed his crotch. “So that video wasn’t enhanced,” someone murmured into his ear from behind. “You are a monster. ”

  He pulled a hand away, only to have it replaced with another. Camera flashes were going off all around him. The excited twitters of high-pitched voices made his head swim.

  Normally, it didn’t bother him to be fondled and groped by appreciative female fans, but he’d had enough of being used for one day. Jessica thought of him as a toy, and all these chicks just saw him as an object for their amusement.

  No one gave a shit about him. Not the real him. He tried to be a good guy. To treat Jess right and she reminded him of how little he really meant to her? Fuck her. He didn’t need her. He didn’t need anyone.

  “Back off!” he bellowed.

  Everyone froze.

  Hesitated a few seconds.

  Continued their game of who can touch Sed in the most invasive manner.

  “Sed!” a familiar masculine (thank you, God) voice called from just outside his circle of admirers.

  An engine revved loudly and girls dashed aside as a Harley Davidson bumped over the curb and onto the sidewalk. The bike stopped next to Sed and its driver slid forward on the seat.

  Jace. Bassist. Savior.

  “Get on,” Jace said, jerking his helmeted head toward the back of the bike.

  Sed peeled his fangirls’ leech-like hands from his body and climbed onto the motorcycle behind Jace.

  “Can I have your autograph, please?” a young woman asked, her grip like iron on his wrist. “Please!”

  “Some other time. ”

  Sed tugged free of her hold. The motorcycle shot forward, hopped the curb and entered traffic. Several horns blared as Jace cut across three lanes.

  “Man, you saved my life. Did you just happen to be driving past?”

  “I saw the chaotic crowd of females. Figured it was you in the middle of it. Or Brad Pitt. ”

  Sed chuckled. “I thought you were visiting Trey. ”

  “Eric doesn’t want me around. ” The bike rumbled loudly as Jace accelerated, whipping between cars in the heavy traffic. The guy was a maniac. Sed’s heart raced after the first near fatality. By the third, he just wanted off the fuckin’ bike.

  “Hey, slow down. Shit, man, are you trying to kill us?”

  “Just don’t want to be seen riding with a half-naked dude on the back of my bike. ”

  Sed laughed so hard he almost fell off the motorcycle. He wrapped his arms around Jace’s waist, the cool, smooth leather of Jace’s jacket against his bare chest. Sed rested his chin on Jace’s shoulder. “Is this better, snookums?”

  “Ack!” Jace scooted forward, but Sed tightened his arms to keep him from shifting onto the shiny red gas tank. “Get back. ”

  Sed snorted. “Slow down and I’ll let go. ”

  Jace slowed and carefully moved to the lane closest to the sidewalk. As promised, Sed released him and scooted to the back of the seat. A moment later, they turned into the parking lot where the tour buses were still parked.

  “Home sweet home,” Sed murmured as Jace pulled to a stop next to the front bus.

  “Did you want to go somewhere else?”

  “In this outfit?” Sed climbed off the back of the bike and let himself into the empty bus. Jace followed.

  Sed found a spare shirt in the bedroom that didn’t smell like stale sweat. He donned it and returned to the common area.

  Jace, who was seated at the dining table, watched Sed pass as if he wanted to talk. Rare for Jace. Better humor him.

  Sed slid into the bench across from him.

  “So what have you been up to lately?” Sed asked. “Haven’t seen you around much. You’re always taking off on your bike. ”

  Jace shrugged, rubbing the small hoop earring in his lobe between his thumb and the side of his index finger. “Stuff. ”

  “You’re probably just sick of Eric harassing you all the time. ”

  He shrugged again. “Eric’s cool. He was here first. ”

  “Eric can be real a douche bag, you know? Don’t let him get to you. ”

  “No, really, he’s cool. You should cut him some slack. ”

  “Me?”

  “The dude idolizes you and you cut him down all the time. He just laughs it off, but…” Jace shrugged again.

  The quiet ones always surprised him with their insight. Was he too hard on Eric? Sed scratched his forehead, scowling in thought. He did cut Eric down, but Eric needed that to keep him on an even keel. Didn’t he? Yeah, as an outsider, Jace just didn’t understand their dynamic.

  And why did he just think of Jace as an outsider? He was a part of the band just like the other guys. Just because he’d only been with the band two years…

  “Do we make you feel like an outsider?” Sed asked.

  Jace dropped his gaze to the table. After a long moment, he said, “Not exactly. ”

  “If there’s anything I can do—”

  “Where’s your girlfriend?” he interrupted.

  “I left her back at the hotel. She pissed me off.
Actually, she’d hurt him, but it pissed him off that she could do it so easily.

  “You want a ride back?”

  Sed sighed, annoyed by his own weakness. He should just stay away from her. It would make things easier. He knew she’d lashed out at him because she was hurting. He wasn’t sure how to take that hurt away, but he had to try. “Yeah, if you don’t mind, but I need to do something first. ”

  He pulled his lyrics journal from under the cushion of the bench seat and started to write. It would help to get these feelings out of his head, where they churned incessantly.

  He labeled the page: “Used. ”

  He then scrawled beneath the title, in barely legible script:

  You don’t see me.

  Blind to the real me.

  I’m not who you think I should be.

  But I can’t be someone I’m not.

  He paused, chewing on the end of his pen.

  I’ll try to be who you need,

  what you need,

  I fail again

  tear me, cut me, make me bleed

  if it opens your heart to me.

  Just don’t leave me with nothing.

  Less than nothing.

  Like the last time.

  Use me.

  It’s better than existing without you.

  He closed the notebook and shoved it back under the seat.

  “Are you writing lyrics?” In his enthusiasm, Jace looked younger than his twenty-four years. Brown eyes wide with eagerness, his typical cool veneer slipped aside for at least three seconds.

  “Just a few lines as inspiration strikes. ” Sed slid out of the bench. “Are you ready to go?”

  “Huh? Oh yeah. So do we have enough for an entire new song yet?”

  “Several, actually. I’ve got most of the lyrics down, but I’ll need Eric to get the arrangements worked out. ”

  “Eric?”

  “Fucking gifted with arrangements. He’s got a golden ear. He can take a bunch of disjointed riffs, solos and lyrics, and like magic churn out a song, complete with one of his amazing drum tracks. Have you ever seen him compose?”

  Wide-eyed, Jace shook his head and followed Sed off the bus.

  “He and Jon Mallory used to work well together. They’d disappear for a weekend with a stack of music—Brian’s guitar work, my lyrics—and return with fifteen or twenty new songs, ready for the recording studio. They wrote the entire last album that way. Not sure how he’ll do now that Jon is gone. ” Sed scowled. That might turn out to be a problem, actually. It hadn’t occurred to him until that moment. “Eric will just have to compose with me this time. And you. ”

  “Me?” Jace sputtered. “I don’t know a thing about writing music. ”

  Sed laughed. “Me neither, but that won’t stop me. ”

  Jace grinned. “I’ll try to stay out of Eric’s way, but I would like to see him work. ”

  Sed had never recognized it before, but Jace admired Eric. Even though Eric treated him like a kid and continually picked on him about his size. Weird.

  Without warning, a blinding light hit Sed in the face and a microphone appeared under his chin. “Sed Lionheart, every music fan out there wants to know, is this the end of Sinners?” Bright flashbulbs went off all around him. Damned paparazzi. How did they know he was here?

  Sed lifted a hand to block the glare from his eyes. “What?”

  “With Trey Mills out of commission, will the band break up?” the reporter shouted.

  “What? No. Trey will be fine. Jesus, give him a few days to recover before you start talking about the band breaking up. ”

  “I see. And do you often engage in public sex with prostitutes and then post the videos online?”

  “Prostitutes?” Sed was too stunned to do anything at first. His next instinct was to kick some ass. “Jessica isn’t a prostitute, you asshole. She’s… she’s…” What was she to him exactly? He wasn’t sure, but he did know what he wanted her to be. “She’s my fiancée!” Sed tried to take a swing at the prick, but Jace grabbed him from behind and pinned his arms to his sides.
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