Try me, p.3
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       Try Me, p.3
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         Part #1 of One Night with Sole Regret series by Olivia Cunning
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  the water from the side of Gabe’s face. Chuckling, he lifted the hem of his T-shirt and rubbed the droplets from his skin. She couldn’t help but gape at his washboard abs. It was bad enough that she’d spewed water all over a famous drummer; spitting all over a hot famous drummer with dreamy green eyes and a gorgeous smile was a tabloid-worthy disaster. Her gaze fixed on the hint of a tattoo peeking out above his wide, leather belt near one hipbone. She couldn’t make out what it was before he dropped his shirt to cover his belly. She expected that feeling of unease to settle over her now that she knew he had a tattoo, but she only felt undeniable attraction when she looked at him.

  Gabe took the CD from his excited fan and signed it before turning his attention back to Melanie.

  “I am so sorry,” she said. “I had no idea who you were. ”And how much of an ass I was making of myself as I criticized your band.

  His eyes flipped skyward. “Yeah, I kinda figured that much.”

  “I recognized the other guys in the band because I saw them on stage, but you . . . ”

  “Were the blur behind the huge drum kit.”

  “Yeah.” And he looked like a regular gorgeous guy, not a rock star. She touched her cheeks with her fingertips and found them hot. “I really am sorry I spit water on you. You must think I’m a psycho.”

  “Actually, I think you’re charming,” he said. “I’ve never met a woman with the balls to turn Shade down and call him a freak in the same breath.”

  Melanie groaned. “I can’t believe I did that.” She plopped down on the sofa beside Gabe again and buried her head in her hands. “I don’t really think he’s a freak. He’s just so . . . ”

  “Arrogant?”

  “Yeah.” She turned her head to look at him. “But you don’t seem to be.”

  “I’m just the drummer.” He touched the center of her back, engulfing her in his body heat and the clean fragrance of soap and hot-blooded male as he moved closer. “Do you have a boyfriend?” He stroked her left ring finger just above her first knuckle. “I know if you had a husband or a fiancé, he wouldn’t let you out of his sight without a ring on your finger.”

  Her heart skipped a beat. Was he hitting on her? She was pretty sure he was. Did she mind? Hell no. Even though he was a musician and had a tattoo, she loved what she saw. And she wanted to do so much more than look.

  “I’m currently single,” she said. Yay! she added silently.

  “I thought maybe that’s why you rejected Shade, that you were madly in love with some lucky jackass. You honestly aren’t attracted to him?”

  She shook her head.

  “Not even to his notoriety?”

  “It doesn’t make him any more special than any of us. So he’s famous. Big whoop. It doesn’t give him the right to behave like an ass. You’re famous and you don’t act like that.”

  “Are you sure about that?”

  She nodded resolutely.

  Gabe leaned closer still, his gaze so intense she felt frozen to the spot. He lifted a hand to brush his fingers across her cheek. Melanie’s heart thundered in her chest.

  “I’m going to kiss you,” he said.

  She couldn’t drag her gaze from his. She’d never seen such green eyes. The contrast of those bright irises against his dark lashes was mesmerizing.

  “You are?”

  “Yes.”

  “But I’m not attracted to guys like you.”

  “Guys like me?”

  “Guys with tattoos.”

  “Hmm,” he murmured close to her ear.

  Her eyelids drifted closed.

  “What about guys with mohawks?”

  She gasped and her eyes flew open. “Never.”

  Gabe pushed his ball cap off, revealing that the sides of his head were not only clean-shaven, but tattooed with black and red tribal patterns. The strip of hair down the center of his head was a couple inches long and jet black with crimson tips. So not her type. Then why was her belly tightening with need and why were her panties uncomfortably damp?

  “And I suppose you’d never be attracted to a guy with a body piercing.”

  His warm breath caressed her ear. She stifled a groan. Why was everything about him turning her on? She really wasn’t attracted to these bad-boy types. She was likely to cringe in fear when confronted by someone who looked like him. Now, even though Gabe had her cornered against the arm of the sofa, she felt no fear at all. She wanted to touch him. Stroke his mohawk, rub his scalp, caress his tattoos with her lips. How had those desires been spawned? She should be flinching away from him, not swaying toward him. He was exactly the type of guy she avoided as a rule. Yet she wasn’t the least bit afraid of Gabe. She wanted him.

  “My navel’s pierced,” she blurted. One moment of recklessness on her twenty-first birthday.

  “I don’t believe you.”

  She lifted the hem of her top to show him the jewelry dangling from her belly button. His breath caught, and his fingers traced the slender chain around her waist. A pulse of pleasure converged between her thighs, and she clenched her legs together to ease the building ache.

  “God, that’s sexy.” His pinky dipped beneath the waistband of her jeans as he traced the gold chain again. “What other secrets are you hiding, sweet Melanie? I want to discover them all.”

  Melanie covered Gabe’s hand before he delved any deeper into her pants. “You have piercings?” she asked, staring up into his eyes. She didn’t see any in his ears or face. It was one of the reasons she hadn’t recognized that he was one of them. His clothes covered his body tattoos. His ball cap hid his unconventional hairstyle and the ink on his scalp. She’d let her guard down with him before she’d realized he was frightening. That had to be the difference. She’d talked to him before she’d known she should be afraid. “Where? I don’t see any.”

  “You’ll have to feel it.” Gabe took her hand and directed it to his chest. Her fingers brushed against a hard ridge within his nipple.

  “Oh!” She rubbed her tongue against the edge of her teeth, wondering what that bit of metal would feel like if she flicked her tongue over the barbell she fingered under his T-shirt. His muscles tautened beneath her touch and she silently prayed that he was as attracted to her as she was to him. She wanted him to fist her hair in both hands, drag her beneath his long, hard body and press himself firmly against the throbbing ache between her thighs.

  “Melanie.” Her whispered name was like a silken caress. “You’re gorgeous.”

  The corners of her mouth turned up. “So are you.”

  Their gazes locked and everything resembling rational thought vacated her skull. Gabe shifted forward and claimed her mouth in a plundering kiss. Dear God, he had strong, demanding lips. Her fingers curled into his chest, and her breath caught in her throat. When his tongue brushed her upper lip, her entire body ignited. The taste of beer. The scent of his body. The hard barbell of a nipple piercing against her fingertip. All so foreign. So dangerous. So fucking sexy. He tugged his mouth away and looked down at her. Her hand slid down his belly toward his hip.

  “Show me your tattoo,” she demanded breathlessly. Part of her wanted to prove to herself that she wasn’t afraid. The other part just really wanted to get another eyeful of his great body.

  “Which one?”

  “The one on your hip. Are there more?”

  He grinned. “I thought you didn’t like tattoos.”

  She shook her head, her gaze moving to the design on the left side of Gabe’s scalp. On closer inspection, the tribal pattern looked like a dragon. Not realistic. Artistic. The thick, black lines that made up its long, slender body arched along the edge of his hairline. Red fire spewed from the beast’s terrible mouth inches from his temple. The dragon’s claws seemed to be reaching for his ear. “I don’t. I’m curious is all. It’s not a skull design, is it?” She gulped. What would she do if it was?

  “No. Not a skull.”

  She went limp with relief. “Then what?”

  “I
d be happy to show them to you. All of them. But not here.”

  He turned his head to remind her that they were in a fairly secluded corner of a very crowded room. Melanie sat up abruptly and tugged her shirt down over her belly. Had anyone noticed what they were doing? She should be mortified by her reckless behavior, but it excited her instead.

  “Force!” someone yelled from across the room and waved wildly at Gabe.

  Gabe waved back.

  “Why do they call you Force?” she asked.

  “That’s my lame stage name.” He adopted a menacing expression—lip curled, brows drawn together—and cracked his knuckles. “I’m a force to be reckoned with.” He grinned and lifted her hand so he could capture her fingertips in sucking kisses.

  “Oh.” An aching throb continued to build between her thighs, and she knew there was only one thing that was going to alleviate it. And only one man she wanted to drive it away. The excitement of being with Gabe, of overcoming her ridiculous fears, was far too seductive for her to deny. “I’m not normally attracted to guys like you.”

  “So you said.”

  Her heart thudded faster and faster as she gathered courage. She wished she could be more like Nikki and make it perfectly clear what she wanted. “If I tell you that I want you, would you believe me?”

  “Try me.”

  “I want you.”

  He caught her gaze and held it for a long moment. “Do you want to get out of here?”

  “Will you show me your tattoos?”

  “That would require me to get naked.”

  She grinned at him. “I’m okay with that.”

  Chapter 5

  Gabe wasn’t sure what it was about this woman that had him so fired up. Yes, she was attractive, but that didn’t explain it. He knew innumerable attractive women. Maybe it was because she liked him despite him being a rock star and not because of it. Or maybe it was because she’d turned down Jacob—no one ever turned down Jacob. Or maybe it was because there was something naughty and wild just beneath her conventional exterior, and he very much wanted to unleash her inner vixen. Whatever it was, he was hooked. He never questioned his little head’s instincts. His dick had excellent taste.

  He followed Melanie out of the stadium to a convertible, melon-orange Volkswagen Beetle wedged between two gargantuan SUVs in a parking garage.

  “Cute,” he said when the she pressed her key fob and the Bug’s lights flashed. He’d hoped one of the gas guzzlers was hers. No such luck. Normally he wouldn’t be caught dead in such a feminine car, but he wanted to show her more than his tattoos. He had the pressing need to be alone with her. To figure out what made her so appealing. Yeah, that belly chain and navel piercing of hers had turned his thoughts thick with lust, but it was more than that.

  “It’s Nikki’s. I should probably text her and let her know I took off without her. Or maybe I should let her worry about me for a change.” She paused to squint at him with assessing eyes. “Does she have a reason to be worried?”

  “Only if she plans to see you before morning.”

  “Just how many tattoos do you have? It shouldn’t take you all night to show me.”

  She offered him a challenging smirk. It made him want to kiss the sass out of her.

  “But it will take me that long to work you out of my system.”

  Her breath caught. After a moment she closed her gaping mouth and squeezed her tight little body between the SUV and the Bug on the driver’s side of the car. “Are you hungry?” she asked as she inched open the door and sidled into the car. “I’m starving. I missed dinner so we could stand in line for two hours. There has to be an open restaurant around here somewhere.”

  He took note of her rapid words. He hoped she didn’t freak out and leave him hanging. Well, actually, he was more hard than hanging. Did she have any idea what he had in mind? It had been a while since he’d had to work at seducing a woman. They tended to fall out of their pants and into his. Maybe he was off his game. She wanted to have dinner first? For real? He was wondering how she was still clothed.

  Gabe squeezed into the car with her and closed the door. Folded into the small space, he felt he was in danger of kneeing himself in the eyeballs. “Does the thought of being alone with me make you nervous?”

  “No,” she squeaked.

  “Good. Then we’ll order room service,” he said, fiddling under the seat for a lever to give himself some room. He sighed in relief when the seat shifted and offered him a few extra inches for his legs.

  “But—”

  “You do realize I plan to fuck you, don’t you?” No sense in pretending this was something it wasn’t. “If you’re playing games with me—”

  “I’m not playing games, Gabe. I plan to fuck you until you can’t move. I just thought we could get to know each other a little better first. I’ve never had a man seduce me this quickly. I feel kind of . . . um . . . slutty.” She whispered that last word as if it had never applied to her before.

  Heat flooded his groin. Fuck, yeah. She did want him after all. He was used to women coming on to him, making their intentions clear, and being blunt. He just wasn’t used to women like Melanie doing so. Damn, his balls ached. There was no way in hell he’d make it through a polite dinner with her. He was perfectly fine with her feeling slutty. Especially because he didn’t think she let herself feel that way often. Convincing her to do something she wouldn’t normally do stroked his ego until an inferno of lust blazed inside him.

  Melanie started the car while Gabe struggled to form coherent thoughts. They were pulling out of the parking garage before he managed to fire a rational synapse.

  “Um, where to?” she asked.

  He gave her the name of the hotel and she searched for it on the car’s navigation system. It began to spout directions in a robotic voice.

  “You have until we get to the hotel to get to know me,” he said. “It isn’t far. You’d better get started.”

  “How often do you do this kind of thing?”

  “What kind of thing?”

  “Have women you don’t know drive you to your hotel room?”

  “Less often than you think.”

  Her full lips pursed skeptically, she lifted an eyebrow at him, before returning her attention to the road. It was mostly deserted at this hour, which meant the short trip to the hotel would be especially quick. A good thing. If he caught the scent of her fruity shampoo one more time, he was going to unzip his pants and show her the effect she had on him, indecent exposure laws be damned.

  “I usually take them to the tour bus,” he said, forcing his mind to keep up with the thread of their conversation. “It’s easier to get rid of them that way.”

  She laughed. “At least you’re honest.”

  “How often do you do this kind of thing?” he countered.

  “Before or after I graduated college?”

  There was a distinction? “After?”

  “Not often.”

  “Before?”

  “Whenever I felt like it,” she said. “Which wasn’t often.”

  “So why are you doing this now?”

  “I figure I’m entitled to a little slutty fun every now and then.”

  She turned her head to smile at him. She had a great smile. It made his heart swell in his chest. And other things swell in his pants.

  “And I really want to see that tattoo on your hip.”

  He didn’t understand why a tattoo on his hip was such a big deal to her. It wasn’t anything spectacular, just his astrological sign. “I think your idea of who I am and who I really am are entirely different things.”

  “Duh. That’s why I wanted to get to know you first,” she said.

  Maybe he was the one who was nervous. He didn’t know if she’d be impressed with the real him. Usually the rock star thing did all his work for him. Gabe ran his knuckles down her bare arm, and she shuddered. “And that’s why I’m in such a hurry to occupy you with other things.”

 
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