Rock hard, p.31
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       Rock Hard, p.31

         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
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Page 31

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “Of course I’m yelling! You lied about something that seriously affects my life. This story will get around and people will believe it, no matter how ridiculous it is. ”

  “Ridiculous?”

  “How could you tell him I was your fiancée? Like I’d ever consider marrying you. ”

  “Well, what did you want me to say, Jessica, that you’re just some chick I like to bang? That you’re nothing more to me than a good lay? That would have done nothing to fix your reputation. ”

  “And who destroyed it in the first place? Oh, that’s right. You did. ” Jessica grabbed a stack of data sheets and the laptop from the dining table. She tucked it all under one arm. “I can’t work with that idiot around,” she said to Myrna, who raised both brows at her but said nothing. “Email me if you need anything. ” Jessica stomped up the corridor. “Stop the bus!” she yelled.

  Dave slammed on the brakes. Jessica grabbed the pole beside the driver’s seat so she didn’t fall on her face.

  “Jesus, don’t scare me like that,” Dave muttered.

  Jessica slung her purse over her shoulder and headed for the exit. “Let me out,” she growled at Dave.

  He scrambled to obey her and the bus door swung open.

  Sed followed her down the steps. “Where are you going? I thought you were staying with me until we go back on tour. ”

  She was so pissed she couldn’t see straight. “I would rather… I would rather… stay at my mother’s house. ” Which was about the worst thing she could think of. She stalked off toward the Mandalay Bay parking garage and her piece of shit Nissan Sentra still parked there.

  “Jessica?” Sed called after her.

  “I am sick of you fucking up my life, Sed! Give me a call when the band goes back on tour. Until then I don’t want to hear from you or see you or even know you’re alive. ”

  “Yeah? Well, next time someone calls you a prostitute, I won’t correct them,” he yelled.

  “That’s better than the world thinking I’m engaged to a self-centered son-of-a-bitch like you. ”

  ***

  Sed watched Jessica walk away with his heart lodged in his throat. Was there anything worse than watching her leave him? No. He headed after her, but Myrna grabbed his arm.

  “Let her go,” she said.

  He shook his head vigorously. “I can’t. ”

  “You have to, Sed. She needs to figure out who you are. Why you do the things you do. She doesn’t get it. She thinks you’re trying to control her life. Until she figures out that’s not your intention, you’re just going to drive her crazy. Give her time to understand why you did what you did. A few minutes to miss you, sweetie. ” She patted his cheek sympathetically. “She will, you know. ”

  “But she’s leaving. ” He pointed a hand at Jessica’s shrinking figure as if that explained all his inner turmoil. “She’ll be back. She said to call her when the band goes back on tour. If she really never wanted to see you again, she wouldn’t have given herself that out. ”

  “That’s just her need for money talking. ”

  Myrna snorted. “I can’t believe you think that. I give her three days—tops—before she’s on your doorstep wanting you back. Just trust me on this, okay? I know you love her. That’s why you try so hard to fix things for her. She hasn’t figured that out, yet. You’ve got the poor girl so confused she’s never going to see it. And no matter how much you want to, you can’t make her see it. She has to figure it out on her own. ”

  Jessica disappeared from view, taking the heart previously lodged in Sed’s throat with her.

  “Promise you won’t go after her, Sed. That you’ll be patient. Give her a couple of days to catch her breath. ”

  “I’ll try. ”

  “Sed?” Myrna said reproachfully.

  “Fine. Whatever. Psychologist knows best. ”

  Before the bus even merged onto the highway, Sed had already thought of three reasons he needed to contact Jessica as soon as they reached L. A. She’d left her suitcase on the bus. She had left several piles of Myrna’s data behind. And he missed her. Already.

  Chapter 23

  Staring at the innocuous cadet-blue bungalow, Jessica sat in her mother’s driveway filled with dread. She couldn’t do this. Could not stay in that house. Sure, her mother was a pain in the ass and made her crazy with the constant harping, but her stepfather, Ed… Just thinking about him made her skin crawl.

  A five-hour drive, mostly through the Mojave Desert, had done a lot to put things into perspective. It was astonishing how much better her brain worked when a certain man wasn’t stirring her emotions like a blender on liquefy. She felt kind of bad for going off on Sed just because he’d reacted badly to the press. In the same situation, she wasn’t sure what she would have said. She definitely wouldn’t have claimed to be his fiancée. More likely, she’d have gotten physically violent. In his stupid, macho way, Sed had been trying to make things better. He hadn’t succeeded. Not by a long shot. But it had been his intention. Sometimes that was more important than the outcome. Wasn’t it? She didn’t know.

  Jessica pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and stared at it for a good ten minutes before dialing Sed’s number.

  “Jessica?” Sed answered breathlessly.

  “Hi. ”

  “Hi. ”

  Silence for a long minute.

  “Did you need something?” he asked finally.

  She glanced up at her mother’s house and then at the dashboard. “A place to stay,” she said in a mousy squeak.

  Another long silence. “Do you want to stay with me?”

  She nodded, her chest tight. Why did she feel like crying?

  “Jessica?”

  She realized he hadn’t heard the marbles rattling around in her head when she’d nodded. “Yes. If you don’t mind. ”

  “I don’t mind. ”

  “I’m sorry I went off on you in Vegas. I know you were just trying to fix things. ”

  “Sometimes I say some pretty stupid shit. ”

  “Sometimes?” She laughed. It felt good. She didn’t understand why it bothered her so much to fight with him. She didn’t like the idea that she had started to care about him again in such a short time. Or maybe she’d never stopped caring. She didn’t know. She just wanted to be with him. Even if that meant she had to swallow her pride, call him, and ask for a place to stay. Stupid, Jessica. So stupid.

  “Do you know where I live? Or do you want me to pick you up?”

  “Give me your address. I’ll find it. ”

  While she was writing his address on a receipt she’d found in her purse, the front door opened and Ed stepped out on the porch. His bulbous eyes brightened when he noticed her sitting in the driveway. She lodged the phone between the side of her head and her shoulder, put the car in reverse, and headed back to Sed. The lesser of two evils, she told herself, which in no way explained the buoyancy in her heart.

  Chapter 24

  Sed opened the front door to his condominium and there stood Jessica on his threshold. Myrna had given Jessica three days and she hadn’t lasted six hours. He forced himself not to gloat. She cared. She did, or she wouldn’t be there. He would pretend like he hadn’t been in his car on his way to her mother’s house when she’d called.

  “Come in,” he said, beckoning Jessica inside. She glanced around as she entered, carrying one of the bags from her car. Her eyes opened wide in disbelief.

  “This place is huge!” Her voice echoed slightly in the two-story foyer.

  “I got a great deal on it. It was in foreclosure. I paid about half what it’s really worth. ”

  She continued into the condo, glancing around at the tasteful decor. Most of his furniture was white, the pillows, rugs, accent pieces, and artwork red and black. “I assume you hired a decorator. ”

  He scratched his head. Not exactly. Tanya ha
d taken her payment in sexual favors. Over a week’s worth of them. But that had been a year ago. “Uh… A friend took care of it for me. ”

  Jessica gave him a reproachful look, but didn’t press for details. “Where’s the guest room?”

  Yeah, like he was going to put her in there. “My bedroom is up on the second floor. ”

  She followed him up the cast-iron spiral staircase to the second floor. There was an open loft area at the top of the stairs—his man cave and entertainment mecca. Massaging recliners, home theater, stereo, video games, dartboard, pool table, wet bar, and, through a set of French doors, an enormous rooftop balcony complete with hot tub, BBQ pit, and a spectacular view of the ocean.

  Jessica glanced around, her mouth still agape. “This is a bachelor’s wet dream. ”

  “You don’t like it?”

  “It’s wonderful, Sed. How do you stand living on the tour bus when you have this waiting for you at home?”

  “You know I love to be on tour. I live for it. But if I can’t be on the road, this keeps me entertained for a couple of days. ” He took her bag from her and tossed it over his shoulder before grasping her hand. “Let me show you the bedroom. ” He wanted some make-up sex. Like, immediately.

  He led her through the expansive loft area to a set of white double doors along the far wall. He pushed the handle down and the door swung open. Jessica’s breath caught. The furniture was all heavy and mahogany, except for the small love seat in the corner of the room, which was upholstered in cream-colored fabric. His king-sized four-poster bed dominated the room. The thick navy and chocolate brown bedding looked inviting, but Sed had no plans to take a nap.

  Jessica walked around the bed and gazed at the fireplace. He’d never understood why he needed a fireplace in Southern California, but Tanya had insisted upon it. And when Jessica knelt on the thick rug and leaned toward it for a closer inspection, he sent a silent word of thanks to the insatiable interior decorator.

  “Careful. ” He reached for a remote on the dresser. “I’ll turn it on. ”

  She started when the autopilot lit the gas logs in the grate.

  “Cool. ” She sat back on her heels. “I’ve never had a fireplace before, but I’ve always wanted one. It’s kind of competing with the air conditioning, though. ”

  Like he cared. He set her bag on the floor and the remote on the dresser. He crossed the room and sat beside her on the rug. It had thick padding beneath it and was softer than most beds he’d slept on. Perfect for… “Do you want to make love?” he asked, gazing into her jade-green eyes. The light of the fire made her skin glow like honey.

  “Do you?”

  He shrugged. “Not really. ” He leaned closer and kissed her hungrily.

  She tugged his T-shirt off over his head, interrupting their kiss, and placed her small, warm hands on his chest, exploring his eager skin with her palms. “Me neither,” she murmured, and lowered her head to kiss his neck. “But we can make out for a couple of hours. ”

  “You read my mind. ”

  For once, they had all the time in the world to enjoy each other. No worries. No interruptions. Complete privacy. Sed leaned back into the soft rug and closed his eyes, allowing her to kiss, stroke, and suckle his bare skin as much as she wanted. Attentive to every inch of his torso, Jessica couldn’t seem to get enough of touching him. He couldn’t tell which of them was enjoying it more. When she urged him to turn over and lie on his stomach, he knew their hours of making out would soon end with frenzied sex. She knew what touching his back did to him.

  She gently scratched every inch of his back. Every muscle of his body went taut with excitement. His nipples hardened into tight beads. He rubbed his chest against the soft faux fur of the rug, trying to calm himself down. No good.
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