Rock hard, p.54
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       Rock Hard, p.54
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         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
Page 54

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  She kissed his shoulder and climbed off his back. “Better?”

  He nodded, still slurping in bliss.

  “As much as I’d like to take you out for a morning ride, I’ve got to get in the shower. You need to get ready too. Okay? The guys will be waiting for you and I’ve got to get to the library before it closes. ”

  He blinked, finding it hurt less than nodding, and waited for her to go into the bathroom before continuing his search for her ring, his dwindling Popsicle lodged in the back of his throat. He finally found the ring resting against the baseboard behind the floor-length curtains. He’d just climbed to his feet when Jessica exited the bathroom drying her hair with a towel. Her one towel. God, he’d never get tired of that beautiful sight.

  She pointed toward the bathroom and he went to do her bidding, the ring concealed in the palm of his hand.

  After his shower, Sed got dressed and then leaned against the bathroom sink. He stared down at the engagement ring he held pinched between his thumb and forefinger. Maybe he should buy her something bigger before he asked her. Something more like the ring Brian had bought for Myrna. Some countries had a smaller gross national product than what that ring had cost Brian. This cheap thing Sed had bought for Jessica in his starving-musician days bordered on pathetic. Insignificant in size and quality, true, but it did hold special meaning. At least it did to him. He’d carried it around with him for two years, hoping one day to return it to her. He was determined that today be that day.

  “Are you almost finished in there?” Jessica called from the bedroom. “I need to do my hair and we’re already running late. ”

  He’d try the passive approach. A tad less passive than trying to stick it on her finger while she slept, but he couldn’t talk, so this method would make sense. He wasn’t being a coward. She’d find this simple action romantic. Right? Of course she would.

  He set the ring on the edge of the sink where she was sure to find it and, heart thudding with a mixture of excitement and anxiety, left the master bathroom clean-shaven and ready to face a day of being silent in the studio. After Jess found the ring and they made love for a couple of hours to celebrate, that is.

  Sed stepped up behind Jessica and planted a kiss on the side of her neck. Just thinking about that ring on her finger had him more randy than a teen who’d just touched his first real boob. Her shorts hindering skin on skin contact, Sed’s hands slid over the ridges of her hipbones and down between her thighs.

  “Mmmm,” she murmured, “if you don’t stop that, we’re never going to make it out of here. ” She glanced up at him over her shoulder. “You okay? You look a little pale. ”

  He nodded at her curtly.

  “Your throat hurts, doesn’t it? Go eat another Popsicle. I’ll hurry. ”

  Another Popsicle did sound heavenly—and so did removing these shorts and bending her over the end of the bed for a quickie—but what he wanted most was to hear her reaction when she found her ring on the sink. He wondered if she’d even recognize it. He directed her toward the bathroom and gave her rounded bottom a playful swat.

  She laughed and headed for the steamy room beyond the open door. He waited for the sounds of her excitement. And waited. The hair dryer switched on, but no other sounds came from the bathroom. Had she missed seeing it? How could she miss it? He’d set it right there in plain view.

  Sed crossed the bedroom and peered through the bathroom door. Her engagement ring still sat untouched on the edge of the sink next to her hip. Any minute now, she’d notice it.

  Any minute now.

  Any minute now she’d… bump the ring with her belly? Shit! The ring skittered around the basin before plunging down the drain.

  Sed darted across the room, nudged Jessica to one side, and stuck his fingers down the drain hole. Nothing but air and a bit of sludge. That’s what he got for being too cowardly to present the ring to her properly in the first place. And for not having a plug in the damn sink drain.

  Jessica gave him an odd look. “What are you doing?” she called over the whir of the hair dryer. “Did you lose something?”

  He shook his head and went to the kitchen in search of tools. He was sure he had a pipe wrench somewhere. He just hoped the ring had gotten caught in the trap and was not on its way to the sewage treatment plant. While he was in the kitchen, he grabbed a grape Popsicle from the freezer and stuck it in his mouth, allowing the cool liquid to bathe his burning throat. He then returned to the bedroom to wait for Jessica to vacate the bathroom.

  Jessica joined him a few moments later, looking so stunning in her little green tank top with her hair just right, her lashes thickened with mascara, and her lips shiny with gloss that he temporarily forgot how to breathe. Thinking? Thinking was totally out of the question. She pressed her body against his and wrapped her arms around him, her hands sliding down his lower back toward the heavy weight pressing against his butt. He came to his senses just in time to catch her hands before she discovered the wrench in the back pocket of his jeans.

  She smiled at him. “Are you ready?”

  He lifted a finger at her to tell her he needed a minute and then closed himself in the bathroom, locking the door behind him. He didn’t want her to know he’d faithfully carried her ring around for such a long time only to lose it down the sink the first time it left his possession for more than five seconds.

  He had one side of the trap loosened beneath the sink when she started knocking impatiently.

  “Are you all right in there?”

  “Fine,” he said, though he doubted she could hear him croaking beneath the sink.

  He unscrewed the other side of the trap, trying to limit the amount of clanking he produced, and pulled the pipe loose. He rescued the ring from the sticky goo in the trap and rinsed it in the sink. It took him a moment to register why water started pouring from beneath the cabinet onto his boots.

  Dammit! He shut off the water and reached for a towel to soak up the puddle spreading across the floor. Perhaps he should go back to bed and start over. Tucking Jessica’s ring back in his pocket, he took a deep breath before climbing under the sink to reattach the trap. If his throat never healed properly and he had to give up singing, he could mark plumber off his list of potential careers.

  “Baby?” Jessica called, the concern in her voice evident even through the door.

  He tightened the pipe on both ends, washed his hands, and threw the wet towel from the floor in an inconspicuous corner.

  He opened the door to her anxious face. He eased out of the bathroom and closed the door against his back, pulling a face of disgust. “You do not want to go in there,” he said, his throat protesting every word.

  She touched his forehead with her fingertips. “You’re all sweaty. Are you sick?”

  He shook his head.

  “I’m okay,” he rasped, cupping her lovely face in both hands.

  “You’d be better if you’d stop talking. ” She grinned and stuck something over his lips. He checked the mirror over the dresser. A pink smiley face sticker? Was she fucking kidding him? From her chortle of amusement, he decided she was. She handed the dry erase board to him. “You’re supposed to be using this, remember?”

  He nodded obediently, removed the sticker from his mouth, and stuck it to the luscious curve of her breast above the neckline of her tank top. And then it occurred to him. He could ask her by writing it on the board.

  Where my ring? he wrote and handed the board to her.

  She read it and handed it back to him. Not exactly the excited, tearful reaction he’d been hoping for.

  “What ring? I don’t know where it is, Sed. We’ll have to find it when we get back. ”

  He glanced at his message and realized he’d spelled “wear” wrong. Damn it. He erased the message with his wrist.

  WEAR, he wrote.

  She glanced at the message and
patted him on the back. “You look gorgeous, sweetheart. It doesn’t matter what you wear. ”

  “Jessica. ”

  She flashed a sheet of smiley face stickers at him. “No talking, Sed. ”

  Funny how smiley face stickers were far more threatening than a roll of duct tape. Well, now what?

  He followed her to the car, lost in thought. Maybe he wasn’t supposed to ask her to marry him today. Maybe the universe kept standing in his way for a reason. He climbed into the passenger side of the Mercedes and Jessica climbed behind the wheel. He gazed at her left ring finger, which was entirely too naked for his tastes. As far as he was concerned, the rest of her could stay permanently naked, but not that finger. That finger needed something material that proved to the world she was his. Eternally. Maybe he could get the ring on her while she drove, but her hand was all the way over there.

  “I’d ask you what has you all introspective again,” Jessica said, glancing at him as she waited for the community’s security gate to open, “but you’re not supposed to talk. Will you write it?”

  It’s just. He paused for a long moment, wondering what he should write. I love you.

  She lifted his hand and pressed his knuckles to her lips. “And I love you. ”

  He grinned. Music to his ears.

  Music.

  That’s it. Her song. She needed to hear her song before he proposed. That’s what the universe was trying to tell him.

  “And I love those dimples. ”

  He hated the damn things, but if they made her happy, he’d be sure to smile like a dipshit more often.

  She dropped him off at the recording studio on her way to the library. “Do you want me to pick you up, or can one of the guys give you a ride home? I’m not sure how late I’ll be. ”

  I’ll get a ride, he wrote obediently.

  She leaned across the car and kissed him. “I can’t wait until Friday. You better behave so I won’t have to cancel. ”

  He knew she was manipulating him, but when she slid her hand between his thighs, he didn’t much care. He couldn’t wait until Friday either.

  When he entered the studio about thirty minutes later—he and Jessica had gotten a bit carried away in their good-bye kisses—Eric greeted him.

  “I wasn’t sure you were going to show up. ” He nodded at the dry erase board in Sed’s hand. “What’s that for?”

  Talking, he wrote.

  “You don’t need to talk to play violin. ”

  Eric picked up a case from the floor and opened it. A jet black electric violin sat nestled in its confines.

  “I’m not—” Sed’s throat protested and he winced. He switched to writing again. I’m not playing violin, Eric. Forget it.

  “You know it’s all the screaming you do that destroyed your throat. ”

  “So?” he croaked. Some lackey thrust a bottle of water into his hand. He opened it and took a soothing/painful swallow. He was really wishing he’d stayed in bed with a supply of Popsicles and his personal nurse beside him.

  “We need something to replace it. ”

  Sed blinked twice—no.

  “Temporarily, at least. Even if you can sing, you know you’re not going to be able to scream for a while. And I know you don’t want to be the reason we have to cancel a bunch more shows. ”

  Did everyone know how to manipulate him? First Jess. Now Eric.

  Eric’s slim black brows arched over his piercing blue eyes. “Try it?”

  Fine.

  Sed lifted a hand to block the sparkling white gleam produced by Eric’s wide smile, the gloater.

  “Here,” Eric said, thrusting a stack of music at Sed. “I was up all night finding the exact pitch for every scream in our set. ”

  Every scream? That must have taken him hours. Sed nodded in appreciation, looking over the pages of music and the new additions to their songs in red ink. Well, at least he had something to do while the rest of them recorded. He’d need a lot of practice to pull this off onstage in a week. He’d kind of forgotten to mention that his violin playing sounded like distorted saw blades wrenching through scrap metal.
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