Rock hard, p.7
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       Rock Hard, p.7
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         Part #2 of Sinners on Tour series by Olivia Cunning
Page 7

  Author: Olivia Cunning

  “I’m not a fan. I’m a friend. ”

  “Sure. ”

  An attractive thirty-something woman appeared beside the security guard. She wore a well-tailored navy skirt suit and held a clipboard. With her hair twisted into a conservative knot, she looked more out of place than a professional wrestler in a ballet.

  “Are you Jessica?” the woman asked.

  Jessica’s brow furrowed. “How do you know my name?”

  “I saw a picture of you once. I’m Myrna Evans, I mean, Sinclair. Myrna Sinclair. Brian’s… wife. ” Her expression wavered between disbelief and elation as she dropped this bombshell.

  Jessica’s eyes widened in surprise. “Brian’s wife? When did Brian get married?”

  The woman checked her watch. The ginormous diamond on her left ring finger sparkled in the streetlights. “About five hours ago. So, why are you here? I’m pretty sure Sed doesn’t want to see you. ”

  Jessica got a mother hen-ish vibe from this Myrna woman. Sed’s protector? Why would Sed need protection? The jackass could take care of himself just fine.

  “He gave me a big chunk of cash yesterday. I came to return it. ”

  “Why are you returning it?”

  “I don’t want his money. He’s always doing this to me. Screwing up my life and then trying to fix everything. I don’t need him to fix everything. I can take care of myself, you know?” Jessica’s eyebrows shot up. When Myrna didn’t reply, her face fell. “You don’t know, do you?”

  “Sed is a protector type personality,” Myrna said. “That’s who he is. He tries to fix everything for everyone. ” She smiled. “He’s really sweet, actually. ”

  “I don’t think we’re talking about the same Sed. Sedric Lionheart. Tall guy. Broad shoulders. Blue eyes. Short black hair. Body befitting a Greek god. Sings. La la la la. ”

  Myrna chuckled. “You don’t think Sed is sweet?”

  “No. He’s a pompous ass who can’t keep his nose out of people’s business. ”

  “Because if someone he cares about gets hurt, he feels personally responsible. It’s his way of showing he cares. ”

  The congregating crowd outside the barrier cheered unexpectedly. The members of the band Exodus End emerged from their tour bus and headed for the building. Amongst them, Jessica recognized Trey’s older brother, Dare Mills. She hadn’t seen Dare for ages. She doubted if he’d even remember who she was.

  “It’s noisy out here,” Myrna shouted. “Do you want to go talk on the bus?” Myrna pointed to the black and silver tour bus parked behind her.

  Jessica’s stomach plummeted to her feet at the idea of seeing Sed again. Of being trapped in the bus where she couldn’t easily flee. “How about I just give the money to you and you give it to him?” She reached into her purse.

  “I think you should tell him why you don’t want it. I don’t think he understands you were insulted by his gift. It would be a good lesson for him. ”

  Jessica gaped at Myrna. How did this woman know Sed’s money insulted her?

  “Yeah, I get it. Independent woman meets protector-type man and personalities clash. I bet your love affair is smoking hot, though. ” Myrna laughed.

  Jessica blushed. They had once had a smoking hot love affair. And it had never fizzled out. Just exploded.

  “Charlie, can you help Jessica over the barrier?”

  The security guard grabbed Jessica around the waist and hauled her over the metal barrier fence.

  “I’m a mess. ” Jessica rubbed her hands over her hair. She knew she looked like crap. It was fitting. She’d had a craptacular day. As if getting fired wasn’t bad enough, she hadn’t had enough money to pay for her rented room. Roy had deducted bouncer medical expenses from her wages, the jackass. Since there was no way in hell she’d ever use Sed’s money to pay her rent, she’d spent most of the day packing her belongings into her piece of shit Nissan Sentra. Apparently her landlord preferred to rent her room to someone with actual money. As for sleep… What was that? When she’d tried to catch a nap in her car, some bicycle cop had pounded on her window and lectured her on how quickly the temperature inside a car could rise to deadly levels. Like she was an idiot or something.

  Why did she care how she looked anyway? She didn’t have anyone to impress and she was in a foul mood.

  Jessica tucked her long, wavy hair behind her ears and followed Myrna to the tour bus.

  “Jessica? Is that you?”

  She paused and glanced up at Darren Mills, Exodus End’s lead guitarist. He was even better looking than his younger brother, Trey, if that was possible. They both had the same dreamy green eyes, but Dare had a stronger jaw that was covered with a sexy shadow of beard growth. Dare’s long black hair, straight and shiny, was the envy of shampoo models the world over.

  Jessica smiled at him, blushing slightly. It was hard to be inconspicuous when people kept recognizing her. Her plan to drop the loot and get the hell out of Dodge was not going as anticipated. “Hey, Dare. Yeah, it’s me. ”

  “I thought you dumped Sed. Are you guys back together?”

  Jessica shook her head vigorously. “No chance. ”

  “Yo, Dare, get a move on! We’re on in thirty minutes,” Exodus End’s drummer, Steve Aimes, called from the back door of the venue.

  Dare tossed his head in acknowledgement and then glanced down at Jessica. “I’ve got to go get warmed up for our set,” he said. “It was good to see you. ”

  “Yeah, I’m glad you stopped to say hi. Break a leg,” she said, and punched him gently in the arm.

  “Thanks. ” He turned and jogged toward the venue.

  Jessica glanced at Myrna, who was following Dare’s perfect leather-clad ass with her eyes. “You know him?”

  “That’s Dare,” Jessica said. “Trey’s older brother. ”

  “So that’s Dare. Mmmmm. And I thought Trey was sexy. ”

  Jessica chuckled. “What about Brian? Weren’t you recently married to him?”

  “He’ll have my undivided attention soon enough. ” Myrna turned to enter the bus. “Besides, getting married didn’t make me blind. ”

  Jessica followed Myrna up the bus stairs and entered the main room behind the driver’s seat. For a moment, Jessica thought they were in the wrong bus. Sinners lived in a state of constant filth, but the interior of the bus was spotless without even the obligatory stack of dirty clothes to mar its cleanliness. Next to the wall that blocked the driver’s seat from view was a comfortable-looking leather sofa in soft beige. Across from the sofa were two matching captain’s chairs. A large-screen TV was anchored above the chairs with a video game console and stereo system situated nearby. Further in, a small kitchen filled one wall and on the opposite side stood a square dining table with booth seating. Close, but comfortable.

  “What happened to this place?” Jessica asked.

  Myrna continued to the small square table near the sleeping area, which consisted of two sets of curtained bunks stacked on either side of the corridor.

  “Huh?” Myrna glanced over her shoulder.

  “The bus. It’s clean. ”

  “Uh, one too many loogies between the toes and I made the guys clean it up. I couldn’t live in that disgusting mess. ”

  “Impressive. ” Jessica couldn’t get the “guys” to do anything when she’d briefly toured with them over two years ago. And they’d been less famous then. Less full of themselves.

  “Have a seat,” Myrna offered. “Would you like something to drink?”

  “Thanks. That would be nice. ” Jessica slid into the booth, her back facing the exit, and looked around the bus. On second glance, this wasn’t the same bus they’d had when she’d toured with them. This one was much nicer. It even had a pair of doors that led to other rooms near the back.

  “What would you like?” Myrna asked.

  “Aren’t my choices beer, beer, or be
er? Sinners’ only food group. ” Jessica chuckled.

  “No alcohol on this bus,” Myrna said. “If you want a beer, you’ll have to brave the other bus, which we’ve monikered the pigsty bus. The roadies keep to that one mostly. We have bottled water. Juice: orange, apple, cranberry or grape. And Trey’s new addiction, black cherry Kool-Aid. ”

  “Water is fine. ”

  Myrna retrieved two bottles of water from the fridge and sat across the table from Jessica in the booth. Jessica took a long drink.

  “Brian told me you were going to law school,” Myrna said.

  Jessica’s eyes widened. Why would that even come up in conversation? “Yeah, that’s right. ”

  “So why are you working as a stripper?”

  Was this woman direct or what? Sheesh! No wonder the guys obeyed her commands. She probably intimidated the hell out of them.

  “I’m pretty sure that’s none of your business. ”

  Myrna shrugged. “I suppose not. ” She chuckled. “I guess Sed was right about you. ”

  Jessica’s brow furrowed. “What did Sed say about me?” She knew she shouldn’t care, but her heart could scarcely beat in her constricted chest.

  Myrna shook her head nonchalantly and took a drink of her water. “Nothing. ”

  “I needed the money is all. Why did Sed say I was dancing?”

  “You needed money. ”

  “Doesn’t matter anyway. Because of that cocky idiot, I got fired. ”

  “Sorry to hear that. Are you looking for another job?”

  “I dunno. I couldn’t afford to pay my rent, so I got evicted. I’ll probably just go to my mother’s. You know, I’ve had a very crappy twenty-four hours. It all started the second Sed touched me. ” Jessica hesitated. She’d forgotten that Myrna seemed to actually like Sed. “Sorry to unload on you. You don’t even know me. ”

  Myrna smiled kindly. “I don’t mind. You know, I’ve been thinking of hiring an assistant to help me with my research project. ”

  “Your research project?”

  “That’s why I’m touring with Sinners. I’m doing psychology research on their groupies. I’m trying to determine what it is about rock stars that makes certain women promiscuous. ”

  Did she really need to do formal research to figure that out?

  “I wondered why you were walking around looking like one of my law professors. ”

  Myrna chuckled. “Actually, I dress like this because I know it turns Brian on. Don’t tell him I told you that. ” Myrna winked at her. “Anyway, are you interested in the job?”

  “Me?”

  “I’m offering a job. You need a job. Makes sense to me. I assume you’re an intelligent person if you’re going to law school. How are your grades?”

  “Almost straight A’s. ” Except that failing term paper in Ellington’s class. But now was not the time to start hyperventilating over a bad grade. Something wasn’t right here. Jessica didn’t even know this woman and she just offers her a job out of the blue? “What’s the catch?”

  “No catch. The stipend will be ten thousand dollars if you see the project to its end. ”

  Jessica’s jaw dropped. “Ten thousand dollars? How long is this project?”

  “About two more months. A lot of the burden of data collection and entry will be put on you. I couldn’t keep up before, and now I seem to be a newlywed. ” She grinned. “How did that happen?”

  Jessica chuckled. “Congratulations, by the way. Brian is a prize catch. ”

  “Thanks. I think so. ” Myrna smiled dreamily, radiating happiness.

  Jessica had had that once. Stupid Sed and his ridiculous ultimatums.
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