Try me, p.7
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       Try Me, p.7
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         Part #1 of One Night with Sole Regret series by Olivia Cunning
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  hang out with his rock-star buddies?

  She turned her attention to the guitarist. “Hi,” she said, “you would be . . . ”

  He laughed and slid a hand over his face. “Where in the hell did you find this one, Force? I didn’t think there was a woman under sixty who didn’t know my name.”

  Another rock-star type reached across the table to shake her hand. “I’m Owen,” he said. “Don’t judge the rest of us by Adam’s giant ego.”

  “You play bass,” Melanie said, as if she were on a quiz show and was pretty sure she was going home empty-handed.

  He nodded. “That’s right.”

  He had the prettiest blue eyes she’d ever seen. And the bone structure of a movie star. And the tattoos and face piercings of a side-show act.

  “Most people know him as Tags,” the ego named Adam informed her.

  She vaguely remembered Nikki telling her that the band’s pretty boy went by the nickname Tags. Though in all honesty, it was hard for her to look past the tough-guy accessories to the gorgeous face beneath. She was working on it. Her heart rate had almost returned to normal. She had almost convinced herself that she had nothing to fear from these guys.

  “Do you prefer to be called Tags or Owen?” she asked, noticing the beat-up set of military dog tags on a slender chain around his neck. Was that how he’d picked up the nickname? She was much too intimidated to ask.

  “He’ll answer to anything,” the other guitarist in the group said. He grinned at Owen and then turned his attention to Melanie. “Cuff,” he said, shaking her hand. He was wearing a thick cuff on one wrist that looked like something out of a bondage convention. “Or Kellen,” he added.

  “Kelly,” Owen corrected. He grinned as if he was in possession of some guarded secret. Again, Melanie was much too intimidated to pry.

  “Chicks don’t like the name Kelly,” Kelly said. “I told you to start calling me Kellen in front of the ladies or just stick with Cuff.”

  “But she’s with Gabe,” Owen reminded him. “You don’t have to impress her.”

  Melanie wasn’t sure how anyone could tell she was with Gabe. He’d started ignoring her the instant they’d sat down.

  “I like the name Kelly for a guy,” she said.

  Kelly had long, brown hair and a raw sensuality that seemed to reach across the table and grab her by the womb. She definitely remembered him playing on stage the night before. And poking fun at Adam and Shade. She wondered if his hair felt as silky as it looked. It was definitely better kept than her own unruly tangle of locks.

  “See, I told you that chick was just a bitch,” Owen said. “Not everyone thinks your name is a girl name.”

  “You’re the only one who still insists on calling me Kelly,” he said.

  “You’ll always be Kelly to me,” Owen said with a sweet smile.

  “How did you end up with Gabe anyway?” one of the other guys interrupted.

  Melanie recognized him as the cute roadie who’d given Nikki her backstage pass the night before. Jack.

  “I thought you and that other hot chick were both supposed to hook up with Shade last night. She said you two were in love but still liked to double-team a guy because even a double dildo is never as good as sharing one real dick.”

  Melanie chuckled nervously. All the band members were gazing at her with interest now. Even Gabe had lowered his menu. “Nikki made that up. We’re not lovers, just friends.”

  “You sure? The way she kissed you . . . ”

  “I’m sure. She completely caught me off guard or I never would have allowed it. We’ve never double-teamed a guy. Or a dildo.”

  The roadie frowned. “But you two were so hot together. I walked around with a boner half the night just thinking about it.”

  Kelly reached over and slapped him in the arm. “Don’t talk like that in front of a lady.”

  Melanie assessed Kelly a little more closely. She wasn’t really attracted to men with long hair—or mohawks, until recently—but he was gorgeous too. Strong features. Dark mysterious eyes. A woman could get lost in those eyes for hours.

  “So what do you want to eat, Mel?” Gabe asked. “I thought you were starving.”

  She settled her hand on his thigh and leaned closer to share his menu. When he planted a gentle kiss on her hair, she looked up at him hesitantly. He smiled. There was a longing in his gaze she didn’t understand. It differed from the look of sexual longing that made her crave his body. This one made her want more than a single night with him. But that was stupid. She knew a relationship with him would never work out. Why would he even suggest it when he could have as many hot-and-heavy, no-strings-attached affairs as he wanted?

  “What are you having?” she asked.

  “Steak and eggs.”

  “That sounds good. Will you order for me too?”

  “Of course. How do you like your steak?”



  “Over medium.”

  “What do you want to drink?”

  Gabe was still staring at Melanie as if this totally normal conversation meant the world to him. She cupped his strong jaw in one hand, delighting in the roughness of his beard stubble against her fingertips, and lured him closer for a tender kiss. When she drew away, she stared up into his green eyes and released a dreamy sigh. It took her a moment to remember he’d asked her a question.

  “Cranberry juice, if they have it,” she said.

  “If they don’t, I’ll make sure they get it.”

  He ran a hand over her hair and twined one curl around his index finger. The dead silence around the table became noticeably uncomfortable. Melanie’s face warmed when she realized everyone was watching them. Gabe’s brow furrowed as he turned his gaze to the other men in the group. They were staring at him as if he were a pod person.

  “What are you all lookin’ at?” Gabe grumbled.

  In unison, five pairs of eyes turned upward to gaze at the ceiling.

  A waitress approached and set plates of food in front of those who’d arrived before Melanie and Gabe.

  “Force!” The waitress whipped a black Sole Regret T-shirt from her apron pocket and handed him a silver paint pen. “Will you please sign this for me? All I need is Shade and my collection of signatures will be complete.”

  “Sure,” Gabe said.

  “The concert last night was awesome! I was stoked when I found out you all were staying here.”

  “Glad you enjoyed the show.” Gabe signed the T-shirt, and the waitress took his order while the ink of his autograph dried.

  He ordered for Melanie first—which made her feel special, cherished even—and then for himself.

  “And can I get some fresh fruit as well?” Melanie asked. She didn’t usually eat such a heavy breakfast, but her stomach was up for it this morning.

  “No problem,” the waitress said. “What I wouldn’t give to be in her shoes,” she muttered under her breath as she walked away with her autographed Sole Regret T-shirt draped over one shoulder.

  Melanie was suddenly delighted to be sandwiched between two sexy rock stars and having breakfast with most of the members of Sole Regret. Thanks to Nikki’s impulsiveness, she had an amazing story to tell her grandchildren. She’d skip the sex parts, of course.

  Apparently, Melanie wasn’t the only one who was starving. Everyone with food fell silent as they devoured their meals. Gabe held her hand under the table, stroking the sensitive skin below her knuckles with his thumb.

  “I wonder where Nikki and Shade are,” she said.

  “Screwing in the sauna,” Adam said.

  Melanie turned her head to look at him.

  “He took two security guards with him to ensure their privacy.”

  “Sounds hot,” Melanie said. “And I don’t mean sexy hot. Hyperthermia hot.”

  “I’m sure it’s hella sexy hot,” Adam said. “And I’m sure Shade will tell us all about it later when we’re bored on the tour bus.”

/>   “I’m sure Nikki would prefer he didn’t,” Melanie said, embarrassed for her friend. Yeah, Nikki could be slutty, but she made no excuses. If she wanted to fuck a guy in the sauna, she fucked him in the sauna. Melanie sometimes envied Nikki’s lack of inhibition, but Melanie also pitied her, because she knew that what Nikki really wanted was for someone to love her. She was just going about it all wrong. Melanie recognized that she was going about it all wrong too, but then she’d never expected to feel anything for Gabe besides lust. She was feeling things for him that she had no business experiencing, much less expressing.

  “I have some time after breakfast,” Gabe whispered in her ear. “Are you planning on sticking around until the bus leaves?”

  “Do you want me to?” she asked.

  “That’s a stupid question.”

  “You don’t want to fuck in the sauna, do you?” She crinkled her nose.

  Beside her, Adam inhaled sharply and then started choking. The guy who was sitting on his opposite side pounded him on the back. Adam’s chains rattled in time with the pounding.

  “Are you okay?” Melanie asked.

  He nodded, still coughing, and reached for a glass of water. He knocked it over when his attention diverted to Nikki, who danced into the room, positively glowing with happiness. Or maybe her face was rosy from all the time spent in the sauna. Everyone at the table stood in unison, piling fancy cloth napkins on the puddle of water spreading across the table. Nikki trotted across the room and wrapped her arms around Gabe’s neck.

  “Did you have fun with Mel?” she asked, giving him an affectionate squeeze. She tilted her head to the side, grinned at Melanie, and offered her a little wink.

  Shade stopped behind her and cleared his throat. Nikki untangled her arms from Gabe’s neck and hugged Shade around the waist, resting her head against his broad chest like a docile kitten. He cupped the back of her head in one large hand.

  “I suppose you thoughtless assholes didn’t bother ordering for the rest of us,” he said. Melanie couldn’t tell who he was looking at, because he was wearing his damned sunglasses again. She wondered if he wore them to bed. And while fucking in the sauna.

  “You’re the only asshole I see here,” Adam said and sat in the booth again. He tackled his omelet with vigor.

  There was an uncomfortable moment where everyone stared at Shade, and then, when he didn’t engage further with Adam, they all sat down again to continue their breakfast. Shade sat next to Owen, who shifted closer to Kelly to make room. Nikki perched herself on Shade’s knee.

  “Where are you heading next?” Nikki asked.

  “Dallas,” Shade answered.

  “Can I come with?”

  “Not this time, kitten.”

  Nikki’s bottom lip jutted forward, but Shade squeezed her shoulder, and she smiled again. Though Melanie had told the guys that Nikki wouldn’t want Shade to share all the dirty details of their night together, Melanie was sure she’d be getting an earful of naughtiness on their drive back to Wichita.

  The waitress delivered Melanie’s cranberry juice and Gabe’s cup of coffee before insisting on an autograph from Shade. He obliged her and then ordered for Nikki without asking her what she wanted. Melanie watched her friend for signs of distress, but she looked as pleased as an honor roll student receiving a shiny gold star.

  Gabe squeezed Melanie’s knee. “She’s a big girl,” he whispered into her ear. “She can take care of herself.”

  Was her concern for her friend that obvious? Rather than deny that she was obsessing over Nikki’s personal life, Melanie took a sip of cranberry juice. Gabe slid his hand up the inside of her thigh. When he brushed her mound with the side of his hand, she sucked juice down her windpipe.

  Her hacking resulted in vigorous whacks on the back until she finally stopped coughing and her rescuers—Gabe and Adam—were satisfied that she’d live.

  “I’m fine,” she assured them, fearing they’d fracture her ribs if they kept at it.

  This time when Gabe’s hand disappeared beneath the table she maintained her composure. At least outwardly.

  Her breakfast arrived and though she was hungry enough to gnaw off her own arm, it meant that Gabe pulled his hand out from under the table to use his utensils. She instantly missed the feel of his fingers against her. Every touch delighted and unsettled her. She was going to have a difficult time saying goodbye to him.

  Wanting to have him to herself for as long as possible, she made short work of her exquisite meal. The filet mignon practically melted on her tongue. Her eggs were covered with a hint of buttery sauce that delighted her taste buds with an explosion of flavor. Nikki stole her cup of fruit and began to eat it with her fingers. With rapt attention, the rest of the band watched Nikki suck and lick strawberry juice from her fingers. Shade cupped her breast and rubbed his thumb over the tip.

  “You’re getting me worked up again, kitten.”

  “Good,” she said in a slow purr.

  Melanie checked to make sure Gabe wasn’t gawking at Nikki—he wasn’t—and focused on her plate. Nikki had unintentionally gained the interest of Melanie’s dates in the past. At least, Melanie was pretty sure it had been unintentional. She didn’t want Gabe to be sucked in by Nikki’s blatant sexuality as well.

  “Is your kitten up for a gang bang?” Adam asked.

  Before Melanie could punch him in the mouth, Nikki shifted forward, giving Gabe, Melanie, and Adam a straight-line view down her shirt. She’d lost her bra at some point since Jack had given them that backstage pass.

  “I’m getting all the banging I can handle from Shade,” she said. “Though I would be okay with Mel joining us. I’m craving taco.”

  Melanie’s eyes widened, and she shook her head. “No thanks,” she squeaked. Was Nikki really into girls or was she playing at it for the sake of these rock stars and their perpetual hard-ons?

  Nikki laughed and sat up straight on Shade’s lap. “I tried, baby,” she said to him. “She’s too much of a goody-goody.”

  “What about that waitress?” he asked.

  Melanie expected Nikki to refuse, at the very least. And if not that, to tell Shade what he could do with his suggestion. She sure as hell didn’t expect Nikki to climb off Shade’s lap and whisper, “I’ll go ask her.”

  He slapped her on the ass as she trotted off toward the kitchen.

  “Don’t use her like that,” Melanie sputtered as soon as Nikki was out of earshot. “She’s going to get hurt again.”

  “She just wants to have a good time,” Shade said.

  “She wants someone to love her. Desperately. And I know that someone isn’t you.”

  “How do you know that?”

  “You just want her to fulfill your twisted fantasies.”

  He smirked at her. “Sweetheart, all my twisted fantasies have already been fulfilled.”

  Sweetheart? “Don’t patronize me,” Melanie growled.

  “He pisses me off too,” Adam grumbled. “Thinks he’s hot shit.”

  “Nikki knows we’re just having a good time,” Shade said. “You’re the one who can’t separate sex and love. Stop projecting that onto your friend.” He turned his head toward Gabe. “Tough luck, dude. She’s hot and all, but I’m glad she landed on your dick and not mine.”

  Melanie’s jaw dropped. She didn’t even know what to say to that. Gabe’s body tensed. A muscle in jaw tightened as he clenched his teeth together. For a second Melanie thought he was going to punch Shade in his smug face.

  “So am I,” he said. He tossed his silverware onto his plate with a loud clatter, chugged his glass of water in three long gulps, and then stood. He extended a hand toward Melanie. “I need to be alone with you right now.”

  Stunned, she stared up at him. The intensity in his expression made her heart melt and her panties ignite. If she hadn’t been confusing sex and love before, she sure as hell was now.

  She placed her hand in his and rose to her feet, never taking her eyes off his.

  He led her to the elevator and used his card to send them toward the top floor again.

  “Something wrong?” she asked him.

  “No. I just want to show you something.”

  “What kind of something?”

  “The surprise I mentioned last night.”

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