Tempt me, p.8
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       Tempt Me, p.8

         Part #2 of One Night with Sole Regret series by Olivia Cunning
 
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  “Sex club?” Shade asked, as if it was their most typical excursion.

  “Oh yeah.”

  “When?”

  “Day after tomorrow.”

  “Exclusive?” Shade asked.

  “Yep.”

  “I’m in.”

  Owen glanced at Adam again. Madison could tell he wanted to ask Adam if he was going, and she wanted to hear Adam’s response. Did he go to sex clubs often? Was that where he’d learned to be such an amazing lover? She wasn’t even sure what went on at sex clubs. Sex, she presumed, but would it be like a brothel or a free-for-all orgy or what?

  “What do you do at a sex club?” Madison asked Owen.

  Adam’s thighs stiffened beneath her.

  Owen glanced nervously at Adam. Madison turned her head and found Adam staring ice daggers at the bassist.

  “Nothing that would interest you, sweetie,” Owen said. “Or Adam,” he added with a wave of his hand.

  Of course Adam would never be interested in something like that. Sure. She wasn’t going to be deterred that easily. “Do you just have sex with strangers out in the open in front of everyone?”

  “If that’s your kink,” Kellen said.

  Madison’s heart rate accelerated. “Is it yours?” she asked him, lost in his dark brown eyes. The man had an unquestionable strength about him. He didn’t say much around her, but she was always aware of him. Owen drew attention with ceaseless interaction, Kellen by his presence alone.

  “Performance sex?” Kellen shook his head. “Not particularly, no. That’s more Adam’s thing.”

  “Don’t tell her that,” Adam said. “She’s liable to believe you.”

  Shade leaned across the back seat and slid a hand onto Madison's knee. “I think you should come down to San Antonio and join us, sweetheart. I always wondered what it was about you that kept Adam interested. You seem pretty vanilla to me. What are you hiding behind that innocent act? And beneath that skirt?”

  Adam grabbed Shade’s hand and crushed his fingers. “Don't touch her.”

  Shade chuckled. “See? He's all pissed-off now. Hey, Adam, what's so great about her anyway? Does she give good head or what?”

  Before she could tell Shade to go fuck himself, Madison found herself bouncing across the seat beside Adam when he tossed her off his lap and jumped on Shade. Within seconds, a full-out brawl raged in the back of the limo. Adam got in a few good punches before Shade found enough leverage to send him flying toward the backseat. Adam careened into Kellen's and Owen's legs before launching himself in Shade's direction again.

  Heart thundering out of control, Madison grabbed the back of Adam's shirt to try to pull him off Shade. “Stop!”

  She instantly found her back secured against a hard chest with both wrists trapped at her sides.

  “Let them fight,” Kellen’s deep voice said in her ear. “This has been building for weeks.”

  Madison struggled to be set free, but not only was Kellen strong, he seemed to know some technique for keeping her easily immobilized. “One of them is going to get hurt,” Madison said.

  Adam and Shade’s rapid-fire punches were already slowing and becoming less punishing. After less than a minute, they separated, glaring acid at each other. Shade's sunglasses were bent and askew. Adam's full lower lip was bleeding. A red mark darkened his cheek.

  “I am sick of your bullshit, Shade,” Adam yelled. “I've fucking had it.”

  “What? You gonna leave?” Shade returned. “Go ahead. Leave. Then maybe we could find someone to take your place who shows up for sound checks on time, doesn’t think fucking is more important than breathing, isn’t stupid enough to smoke pot backstage while on probation, and isn't the all-around most inconsiderate asshole I've ever met.”

  Madison’s heart slammed into her ribcage. What did Shade mean about Adam smoking pot backstage? Recently? Why would he keep something like that from her? Why would he lie? And if he lied about something like that, how could she believe anything he said to her?

  “Yeah, maybe I will leave,” Adam yelled. “At least I won't have to put up with getting bitched at by an egomaniac like you.”

  “No one is leaving,” Kellen said. “You two need to stop pissing each other off on purpose. It’s juvenile.”

  Adam and Shade gaped at Kellen in astonishment.

  “It's fucking obvious that you do it,” Owen said. While Adam and Shade agreed on nothing, Owen and Kellen seemed to agree on everything. “Adam knows how much it pisses Shade off to be late, so any opportunity he has to be late, he takes it.”

  Adam lowered his gaze and stared at his reddened knuckles.

  “And Shade will do anything to get Adam riled,” Owen continued. “He knew it would piss Adam off to make a move on his girl, so what does he do? Makes a move on his girl.”

  “Maybe I'm genuinely interested in her,” Shade said, his deep voice gruff. He removed his ruined sunglasses and stuffed them into a pocket.

  Shade had gorgeous dark blue eyes set off by thick, black lashes. There were all sorts of emotions swirling around in their depths. Madison wondered why he hid those beautiful eyes behind sunglasses at all hours of the day and night.

  “Yeah?” Adam asked. “If you’re so interested in her, what's her name?”

  Shade shrugged and shook his head. “Like I give a shit.”

  Owen released a heavy sigh. “Maybe it's time for you two to apologize—”

  “I'm not apologizing to him,” Adam grumbled.

  “What the fuck do I have to apologize for?” Shade bellowed.

  Owen rolled his eyes and shook his head in annoyance. Gabe, who was sitting directly across from Shade, lifted a foot and nudged Shade in the knee with his toe. Gabe gave Shade a pointed glance, and Shade sank back against the seat to stare out the window again. Madison released the breath she hadn’t realized she was holding.

  The limo slowed and turned into a drive. When the car pulled to a halt in front of the hotel, Shade was out the door before the driver could come around to open it for him.

  “Jacob,” Gabe called. “Wait up.” He unfolded his long and lean frame from the back seat and jogged after Shade.

  Madison could hear Shade muttering under his breath to Gabe, “I'm going to fucking kill him.”

  “You know he does this,” Gabe said. “Don’t let it get to you.”

  Kellen's hands loosened from Madison's wrists, and she darted across the seats to dab at Adam's lip with her thumb. “You shouldn't fight. Someone could have been seriously injured.”

  “Don't start,” Adam said. He pushed her aside and climbed from the car.

  She hesitated. Should she go after him? He seemed awfully upset, and she didn't want to make matters worse. She was pretty sure the animosity between Shade and Adam wasn't a recent development.

  “Go talk to him. He listens to you,” Owen said. “Maybe you can help him figure out why Shade has been pissed off at him for four years.”

  Four years? “Do you know why?”

  He shrugged. “Nope.”

  “Maybe I should talk to Shade about it. I don't think Adam knows what the problem is.”

  Kellen grimaced. “Not a good idea. Adam has a hair trigger as far as you're concerned. Just go cheer him up. You’re the only one who ever makes him smile.”

  She wasn't sure anything would make Adam smile tonight. Especially not when she had to get on his case about smoking pot. What the fuck was he thinking? If his parole officer found out, agreeing to drug counseling would not keep him out of prison this time. She hoped Shade had been blowing hot air and Adam hadn’t slipped up—especially somewhere he could get caught so easily—but she remembered how guilty Adam had looked at dinner when she’d asked how he was making it. She’d been suspicious then, but had decided to trust his word because she knew he needed that trust as part of his treatment. And she needed to extend her trust because she loved him.

  “Are you coming?” Adam said, peering back into the car, his eyes seeking her in
the dim interior.

  Her heart skipped a beat. She didn’t have a choice but to confront him. She had a feeling things were going to go from tense to disastrous, but she couldn’t let this slide.

  “Yeah,” she said. She scooted across the seat and out into the warm night air.

  Adam took her wrist and stalked toward the building. She had to jog—boots clomping on the cement—to keep up with him. He didn't say a word to her in the lobby, the elevator or the corridor. Why was he pissed at her?

  He unlocked the door to his suite and opened it. When she paused to stare up at him, he avoided her gaze and ushered her inside.

  The door closed and before she could turn, he stepped up behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist and held on to her like a drowning man clinging to a capsized boat. His entire body trembled against her.

  “You okay?” she asked after a moment. She stroked the tense muscles in his forearm.

  He released her abruptly and moved into the spacious room. “Why wouldn't I be?”

  “You seem upset.”

  “The vocalist of my band, who used to be my best friend, basically told me he wanted to replace me. Why would I be upset?”

  She knew he was being sarcastic, but she needed to get him to talk seriously about this issue with Shade. “I'd be upset,” she said. “And hurt.”

  “I'm not hurt, I'm pissed. I'm not sure why he thinks I'm the one who needs replacing. Maybe if he didn't try to lead the band like a dictator instead of considering us all equals, I wouldn't feel the need to get under his narcissistic skin.”

  “So you do show up late on purpose?”

  “Not always.” He took a deep breath. “Consciously.”

  “What started the animosity between you? Owen says Shade's been pissed at you for four years. It must have been something pretty substantial.”

  “I don't remember,” Adam said. He scrubbed his face with both hands. “I was having a rough patch at the time. Doing lots of drugs. I don't remember much of anything from those few years. Bits and pieces of disagreements, but nothing that would give him a reason to hate me so much. When we started the band we were best friends, but now?” He shook his head.

  “Have you asked him why he’s angry with you?”

  “Yeah, I ask him what the fuck his problem is all the time.”

  She stepped closer and laid a gentle hand on his chest. His heart thudded hard against her palm. “Have you asked him in a non-hostile manner?”

  Adam drew away and sank onto a sofa. “We can't interact without being hostile.”

  “Except on stage.” For nearly half an hour, both men had looked genuinely pleased to be in each other’s company.

  Gaze distant, Adam scratched the nape of his neck. “We kind of lose ourselves onstage.”

  “But offstage your egos get in the way.”

  Adam smirked. “What egos? We don't have egos.”

  Madison chuckled. “Oh no. You're both exceedingly humble.”

  “You've seen me humble,” he said, slipping an arm around her waist and directing her to sit on his lap. “No one else gets to see me like that.”

  Which was probably one reason why Shade busted his balls all the time. “I like that humble guy,” she said.

  “Yeah?”

  She nodded.

  “But not the egotistical guy,” he said.

  “I like that guy too, but he's not as loveable. Probably why Shade punches him in the mouth.”

  “I don't want to talk about Shade now,” Adam said. “I want to get lost in you and forget about all this bullshit.”

  She turned sideways and leaned against his chest, snuggling into his warmth. “Did he hurt your face?”

  “Not too bad.” He chuckled. “Couldn't get a wide enough swing in the car, or he would have nailed me to the floor.”

  “I hope you two can make amends,” she said. “I think you’ll both feel better if you talk things through.”

  “Maybe.” He was quiet for a long moment. The only sounds were the hum of a mini-fridge somewhere in the room and the occasional voice in the hall. He stroked her arm with the back of his hand as he collected his thoughts. “I’ll try to talk to him without goading him into a fight,” he said. “His attitude just pisses me off.”

  Madison could tell the feeling was mutual. “I’m sure you can find a way to reach him.” And she needed to find a way to reach Adam. She hated to hit him with a second confrontation now, but she couldn’t ignore what Shade had said in the limo about Adam’s drug use. They had to face this issue before drug use became drug abuse. The difference was a slippery slope for an addict; it didn’t take much for one to lead to the other. “So has smoking pot backstage become routine or was it more of a onetime thing?”

  The hand methodically rubbing her bare arm went still. “I didn’t—”

  “Don’t lie to me, Adam.” She could deal with his problems, but not his lies. She wanted to trust him—about everything—but she couldn’t trust a liar.

  “I wasn’t going to lie. I was going to say I didn’t tell you, because . . . I don’t like to disappoint you. It makes me feel guilty. I don’t like that feeling.”

  “You feel guilty for disappointing me? Is that why you’ve been working so hard to stay clean?”

  “Yeah.”

  She cringed. He still had some work to do. “Am I the only reason you fight addiction?”

  “It’s a good enough reason for me.” His lips brushed her hair. “You’re the best reason I’ve ever met.”

  The woman in her wanted that dependence—that tie between them—but the counselor knew it wasn’t healthy. “Adam.” She turned on his lap and cupped his face in her hands. Her feelings for him bubbled to the surface, making her chest ache and her voice raw. “Baby, you need to stay clean for yourself, not for me. You can’t fully recover that way. What happens to you when I’m no longer in your life?”

  He went very still, his eyes clouding with hurt or anger or some combination of the two. “Are you still planning on leaving?”

  “Breaking it off would be the most logical thing to do,” she said. Especially now that she knew he had latched on to the wrong reason to fight his addiction.

  His gaze shifted to her forehead, and he sucked a deep, ragged breath into his chest. “Fuck.”

  She touched her fingertips to his chin and waited until his stormy gray eyes focused on hers. “Sometimes a girl has to listen to her heart instead of her head.” Because even though her heart was blind and dumb, it was still clever enough to befuddle her head with constant thoughts of Adam.

  His arms tightened around her. “What’s your heart say?”

  She clutched the fabric of her dress over her chest. “My heart says you rock.”

  He chuckled and pressed a kiss to her temple. “But your head doesn't say that?”

  “Nope. My head says you're trouble.”

  He chuckled. “Smart head.” His hand slid over her breast and squeezed gently. “So what does your body say?”

  Arousal uncoiled low in her belly as her breast swelled in his hand. “My body screams you rock.”

  His thumb slipped inside her clothes and brushed her nipple, rubbing it until it puckered and strained against his maddening touch. She failed to stifle a groan of longing.

  “That’s two out of three. Majority rules,” he said.

  Adam eased her onto her back on the sofa and shifted his hips to rest between her legs. Supporting his weight on his arms, he stared down at her with the strangest expression on his face.

  “Madison?” he whispered.

  She couldn’t find the presence of mind to answer—could only stare up into his handsome face with her pulse thrumming wildly in her ears. He’d never looked at her with this level of intensity in the past. She wasn’t sure if her pitter-pattering heart could take the passion behind his gaze.

  “I have something I need to tell you. I want you to promise
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