Happy Wednesday, and thanks again to the lovely Angelica Dawson for organizing the MidWeekTeases 🙂
This week’s tease is a small tribute to rocker Chris Cornell who very sadly passed away last week. It comes from my erotic contemporary Romance on the Go, the rock star tale MY BIGGEST FAN. It is quite long as I wanted to do the whole scene justice. Enjoy!
A voice pulls me out of dreamland. “Morning, Shawn.”
Jumping in my chair, I open my eyes and squint at sunlight shining through windows and outlining a feminine silhouette in front of me.
It’s Samantha, hazel eyes smiling, dressed in jeans from top to toe, and holding two paper cups. In the chilly hall air, vapor drifts from the hot beverage before the aromatic smell of brewed coffee beans reaches me.
Damn. Her again, as if I need a tail. I was dozing, and more than a little hung-over. I only had a few beers last night, but my forehead aches and waves of nausea tease my stomach.
“Dude, you were snoring.” My roadie Jaz grins. He sits on a metal chair next to me with his laptop on his knees.
He’s wearing the same clothes as yesterday and smells of sweat. At least I’ve changed. After a night of bad sleep on a hard bus couch, I took a shower in a hotel room the management booked for that purpose, and put on new clothes. Today, it’s a Bon Scott shirt.
I glance around; we’re alone in the middle of a dark concert hall. A new day, a new show, and we’re all supposed to meet in the empty venue for breakfast. It’s a smaller place, taking only five thousand people, which suits me fine. I like how the intimate club atmosphere enables me to be closer to the fans. Yet, it’s so big, every sound and voice echoes between walls.
Samantha hands us the coffee. “Careful, it’s hot.”
Jaz accepts a cup and lifts a brow in my direction, since we’re not used to being served by a fan. “Thanks.” He turns back to his laptop.
I’m tempted to say I didn’t order coffee, but refrain and take mine with a frown before putting it on the cement floor beside my chair.
“You’re welcome,” she says, eyeing me. “It’s a beautiful day. You should take a walk outside.”
She looks around, finds a chair, and pulls it in front of us, metal legs grazing the floor. I swear that scorching sound could awake the dead—it resonates in my head, and I grit my teeth from the pain.
She sits. “Mind if I ask you guys a few questions? It’s part of my assignment.”
Ignoring her, I lean toward Jaz and peek at his screen. “What time is it?”
Samantha replies. “About ten am.”
I’ve slept for more than an hour. That’s good.
Again, I ask Jaz. “Have you seen Teddy?”
“Teddy?” she asks.
God, she’s annoying. I snort. “Our road manager.”
“Oh, Mr. Wilkinson. He stood outside the bus when I arrived, talking to some guys. Told me where to find you.”
Thanks, man. She’s the last person I need now. And whatever she wants from me, I can’t give her. Honestly, she’s wasted years of her life fantasizing about me. I must be thirteen years older. Besides, I don’t get what she likes so much. She doesn’t know a damn thing about me.
Dark hazel eyes observe me. “He said he kicked your ass, last night. For breaking a few rules.”
“Is that part of your interview?”
She tightens her jaw, and I snicker.
After a moment, she nods to the floor beside me. “You’re not having that coffee?”
Before I can reply, she leans forward to grab it. Her soft brown hair dances before me, the scent of flowery shampoo filling my intimate space, and my heart beats a little faster as images from yesterday’s intense flirting play in my mind. Despite not exactly appearing sexy, she got me horny fast enough.
She sits back in her chair, brings the coffee to her mouth, and takes a sip.
I grin. “So, Sam, what’s your impression of life on the road so far?”
She shoots me a look above the cup, but doesn’t reply.
I chuckle. Laughing feels good, alleviates the nausea. “I guess you hate me, huh?” From the look on her face when I walked away yesterday, my behavior did some damage to her feelings.
She shrugs. “Hate you? Why would I do that? And please call me Samantha.”
Why she would hate me? I smile. Instead of answering my question, she asks me one that will lead me to admit I hurt her. Smart.
She holds my look. “I don’t think you want to hurt people.”
“No. I think you just want to have fun, like a spoiled kid.”
“Maybe.” Grinning, I lift a foot and stroke her ankle with mine. “So what you’re saying is I don’t need to apologize.”
She looks like she pities me, and I laugh again. By miracle, both my headache and bad mood vanish. Maybe a coffee would be nice, after all.
The creaking metal door opens and Mike comes in with a bag, long curls moving in tune with his steps, wearing the usual black leather. He glances at us and mumbles, “Hi” before strolling to a corner. With a look of annoyance, he takes a chair, pulls a laptop out of the bag, and places it on a small table in front of him.
He’s a loner I’ve had to hire for the remaining tour dates because our own guy broke his foot during a stage-dive two weeks ago. We don’t really get along, but I didn’t have much of a choice at the time—he was one of a very few available lead guitarists with enough skill to learn a dozen songs in forty-eight hours and perform them as well as the original axe.
Sam turns back to Jaz. “So what is it like, working with Shawn?”
He gazes from her to me. “Well, you know I work for him, not with him, so…”
I shoot in, teasing, “Hey, Sam, I am apologizing.”
“You look like you mean it, too,” she quips, eyes fixed on Jaz.
I smile. Gotta like that girl.
Jaz winks at her. “He’s all right, just a little cocky. But what do you expect from a rock star?” He widens his eyes in mockery. “Arrogance is part of the game.”
I snort. “That’s bull, Jaz. You love me. You think I’m a mean bass player.”
“True. Mean, but lazy.” He winks again. “If you bothered learning the notes instead of doin’ that instinctive shit, you could play the bass like a lead guitar. Like Billy Sheehan.”
I shrug. I’m not shooting for the stars. All I want is to give the other band members a rhythm foundation together with the drums.
Sam says, “What’s special about you, Shawn, is that you use a pick. Most bassists play with their fingers.”
Oh, she’s done her homework. I smile. “I like to hit the chords instead of tapping ‘cause it gives a raw, in-your-face metallic sound that suits our music. When you use the fingers, the sound’s muffled.”
“Yeah.” She nods. “Okay, I have a few fan questions. Things people have asked in the forums. One guy said you laugh a lot. Most rock stars have their nose in the air, but you always look so cool, like you’re enjoying yourself.”
“I am enjoying myself. Life’s easy. Whenever I want something, it’s handed to me. Like you.” I flash my teeth. “Fate handed you to me.”
She ignores me. “Someone else said it’s funny how the band members have different styles. That’s odd for a rock band.”
“Yeah. I’m the punk.” I run a hand through my spiked hair. “Timmi’s the glam rocker. Jeff, well, he’s a crossover sorta guy from Cali, a mix of funk and grunge. And then we have Mike, the heavy metaller.” I throw my chin toward him in the corner.
His dark eyes dart to me, expressionless, before turning back to his screen.
“Hmm.” She nods. “So you unite all these styles and create some pretty cool, innovative music.”
“How do you feel about the fans?”
“The fans, or the groupies?” I joke.
She smiles. “The regular fans. Are they okay to deal with, or do they annoy you?”
“Well, if all were like you, I think I would’ve fucked more bimbos than Gene Simmons.”
I nod to the KISS patches on her chest pockets and grin, picturing the long-tongued rocker and the thousands of beautiful women he’s bedded.
She shakes her head, but a smile curves her lips.
I try to be serious. “No, really, I like the fans. It’s nice to see so many people loving my music and knowing my lyrics and all.”
“Bah,” Mike shoots in from his corner. “They’re a pain. The way they hang around the places we stay at and demand we sign everything they own.”
“I don’t mind. Especially if they ask me to sign their tits or a nice ass.” I glance at Sam to study her reaction. I grin, but she stares back with a placid face.
He scowls at me. “We don’t owe them anything.”
“C’mon, dude. We wouldn’t be here today”—I spread my arms and sweep the large club—“if each and every one of them didn’t buy that record or that show ticket.”
He shakes his head. “Fuck that. We offer a product, they pay for it, and we don’t owe them shit.”
“That’s bull, Mike. They’re the reason we’re here.”
“No, man, you’re wrong. We have success ‘cause we have talent. And anyway, what fucking sense does it make to have our name on a piece of paper?”
I roll my eyes. “It doesn’t cost us much, and if it makes them happy…”
I sense Sam observing me. It’s probably the first time I say something she approves of. But I didn’t do it to please her or because she’s going to post it on our page. It’s the truth. I would never have made it without my fans, and Mike would be out of job, too.
I’m awaiting her next question when she puts the empty coffee cup on the floor, stands in front of me, and with a mysterious smile leans forward to take both my hands in hers. They’re warm, generous, and pull at me.
I cock my head. “What are you doing, Sam?”
“Getting your ass out. It’s a nice day and I don’t intend to spend all of it in here.” She tugs at my hands until I reluctantly get up from my chair.
I stand close to her, searching her brown eyes—wondering how far she will push this awkward situation—when she blushes, releases my hands, and looks down.
I stare for another moment, so near her that both her body heat and the scent of prairie flowers brush against me in the chilly air. From the silence in the large hall, I imagine the two other guys studying us.
“What do you want?” I insist, curious.
The tension between us isn’t sexual. She’s unlike any girl I’ve met, and I have to admit, I like her enough to give her a chance at… I don’t know…becoming a friend? I’ve never had a female friend.
Hell, I don’t think I’ve had a real male friend, either, one who I’ve considered a brother and been able to trust, chat with about anything, and share my life. The closest to that is Timmi with whom I started the band. While he’s fun to hang with and we’ve lived a few ups and downs, we’ve never had a total connection.
Her chest heaves slowly before me, as if she’s trying to regain composure.
Then she makes up her mind. Avoiding my eyes, she slides her arm under mine, turns around, and pulls me with her toward the door. Puzzled and more than a little charmed, I follow.
Jaz’s low chuckle sounds behind my back, and when I turn, he grins and sends me a playful wink.
Copyright (c) 2013 Lea Bronsen
Shawn Torien is a handsome, arrogant bassist with the groove rock band Bloodless. At thirty four, he’s seen everything, been everywhere, and all is handed to him on a silver plate, groupies included.
His rock star attitude is questioned when the record company’s young webmistress Samantha joins the band to cover their life on the road. As she has crushed on Shawn for years, he takes great pleasure in teasing her and pushing her away… until he learns about the woman beneath the surface.
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