Lick, p.19
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       Lick, p.19
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 19

  Author: Kylie Scott

  Hope rushed through me, hot and thrilling. “David, are you serious about this?”

  “Yeah, I am. ” He sighed. “I know I’ve been drinking. But I’ve been thinking it over. I don’t … shit, I didn’t even like having you out of my sight the last few hours, but you looked like you needed to sleep. I don’t want us to sign those papers. ”

  I squeezed my eyes tight and sent up a silent prayer. “Then we won’t. ”

  “You sure?”

  “Yes. ”

  He pulled me in tight against him. “Okay. Okay, that’s good. ”

  “We’re going to be fine,” I sighed happily. The relief made me weak. If I hadn’t been lying down I’d have landed on the floor.

  Suddenly he sniffed at his shoulder and underarms. “Shit, I stink of bourbon. I’m going to have a shower. ” He gave me a quick kiss and rolled out of the bed. “Kick me out of bed next time I try to come in smelling like this. Don’t let me cuddle up to you. ”

  I loved that he was talking about our being together like it would be an everyday thing. I loved it so much, I didn’t even care how bad he smelled.

  True love.

  CHAPTER TEN

  The gong of the doorbell echoed through the house just after ten. David slept on against my back. He didn’t stir at all. With a couple more hours sleep I felt happily half human. I crawled out from beneath his arm, trying not to disturb him. I pulled my top and jeans back on and dashed down the stairs, doing my best not to break my neck in the process. In all likelihood it would be more deliveries.

  “Child bride! Let me in!” Mal hollered from the other side of the door. He followed it up with an impressive percussive performance, banging his hands against the solid wood. Definitely the drummer. “Evvie!”

  No one called me Evvie. I’d stamped out that nickname years ago. However, it might be better than “child bride”.

  I opened the door and Mal barreled in, Tyler dragging himself along after. Considering Tyler had sat up drinking and playing music with David until the wee small hours, I wasn’t really surprised at his condition. The poor man clearly suffered with the hangover from hell. He looked like he’d been punched in both eyes, the bruises from lack of sleep were so bad. An energy drink was attached to his lips.

  “Mal. What are you doing here?” I stopped, rubbed the sleep from my eyes. Wake-up call, it wasn’t even my house. “Sorry, that was rude. It’s just a surprise to see you. Hi, Tyler. ”

  I’d been hoping to have my husband to myself today, but apparently it wasn’t to be.

  Mal dropped my backpack at my feet. He was so busy looking around the place he didn’t even seem to have heard my question, rude or not.

  “David is still asleep,” I said and rifled through the contents of my bag. Oh, my stuff. My wonderful stuff. My purse and phone in particular were a delight to lay eyes on. Many text messages from Lauren, plus a few from my Dad. I hadn’t even known he could text. “Thank you for bringing this. ”

  “Dave called me at four in the morning and told me he’d written some new stuff. Figured I’d come up and see what was going on. Thought you’d like your gear. ” Hands on hips, Mal stood before the wall of windows pondering the magnificence of nature. “Man, check out that view. ”

  “Nice, huh?” said Tyler from behind his drink. “Wait till you see the studio. ”

  Mal cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hipster King. Get down here!”

  “Hi, sweetie. ” Pam wandered in, twirling a set of keys on her finger. “I tried to make them leave it a few more hours, but as you can see, I lost. Sorry. ”

  “Never mind,” I said. I’m not much of a hugger normally. We didn’t do a lot of it in my family. My parents preferred a more hands-free method. But Pam was so nice that I hugged her back straight away when she threw her arms around me.

  We’d talked for hours the night before down in the recording studio. It had been illuminating. Married to a popular session player and producer, she’d lived the lifestyle for over twenty years. Touring, recording, groupies … she’d experienced the whole rock ’n’ roll shebang. She and Tyler had attended a music festival and fallen in love with Monterey with its jagged coastline and sweeping ocean views.

  “The lounge and another couple of beds are on their way, should be here soon. Mal, Tyler, help move the boxes. We’ll stack them against the fireplace. ” Suddenly Pam stopped, giving me a cautious smile. “Hang on. You’re the woman of the house. You give the orders here. ”

  “Oh, against the fireplace sounds great, thanks,” I said.

  “You heard her, boys. Get moving. ”

  Tyler grumbled but put down his can and lumbered toward a box, dragging his feet like the walking dead.

  “Hold up. ” Mal smacked his lips at Pam and me. “I haven’t gotten my hello kisses yet. ” He caught Pam up in a bear hug, lifting her off her feet and twirling her around until she laughed. Arms wide, he stepped toward me next. “Come to daddy, bed-head girl. ”

  I put a hand out to halt him, laughing. “That’s actually really disturbing, Mal. ”

  “Leave her be,” said David from the top of the stairs, yawning and rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Still wearing just the jeans. He was my kryptonite. All the strength of my convictions to be careful disappeared. My legs actually wobbled. I hated that.

  Were we married or not today? He’d had a hell of a lot to drink last night. Drunk people and promises did not go well together—we’d both learned that the hard way. I could only hope he remembered our conversation and still felt the same way.

  “What the fuck are you doing here?” growled my husband.

  “I want to hear the new stuff, asswipe. Deal with it. ” Mal stared up at him, his jaw set in a hard line. “I should beat the living crap out of you. Fuck, man. That was my favorite kit!”

  Body rigid, David started down the stairs. “I said I’m sorry. I meant it. ”

  “Maybe. But it’s still time to pay, you dickwad. ”

  For a moment David didn’t reply. Tension lined his face but there was a look of inevitability in his weary eyes. “Alright. What?”

  “It’s gotta hurt. Bad. ”

  “Worse than you turning up when Ev and me are having time alone?”

  Mal actually looked a little shamefaced.

  David stopped at the foot of the steps, waiting. “You wanna take this outside?”

  Pam and Tyler said nothing, just watched the byplay. I got the feeling this wasn’t the first time these two had faced off. Boys will be boys and all that. But I stood beside Mal, every muscle tensed. If he took one step toward David I’d jump him. Pull his hair or something. I didn’t know how, but I’d stop him.

  Mal gave him a measuring look. “I’m not hitting you. I don’t want to mess up my hands when we’ve got work to do. ”

  “What then?”

  “You already trashed your favorite guitar. So it’s going to have to be something else. ” Mal rubbed his hands together. “Something money can’t buy. ”

  “What?” asked David, his eyes suddenly wary.

  “Hi, Evvie. ” Mal grinned and slung an arm around my shoulder, pulling me in against him.

  “Hey,” I protested.

  In the next moment his mouth covered mine, entirely unwelcome. David shouted a protest. An arm wrapped around my back and Mal dipped me, kissing me hard, bruising my lips. I grabbed at his shoulders, afraid I’d hit the floor. When he tried to put his tongue in my mouth, however, I didn’t hesitate to bite him.

  The idiot howled.

  Take that.

  Just as fast as he’d dipped me he set me to rights. My head spun. I put a hand to the wall to stop from stumbling. I rubbed at my mouth, trying to get rid of the taste of him, while Mal gave me a wounded look.

  “Damn it. That hurt. ” He carefully touched his tongue, searching for damage. “I’m bleeding!”

 
“Good. ”

  Pam and Tyler chuckled, highly amused.

  Arms wrapped around me from behind and David whispered in my ear. “Nice work. ”

  “Did you know he was going to do that?” I asked, sounding distinctly pissy.

  “Fuck no. ” He rubbed his face against the side of my head, mussing my bed hair. “I don’t want anyone else touching you. ”

  It was the right answer. My anger melted away. I put my hands on top of his and the grip on me tightened.

  “You want me to beat the shit out of him?” asked David. “Just say the word. ”

  I pretended to consider it for a moment while Mal watched us with interest. We obviously looked a lot friendlier than we had in LA. But it was nobody’s business. Not his friend’s, not the press’, nobody’s.

  “No,” I whispered back, my belly doing backflips. I was falling so fast for him it scared me. “I guess you’d better not. ”

  David turned me in his arms and I fit myself against him, wrapping my arms around his waist. It felt natural and right. The scent of his skin made me high. I could have stood there breathing him in for hours. It felt like maybe we were together, but I no longer trusted my own judgment, if I ever had to begin with.

  “Malcolm is joining you on your honeymoon?” Pam’s voice was heavy with disbelief.

  David chuckled. “No, this isn’t our honeymoon. If we have a honeymoon it’ll be somewhere far away from everyone. Sure as hell, he won’t be there. ”

  “If?” she asked.

  I really did love Pam.

  “When,” he corrected, holding me tight.

  “This is all real cute, but I came to make music,” Mal announced.

  “Then you’re just going to have to fucking wait,” said David. “Ev and I have plans this morning. ”

  “We’ve been waiting two years to come up with something new. ”

  “Tough shit. You can wait a few more hours. ” David took my hand and led me back toward the stairs. Excitement ran rife through me. He’d chosen me and it felt wonderful.
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