Lick, p.25
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       Lick, p.25
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         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
Page 25

  Author: Kylie Scott

  “Okay,” I quickly agreed. I wasn’t stupid.

  “That’s my girl. ” He held a hand out for me, eyes intent. “You are so damn pretty. You know, I’m never going to be able to wait until tonight. ”

  “No?”

  “Nope. Look at you lying all naked on my bed. I’ve never seen anything I’ve liked more. ” He shook his head, mouth rueful as his eyes travelled over my body. My husband was incredibly good for my ego. But he made me feel humble at the same time, grateful. “I was a fucking idiot to suggest waiting,” he said, taking a step back and crooking his finger at me. “And you know how I hate being away from you. Come help me in the shower? It’ll give you some good hands-on experience. ”

  I crawled off the bed after him. “That so?”

  “Oh, yeah. And you know how seriously I take you and your education. ”

  *

  “You suck,” said Lauren, her voice echoing down the line. Pam had warned me some parts of the coast could be iffy with cell coverage.

  “I’m not saying I don’t still love you,” she said. “But, you know …”

  “I know. I’m sorry,” I said, settling into the corner of the lounge. The menfolk were busy downstairs making music. Pam had gone running errands in town. I had calls to make. Boxes to unpack. Dreams of blissful wedlock to work up to insane, impossible proportions inside my head.

  “Never mind. Update me,” she demanded.

  “Well, we’re still married. In a good way this time. ”

  Lauren screamed in my ear. It took her a good couple of minutes to calm down. “Oh my God, I was hoping something would work out. He’s so fucking hot. ”

  “Yes, indeed he is. But he’s more than that. He’s wonderful. ”

  “Keep going. ”

  “I mean, really wonderful. ”

  She huffed out a laugh. “You already used ‘wonderful’. Try a new word, Cinderella. Give my inner fangirl something to work with here. ”

  “Don’t crush on my husband. That’s not cool. ”

  “You’re six years too late with that warning. I was crushing on David Ferris long before you put a ring on him in Vegas. ”

  “Actually, he doesn’t have a ring. ”

  “No? You should fix that. ”

  “Hmm. ” I stared out the window at the ocean. Out in the distance a bird drifted in lazy circles high up in the sky. “We’re at his place in Monterey. It’s beautiful here. ”

  “You left LA?”

  “LA was not so great. What with the groupies and lawyers and business managers and everything, it was pretty shitty. ”

  “Details, babe. Gimme. ”

  I drew my knees up to my chest and fidgeted with the seam of my jeans, feeling conflicted. Discussing our personal details behind David’s back didn’t sit well with me. Not even with Lauren. Things had changed. Most noticeably, our marriage had changed. But there were still some things I could share. “The people there were like something from another planet. I did not fit in. Though you would have liked seeing the parties they threw. All the glamorous people packed into this mansion. It was impressive. ”

  “You’re making me insanely jealous. Who was there?”

  I gave her a couple of names as she oohed and aahed.

  “But I don’t miss LA. Things are so good now, out here, Lauren. We’ve put the annulment on hold. We’re going to see how things go. ”

  “That’s so romantic. Tell me you’ve jumped that fine-looking man’s bones, please. Don’t make me cry. ”

  “Lauren,” I sighed.

  “Yes or no?”

  I hesitated and she got screamy at me, rather predictably.

  “YES OR NO?”

  “Yes. Alright? Yes. ”

  This time, her shriek definitely did my eardrums permanent damage. All I could hear was ringing. When it ended, someone was mumbling in the background. Someone male.

  “Who was that?” I asked.

  “No one. Just a friend. ”

  “A friend-friend or a friend?”

  “Just a friend. Hang on, changing rooms. And we were talking about you, partner of David Ferris, world famous lead guitarist for Stage Dive. ”

  “A friend that I know?” I asked, curiosity now fully aroused.

  “You are aware of the picture of your ass making the rounds, aren’t you?”

  Cue the squirming. “Uh, yeah. I am. ”

  “Bummer. Haha! But seriously, you look good. Mine wouldn’t have looked half as nice. Bet you’re glad you walked to campus last semester instead of driving all the time like lazy ol’ me. That sure was some night you had in Vegas, missy. ”

  “Let’s talk about your friend instead of my butt. Or Vegas. ”

  “Or we could talk about your sex life. Because we’ve been talking about mine for a couple of years now but we haven’t much been able to talk about yours, girlfriend,” she said in a glee-filled singsong voice.

  “Evvie! Want a soda?” Mal shouted as he sailed past on his way to the kitchen, having emerged from below.

  “Yes, please. ”

  “Who is that?” asked Lauren.

  “The drummer. They’re doing some work in the studio downstairs. ”

  Lauren gasped. “The whole band is there?”

  “No, just Mal and another friend of David’s. ”

  “Malcolm is there? He’s really hot, but a total man slut,” she supplied helpfully. “You should see the number of women he gets photographed with. ”

  “Here you go, child bride. ” Mal passed me an icy-cold bottle, the top already removed.

  “Thanks, Mal,” I said.

  He winked and wandered off again.

  “None of my business,” I told Lauren.

  She clucked her tongue. “You haven’t been on the internet to find anything out about them, have you? You’re flying totally blind in this situation. ”

  “It feels wrong checking up on them behind their backs. ”

  “Naivety is only sexy up to a point, chica. ”

  “It’s not naivety, chica. It’s respecting their personal lives. ”

  “Which you’re now a part of. ”

  “Privacy matters. Why should they trust me if I’m stalking them on-line?”

  “You and your excuses,” Lauren sighed. “So you don’t know that the band started touring when David was only sixteen? They got a gig supporting a band through Asia and have pretty much stayed on the road or in the recording studio from then onward. Hell of a life, huh?”

  “Yeah. He said he’s ready to slow down. ”

  “I’m not surprised. Rumors about the band breaking up are everywhere. Do try and stop that from happening if you can, please. And get your husbo to get his shit into gear and hurry up and write a new album. I’m counting on you. ”

  “No problem,” I said, not sharing that David was writing me songs. That was private. For now at least. The list of things I didn’t feel I could share with Lauren was growing exponentially.

  “I wanted you to crush that boy’s heart so we could have another album like San Pedro. But I can tell you’re going to be difficult about that. ”

  “Your powers of perception are uncanny. ”

  She chuckled. “You know there’s a song about the Monterey house on that album?”

  “There is?”

  “Oh yeah. That’s the famous ‘House of Sand’. Epic love song. David’s high school sweetheart cheated on him while he was touring in Europe at age twenty-one. He’d bought that house for them to live in. ”

  “Stop, Lauren. This is … shit, this is personal. ” My heart and mind raced. “This house?”

  “Yeah. They’d been together for years. David was gutted. Then some bitch he slept with sold her story to the tabloids. Also, his mother left when he was twelve. Expect there to be some issues all round where women are concerned. ”

  “No, Lauren, stop
. I’m serious,” I said, nearly strangling the phone. “He’ll tell me things like that when he’s ready. This doesn’t feel right. ”

  “It’s just being prepared. I don’t see what the problem is. ”

  “Lauren. ”

  “Okay. No more. You did need to know those tidbits though, seriously. Events like that leave a permanent scar. ”

  She had a point. The information did explain his accusations regarding my leaving and the strength of his reactions to that. Two of the most important women in his world had deserted him. Though finding out this way about his history still felt wrong. When he trusted me enough to tell me, he would. But I hadn’t had enough of a chance yet to earn that sort of trust from him. Personal information didn’t just roll off the tongue at the first meeting. How horrible to have it all set out there on the internet just waiting for people to look it up and mull it over for their entertainment. So much for privacy. Little wonder he’d been worried about my talking to the press.

  I took a sip of the soda then rested the cold bottle against my cheek. “I really want this to work. ”

  “I know you do. I can hear it in your voice when you talk about him—you’re in love with him. ”

  My spine snapped to attention. “What? No. That’s crazy talk. Not yet, at least. It’s only been a couple of days. Do I sound in love? Really?”

  “Time is irrelevant where the heart is concerned. ”

  “Maybe,” I said, concerned.

  “Listen, Jimmy has been dating Liv Andrews. If you meet her, I definitely want an autograph. Loved her last film. ”

  “Jimmy is not the greatest. That could get uncomfortable. ”

  She huffed. “Fine. But you are in love. ”

  “Hush now. ”

  “What? I think it’s nice. ”

  Mutterings from Lauren’s mysterious friend interrupted my rising fear.

  “I’ve got to go,” she said. “Keep in touch, okay? Call me. ”
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