Lick, p.27
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       Lick, p.27

         Part #1 of Stage Dive series by Kylie Scott
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Page 27

  Author: Kylie Scott

  “Come on, I was under the influence. That’s not fair. ”

  “But it is true. ”

  “Maybe. ” I still wished I could remember it. “Favorite book?”

  “I like graphic novels. Stuff like Hellblazer, Preacher. ”

  I took another mouthful of soda, trying to think up a genius question. Only all the blatantly obvious ones appeared inside my head. I sucked at dating. It was probably just as well that we’d skipped that part.

  “Wait,” he said. “What’s yours?”

  “Jane Eyre. How about your favorite movie?”

  “Evil Dead 2. Yours?”

  “Walk the Line. ”

  “The one about the man in black? Nice. Okay. ” He clapped his hands together and rubbed them. “My turn. Tell me something terrible. Something you did that you’ve never confessed to another living soul. ”

  “Ooh, good one. ” Scary, but good. Why couldn’t I have thought of a question like that?

  He grinned around the top of his bottle of beer, well pleased with himself.

  “Let me think …”

  “There’s a time limit. ”

  I screwed up my face at him. “There is not a time limit. ”

  “There is,” he said. “Because you can’t try and think up something half assed to tell me. You’ve gotta give me the first worst thing that comes into your head that you don’t want anyone else ever knowing about. This is about honesty. ”

  “Fine,” I sniffed. “I kissed a girl named Amanda Harper when I was fifteen. ”

  His chin rose. “You did?”

  “Yes. ”

  He sidled closer, eyes curious. “Did you like it?”

  “No. Not really. I mean, it was okay. ” I gripped the edge of the bench, hunching forward. “She was the school lesbian and I wanted to see if I was one too. ”

  “There was just the one lesbian at your school?”

  “Oh, I suspected quite a few people, but only she was open about it. She gave herself the title. ”

  “Good for her. ” His hands settled on my knees and pushed them apart, making room for him. “Why did you think you were a lesbian?”

  “To be accurate, I was hoping I was bi,” I said. “More options. Because, honestly, the guys at school were …”

  “They were what?” He gripped my butt and pulled me across the bench, bringing me closer. No way did I resist.

  “They didn’t really interest me, I guess. ”

  “But kissing your lesbian friend Amanda didn’t do it for you either?” he asked.

  “No. ”

  He clicked his tongue. “Damn. That’s a sad story. You’re cheating, by the way. ”

  “What? How?”

  “You were meant to tell me something terrible. ” His smile left a mile way behind. “Telling me you tongue-kissed a girl isn’t even remotely terrible. ”

  “I never said there was tongue. ”

  “Was there?”

  “A little. The briefest of touches, maybe. But then I got weirded out and stopped it. ”

  He took another swig of beer. “Your ear tips are doing the pink thing again. ”

  “I bet they are. ” I laughed and ducked my head. “I didn’t cheat. I never told anyone about that kiss. I was going to take it to my grave. You should feel honored by my trust in you. ”

  “Yeah, but telling me something I’m likely to find a huge turn-on is cheating. You were meant to tell me something terrible. The rules were clear. Go again and give me something bad this time. ”

  “It’s a huge turn-on, huh?”

  “Next time I hit the shower I’m definitely using that story. ”

  I bit my tongue and looked away. Memories from this morning of David soaping up my hands and then putting them on him assailed my mind. The thought of him masturbating to my brief bout of teen sexual experimentation … “honored” wasn’t quite the right word. But I couldn’t say I wasn’t pleased by the notion. “Well, remember to make me older. Fifteen is a bit skeevy. ”

  “You only kissed her. ”

  “You’ll leave it at that in your head? You’ll respect accuracy and legalities, and not take it any further between Amanda and me?”

  “Fine, I’ll make you older. And wildly fucking curious. ” He pulled me closer using the hands-on-my-butt method again and I put my arms around him.

  “Now, go again, and do it right this time. ”

  “Yeah, yeah. ”

  He gave the side of my neck a lingering kiss. “You weren’t lying about Amanda, were you?”

  “No. ”

  “Good. I like that story. You should tell it to me often. Now go again. ”

  I ummed and ahhed, procrastinating my little heart out. David rested his forehead against mine with a heavy sigh. “Just fucking tell me something. ”

  “I can’t think of anything. ”

  “Bullshit. ”

  “I can’t,” I whined. Not anything I wanted to share, anyway.

  “Tell me. ”

  I groaned and bumped my forehead against his ever so lightly. “David, come on, you’re the last person I want to make myself look bad in front of. ”

  He drew back, inspecting me down the length of his nose. “You’re worried about what I think of you?”

  “Of course I am. ”

  “You’re honest and good, baby. Nothing you might have done is gonna be that bad. ”

  “But honest isn’t always good,” I said, trying to explain. “I’ve opened my mouth plenty of times when I shouldn’t have. Given people my opinion when I should have kept quiet. I react first and think later. Look at what happened in Vegas, between us. I didn’t ask any of the right questions that morning. I’m always going to regret that. ”

  “Vegas was a pretty extreme situation. ” His hand rubbed my back, reassuring me. “You got nothing to worry about. ”

  “You asked me how I felt when you had that groupie hanging off you in LA. I dealt with it then. But the fact is, if that happened now and some woman tried to come onto you, I’d probably get stabby. I’m not always going to react well to the rock star hoopla that surrounds you. What happens then?”

  He made a noise in his throat. “I dunno, I finally have to realize that you’re human? That you fuck up sometimes just like everybody else?”

  I didn’t answer.

  “We’ll both screw up, Ev. That’s a given. We just gotta be patient with each other. ” He put a finger beneath my chin, raising it up so he could kiss me. “Now tell me about what Lauren told you today. ”

  I stared at him, caught and cornered. The contents of my stomach curdled for real. I had to tell him. There would be no getting around it. How he reacted was beyond my control. “She told me that your first girlfriend cheated on you. ”

  He blinked. “Yeah. That happened. We’d been together a long time, but … I was always either recording or on the road,” he said. “We’d been touring Europe for eight, nine months when it happened. Touring fucks up a lot of couples. The groupies and the whole lifestyle can really screw with you. Being left behind all the time is probably no picnic either. ”

  I bet it wasn’t. “When do you tour next?”

  He shook his head. “There’re none booked. Won’t be until we get this new record down, and that hasn’t been going so well until now. ”

  “Okay. How does this work? I mean, do you believe what happens on the road, stays on the road?” I asked. The boundaries of our relationship had never really been established. Exactly what did our marriage mean? He wanted us to stick together, but I had school to consider, my job, my life. Maybe the good wives just dumped it all and went with the band. Or maybe wives weren’t even invited. I didn’t have a clue.

  “You asking me if I’m planning on cheating on you?”

  “I’m asking how we fit into each other’s lives. ”

  “Right. ” He pinched his lip
s between his thumb and finger. “Well, I think not fucking around on each other would be a good start. Let’s just make that a rule for us, okay? As for the band and stuff, I guess we take it as it comes. ”

  “Agreed. ”

  Without a word he stepped back from me, crossing over to the stairwell. “Mal?”


  “Close the door down there and lock it,” David yelled. “Don’t you come up here under any circumstances. Not till I tell you it’s okay. Understood?”

  There was a pause then Mal yelled back. “What if there’s a fire?”

  “Burn. ”

  “Fuck you. ” The door downstairs slammed shut.

  “Lock it!”

  Mal’s reply was muffled but the pissy tone carried just fine. These two were more akin to actual brothers than David and his biological sibling. Jimmy was a jerk and just one of the very good reasons we should never return to LA. Sadly, hiding out in Monterey wasn’t a viable long-term solution.

  School, band, family, friends, blah blah blah.

  David reached for the back of his T-shirt and dragged it off over his head. “Rule number two, if I take my shirt off you have to take off yours. The shirt-off rule now applies to these sorts of conversations. I know we need to talk about stuff. But there’s no reason we can’t make it easier. ”

  “This’ll make it easier?” Highly doubtful. All that smooth, hot skin just waiting for my touch and my fingers itching to do so. Keeping my tongue inside my mouth while his flat stomach and six-pack were revealed tested my moral fortitude no end. All that beautiful inked skin on display, driving any attempt at a coherent thought straight out of my mind. Good God, the man had some power over me. But wait up, we were married. Morally, I was obliged to ogle my husband. It would be unnatural and wrong to do otherwise.

  “Get it off,” he said, tipping his chin at my offending items of clothing.
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