Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Spotlight for Rock Me Two Times by Dawn Ryder (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a reader obsessed with rock star romances I'm excited to introduce you to an erotic new series giving a tantalizing taste of the sensual world of rock!  Keep reading to get a decadent taste of Rock Me Two Times by Dawn Ryder, the first installment in her Rock Band series, along with my impressions of it.  Ms. Ryder gives you a glimpse of her ideal rock star too which will help you count down the days until the November 3rd release of this steamy series starter and the four sexy rock stars that will leave you drooling!  In honor of this release make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win 1 of 5 copies of this book too!

Sexiest Rock Stars (And What Makes Them So Hot!) with Dawn Ryder.....
Rock Stars…some are just lick-able….
Let’s face it, there is something about a man in leather, who can bring a stadium to its feet. I know there are all sorts of different music out there but heavy metal in all its formats has a certain, gut-wrenching appeal that just gets girls wanting to squeal. So here’s one of my favorites:
David Bowie – Okay, I’m an 80’s child and there was this little movie called “Labyrinth.” Now I don’t care if you hated the Muffat/D&D/Princess Bride concoction that was this movie, there was one thing that made it worth your attention…David Bowie in Regency garb. And when he opened his mouth and those deep vocals came out with a rhythm that had you squirming in your seat…well, he made my top three male singer list for sure. Besides, his Goblin King makeup was amazing and I actually based a lot of Syon, the hero of Rock Me Two Times, on this character.
There are so many types of passion, and music is one that the world stops and listens to. If I’m lucky, someday, one of my books will captivate a reader just as completely as some of the great songs out there that everyone knows.

Ryder’s sizzling new Rock Band series.
Rock star Syon Braden writes and plays the most extreme—and profitable—music from the depths of his shredded heart. He’s got a double platinum record, adoring fans, and success for his band Toxsin—but it’s what he can’t have that he craves. Custom leather designer Kate Napier has her sights set on success, and that means keeping irresistible rock stars like Syon out of her bed. The chance to tour with the band and provide them with a fantastic custom wardrobe is too major an opportunity to turn down. But immersion in the dark, wild world of Toxsin on tour means Kate’s about to get rocked…hard…body and soul.


It sounded like a tsunami coming in, or a freight train passing three feet in front of her face. It was more than sound; there was a vibration that traveled through her body, all the way down to her bones. There was a current in the air that practically crackled with excitement.
The bodyguard-slash-security guy showed Kate up to a private box. She followed because she didn’t want to squeal like a little girl and ask to be taken home.
She’d never lost her head like this before.
It was embarrassing on an epic scale. She was pissed at herself for rolling over so easily for a man who wouldn’t recall her name by the end of the night.
The box had plush seats and an open rail overlooking the stage. The lights went down, and the drummer started up. The beat was infectious, taking over her heart until she was sure the muscle was keeping the same rhythm.
The crowd roared again, thrusting their hands up into the air as two guitars joined the drummer. Her nipples puckered again, her memory offering up an image of Syon arching back as he played those final chords. It was like he was pushing the music out of himself, almost as if he were giving birth.
On stage, he was just as raw.
Syon took command of the space completely. The audience ate him up.
And were they screaming. Syon worked them just as skillfully as he did his guitar. He really was lord of all he surveyed. Kate discovered herself leaning forward, being drawn toward the spellbinding energy pulsing on the stage. Sitting still was impossible; her body wanted to move in time with the notes Syon was wringing out of his instrument. She became fixated on his hands; the way he worked his fingers was downright dominant.
Her teeth were clenched  by the time the last song finished, she was panting softly and felt wrung out.
But it was fucking wonderful. She was drifting on a high and collapsed back into her padded chair, her composure scattered around her like fall leaves. She felt spent but amped up at the same time.
Fangirls were definitely climbing the respect ladder in her book.
Okay, so she was drooling over a rock star like some high schooler, but at least B.O.B.—her battery-operated boyfriend —was waiting for her at home. All in all, the buzz was worth the slightly stinging blow to her pride, because in some corner of her mind, she believed she should be grown-up enough to realize fantasies weren’t mature. So disappointment wouldn’t stalk her in the wee hours of the night.
A hollow feeling in her gut warned her she was hoping in vain.
As Syon and the rest of the band left the stage, Kate indulged herself in a long moment of reflection. Syon had worked that guitar until it wailed. He had to be hell in bed if he applied even half that effort to pleasing his partner.
“So, what’d you think?”
She jumped, grabbing the armrests of the movie theater-style chair. Her eyes popped open wide, and her belly did a triple flip when she found Syon watching her.
“Ah…” Her tongue suddenly felt like a wad of cotton in her mouth as she scrambled to stand up and turn around to face him. “It was fantastic…”
He grinned at her, a huge, arrogantly pleased expression that showed off his perfect teeth.
God, she wondered if he knew how to bite…



The rock star world is on vivid display in this new series following the exciting and intensely sexual lives of four men with a bond stronger than blood and their in-your-face lives being chased by fans and paparazzi.  Ms. Ryder quickly grabs reader's attention with her addictive blend of steamy sex, drool-worthy rock stars, and finding love when you least expect it.  Each rocker is unique with emotional baggage of their own hidden behind their charm and manufactured images that you can't help but be drawn to.  Add in to this chaotic world a strong-willed woman trying to balance professionalism and feelings of love for a man weighed down by obligations and you have a story full of emotional highs and lows that keeps you fully engrossed in their battle to find HEA.

Rockers Toxsin are at the top of the charts beloved by fans and chased by paparrazi, living life with no boundaries.  Their lives aren't as perfect as it seems though as they're tired of living up to the image of what a rock star should be, particularly for lead singer Syon.  He's always gotten every girl he wanted but meeting Kate inspires him on every level and with her talent for crafting leather goods has him wanting her even closer.  Their connection crackles the moment they meet, teeming with sexual tension, that strengthens as his rock tour progresses.  Syon's a strong-willed man with a military background that's surrounded by an air of mystery and power.  He's dominant and isn't afraid to use this sensual power on Kate in numerous sexual interludes.  He's surprisingly sweet along with an intense loyalty to his bandmates forged in war.  This close friendship blurs the lines at times when it comes to their sexuality as fellow rocker Ramsey has an especially close bond with Syon making for hinted at menages.  From start to finish, despite his manager trying to perpetuate his bad boy image, Syon was a loyal, sexy, and caring rocker who only had eyes for the hard working Kate from the moment he saw her.

Kate was devoted to becoming famous for her leather goods.  Past experience has taught her that rock stars are nothing but trouble and that she will keep all interactions professional to reach her goal.  Meeting Syon though throws all her rules and beliefs out the window as there's more to him than meets the eye. Being on the road with him and Toxsin opens her eyes to the four men who are like brothers and count on each other to stay sane in a world full of chaos. Kate's world soon becomes endless days of travel, nights of partying with lots of women who want these rockers for their brush with fame...all except for Syon, who only wants Kate.  Theirs is a scorching relationship fragile over issues of trust and sabotaged by a band manager who thinks image is more important than reality.  Through it all Kate stands by her man while remaining strong-willed and forming her own familial bond with the rest of Toxsin's sexy pseudo bad boys.  Kate's immensely likable and tells it like it is.  While the lack of privacy bothered her at first she quickly embraced the sense of family their close quarters gave her which had her embracing any free time she could with Syon.

From the first page to the last this is a story that sucks you in.  The members of Toxsin are sexy, charming, with secrets and emotional bruises just hinted at. With Ramsey you get unabashed talk and action, despite a lifetime of religion, where decadence is his vice.  He's immensely loyal to Syon with a bond that's clearly unbreakable.  Taz is Asian with a love for cosplay and for a young woman whose family is keeping them apart.  He's a bit quiet and serious-minded but sweet and supportive too.  Drake is the Brit who gives off an air of class mixed with dirty-mindedness.  He's the one we got to know the least about and I'm looking forward to finding out more about him and the others.  This story had a tantalizing flow giving ample time to these characters and laying great groundwork for the future by leaving us wanting to know more about them.  The sexual interludes are plentiful and varied and were erotic with a bit of sweetness.  The banter amongst the bandmates and Kate was fun with a bit of flirtiness that ultimately morphs into one of family that was endearing.  The only thing to mar my enjoyment was band manager Cid whose actions were over-the-top and a bit melodramatic.  Despite that small quibble this was a delightful start to an enticing new series that vividly and realistically depicts the rock star world, warts and all.  The characters are likable, with interactions and banter that pulls you in, and I'm greatly anticipating the next installment.

My rating for this is B+

*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Dawn Ryder is the erotic romance pen name of a bestselling author of historical romances. She has been publishing her stories for over eight years to a growing and appreciative audience. She is commercially published in mass market and trade paper, and digi-first published with trade paper releases. She is hugely committed to her career as an author, as well as to other authors and to her readership. She resides in Southern California.


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Happy Halloween!!!

Wishing everyone a very Happy Halloween full of fun, friends and.....


Friday, October 30, 2015

Spotlight on the Men of Mercy Series by Lindsay Cross

Readers who enjoy a bit of suspense with their romances will be drawn to the sexy and heroic men weighed down by their pasts in the Men of Mercy series by Lindsay Cross.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of this trio of books and then add them to your bookshelf!

Hunter James didn’t want or need redemption.
Until one mission turns his world upside down.
He left Mercy to fight for his country and escape a broken heart. Years later, he is hard. Cold. A man without mercy.  Part of an elite Task Force, he tracks a brutal terrorist to his home town. And runs into the woman who betrayed him…
Evangeline Videl was destroyed when Hunter left. Determined to move on, she finds another man, but discovers too late the monster hidden beneath his smooth smile. Struggling to find the conviction to live, Evie finds her life spinning out of control.
Then Hunter returns…
Forced to band together to find the terrorist before its too late, Hunter and Evie must learn to forgive or risk losing the promise of redemption and their lives…


"Hey." His Southern drawl put Matthew McConaughey to shame. Slow. Sexy. And familiar.
Her gaze traveled up the muscled torso to a pair of dark chocolate-brown eyes.
Holy crap.
"Hunter James." His name breathed past her lips on a whisper.
For the second time that night her heart stuttered and her stomach clenched tight.
Hunter blocked her path, his towering six-foot-four frame packaged in a tight-fitting black T-shirt and jeans that showcased his muscles. His arms had to be twice the size they were the last time he’d been here. His gaze twice as intense. Her reaction twenty times that.
According to the town gossips, he’d been back in Mercy for a couple of weeks, but so far he’d avoided her. And she’d prayed daily he would stay away. Every time he came home on leave, he seemed to make it a point to show up here. At her bar. With another woman on his arm.Making sure she saw he’d moved on. And each time her heart broke a little more.
"Need some help?" he asked.
Her brain took a full minute to kick into gear, then another minute to reconnect to her mouth. "What?"
"You look like you could use some help. Can I do anything?" His serious voice passed through lips that were way too tempting.
She couldn't think. The man standing before her had gone AWOL with her heart over five years ago, like the tail end of a twister after a storm. Part of her had been happy he'd left. The other part had been devastated. Their love had been wild and crazy, but ultimately destructive.
She noticed the knotted wood cane leaning against the table beside him. "What's with the cane?"
Hunter grinned and shifted his weight to the side. "What's with the wet clothes?" He extinguished his cigarette and stepped away from the doorway leading to the upstairs apartment, his limp noticeable.
Evie crossed her arms over her chest, the action squeezing more beer out of her bra. Her lips pressed into a tight line and she forced herself to answer, "Wet T-shirt contest. It's a new thing we’re trying."
Evie straightened her arms, clenching and unclenching her fists at her sides in time with the ticking in his jaw. A couple day’s stubble graced the hard planes of his face, only a little shorter than the black hair buzzed close to his scalp. He looked as if he’d been chiseled from steel.
Hunter leaned in close and Evie's stomach knotted. Lust built inside her, pushing against her dam of resistance. "I bet you won."
He wasn't staring at her chest, she had to give him that. No, his target appeared to be her mouth. His head lowered to hers and her mind went blank. If she had been thinking like a full-grown woman, she would have jerked back before his lips made contact. But tonight her brain had pointed and aimed but failed to fire.


Ranger James accepted his best friend’s death like a good soldier. With guilt. Regret. Vengeance. But a forbidden desire keeps pulling him from his mission…
Desire for his best friend’s widow.
Killed in Action. That’s why Rachel Carter’s husband wasn’t coming home.
A war widow, alone and broke, Rachel struggles to revive her family’s crop dusting service to survive. Now she takes to the skies to find escape. Escape from the pain. From the guilt. From the earth-shattering desire for her husband’s best friend.
Rachel and Ranger can’t fight the attraction between them any longer. But one fateful night cleaves their new found love in two...
Can they find the will to fight for true love? Or will an evil so shocking destroy their lives for good? 


Rachel spun around, the yellow airplane a perfect backdrop to her beautiful face. “What are you doing here?”
Ranger let his gaze travel from her scruffy boots, torn jeans and gloriously figure hugging tank, to the top of her dark red head. Her pink cheeks flushed.
“Like what you see?”
Ranger approached, her green gaze turned wary. Good. She should be worried. She’d doused him in chemicals. His skin still itched. He reached forward, plucked an oil stick from her ponytail and sent her hair spilling to her shoulders. He caught the brief scent of flowers and oil.
Rachel grabbed her hair, lips parted. Angry. Stubborn. Sexy.
He held up the stick right in front of her face. “Oil stick.”
Rachel snatched it from his fingers and tossed it across the room. “I told you to stay away from me.”
Ranger shrugged, his brain still caught on the image of her jean-clad ass hanging out of that airplane. Forget Sports Illustrated. He had farm fucking fantastic right here.
"Don't you think dropping that all-natural excuse for chemicals on me is a bit dramatic? If you want to get me naked all you had to do is ask." Ranger gestured to himself, sweeping his hand from his head down to his torso, Rachel's eyes followed.
That definitely wasn't desperation or anger in her gaze.
The desire he’d been trying to hold in check for months reared up inside him.
"You think I want to see you naked?” Rachel snorted, lifted her chin. “Besides, I figured anything would be an improvement to your normal smell.” So much for her vulnerability.
The wind picked up, blew into the hangar. Ranger shifted, praying the wind wouldn’t open the fly on his boxers, and almost covered himselfAlmost. Until he remembered she was the reason for his stench. Instead, he stood tall. “You’ve never had a problem with the way I smelled before.”
“My manners were just too good to say anything.” She strode past him, punishing him with the sexy sway of her hips.
Dammit, he was so hard up for her, even her walk had his mind blanking. He stood there, nearly naked, and drenched in herbicide, and she walked past him like a stranger on a sidewalk.
Running from him. Again.
“Rachel Ann.” He didn’t yell, but she stopped mid-stride. Turned. Lips parted.
“You did that on purpose,” Ranger said. She’d been hard headed even in high-school, when he tried to break up with her, explaining that he needed a little space to see if life in Mercy was what he really wanted. Jumping on the marriage and kids bandwagon at eighteen years old had scared the shit out of him. But he’d obliterated any chance for reconnecting with Rachel when she’d seen him making out with Tonya at the football game senior year.
He hadn’t thought that leaving her to sow the wild oats of his youth would be a self-fulfilling prophecy of regret. Or that his best friend would move in on Rachel so fast and fill the void that Ranger had left in her heart.
“You bet your ass I did.”
“What the hell for?” He couldn’t get her smell, her taste, her touch out of his head. But she’d dumped shit on him for the last time.
Her eyes narrowed and her lips flattened. “I warned you.”
Yeah, she’d warned him to stay away from her. He’d stayed with her for weeks, helping her after the funeral. She’d healed physically, but remained an emotional tomb.
“I promised Shane, if anything ever happened to him, I’d look out for you.” He wanted to take her in his arms and kiss that angry expression right off her face. He’d wanted her since high-school, but when she’d married Shane, he’d vowed to put those feelings away. Forever. But the attraction hadn’t disappeared. And he knew it never would. “I know the chemistry between us is weird. Scary. But dammit it’s real and it’s here and now. You’re just flying through the clouds because you don’t want to see what’s on the ground right in front of you.”
If he hadn’t been studying every minute expression on her face he would have missed the brief flash of vulnerability in her gaze. Then her anger slid back in place. “The only thing I feel is annoyance. Are you so desperate that you have to chase after what you can’t have? You dumped me first, remember?”
Him? Desperate? No. He’d never had a problem getting women. Until Rachel.
If he hadn’t been so young and stupid he would have been the one she’d married. Not Shane.
Now all he could think, all he could see, was the small sprinkle of freckles across her pert nose. He could be on a mission in a third world country or down the road. It didn’t matter. She affected him.
He had an all-consuming need for his best friend’s wife. He hadn’t counted on lust eating him alive.
But he had honor. He had loyalty. Ranger had vowed over Shane’s grave to take care of Rachel.


They say you can’t go home again. Jared Crowe never wanted to.
Home meant facing memories of abuse and neglect. Of dark closets and evil nightmares. Of his own relatives intent on killing him. But now his brother’s kidnapping forces him to face those demons. Only this time, Jared isn’t a scared little boy. He’s a full-grown Special Forces operative bent on revenge.
As a little girl, Sparrow Pickney risked her life to free two abused boys. As a grown woman Sparrow needs to earn a place in her adopted family’s business or be forced into a life of degradation. The chance to prove her family loyalty comes when she catches Jared spying on the compound and captures him.
When Jared sees his captor, he realizes she’s the girl of his dreams and vows to rescue her from a life of poverty. What Jared doesn’t know is Sparrow may not be the savior he remembers…but the one responsible for abducting and torturing his brother.
Jared is determined to find the truth. But that truth may be more than his heart can take.


It had been nearly twenty years since he’d seen her, but Jared could never forget those golden eyes. Eyes that had haunted his dreams ever since. Had she joined up with Kay? Or was she simply one of those poor souls struggling to survive?
The thought of Sparrow slowly starving filled him with a sense of guilt. He should have made her leave with them. Even though they’d been children when she’d freed them, Jared had been big enough to drag her out, whether she’d wanted to go or not.
She leaned over him, reaching for his hands. Her floppy hat fell down, blinding her, and she ripped it off and tossed it across the room. Long caramel-colored hair, full of sun-kissed highlights, waterfalled down the sides of her face and tickled his nose. Her scent surrounded him now, flooding his senses. Honeysuckle and wildflowers. His cock swelled in an instant. Jared gnashed his teeth together, trying to quell his intense reaction to her nearness.
Sparrow leaned down further and her loose tank top gaped open, treating him to a glorious view of surprisingly plump breasts cupped in a plain sports bra. His gaze locked onto her beaded nipples through the cotton. Fuck he wanted to rip that bra down and reveal what was hidden beneath. The loose manly clothes she wore made her look stick thin, but womanly curves were concealed beneath them.
Sparrow sighed and sat up straight, leaving rope dangling uselessly on his wrists. Jared gripped the metal headboard with his hands, waiting for her next move. She stood there for a moment and studied him, trying to decide what to do. Well, he wasn't going to help her out one little bit.
"Keep your hands right there, got it?" Her voice was stern.
"Yes ma'am.” He had no intention of acting up. Yet.
She placed a knee on the mattress, and in one swift movement straddled him, settling on his belly. Jared groaned and closed his eyes thankful she hadn’t sat down lower on his body; otherwise, she would have gotten her own surprise. She leaned over him spreading her knees wider up his chest. His eyes popped open, unable to resist another view of her bare skin.
"You can stop with the theatrics right now, I know I’m not big enough to crush you."
If only that were his problem. Her shirt dipped down even more and he fixated on the pale mounds of her breasts straining against the material of her sports bra. It was a crime to lock those beauties up in serviceable cotton.
She should wear nothing but pure silk and lace, perfect for him to rip off her body.
Her hair curtained around him again, and her soft lips parted in concentration as she worked. He was aware of every inch of exposed skin—from the graceful hollow of her neck to her supple forearms peeking out from the rolled up sleeves of her checkered work shirt. Even more aware of the intense heat radiating from her core, pressed so intimately to his chest.
"There. All done." She sat back, a satisfied smile on her lips.
Jared tugged on the rope. He’d completely zoned out on anything other than her straddling him. It didn't give an inch—the knot she’d tied was worthy of a professional. A small ounce of foreboding seeped into him. “Where did you learn to tie knots?"
"Trapping. Working snares. Been doing it since I was a kid." Her words were so matter-of-fact, he had no doubt she spoke the truth. Holy shit. He yanked on the ropes, but they didn’t move.
“Impressive.” Jared wriggled his fingers and wrists, testing for any weakness. He found none.
“Might as well stop struggling. Nobody’s ever been able to get out of one of my knots. And I used my new rope too, so it wouldn’t snap easy.” She made a snapping motion with her fingers, the emphasis driving in just how stupid his plan had been. He should have used that easy opening she’d given him with the gun.
His foreboding turned to real worry. He had to get out of here to rescue his brother. Hoyt’s life depended on him. If he couldn’t get free… “Nice, now what?”
“Now you tell me who you are and why you’re here.” Sparrow sat back on her heels, the curve of her ass grazing the tip of his cock. He clenched his muscles, fighting to free himself from the pull of lust.
Remember, you’re the soldier trained in interrogation techniques. Now he just had to stop thinking with his dick for long enough to find out where Hoyt was being held. "My name is Jake."
She tapped her chin, staring down at him.  Once again he was enthralled by the intense color of her eyes. They were golden, almost like a cat’s, with a darker brown ring around the edges. “Jake. You don't look like a Jake."
He enjoyed hearing the name on her lips. Would enjoy hearing his real name even better.Her soft accent and long vowels stretched it out slow. Sensual. "And what do I look like?"
"I don't know. Killer? Tiger?"
"That's what people name their cats.”
"True. Why are you here?"
"Why did you take me hostage?" he countered.
“You were spying on my family. Only our enemies do that.” She shifted, brushing against his tip again. Fuck he wanted to rip free of these bonds and throw her down beneath him. Where was his detached logic now? Something about her was making him lose control.
“I have no interest in you. I was looking for a family member who went missing, know anything about that?” He studied her reaction intently, watching for any flash of awareness, but she didn’t give away anything.
“Haven’t seen anybody new around here in a long time, and I would know. Sorry, but you plopped down on the wrong piece of land.”
“He told me he was coming here.” Not really, but Jared knew without the slightest shred of doubt that Hoyt had been taken by the Crowes. Miss Kay wanted to finish what she had started all those years ago, even if Jared didn’t know why. It was bad enough his parents had died when Jared was only nine, Hoyt six, but to have his aunt try to murder them....
Jared yanked on the bonds again, testing the bed frame. It screeched but held firm. Shit.
“What does he look like?” Every time Sparrow moved or shifted he felt her. Desire was holding him hostage as much as the damn ropes.
Got to get free. Got to find Hoyt.
“What do I get if I tell you?”
“What do you get? You get to live.” Her brows shot down as if confused.
“You won’t kill me.”
“Try me.”
“How about we make a little trade—you give me something, I give you something.”
"Give? What do you want?" She laid her palms on her thighs, kneeling over his body, the position incredibly erotic.
Blushing aside, maybe she wasn’t so innocent after all. He had a plan and she was part of it. He knew he could get more information out of Sparrow than her giant ass brother. And he’d find it a hell of a lot more enjoyable too. "Kiss me."
She stopped moving all together and her eyes narrowed in on his mouth.
"Give me a kiss and I'll sing like a bird."



Lindsay Cross is the award-winning author of the Men of Mercy series. She is the fun loving mom of two beautiful daughters and one precocious Great Dane. Lindsay is happily married to the man of her dreams – a soldier and veteran. During one of her husband’s deployments from home, writing became her escape and motivation.
An avid reader since childhood, reading and writing is in her blood. After years of reading, she discovered her true passion – writing.
Her alpha military men are damaged, drop-dead gorgeous and determined to win the heart of the woman of their dreams.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Book Blitz for Too Many Rock Stars by Candy J Starr (GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of rock star romances I'm looking forward to tomorrow's release of the first installment in the Access All Areas series.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing taste of Too Many Rock Stars by Candy J Starr and then count down the hours until you can add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of the upcoming release make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Amazon GC too!

I don’t date rockers. Don’t sleep with them. Don’t even swap spit. I’ve been working as a band booker at Trouble — the coolest indie rock club in town — long enough to know what a bunch of screwed up, egotistical jerks they are. Some of them might seem okay at first but that’s just because they’ve learnt to hide it better than others.
That would be fine if Razer didn’t keep popping into my office, making himself so annoyingly attractive. And he only gets more insistent when the leather-clad Alex hits town.
While they compete for both rock glory and my affection, I get stuck in the middle but all I really want to do is save my job and the club.
That’s the trouble with my life: too many rock stars.


I bolted out of the club and hit the street before I realised it was raining. One of those summer showers that make the world into a steamy sauna. I huddled under a shop awning, wondering where I was headed anyway. Home was an option but it wasn't an option that would comfort me. I needed comfort after that talk. My apartment was just a place to sleep. I spent more time at the club than I ever did at home. I had a bed and some other furniture left over from the previous tenant. I think there was a stove there too.
What did other people do? Go to the movies? I hadn't seen a movie in years. I had no idea what I'd even watch. Go shopping? With no money in my wallet.
People rushed past me. It was peak hour, the time when normal people knocked off work and headed for the train. I watched them scurry by, all looking like they had important things to do and places to go. They seemed so alien to me. Going home to families or meeting friends for drinks.
I wanted to put distance between Chuck and me but all I could do was huddle under that shop awning.
I sensed his presence beside me before I saw him.
"What's up?" Razer asked.
"Your umbrella," I snapped back. "What's with the pink florals?"
He laughed. "I saw you rush out of the bar so grabbed this from the lost property box. Not the best choice, huh."
Even in my utter despair, the combination of his bulk with that girlie umbrella made me giggle.
“You look like an idiot.”
"Yeah, I do. But if it keeps the rain off, that's the main thing."
We both stood there in the rain looking at each, as though not sure what to do next. Should I just take the umbrella from Razer and head off? That seemed a bit rude when he’d actually tried to help. I should thank him but being nice to Razer just seemed weird. The way we played things was that he’d do something annoying and then I’d yell at him. If he didn’t do the annoying thing, I had no precedent of how to deal with him.
“Umm, thanks.” That was the right thing to say?
"Where are you off to anyway?" he asked.
I looked around me. "No idea."
But without even discussing it, the two of us started walking, huddled under that umbrella. My thin summer dress was wet and stuck to my legs as I walked but I'd been wearing my boots so my feet were dry. I had to walk so close to Razer that our bodies touched, in order for us both to be covered by the umbrella. Soon, our footsteps fell into rhythm.
Walking like that seemed crazy intimate. I had to repress my impulse to bolt from him or at least put some distance between us. His arm brushed against mine and I quivered.
As we walked, he told me a story about Dazza getting stuck in the toilet just before they went on stage once. In between laughing, I stole sideways glances at him. The hands wrapped around the umbrella handle weren’t musician’s hands. They were solid, strong hands. The kind of hands you could imagine creating physical things. Now Alex, he had musician’s hands, with long tapered fingers.
Maybe it was just an illusion created by the umbrella but I felt safe and protected in a way I hadn’t in a long time. Cars rushed past us and people scurried to get out of the rain but we walked slowly, not in a rush to get anywhere.
Ahead, I saw a huge puddle on the side of the footpath. I couldn't resist the urge. I ran up and jumped into that puddle, spraying water up around me. At the same, Razer had jumped in the puddle too.
"I haven't done that since I was a kid," he said.
"Me neither," I replied and laughed.
"Not much point me bringing the umbrella if you are just going to get yourself all wet anyway."
I ran to another puddle and stomped, splashing water up over him.
"Hey, watch it," he called then did the same to me.
I squealed but laughed at the same time. He’d be the one squealing when I got my revenge.
I saw a puddle up ahead and ran to it, knowing he'd follow me. As I ran for it though, my foot twisted under me. That puddle had been hiding a bloody great pothole. My momentum propelled me forward while my foot got stuck. I screamed in pain as I fell to the ground.
"Violet," Razer called. "Are you okay?"
He held out his hand to me to help me up. I almost refused, angry at the whole world for making me fall. My dress had gone from damp to wringing wet and probably torn and filthy. My palms were grazed but I took his hand.
As I tried to put weight on my foot, I screamed again. Shards of pain ran up my leg and I almost toppled to the ground again but Razer put his arm around me and took my weight.
"Can you walk?" he asked.
I shook my head, thinking he'd offer to call a cab or something. Instead, he swooped me up in his arms.
"Put me down," I said. "This is... it's wrong!"
Being carried like a baby was not dignified. I tried to scramble away from him but almost fell and I knew I couldn't walk. Instinctively, I'd put my arm around his neck.
"You can't walk and I'm not leaving you in a puddle, so this is the only choice."
"At least pull my dress down so I'm not flashing my knickers to the world."
He stopped while I adjusted my clothes then handed me the umbrella.
"You have your hands free," he said.
I folded my arms around his neck, one hand grasping my wrist and my other holding the umbrella. His breath on my neck tickled in a way that reverberated through my body.
"I think the rain's stopped now," I said. "I can put down the umbrella."
"Best you don't. You can never tell with summer rain. It's a sneaky bugger."
But his eyes twinkled and I think he made that up just so I'd cling tighter to him. Our bodies rubbed together, so hot that in the rain, steam rose from our skin.
He carried me down the crowded street, people parting to make way like water in front of a speed boat. I giggled and leaned against him, feeling slightly drunk even though I'd not touched a drop.
Finally, we got to my house.
"Are your arms tired from carrying me?" I asked.
"I could carry you another 20 miles," he said. "Maybe 30. I'd never get tired of carrying you."
His t-shirt was wet and covered in dirt from where I’d pressed against him. I had to have been even worse. Still, that wasn’t important.
I felt like all the weight of responsibility had washed away in the rain. The part of me that put the brakes on had gone. She'd be back but while the rain lasted, I could be someone else.
He carried me through the doorway as though I were a bride on her wedding night, and sat me down on the bed. Well, the mattress on the floor covered with an old Indian bedspread and chocolate-stained sheets. I noticed the smell, like I'd forgotten to put the garbage out. I always forgot to put the garbage out. Not a rotten smell but just a little over-ripe. And the cobwebs on the ceiling and the holes in the carpet. But Razer didn't seem to notice.
He went to the fridge.
"Do you have any ice?" he asked. "Anything at all?"
There was half a bag of frozen peas at the back of the freezer. I had no idea where they'd come from. I had no recollection of ever buying a bag of peas. He had to hack at them with a knife to get them out. Then he wrapped the bag in a tea towel and unzipped my boots. As he slipped them off my feet, I wondered that he could be so strong and so gentle at the same time.
The shock of the ice on my ankle made me jump.
"You'll have a nasty bruise," he said.
He sat down beside me and placed my ankle on his knee. He felt it to make sure it wasn’t broken. I wasn’t sure I trusted his medical knowledge but it just seemed sprained to me.
“Do you know what you’re doing?” I asked.
He nodded. “Yep, years of playing sports in high school. This will be painful for a couple of days but you’ll be fine after that.”
I had to lean back on my elbows to support myself. The rain pattered on the roof and rivulets ran down the window panes. The ice on my ankle turned my foot numb. I squirmed.
"Don't move. You don't want to do any more damage. You'll need to keep it elevated too."
I nodded. As the throbbing in my foot lessened, I became more aware of him. The two of us in my barely function apartment. The way his damp t-shirt clung to his body and how the rain had made his hair curl slightly.
"What happened?" he asked. "If you don't want to tell me, that's okay but you were pretty upset."
I tried to sit up as best I could and told him what Chuck had said. Of course, I didn't tell him everything. There are things you just don't tell people.
Razer nodded as I talked. He understood.
"The only thing to do is to make sure he can't sell the place. We have to work together."
I gave him an appraising look.
"Hey, I want to save the place as much as you do. It's my people. We could play at any club in this city but that's where we started and we'll keep playing there forever."
"Even if you become a huge star," I asked.
"Even if I become the hugest star in the galaxy. There are some places that just feel real. Like family. Where you don't have to be anyone but yourself and other people don't give a shit. They want you to be yourself. It's comfortable and even the bad times are better there than anywhere else. That sounds stupid, I know. I can't say what I mean..."
I smiled, a shiver going through me at his words.
"I know exactly what you mean," I replied.
His gaze locked onto mine. A wave of desire shot straight to my soul like I'd known this would happen from the moment he picked me up. It was part of the crushing weight that something I loved might end, my need for comfort, the battering of the rain. Part of Trouble, that might soon be taken away from me.
He looked at me until I blushed and wanted to turn away. Something in his eyes made me feel like he could see things in my soul that I didn't know myself. I couldn't turn away though, I was too caught in the moment.
He gently lowered my foot to the bed, propping it on a pillow, then reached over and stroked my cheek. My skin felt like it was on fire and I couldn't breath. My senses went haywire. I knew I should've told him to stop. My brain told me that was the right thing. I had to fight but the rain kept pattering on the roof and the droplets ran down the window and my heart wouldn't let me move.
The rain enveloped us in a cocoon and the outside world seemed so far away. It wouldn't hurt, just this once, in this moment, to give in.
When his lips touched mine, I almost jumped from the sensation. The wave crashed through my body, I felt like I’d drown. But he wrapped his arm around me and pulled me closer. The raindrops on the roof beat out a pattern that mirrored the beating of my heart and my stomach dropped like I was at the top of a roller-coaster, waiting to plummet out of control.
Our mouths became hungry with urgent kisses while my insides churned. This went against everything I believed in, my personal code of honour thrown to the ground and trampled but it felt good and right. I moaned with my need for more. He was trying to tell me something with his kisses, a whole story for me to read. I wanted that story to unveil itself to me. I pulled him closer and ignored the twinge of pain in my ankle, just to have his body against mine.
He lowered me onto the mattress, gently, without taking his mouth from mine. I traced the tattoo lines along his chest and down his arms, the dips and curves over muscles of steel.
His fingers deftly undid the buttons on my dress until it fell open. His finger ran down my stomach, slowly, as though memorising every contour of my skin. It tickled and I tried not to flinch but that just made him laugh.
There was something right about it, like we were meant to be. No need to rush or to think too much. Just a delicious dream.
Then the phone rang.




Candy J. Starr used to be a band manager until she realised that the band she managed was so lacking in charisma that they actually sucked the charisma out of any room they played. "Screw you," she said, leaving them to wallow in obscurity - totally forgetting that they owed her big bucks for video equipment hire.
Candy has filmed and interviewed some big names in the rock business, and a lot of small ones. She's seen the dirty little secrets that go on in the back rooms of band venues. She's seen the ugly side of rock and the very pretty one.
But, of course, everything she writes is fiction.
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