Undone, Volume 2, page 6part #2 of Undone Series
“You became a rock star.” She filled in the blank.
“Yeah, that.” I gave her what I hoped was a charming smile.
“So, no college degree?”
“What, do you have a problem with that?” Whoops, that sounded sharp and defensive.
“No, no, of course not.” She patted my arm like I needed reassurance. I had to admit, it felt good. “I’m just trying to get to know you. And I’ve met your family. They seem like the kind of people who would, you know, want you to—”
“Be exactly like my older brother, Colton, who went to Yale undergrad and then Harvard Business School, yes.”
“Wow. That’s a tough act to follow.”
“I never even tried.” Why was everything I said sounding bizarrely raw and vulnerable? Where was Mr. Cool?
“Is it that you don’t like studying? Or school? Or reading?”
Oh shit, a librarian asking me if I didn’t like books. This wasn’t going well. “I’m not good at it. I can’t sit still. And I don’t know, reading’s never exactly been my thing. Takes me too long to get through it all.”
“Maybe you’re dyslexic?”
I shrugged. I’d had a lot of labels thrown at me over my younger years and even I had figured out that some wires in my brain must be crossed when it came to making sense of all those jumbled words. But I’d moved around a bunch and switched schools and it hadn’t even occurred to me to think about it in years.
“You know, there’s nothing to be ashamed of about that,” she reassured me. “A lot of people are dyslexic. Charles Schwab was dyslexic.” She looked up, hope for me shining bright in her gorgeous eyes.
I had to smile. I was so used to people falling over themselves impressed with me, feeding my larger-than-life ego. I loved that she thought I might need some encouragement. “Do you think I have a chance to make something of myself?” I teased.
She laughed. “I don’t mean that, Ash. You’re obviously crazy talented. I loved watching you last night.”
“You did?” I loved hearing her say it. But she returned to her former subject.
“I just mean, books are a joy. And you might love reading if you learned some strategies.”
“Are you going to be my reading tutor?” I leaned down, nuzzling her hair. Near her ear, I whispered, “I’ve always been hot for teacher.”
She laughed again, though this time it sounded a bit more breathy.
“Do you have a pair of glasses you could wear? So you could look at me all stern?”
“And then fling them off?” She smiled up at me.
“Or I’d fling them off. That would be the first thing to go.” My gaze swept down her body, her lush curves. I could practically see her naked, spread before me on my bed.
A flash shone from behind a tree. Click. The moment had been captured. Right. We were putting on a show. I saw it in her face, too, that reminder. Enough with this public PR bullshit, I needed to get her alone.
“Let’s get you a hot chocolate and then head to my place.” I brought my hands up to her shoulders and rubbed her, warming her up. It definitely warmed me up.
“Do we have time?” She pulled out her phone, concerned. “You have a show tonight. I wouldn’t want to make you late.”
“We have time.” What I had planned would happen hot and fast. Then later, after the show, we could go slow, see how far I could take her before she screamed in pleasure like she’d never known.
Baseball cap pulled down low, collar of my jacket up high, we entered into a small, gourmet warming hut without too much notice. No angry mobs, just a few eyes following us, but I was used to that. I got Ana her hot chocolate with whipped cream on top—I’d like to lick some whipped cream off of her top—and myself a cappuccino.
She’d fallen silent, and when I looked down I saw why. Underneath the counter ran a long display of magazines. Us Weekly had leapt first into the fray, but People and Entertainment Weekly and followed suit, and pictures of the two of us took space on all of their covers. The Rock Star and the Librarian. The press loved it. But there were also a couple of rags, the type that claimed alien abductions and paired celebrities with fake long-lost children. They weren’t as kind to Ana. One had somehow found an unflattering photo of her scowling and wrapped in a long, bulky coat. “Short, fat and ugly!” Their headline yelled. “How did she get Ash? Is it black magic?”
She turned tail, fast. I paid almost as fast and ran after her, catching her marching toward the street.
“Ana, wait. You can’t pay attention to that crap.”
“I know.” She nodded her head, but she avoided my eyes and her cheeks had turned a deep, embarrassed shade of pink.
“Come on, tomorrow they’ll be saying that I had a baby with the ghost of Audrey Hepburn.” That brought out a smile, but it looked weak. “I’ll get us a car and we’ll head up to my place.”
The ride was short, not much traffic mid-day on a Thursday, and we weren’t going too far. I wrapped my arm around her and tried to keep her mind off it, telling her about all the outrageous stories I’d seen printed about me over the years. I’d been romantically linked to people I’d never met, accused of parenting children with people I’d never touched. One rag had even declared that I was the secret love child of Sean Penn and Madonna. I kind of liked that one.
I’d learned to laugh it off, but just then I felt like an asshole. I’d dragged Ana into this, exposed her to those hyenas, offered her up on a platter knowing full well the kind of shit that would get thrown around. And I’d never considered, not even once, the effect it would have on her. I wasn’t a good person.
“You know it’s not true,” I murmured into her hair, silky and smooth. “You’re gorgeous.”
She gave a puff of a laugh, more like a fast exhale. “I’m burning that coat.”
“I don’t know.” I lifted up her hair and dropped my lips to her neck, kissing her light on her warm skin. “I can see some appeal. If you showed up on my doorstep wearing that coat and nothing underneath.” Dipping lower, I licked her neck, giving her a kiss, a teasing nip and suck. She tilted her head back, so natural at surrendering, her instinct to give herself over to the pleasure. I’d do everything I could to give her ample opportunity to experience it.
Starting now. The driver pulled up, we got out and climbed up the stairs of my home. A classic San Francisco Victorian, it was smaller and less modern than what I could afford, but I’d loved it the second I’d seen it. Built in 1920, it had withstood earthquakes and fires and the living room overlooked the bay, golden in the morning and flushed red at sunset. It couldn’t be beat.
And now I’d get Ana to myself, for a least a couple of hours before our show.
I let her into the entryway, high-ceilinged and bright with light. “Would you like a glass of wine?” It had to be around three o’clock. Regular people started drinking that early, didn’t they?
“Sure.” She followed me in, taking in the details in the woodwork, the framed rock memorabilia. I’d had someone decorate it for me, of course. I wasn’t going to take the time to line shit up and mess around with a hammer and nails. But I’d personally collected each and every piece.
“You like Joni Mitchell?” She stopped in front of a framed, signed copy of Blue from 1971.
“Yeah, that’s a great album. James Taylor plays guitar on it.”
“And Stephen Stills. They used to live here, you know. Crosby, Stills and Nash.” I was rambling now, sharing nerdy rock history facts. How did this girl make me nervous?
“They lived here?” She looked around my place, surprised.
“No.” I realized what I’d said. “Not here here, but near here.”
“You’re such a rhymer,” she teased me.
I smiled down at her, forgetting all about the wine. She made me feel like such a kid. No one teased me. They sucked up to me, too aware of my power and wealth. Ana didn’t seem to care. I loved it.
“Rhyming is my secret
She burst out laughing, bringing a hand up to my shoulder. “That’s so bad.” But she didn’t take her hand away. She left it there, caressing my muscle as if she’d been wanting to do it for a while now.
I eased my hands underneath her shirt, wrapping them around her waist, her soft skin finally underneath my hands. My fingers were calloused from playing guitar all day every day, and when I trailed them across her sensitive stomach, she caught her breath. Her shirt was a thin cotton and I could see her nipples start to pebble underneath the fabric, pushing out, asking for my attention. Tracing a finger along the waistband of her jeans, working my way over to the button, I drew my lips down again to her neck.
“You’re so sweet,” I murmured, trailing my way down, on my way to her breast, down to her peaked point. But I had to make her laugh one more time, once more before I turned everything into panting, moaning, begging. I loved the way her laugh rang out, unstudied, real and true. “You’re so sweet. Feel my heat.”
She burst out laughing again, bringing her hands to my hair. “Oh, Ash.” I loved that sighing quality to her voice, as if she were amused but also something more. “That’s going to be your new hit song. I just know it.”
I smiled, too, Just before I brought my mouth down on her stiff nipple and she cried out.
“Starting the party early, are we?” Connor’s voice came from behind me in the hallway. I swore, I hoped under my breath. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that he’d be here, but it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise. We were like brothers. We didn’t actually live together, but he had a key. Mi casa es su casa and all that.
“Ashley, is it?” Connor approached us, a lecherous gleam in his eye. “You’re a tasty thing, aren’t you?”
“It’s Ana,” she corrected, looking at me nervously. I cleared my throat and scratched my head. This wasn’t going to go well.
“Ever had a two-for-one?” Connor rested his hand by her head, standing next to me. “We’ll let you pick which of us you suck first.”
“Back off.” My hand shoved Connor away hard before I even had the conscious thought to do it.
“The cameras aren’t around, mate.” He rubbed his shoulder, looking at me confused. “Might as well have some fun.”
“That’s not how this works.” I shook my head. I’d never had the possessive urge before, but now I had it, strong.
“Then tell me how it does work. I want in.” He turned his attention to Ana again, fixating right on her luscious breasts. My breasts. “We’ll get you off, we always do,” he assured her.
Aw, fuck. It was true. I’d shared girls with Connor before. I preferred the two-to-one girls-to-me ratio, but some girls liked it the other way around, one guy fucking her pussy while she sucked another man off. You take an 18-year-old guy and give him that option. I’d like to see even one who’d turn it down.
But I hadn’t done that in a while, now that I thought about it. Connor had kept it up as always. He liked a group, watching, pushing boundaries. He seemed to get off as much on what he could get a girl to do for him in front of others as the sex, itself. Me, I preferred the sex
“I’m going to go.” Ana backed away from us like the freaky, nasty creeps we were. Just a minute ago she’d been in my arms, my mouth sucking on her nipple, my hands inches away from her slick sex. Now she had her back toward me and headed fast toward the door.
“You don’t need to go, luv.” Why did Connor sound so amused by the mess he’d created?
“Ana, wait.” I caught her at the door, my hand under her elbow, but she shook me off.
“I’m heading back to the hotel, Ash. I’ll be there for photos before the show.”
“Don’t be. It’s a good reminder.” She looked up at me, all the glow and admiration blown out of her gaze like a flame in a brisk wind.
“It’s not like that.” But it was. Connor was and I was and our world was exactly like that. She wanted no part of it.
“We could head out for an early dinner? Before the show?” Now I was standing out on my steps, calling after her like a dumbass. And even as I said the words, I knew she was making the right decision, putting distance between us, rejecting me. I shouldn’t care that she kept right on going, hopping into the car I still had waiting outside my place. I should head back inside and laugh it off with Connor, do some shots and maybe call up a few girls to get the party started right before our show tonight. We were playing Levis stadium down in Santa Clara, and the limo ride down there could get pretty wild when Connor was on board.
But I didn’t want to. I wanted to take Ana to a little Italian place I’d discovered a couple years ago. It wasn’t trendy and it wasn’t cool. It was the kind of place that got left out of tourist blogs. The murals were faded, the framed paintings of the leaning tower of Pisa cheesy, but the homemade pasta had just the right amount of chew and the pizza had that slightly burned edge you got from a wood fire oven at exactly the right temperature and I really wanted to go there with Ana. I wanted a long, slow dinner with a bottle of Chianti and candlelight and no cameramen in sight.
But who was I kidding? Even if I didn’t have a show tonight, I’d have a mass of paparazzi following us around. It would be like sending a plague of locusts down onto a little hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop restaurant. I couldn’t really have a romantic dinner out with Ana, not the mega-celebrity Ash Black.
Not for the first time in the past few weeks, I found myself wondering, was all the fame worth it? Because right now, it didn’t feel that way. The car with Ana disappeared around the corner.
“The bird has flown,” Connor observed from the doorway. Yup, he was right. No use standing outside like an idiot, holding out a cage and hoping she’d somehow fly back in.
Sitting in the back of the car, my entire body hummed with electricity. First, Ash had my panties melting straight off of me with practically just one touch. Then, his creepy friend had come on to me, too, and my body had jumped straight into alert for a whole different set of reasons.
I didn’t think of myself as a prude. I liked sex a lot. I just didn’t like having it with random people I didn’t know. You got a lot less STDs from book boyfriends and your own trusty fingers than strange men.
But I thought of my roommate, Liv. She treated sex, like most everything in life, as an experience to be lived to the fullest. She’d had threesomes and more, with tons of random people, and then told me all about it in explicit, objectively removed detail over cups of tea in our tiny kitchenette.
It wasn’t that I morally objected to it. In a way, I admired Liv and her devil-may-care attitude, her total liberation and lack of concern over consequences.
But when it came to messing around with both Ash and his freaky little buddy Connor at the same time, it wasn’t some Puritanical set of values holding me back. It was the fact that the proposition didn’t turn me on in the least. Connor had a weird, angry vibe running through him. I tried not to judge people too quickly, but I also believed in gut instincts. He had a greedy, aggressive gleam in his eye and I didn’t trust him at all.
So what did that mean that he was Ash’s best friend? It sounded like they’d shared a lot. Including women. Did Ash want to do that with me? He’d pushed Connor away, but was that only because of my reaction? I’d been starting to feel like I was getting to know him, like we were connecting in some kind of a real way apart from his crazy celebrity reality. Then this happened, forcing me to realize I really didn’t know Ash at all.
He lived in a world I knew nothing about. We might connect during random moments together, but if he weren’t staging a PR comeback, he wouldn’t be out strolling along the coastal shoreline and buying me hot chocolate. That was the kind of boring, mundane, simple way I liked to spend a day. How did I know what he typically did with his time? Maybe it was s
I needed to treat this all more like the business arrangement that it was. Tomorrow, I’d fly back to New York and spend a few days apart from Ash, back in my real life. That would help. Tonight at his show I’d simply have to keep my distance. Forget about the way he looked at me like he was memorizing my features and how he touched me like it was all just the beginning and he couldn’t get enough. That was silly.
Tonight, we were supposed to do a few photos backstage, displaying our whirlwind love to the world. It was the last item on my tightly-scheduled agenda, compliments of Lola. Then I was off the hook for 72 hours.
And the show tonight shouldn’t exactly be torture. After all, I did have a back stage VIP pass to see my favorite band. How bad could it be?
The huge, intimidating roadie let me into Levis Stadium through an inconspicuous though heavily-monitored side entrance. A crowd of 75,000 was expected to attend tonight. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around a number like that, every one of them screaming and shouting for Ash Black. The man I was being led to go meet. I kept my feet on the ground, but my head spun.
After the roadie got intel through his earpiece, he wound me through hallways and down to a thick door where he gave two, quick knocks. I wondered if that was how he always did it, or if it was a secret code. I half-expected him to whisper into his earpiece “the falcon has landed.”
The door opened and Ash stood in the entrance, looking tall, dark and sexy as hell in his trademark all black. A faded t-shirt clung to his muscles in all the right ways and he wore a big belt buckle and scuffed boots with black jeans on his long, lean legs. He looked at me, concern and smoky adoration in his dark brown eyes. Fuck, this was going to be harder than I’d told myself.
“You came!” he exclaimed, taking my hand and leading me into the room with him. We were alone in it. “I like the jeans.” He took me in, nodding his head in appreciation.
“I know I should have let them dress me up more.” I shrugged my shoulders, feeling like I should apologize. The stylists had first attempted to put me into a skimpy one-shoulder number that would have flashed my goods with every step. God forbid I should drop something and have to bend over. I couldn’t imagine the photos that would show up on the Internet within seconds. No, I steered them toward a t-shirt and jeans, way more fitted than what I usually wore but still in my comfort zone. They did talk me into some killer boots, though, all studded up with kick-ass metal heels. I’d like to see Connor proposition me in these. I could probably step right on him and squash him like a bug.
CALLIE HARPER SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Undone, Volume 1All of Me: Liam & SophieAll I Need: Ian & AnnieUndone, Volume 3Unleashed: Volume 2 (Unleashed #2)Unleashed: Declan & Kara (Unleashed #1-4; Beg for It #1)Unleashed: Volume 1 (Unleashed #1)Undone: A Fake Fiancé Rockstar Romance
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