Insider, p.46

Insider, page 46

 part  #1 of  Exodus End Series



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  Logan stepped up behind Toni and filled his hands with her full breasts. The tips instantly stiffened against his fingertips. “Good morning,” he murmured against her temple. “Did you sleep well?”

  “Have you seen my journal?” she asked.

  Her first response wasn’t Take me back to bed right now, my irresistible stud? He apparently needed to work on his delivery.

  “What journal?” he asked, sliding his hands down the smooth skin of her torso.

  He was sure they’d both still be in dreamland if Butch hadn’t started banging on the door before the sun had even risen. The band had an early promotional commitment this morning. Logan had forgotten about it or he probably would have saved Toni’s lessons on incorporating food in sex for another night. But after he’d untied her, she’d retaliated by getting herself off and leaving him so turned on he thought his dick would explode. He’d had to think of some excuse to get them rejoined at the groin, and they both had a love for food.

  “The little book I put into my bag yesterday. It’s not there.” She turned her head to look at him, concern clouding her pretty brown eyes. “It has a pink leather cover and is about so big.” She made a rectangular shape with her fingers about the size of a four by six snapshot photo.

  “Did you have it out when we were working on your presentation? Maybe it’s with your notes and stuff.”

  She shook her head. “It’s not for the book. My journal is full of my private thoughts.”

  “Are they thoughts about my privates?” He prodded her in the rear with his achingly hard cock in case she’d forgotten which privates he was referring to.

  She laughed softly. “A few,” she said. “I really need to find it. It’s important.”

  “I’m sure it’s around here somewhere,” he said. “Let’s check the bed first.”

  He tried easing her back to the bed, but she pulled away.

  “It’s not in the bed, Logan. Help me find it.”

  They tore the room apart and after getting dressed, Toni went down to the conference room to see if it had fallen out of her bag during her presentation. He found her at the front desk asking if anyone had turned it in to lost and found. Toni’s shoulders sagged when the clerk shook her head.

  “Don’t worry about it,” Logan said “If it doesn’t turn up, then someone will get an interesting read about my privates.”

  “But I wrote secrets in there. Not just secrets about me. Or you. About everyone in the band.”

  “Maybe it’s in the limo.”

  Unfortunately they’d already missed their window of opportunity to grab a quickie in their hotel bed, but maybe he could distract her from her worries in the limo. When they climbed inside the waiting car, half the band was already inside.

  Fuck. These guys again.

  “Did you even comb your hair?” Max asked Logan.

  Logan tried smoothing his unruly curls. “No.”

  “We have a television appearance in an hour, and you look like your head lost a fight with a wolverine.”

  “So I’ll skip it. No one gives two shits about the bassist anyway.”

  “You aren’t skipping it,” Max said.

  “We didn’t even have time for breakfast.” He glanced at Steve for backup, but Steve’s head was leaning back against the seat, and he was undoubtedly asleep behind his sunglasses.

  “Won’t be the first time or the last,” Max said.

  Toni tried to calm Logan’s curls with her fingertips and a bit of spit. Logan was tired of all these stupid promotional events. They interfered with his sleep. With his hobbies. With the time he could spend with Toni. He longed for the days when all he had to do was stay sober enough to find the stage and the rest of his time was his own.

  “Are you dropping me off at the arena? Or do I need to find a cab?” Toni asked.

  “You aren’t following us to the TV station?” Max asked. “We don’t do many morning shows. This will probably be your only opportunity to catch any behind-the-scenes footage.”

  “I’m with Colby and the crew today. They start assembling that stage early. And all my equipment is on the bus anyway.”

  “Let’s hope they have my platform fixed,” Logan grumbled. “I don’t know why we need all the fanfare anyway.”

  “You know the fans expect us to top the previous year’s stage setup every concert season,” Max said.

  “And when did we start doing what’s expected of us?”

  “About ten years ago when we hit the top of the record charts for the first time. Why are you so pissy this morning?” Max asked.

  Logan scrubbed his face with both hands. “I’m just tired.”

  “We’ve barely gotten started on this tour,” Max said. “If you think you’re tired now, wait until we take on the rest of the world and the jet lag kicks in.”

  “We should fire Sam and go indie,” Steve said.

  So he wasn’t asleep.

  “Don’t be ridiculous,” Max said. “We don’t do many morning events. Fucking suck it up.”

  “Going indie sounds great to me,” Logan said. “Is Sam still shopping the rights to our next album?” He didn’t remember signing a new contract after they’d fulfilled their previous one with the release of their last album.

  “He’s holding out for more cash,” Steve said.

  “Where the hell is Dare?” Max asked.

  “Do you think he’ll side with you?” Steve asked. “I’m sure he’s tired of all this bullshit too.”

  “You’re not really considering going indie, are you?” Toni asked.

  “Yes,” said Steve.

  “No,” said Max.

  “Maybe,” said Logan.

  The door opened, and Dare tumbled in. He was barefoot and shirtless. Butch followed him into the car, carrying Dare’s boots and T-shirt.

  “Where’s Reagan?” Butch asked, his eyes searching each face in the car as if he’d somehow overlooked her.

  “Haven’t seen her,” Max said.

  “Dammit!” Butch tossed Dare’s clothes at him before jumping out of the car again.

  “Fuck, it’s early,” Dare grumbled as he tugged his T-shirt on over his head.

  As soon as he pulled the fabric down to cover his belly, Dare leaned over and put his head on Toni’s lap, snuggling into her like she was his favorite pillow. Logan might have slugged him, but he was too tired for that level of activity, and if he’d have thought of it first, he’d have done the exact same thing.

  Toni glanced nervously at Logan, but he offered her a reassuring smile. He trusted her not to break his heart, trusted his bandmates not to steal her away from him. The only one he didn’t trust with her was himself. Soon the North American leg of their tour would be over and she’d go back to her little chicken farm in Washington and they’d have to say goodbye.

  A churning lump settled in the pit of his stomach, a sensation he quickly dismissed as hunger.

  “How does Dare feel about going indie?” Toni asked.

  Dare’s eyes eased open, and he zeroed in on Steve. “This again? Give it a rest, will you?”

  “So this isn’t the first time you’ve discussed it?” Toni asked, her fingers twitching. Logan guessed she was itching to write down their entire conversation.

  At times, Logan wished her reporter side had an off switch.

  “It’s Steve’s favorite topic of conversation,” Max said.

  “I just have a different definition of success than the rest of you,” Steve said. “I don’t need the limousines and the fancy house and the five-star hotel suites and the piles of cash.”

  “But you do need the gorgeous babes,” Logan said with a grin.

  “Of course I need the gorgeous babes,” Steve said, “but as far as everything else goes, I just need to make music and earn enough to get by. The rest of this is just . . . stuff. Unnecessary fucking stuff.”

  “I’m so tired, he’s making sense,” Dare mumbled. He covered a yawn, and then a se
cond, with the back of his hand.

  The car door opened, and Reagan stumbled in wearing a bathrobe, a pair of combat boots, and a sleepy expression. “This shit is for the birds,” she declared before sitting next to Max and glowering at Butch, who tossed her overnight bag into the car and climbed inside, slamming the door behind him.

  “We’re going to be late,” Butch said as the limo took off.

  “Six a.m. is never late,” Steve said, “unless you haven’t made it to bed yet. Which I haven’t.” His fingertips disappeared under his sunglasses to rub at both eyes.

  “How am I supposed to get dressed in the car?” Reagan said, tilting her head at Butch and giving him a glare that would freeze molten lava.

  “Figure it out,” he barked.

  “I’ll help you,” Toni said. She scooted out from beneath Dare’s head to stumble to the other side of the moving limo.

  Toni held Reagan’s robe like a makeshift curtain while Reagan tossed on clothes in the corner behind it. Once dressed, their sassy guitarist fixed an icy stare on Butch as she flopped into the seat, shoved her feet back into her boots, and jerked the laces tight.

  None of this was Butch’s fault. He didn’t arrange their schedule. He was just in charge of making sure they stuck to it. Poor bastard.

  At the TV station, they climbed out one at a time. Logan lingered so he could be with Toni for as long as possible. The limo was taking her to the arena so she could start her day and then would return to pick up the band after their television appearance.

  He kissed her, his heart panging unpleasantly, as if he were saying goodbye to her forever instead of for a few hours. He much too attached to her, he decided. Much, much, much too attached.

  “You be careful around all that heavy equipment,” he said, kissing her again.

  “I will. Don’t worry about me.”

  How could he not worry about her? She collected more bruises by walking across an empty room than he did wiping out on his dirt bike.

  “Don’t be too charming on television,” she said. “I don’t want the whole world to covet what’s mine.”

  He stumbled out of the car, her words tumbling around in his head like socks in a dryer. To covet what was hers? Did she really think he was hers? He’d have to set her straight when he had time. Still, even if she was mistaken, he wasn’t sure why her show of possessiveness made him happy. Such things weren’t supposed to make him happy. They were supposed to scare him away.

  The limo drove off and he made sure it made it safely into the flow of traffic before jogging to catch up with the guys.

  “I hope Kirk runs you all through the ringer after this,” Butch grumbled. “Fucking whiny little bitches.”

  Ugh, they had to go to the gym today? After a trip to the store, Logan had hoped he could climb into his bunk and sleep until noon. Well, if he couldn’t find time to go to the store himself, he knew someone who could.

  “Hey, Butch?” Logan touched Butch’s arm as he caught up with him.

  “What?” he snapped.

  “Can you do me a favor?”

  “Am I allowed to say no?”

  It seemed his bandmates weren’t the only ones being fucking whiny little bitches this morning. “Toni keeps a diary and she needs a new one,” Logan said. “Do you think you could send someone out to buy her one?”

  “It’s for Toni?”

  Logan nodded.

  Butch sighed and lifted his pen to write a note on his clipboard. “What kind?”

  May 10

  Dear New Journal,

  Welcome to my world. You were a gift from Logan, so even though I’d decided I wasn’t going to bother keeping a diary anymore, I pretty much have to fill your pages, don’t I? He says the reason I lost my previous journal was because it wasn’t blue to match his eyes. So because you’re blue and will always remind me of him, he insists I’ll never lose you. The ego on that guy!

  But he always makes me laugh. And I do love him. More than he’ll ever know. But maybe I shouldn’t write that here. He might read it.

  I watched the stage being set up today, and everyone in the crew volunteered to wear Logan’s head camera to capture a first-person view of their job, so we sent some poor lackey out to buy five more. I haven’t had a chance to review that footage yet—I hope it turned out. I also set up my big video camera to record the stage being set up from the center of the arena. It’s really cool when watched on fast forward. It should definitely make it into the book.

  I promised myself I wouldn’t write anything scandalous in this diary, in case I misplaced it, but holy hairy balls, Batman, this morning on the way to their television interview, the band was talking about going indie. While Max seemed completely against it, the rest of them didn’t think it was a bad idea. This kind of decision would change everything for them. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea, but I have faith that whatever they decide, they’ll be successful.

  And Steve’s words got me wondering about my personal definition of success. The more I think about it, the more I keep changing my mind. So maybe success is an ever-moving target. Does that make sense? Once you’ve found success, then what? You find new success, right? A different kind of success or a higher level of success. I don’t know. I haven’t found success yet. I’ll let you know when I do.

  Logan is making come-to-bed noises, so I have to go now. I hope my ramblings don’t bore you to tears.


  May 11

  Dear Journal,

  It’s really late. Logan somehow talked me into going to the after-party with him tonight. I had more fun than I thought I would, mostly because Reagan wouldn’t let me sit down. And after she’d poured a few drinks down my throat, she got me dancing and I couldn’t stop. I’m sure I looked like an awkward fool, but it was fun. Until I got sick.

  She held my hair while I threw up in the bathroom—what a great friend—and now my head hurts so bad I can’t sleep.

  Would I do it again?


  The band had a mall appearance today. It was in a novelty shop, so they spent most of their time signing T-shirts. Apparently signing T-shirts is an art. Or a science. I’m not sure which. You’d think it would be easier to sign a shirt when it’s stretched out on a hard surface, but nope, it’s easier to sign them when they’re wadded up in a soft ball. Who knew?

  The things I learn on this job.

  Ugh, I swear this bus is riding on a roller coaster track tonight.

  We’re on our way to New Orleans now, and we’ll be staying there on our day off. Reagan wants to go clothes shopping. I’d rather eat beignets and listen to jazz. Logan says he’ll bring me back during Mardi Gras. With tits like mine, I’ll be buried in beads.

  And while that’s what he said, I bet he’d freak out if I actually flashed them. He has a fascination with my boobs. I’m not sure it’s healthy.

  Tomorrow we’re going to work on the exclusive song for the book. Or at least they’re going to try to come up with something. Sam said it isn’t a contract breach, so yay! I’m really excited about it.

  Ugh, being excited makes my stomach queasy.

  Why is the floor spinning?

  I’m never drinking again.


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