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  • Writer's pictureAlexis Winter

Rocking His FAKE World Sneak Peek!


The guitar feels light as air as I hold it in my hands, my fingers gliding across the strings, hitting precise notes as I sing up on this crowded bar’s stage. The room is dark and the dance floor in front of me is packed tightly. It’s like a sea of faces, all of them blending together and moving like waves. The spotlight is hot as it shines down on me, but it’s a heat I love. One I crave. Everything in life could be going wrong, feeling like the world was crumbling down on top of my head, and all I’d have to do is get up on the stage and sing my heart out. Even though the bar is loud, when I step up to the mic, I feel peace.

I belt out the last line of the lyrics and hold it just a tad longer until my voice grows raspy and thick. It only adds to the sharp edge of the song. When the band wraps up, the crowd goes wild—screaming, clapping, and cheering while jumping up and down.

“I love you, Luna!” some guy in the crowd yells.

I laugh into my mic, “Love you too. Good night.” The stage goes dark and I exit off to the right, handing my guitar to the guy we hired to lug our shit around. This is just a small bar, so there isn’t a lot going on backstage. We’re not famous musicians, so there’s no party, no manager to tell us how awesome we did, and no group of people ready to do anything for an autograph or a selfie. But one of these days I know there will be. We’ve just gotta pay our dues.

I go into the small dressing room and grab a towel to wipe the sweat off my face. Of course, it smears my makeup, so I sit at the illuminated mirror and reapply what’s required. I mean, I can’t exactly go out there looking like a mess. Some nights we show up, perform, and take off, but this time I feel like sticking around to have a few drinks. The crowd really came to life tonight and that only amped me up more. There’s no way I’m ready to walk out of here and go back to my normal, boring life. When you’re up on a stage like that, the energy of the crowd seeps into you. I’m like a sponge up there, soaking up every last bit of excitement, love, and appreciation. Mix that with the three Jack and Cokes I’ve had already, and you get a fucked-up ride that won’t spit you out until the very end of the night.

Van, Ridge, and Lane all make their way into the dressing room and they’re all rowdy and ready to party.

“That crowd ate us up tonight!” Van says, tossing his drumsticks into the air and catching them.

“Fuck yeah, they did. Did you see that little vixen in the front row giving me doe eyes?” Ridge asks, dropping down on the couch and running a hand through his sweaty dark hair.

“Yeah, I did, actually. I usually think you make this shit up, but I did see her. I bet she’s waiting for you right now. So what do you think, Luna? You wanna stick around for a few rounds?” Lane asks, stepping up to my side to check himself out in the mirror. Lane is the most vain one in the group. Other than me, he’s the pretty face in the band—the one who gets positioned up front in all of our publicity photos and posters.

“Sure, I’m down,” I reply, pushing a strand of my thick, chocolatey hair behind my ear. I give my reflection one last look. My blue eyes are lined with thick, dark liner and accentuated with false lashes. My lips are the perfect shade of crimson, and this top shows just enough of my cleavage and toned stomach. “I’ll be at the bar when you guys are done packing shit up.” I spin around on my heel and leave the dressing room and the boys behind.

I find my way to the bar and sit on the only open barstool. The bartender comes over immediately and pours another Jack and Coke. He offers up a flirty smile and flexes his biceps more than needed. “This one’s on me. You guys did awesome up there tonight.”

I take the glass and stir the ice with the straw. “Thank you.”

He nods. “How long you been playing and singing like that?”

I shrug one shoulder as I take a sip. “My whole life, basically, but we didn’t form the band until two years ago.”

“Well, you looked sexy up there. I get off at 2 a.m. if you wanna hang around.”

I give him a flirty smile. “I would, but I actually have to work in the morning.”

“You work?” He arches one of his pierced eyebrows.

“Doesn’t everybody? I mean, being in a band is great, but you don’t make much when you have to split the $500 you make at a gig with five people.”


I nod and give him a duh look. “We have a roadie. The guys decided they wanted to party more than lug equipment around.”

“And get to hang out with you in the process? Hell, I’d do that for free.” He places his forearms on the bar and leans in just a bit.

“Oh, well, then you’re hired. Be ready to rock at 9 p.m. tomorrow. We’re playing at The Pub across town.”

He laughs. “Well, unfortunately, I’ll be here slinging drinks.”

I snap my fingers. “Damn, and I thought this was destiny.”

He laughs at my joke and pushes himself off the bar. “Another time, perhaps.”

“I’ll see ya around.” I take my drink and walk through the bar, trying to find a table that’s open and big enough to seat the entire band. In the far back corner, there’s one booth left. I squeeze through the crowd and take a seat, scooting to the center to wait for the guys, but before they can find me to claim their seats, the whole booth fills up with random guys who saw me on stage and decided to try their luck.

I’m fielding questions left and right while trying to be as polite as possible, but the drunk assholes don’t seem to take the hint. Van appears and sees that I’m trapped. He walks over to the table and looks down at the four guys who have managed to cram themselves into our booth.

“Oh, hey,” he says, looking carefree, “I didn’t realize you’d all joined the band.”

One dumbass looks up. “Oh, no. We just wanted to get to know Luna here a little better. I mean, can you blame us? She’s sexy as fuck, and those lips . . . they’d look great wrapped around a cock, don’t you think?”

Van smirks. “Yeah, they really do. Mine.” He grabs the guy by the front of his shirt and yanks him up out of the booth. He spins him around and threatens to whip his ass before pushing him back into the crowd of people. The rest of the guys take the hint and book it out of there. When Van turns back around to face me, he sees all the guys have vacated and smiles as he plops down.

“You’re welcome.”

I shake my head as a smile plays on my lips. “I didn’t say thank you.” I take a sip. “What if I actually wanted one of them?”

He frowns. “Did you?”

“No,” I laugh out.

Van and I are the best of friends and always have been. We bonded over our love of music and formed this band together. Nothing has ever happened between us, but that doesn’t stop people from thinking that we are doing something. And on rare occasions like tonight, he claims we’re together to get other assholes to leave me alone. Other than our pretend relationship in times of need, we’re just bandmates and best friends.

“Where are dumb and dumber?”

Van lifts his hand, motioning toward the bar. “Looking for their next conquest.”

I roll my eyes and shake my head. “If those dumbasses aren’t careful, they’re going to catch a nasty STI before we even have a shot at fame.”

He laughs and leans in to say, “That or they’ll fuck up and knock up one of these women. Can you imagine the child support a rock star has to pay?” His eyes double as he pictures the number.

I smile. “Better make sure you’re wrapping it up tight.”

He scoffs. “Why the hell do you think I’m over here with you? It’s not for my health.” He shrugs. “Or I guess in a way, it kind of is,” he laughs out.

I finish off my drink and push the glass away. “I think I’m going to call it a night, big shot.” I start to slide my way out of the booth.

“I guess I got the van and the equipment?”

“You think I would trust that big of a job to those two jackoffs?” I point in their direction, but he just laughs and waves me off.

It’s going on 10 a.m. when I pull myself out of bed the next day. I practically sleepwalk to the shower, but I manage to pull myself together as the hot water wakes me up. I blow-dry my hair and curl the ends before applying some makeup. I have to sort through my clothes by picking them up off the floor and sniffing them. I find something acceptable and grab my things to head to work.

I’ve been officially working at Mick’s Music since I was 15. Because of that, we have a good relationship. I get any day off I need in exchange for managing the rest of the employees and the store. I slide my key into the lock and let myself inside. I disable the alarm and go to put my things away and open the register. At noon on the dot, I flick on the OPEN sign. It’s sad that not many kids are interested in learning how to play musical instruments anymore. When I was a kid, you couldn’t get me out of this place. Lucky for me, Mick is good friends with my dad, so I spent most of my free time here as a kid, playing instruments I knew we couldn’t afford to buy. My first guitar actually came from this store. It was a Fender Stratocaster. It was sea-foam green with a cream-colored pickguard. I had my eye on her the day she arrived. Mick knew how much I loved her and he made me a deal. I volunteered at the store after school and every weekend until I put in enough hours to earn the guitar, which at the time cost nearly a grand. That’s a lot of money for a 13-year-old kid. But I managed to get it worked off in one year. She was my pride and joy and I still have her to this day. She’s not as beautiful as she once was. Now, she’s got chipped paint, stickers, and scuffs all over her body, neck, and head, but the sentiment is still there and I’ll never get rid of her. I even named her “Journey” because I believed she was going to take me everywhere.

The store stays pretty busy throughout the first part of the day. I normally don’t make any big sales—mostly just people coming in to buy picks, new strings, and cables. Doesn’t matter much to me. I still get paid hourly, but I get commission on bigger sales, though they’re few and far between. It’s going on 4 p.m. when a man walks in wearing a finely-pressed suit. He screams money. I can tell by looking at him that he isn’t here to buy strings. He’s probably here because his busy corporate life is getting boring and he’s looking for a journey of his own—something to bring some meaning back into his life. Guitar or drums?

I’m not sure, but I’m going to find out.

I walk up to the man. “Can I help you find anything?”

He turns and looks at me and I feel my heart skip a beat. He’s tall and lean and has neatly combed dark hair. His jaw is sharp and has a bit of scruff growing on it. His eyes find mine and I see they’re a delicious shade of green—something that reminds me of wet summer grass in the morning.

I see those green eyes of his start at the top of my head and work their way slowly down my body before making their way back up. He clears his throat. “Yes, actually. I was looking for a guitar for my niece’s birthday.”

“How old is your niece?” I ask.

“She’s turning 14,” he replies, and it seems he can’t keep his eyes to himself. He stares at everything from the waves in my hair to the deep, dark red of my lips.

“And are you thinking about something electric or acoustic?”

“Electric, I think . . .” His face twists up in confusion. “She likes rock and punk rock.”

I nod. “Then electric is the way to go. Right this way.” I lead him over to the far corner that holds all our electric guitars. “Does she have a favorite color?”

He looks at the selection on the wall. “I really don’t know her all that well. Pink is a girl color, right?”

I scoff. “I’m sorry, what did you say your name was?” I ask because he hasn’t told me and I want to know.

“Oh, sorry.” He holds out his hand. “I’m Daniel. Daniel Smith, attorney at law.”

I shake his hand. “I’m Luna. Listen, Daniel, when you’re picking out a guitar, you need to pick one that speaks to your soul. This guitar will be an extension of you . . . or rather, your niece. Do you know anything about her?”

He purses his lips together. “I have a picture.” He pulls his cell out of his jacket pocket and scrolls around until he has a picture to show me. He flips the phone around so I can see a picture of his niece. She has bright red hair—the unnatural kind—with black roots. Her blue eyes are lined darkly and her face is overdone with makeup. She’s wearing a Pink Floyd T-shirt with the Dark Side of the Moon prism on the front, but it’s been ripped and pinned back together in a very cool way. In the background, in what I assume is her bedroom, there are posters on the wall of all the greats, including Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones. I’m actually impressed that a kid her age would even know these bands, let alone have their posters on the wall.

I smile. “She’s very cool,” I tell him. “She must have cool parents.”

He smiles as he puts the phone away. “Yeah, my brother is more of a free spirit than I am. So, did you find any clues about color?”

I shrug. “The pink guitar is a baby pink, so I don’t think she’d love it. I’d suggest going for the electric purple or green. Black is always cool, too, because then she could decorate it with stickers and stuff.”

He nods as he takes everything in. “I like the purple.” He points at it.

I grab it off the wall and take it down, handing it over.

He looks it over to make sure the body isn’t chipped.

“Do you want to give it a go?” I ask, grabbing a cable off the stand.

He shakes his head. “I really wouldn’t know what to do.” He hands it back.

I plug it in and turn on the amp. “I can play you something if you want to listen.” I hold out the headphones that are hooked up to the amp.

He nods and pulls them on.

I quickly think about a song and pick one that belongs to my band. My fingers glide across the strings like they have a mind of their own. At this point, they probably do. I play the first verse of one of our songs and lead into the chorus. He listens with wide eyes, causing his forehead to wrinkle. He’s surprised I know how to play. It surprises most people—they assume I just work here for the money. I want to snort thinking about my usual $450 paycheck.

I stop playing and unplug the cable. He takes off the headphones and hands them back. “You’re really good.”

I smile. “Thanks. I’m actually in a band.” I bend down and turn off the amp.

“Really?” He seems impressed.

I laugh and nod. “Yeah. Now, with an electric guitar, you’ll need an amp and a guitar cable. Does she have any of that or will you be adding it to your order?”

He shrugs. “Might as well get the whole setup,” he breathes out.

I grab a cable for him and move on to our rows of amps. “What’s she going to be using this for?”

He looks over them and opens his mouth, but no sound comes out because he has no idea.

“You could go with this smaller personal amp if she’s just going to be practicing in her room. But if she wants to start up a garage band, she’ll need something a little bigger—like this.” I place my hand on a larger amp and he agrees.

I grab what he needs and start our journey to the counter before going back to grab the amp.

Behind me, he follows along until he says, “I hope this isn’t too forward, but you wouldn’t be offering guitar lessons, would you?”

I stop and turn back to face him. My brows draw together as I bite on my lower lip. I could use the money. “What does the job pay?”

He shrugs as he closes the couple of feet between us. “I don’t really know. What does an hour a week run?”

I scoff. “An hour a week? How about an hour a day, three days a week?”

He smiles but looks down at the wallet he’s holding in his hands like he doesn’t want me to see his smile. He’s a lawyer. I’m sure he’s used to the constant back and forth when negotiating terms. “Three hours a week it is.”

I smile. “A hundred bucks a week.”

“It’s a deal,” he agrees and I turn to head to the counter. “I can arrange for her to meet you here tomorrow afternoon if that’ll work for you.”

I set down his things and write my number on a piece of paper, sliding it over to him. “Sure! Text me her info?”

He nods once, smile still in place as he slips it into his wallet.

“So, what’s the name of your band?” he asks, putting my number into his wallet and pulling out a card.

“Wonder Kings,” I reply, typing my employee password into the computer to unlock it.

He steps up to the counter to pay. “I’ll have to look you guys up sometime.”

I smile as I scan his items into the computer. “We have a show tonight at The Pub. Come check it out. But I have to warn you, our shows can get a little crazy sometimes. Not to brag, but we’re sorta local celebrities around here.” I flash him a flirty smile—the kind I usually give to the guys in the crowd to get them going.

He swipes his card. “Then I’ll definitely have to check you out. I can’t be the only one in Chicago who hasn’t seen a Wonder Kings show!”

I laugh as I hand him his receipt. “Then I guess I’ll see ya there.”

“I guess so.” He grabs his things and heads toward the door. He spins around to face me as he pushes the door open with his back. His eyes linger on mine a little longer, but he finally walks out the door, ending our connection.

The moment he leaves, I pull up Instagram and type his name into the search bar. He pops up immediately and I can’t help but scroll through his pictures. He’s some kind of fancy lawyer. There are pictures of him sitting at his desk and another of him shaking hands with some tall guy in front of a sign that reads Young & Smith. I look up the business and see that it’s a local law office owned by someone named Calvin Young.

The door opens, causing the bell above it to ring. I pull my attention away from the phone and set it down, heading over to help a customer as he picks out the strings he needs.


“Dude, you would not believe this girl who sold me the guitar,” I tell Calvin when I walk back into the office after my lunch break.

“Yeah? Was she cute?” he asks, grabbing a file out of the cabinet and taking it back to his desk.

“Cute? No, that’s not the word I’d use to describe this girl. Cute means rosy cheeks, blonde curls, and a peaches-and-cream complexion. This girl has gorgeous brown hair with flowing waves I’d kill to run my hands through. She has green eyes that had more black shit around them than I’ve ever seen anyone use. She’s in a rock band. Well, I guess it’s a rock band. She didn’t exactly say, but she’s in a band and I’m going to check them out tonight.”

He laughs. “You and some rocker girl? I don’t see that ever happening,” Calvin says, running a hand through his neatly styled dark hair.

I snort. “Why not? I can rock out with the best of them.”

He laughs. “Really? What was the last rock concert you went to?”

I try to think back on it, but I probably haven’t been to a concert since high school. Once I got into college, I was too busy studying to have time for that shit.

He sees my face and says, “Exactly my point. She’s wild and crazy and you’re a lawyer who handles more divorces than anything else.”

I sit back in my chair and think about it. “But they say opposites attract. It could work out. And if not, at least I could have a little fun for a while.”

Calvin shakes his head but smiles. “You could have that,” he agrees.

After work, I get home and take a shower. I look in my closet to find something to wear. I can’t exactly wear a suit to a bar to meet up with some rocker chick. I pull on a pair of jeans, the only pair of tennis shoes I own and use only for running, and a black T-shirt that fits a little more snugly than what I’d normally wear. I put some product in my hair to make it stand up in a messy way, and I don’t bother shaving.

It’s going on 8 p.m. when I finally eat dinner, and another hour passes before I’m leaving the house. I didn’t want to get there too early anyway. I call a cab and tell her where to take me. It’s a good thing I did, because I’d never heard of The ‘Ol Pub before. When we pull up, I see why.

It’s just some run-down hole-in-the-wall bar. I don’t usually frequent dive bars, not since my college days. Walking into the venue, the smell hits me: body odor from the dozens of people piled inside the small building mixed with the stench of stale alcohol and cheap weed. It’s dirty and honestly, I’m afraid to even sit on a barstool, but I do because I remember what Calvin said about her lifestyle compared with mine, and I’m determined to prove him wrong. I can fit into her world. I’ll make him see that.

I sit at the bar and order a glass of scotch. I don’t know what I’m given, but it must be the cheapest scotch known to man. I choke it down while people are bumping into my back and shoulders, then I order a beer for safe measure. The beer tastes much better, but that’s probably because I’m not expecting much from a Budweiser.

As I sit alone and drink my beer, I look around the bar, hoping to catch her. In the far back corner, I spot a couple who might be having sex against the wall. There’s a large group of people already on the dance floor, crowding the stage and waiting for the show to begin. And the bar is lined to the max with people grouping around it, but I don’t find her beautiful face or flowing waves anywhere.

Around 10 p.m., the room gets dark and multicolored lights come on. A bright light gets pointed at the stage and Luna walks out. The bright spotlight lights up her eyes, making them sparkle. Her chocolate hair is nearly shimmering. She takes in the large crowd before her and smiles wide, making my heart pound even harder in my chest.

I turn my barstool so I can watch the show. My jealously flares when I see she’s in a band with a bunch of guys. I wonder if she’s seeing any of them, but I push away the thought. She’s not my girl and I don’t have any right to be jealous.

“Hello, everyone!” Luna says into the mic and the crowd goes wild. “Everyone having a good time?” They scream even louder, making my ears ring. “Awesome! Let’s crank this party up, shall we?”

The music starts and I’m immediately surprised by how good they are. They don’t sound like some small garage band. They seem like real rock stars. Luna rocks the guitar just like she did at the store today, but then she opens her mouth and the most beautiful sound comes out. The drummer puts on a show all his own the way he twirls the sticks in the air. The bass player keeps the beat and makes it vibrate in my chest. And there’s another guitar player who also sings backup. His rasp is the perfect complement to Luna’s sweet voice.

“You ever seen them play before?” the bartender asks me.

I shake my head and yell back, “First time. They’re really good!”

He nods with a smile. “Yeah, word has it they’re about to be signed!”

I order another beer and decide to try pushing my way to the front of the stage. It takes some time to get there, but I finally make it with only a few dirty looks. I stand right in front of her as she sings and moves around the stage. She’s wearing a short black jean skirt with combat boots. Her top is more like a bikini, and I imagine what would happen if one of those little ties just happened to come loose.

As I watch her move around the stage, singing and playing the guitar, her eyes lock on mine and she flashes me a smile and a wink. I lift my beer and nod, trying to play it cool, but honestly, I’m anything but. It’s like I’m falling for this girl who’s a real rock star. I almost feel giddy inside—like my celebrity crush noticed me in the crowd. I know it all sounds stupid, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in the whole package of loud music, a rowdy crowd, and screaming fans.

After several songs, the band takes a break. They head toward the side of the stage, but Luna looks back at me, then walks over. She kneels down in front of me. “Wanna come backstage?”

“Yeah, sure,” I agree, hopping up on stage and following her off to the side.

She leads me into the back and opens the door to a small room. I step inside but can’t even close the door. The room is too small and it already has four other people in it.

“So, what did you think?” Luna asks, spinning around to face me.

I give her a smile. “You sounded really good. I knew you could play from the taste you gave me at the store today, but I had no idea you could sing like that!”

She laughs and her cheeks turn the slightest shade of pink. “Thanks. Oh, let me introduce you to the guys,” she starts to point them out. “That’s Van, Ridge, and Lane.” She says their names as she points at them. Each one looks up and gives me a wave.

“Ridge. That’s different. You’re awesome on the base.”

He laughs. “Ridge is my nickname. It’s actually Trevor, and thanks. Is this the first show you’ve been to?” he asks, stepping up to me to shake my hand.

I nod. “Yeah, I just met Luna at the store today and she invited me to come out and watch. Glad I did. The crowd is crazy out there. Are all your shows like this?”

He laughs and nods. “Yeah, all of them we’ve played in Chicago anyway. We’ve gone out of state, but no one knows us anywhere else. So the crowds are pretty subdued until we manage to win them over.”

“I can’t imagine that taking long.” I lift my beer to my lips and take a swig. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Luna lean into a mirror, fixing the makeup she sweat off during the show.

The guys gather around and talk about the band, the bar, and the crowd out there. They try including me in their conversation, but I’m not worth much because I can’t keep my eyes off her. I’m hypnotized by the way she applies her dark lipstick. Her eyes find mine in the mirror and she smiles before turning around to face me.

“Time to get back out there, guys.”

The guys take off toward the stage but she lingers a little longer.

“You want to grab a drink when you finish up?” I lean against the doorframe, looking down at her.

She looks up at me through her impossibly-long, dark lashes and gives me a smirk. “Think you can hang until then?”

I chuckle and shrug my shoulders. “I guess we’ll have to wait and find out.”

Her smile finally comes out to play. “All right, I’ll save you a drink . . . if you’re still here at midnight, that is.”

Midnight? That’s easy.

She slips past me and I can’t help but turn and watch her ass as it gets farther away. It’s thick and plump and round. Perfect. I’ve always considered myself an ass man and I know hers is perfect. I bet it would look amazing in a lacy pair of boyshort panties. I swear, I could bite into it like a peach. I nearly have to bite my fist to hold myself back. I don’t want to come on too strong, but damn.

Once she’s no longer in my line of sight, I head back out to the bar and grab another beer to sit and watch the show. The way she moves on stage is mesmerizing. She’s absolutely breathtaking up there. She doesn’t just walk across the stage—she glides with grace and purpose. She doesn’t just sing the lyrics—she belts them out at the top of her lungs and she’s perfectly on key. Her long, thin fingers move across the strings, plucking the perfect note time and time again. How is it I can be so turned on by someone so different? She isn’t my usual type: blonde hair, blue eyes, model-like body, and a better-than-you attitude. Luna is different. Don’t get me wrong, though. Her body is just as perfect as an Instagram model or centerfold, but in a different way. There’s ink on her ivory skin. Her makeup is darker and heavier than most, and her hair isn’t a pretty blonde but a shiny chocolate with what subtle hints of caramel peaking throughout. Instead of a structured style, hers is in full waves flowing effortlessly down her shoulders and back. She casually runs her slender fingers through it and flips it to one side of her head.

I take a sip of my beer as I think over the conversation I had with Calvin today. He’s right and I know it. We’re different. Too different. It could never work out between us. I know it, and I think deep down, she knows it too. But as long as we’re both aware of the problem, we can have a lot of fun together while it lasts. Call me crazy, but I have every intention of enjoying every minute of it.

I sit in a booth and slowly suck down beer until she wraps up the last song at midnight. The band tells the crowd goodbye and leaves the stage as the people on the dance floor are left hungry for more. They’re all chanting Luna’s name and declaring their love for her. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one bewitched by her. I want to get up and go to the back, but I also want to play it cool. Instead of running to her, I’ll see if she comes to me.

She finally enters the bar and I watch as she heads to get a drink from one of the bartenders. This bartender must know her well, because the moment she stands at the bar, a drink is handed over without her even having to order. She smiles at the girl as she takes her drink, then spins around to look over every face in the place. Right before her eyes leap over to me, I direct my attention away from her. I don’t want her to know I’ve been watching her since she entered. I take a sip of my beer and the moment I pull it away from my lips, she’s directly in front of me.

“Hey, you made it,” she says with a smile as she slips into the booth beside me.

I return her smile and nod. “Yup, still here. You were amazing up there.” I motion toward the stage. The guys are taking down the equipment but there are two new guys with them.

“Did the band get some extra members?” I ask.

She glances over her shoulder, then her eyes are back on mine. “One of them is our roadie, Jack. He helps with setup and teardown. The other . . . well, he’s a different story. He’s my ex-boyfriend and he’s a part of our PR team and management. His name is Wesley and he’s a total asshole. I’m sure he’ll be over to bother me soon enough. I booked it out of there before he showed up.”

“Don’t you know not to mix business with pleasure?” I tease, referring to her dating a colleague.

She rolls her darkly-lined eyes. “Now more than ever. Every time he sees me, it’s just another attempt to get me back. The guy doesn’t take no for an answer.”

I move closer to her and put my arm around her. “Well, we’ll see if we can’t run him off for good, huh?”

She looks over at me and her dark eyes find mine. Her lips part before slowly turning up into a small smile. Just being this close to her has my lungs doubling their pace.

“You were beautiful up there, you know,” I say quietly as we’re both lost in this trance.

Her cheeks flush with my words and her tongue comes out, gliding across her bottom lip and making it glisten with the neon lights of the bar.

There’s a pull between us and it’s getting stronger. I find myself leaning in to kiss her, to taste her, but just as we’re only centimeters apart, a man’s voice cuts through our moment.

“Luna, there you are! How’s my most beautiful girl?” A guy slams himself down across from us in the booth.

We both pull out of our closeness and look over at him. She offers up a fake smile and reaches for her drink. “I’m good, Wesley. How about you?”

He gives her a smirk and nods his head as he spins his glass between his hands. “Great! Just thought I’d swing by and see if you were still working at the music store. I’m in need of some private tutoring, if you know what I mean.” He wags his brows at her as a disgusting smile stretches across his face. It kills me that he knows her in ways I don’t . . . yet. But it’s my personal mission to know her in ways no one else does.

“Wesley, this is my boyfriend, Daniel.” She glances over at me. “Daniel, this is Wesley. He’s a member of my management team.”

I offer up a smile—wanting him to know that his presence doesn’t bother me—and I reach across the table to shake his hand. “Nice to meet you, Wesley.”

He shakes my hand but looks at her. “Boyfriend, huh? Wow, that’s a first.”

She frowns at him.

“I just mean, other than me. I’m her boyfriend too. Or rather, I was,” he says, now looking at me, wanting me to know exactly where he’s been.

“Well, I hope she didn’t break your heart too badly. I have a feeling this one’s hard to get over.” I squeeze her a little tighter.

“Nah, we were . . . we just weren’t right for each other, but we did have a few good times, right, Lulu?”

Lulu? What the fuck was that? Based on her face, she isn’t fond of the nickname. Mental note: never call her Lulu!

“Something like that,” she says, not agreeing.

I get the feeling this guy isn’t going to leave without being asked, so I lean forward and talk softly, like I’m not wanting her to hear. “Hey, I’m trying to show my girl a good time here. If you wouldn’t mind . . .” I motion for him to leave with my eyes.

His eyes become wide as a knowing look spreads across his face. “Oh, gotcha. Right. No problem.” He grabs his drink. “I was just wanting to come by and see how you were doing, but I need to take off,” he says loudly enough for her to hear.

He stands and I wave. He turns to leave, but I have the feeling he’s going to give her one last look, so I quickly turn my head to face her. My hand lands softly on her jaw and I tilt her head back, my mouth finding hers. At first, she seems shocked, but she quickly warms up to the idea. Her soft lips move with mine as my tongue comes out to taste her. Immediately, I can taste the Jack and Coke she’s been drinking, but there’s also a sweetness I wouldn’t associate with the drink—a sweetness that’s all her own. I want this kiss to last forever, but I also want to see the look on that jerk’s face. I break away from the kiss and turn to see him watching. He quickly wipes away the angriness of his stare and walks off.

Luna laughs and giggles, bouncing in her seat. “Did you see his face?” she asks, shaking my shoulder.

I laugh and nod. “I did. I don’t think he’ll be bothering you for a while now.”

“Thank you.” She throws her arms round my neck and hugs me tightly. I laugh as I hug her back, enjoying her heat and the way her body feels pressed against mine. When the hug ends, that pull has returned and we’re right back where we started—lost and gazing into each other’s eyes. Her lips part and the intensity in her eyes grows thicker. This time, she wants a real kiss.

I close the distance between us once again. This time, I’m kissing her for real and not for show. I don’t give a fuck who’s watching right now. This kiss is for us. Our tongues tangle together fast and hard as my hands cup her cheeks, holding her against me. Blood rushes every inch of my body, mixing with the emotions from this kiss. It’s a powerful cocktail that has my head spinning and my whole body tingling. I could blame it on the alcohol, but deep down, I know that isn’t it. I’ve had this urge since I walked into that music store today. She lets a tiny moan slip past her lips and it makes me painfully hard. I can’t think of anything but diving into her and staying there all night long.

Our kiss has gone on for several minutes and I’m pretty sure everyone in the room is staring at us. The kiss slows and we pull apart. Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes glassy. “Want to get out of here?” she asks. “My place is just around the corner.”

“Let’s go,” I agree, holding out my hand. She takes it and I stand, helping her out of the booth. We’re so focused that we don’t even look around us as we’re heading toward the door.

The moment we step outside, the cool Chicago air blows around us, but it doesn’t cool the fire raging in either of us. She keeps her hand in mine as she pulls me along behind her, toward her apartment. As promised, she stops at a building just around the corner from the bar. She drops my hand as she digs her keys out of her pocket, sliding one into the lock on the glass door and pulling it open. As she leads me down the hall, she’s pulling off her coat and scarf.

Her apartment is the last one on the ground level. She inserts the key and the door opens easily. She walks in, flips on the light, and tosses her coat onto the kitchen table as I walk in behind her. She turns to face me, and the moment I close the door behind me, she’s pressing her chest against me. Her arms are around my neck and her lips move to mine. I kiss her back—more than ready to find my way inside her.

Her hands fall to my shoulders and they push my coat down my arms until it falls on the floor. I grab her by her perky ass and pick her up against me, spinning her around to press her back to the door. She lets out a squeal from the fast movement, but she never stops kissing me. Instead, our kiss only grows harder and more rushed. She pulls my shirt up my stomach and our mouths break apart as I rip the shirt over my head and drop it on the floor next to my coat.

In that small fraction of time, her eyes find mine and she smiles as she lets them fall from my face down to my chest and abs. I’m happy to see that my hours of hard work in the gym have paid off and she’d pleased with the results.

I offer her a flirty smile before I bring my lips down to her collarbone, kissing and sucking lightly as I get to work on removing her top. It falls off easily with a couple of tugs at the strings in back, and finally, her breasts are mine to gaze upon. They’re round and perky and perfect in size. She has more than a handful, but I won’t let any of it go to waste. Her skin looks soft and creamy—not inked up like the few small tattoos on her arms—and her nipples are small, hard, and a perfect peachy color.

I can’t help myself and I dip my head down to catch a hard nipple in my mouth. As I suck and flick my tongue against her hardened peak, she lets her head fall back against the door as her breathing picks up and soft whimpers fall from her lips. If I thought I was painfully hard before, it’s nothing compared to now. I release her nipple and bring my eyes back to hers.

“Where’s your bedroom?”

“Through there,” she says, nodding her head toward an open door in her living room.

Holding her tight against me, I carry her through the small kitchen, across the living room floor, and into a room that’s covered with clothing. We fall down on the bed together, her legs wrapped around my hips and her arms around my neck.

Our hands are in a race to strip each other down. While I’m on top of her, kissing her neck and nipping her ear, her hands are freeing me from my jeans. She uses her thighs to push my pants down further. My mouth comes back to hers and my hands are just as greedy as they unfasten her shorts and work them down her legs. She pushes against my chest and I pull back, confused, but then she manages to flip us over. I lie back and watch as she kicks away her shorts then climbs on top of me. She kisses me roughly, nipping my bottom lip as she works her way lower. She bites my chest and scratches my stomach on her descent. She takes me in hand and starts to slowly pump. A long breath leaves my lips as I position my hands behind my head, tilting it downward so I can watch her. Her eyes lock on mine as her tongue comes out, licking up the small drop beading on my tip. My eyes flutter closed, rolling back in my head as she slowly works her mouth over my length.

Her tongue is swirling around my cock as she sucks and moves up and down. She takes me to the back of her throat before moving back up and swirling her tongue around my tip. With each stroke, I come a little more undone. As my release rises, I try pushing it down. My hand cups her cheek and she pulls away, looking up at me. The moment I’m no longer in that pretty mouth of hers, I pick her up and roll us over so I’m right where I need to be. “I’d hate to waste the night by coming in that talented mouth of yours.” My lips smash against hers and she kisses me with need and determination. Her thighs lock around my hips, but I’m not ready to take the next step just yet. I want this to last as long as possible.

I kiss my way across her jaw and down to her neck and breasts. After giving them the attention they need, I kiss down her stomach to her hips. Her thighs begin to loosen around me, allowing me to slide down further. I run my tongue between her folds, finding her wetness. When my tongue flicks against her bundle of nerves, her hips jerk and a moan escapes. That’s all I needed to have me quickening my actions.

My hands tighten around her hips, holding her down to the bed as my mouth assaults her clit. She’s wriggling and moaning, hands fisting in the sheets. I suck on her nub and flick my tongue against it at lightning speed. Her entire body turns hard, preparing for her release. I move one hand from her hip and slide two fingers deep inside her wet center. I curl them upward, massaging her G-spot. Her moans grow louder and her breathing becomes faster. I can feel the moment I push her over the edge. Her muscles tighten around my fingers and begin to convulse around me. Her wetness doubles, soaking the sheet beneath her, and all the while, I keep going until she’s completely weak and limp.

I pull away and wipe her sweetness from my lips. “Do you have a condom?” I pant out, breathless from the air she’s sucked out of the room.

“I’m on the pill. Plus I’m free of STIs, so if you’re clean, then I’m good to go if you are,” she pants out, reaching for me and pulling me back to her body.

That’s all I needed to hear. “Clean as a whistle baby.”

With one hand between us, I guide myself into her hot body and she tightens up around me as a whimper escapes her lips. I silence her with a kiss as I halt my hips in an attempt to calm myself down, because I’m already on the verge of exploding.

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