I had a simple life.
I worked two jobs, made ends meet, and hung out with my mom and twin brother. The other part of my life was about avoiding him, but when SWAT raided my boyfriend’s home, that was the last straw. The boyfriend got tossed and to help me keep busy, my brother talked me into joining their old band again, but I had to be honest. It wasn’t a hard sell. Playing drums was in my blood. I used to be addicted and that craving hadn’t been satisfied in three long years. The only problem was their lead singer.
The drums might not have been the only thing I was addicted to. I think I was still addicted to him too.
Excerpt one: (Bri’s pov)
Luke hit a jarring note on his guitar below, drawing me from the past and back to reality. Seriously. I’d been ready to take on two thugs beside a dumpster for my stupid-ass cousin, but this had ice filling my veins.
I rolled my eyes upward. What was wrong with me?
The melody was addictive. I felt it reach deep inside me and take root. My breathing wavered as he kept playing. He moved down a chord, and the sound of it seeped into me, smoothing out the haunted memories. Then he began singing. His voice was soft and low, but I could hear it as if I were in the room. He was weaving a spell. It was like he threw a spear that had a rope attached to it at me from a hundred yards away, and it embedded deep into my stomach. Then he began pulling on it. I couldn’t fight because it would yank out my insides, but damn, I didn’t want to go with it. This whole thing with Luke was both painful and exhilarating at the same time. I had two urges going through me at once. One was to crap my pants, and the other was to start doing cartwheels.
I was just messed up, which is why I started down the stairs. I still had no clue what to say, but I had to do something.
He was hunched over the guitar in his lap with a beer at his feet. His eyes were closed, and his head hung over the guitar as he hit another chord, his thumb beating out the base. Since he was only wearing jeans, I saw some of the scars on his back. A storm of regret, shame, and longing all swirled inside me. I wanted to go to him, run my hands over those scars, and make them disappear. I couldn’t, though. We weren’t close anymore.
So many ghosts within you
So many haunts to pull you away
You look, I reach out and there’s nothing to do
They take you from me again, far away
I can’t, I can’t, I can’t take your hand
He kept singing, and my heart felt like it was splitting into two, but then he faltered. His eyes opened, and he looked up. He didn’t stop playing, but he stopped singing.
I felt like he was strumming me. I couldn’t look away from his gaze. His thumb stopped hitting the bass, and his fingers slowed on the guitar. “What are you doing here?”
Right. I was pretty sure I was seeing lust in his eyes. With that thought, a fever took over my blood, heating me up. “I,” my tongue wet my lips, “um, I’m here to talk about you and me.”
His gaze clouded over, and his eyelids lowered. He bent his head back over his guitar, but he didn’t start strumming again. “There is no ‘you and me.’ You’re in the band. That’s it.”
I swallowed the lump in my throat. “Luke,” I started.
“No.” He stood up abruptly, setting his guitar to the side. He advanced toward me, his eyes were smoldering.
When my back hit the wall, I realized I had nowhere else to go and could only watch as he closed in on me. A part of me wanted him to keep getting closer; the other part of me was still thinking about crapping my pants.
He leaned a hand against the wall beside my head, keeping a few inches between us. His eyes were hard as he said, “There is no you and me. That died long ago, remember?”
Excerpt two: (Luke’s pov)
I’d been tense from watching Bri on stage, and it hadn’t lessened as we ran through the woods. If there was another remark about her, I was ready to swing. I didn’t care how big they were.
Gunn had been watching me. He moved close and said under his breath, “If it happens, I’ll do it.”
“Because we need your pretty face for the fans.”
I looked up to see if he was serious. He was, but he relinquished, “Kidding. If you have a busted face, I think Priss would piss her pants from excitement.”
Braden had overheard him and laughed. “No, shit. That’d be leaked to the gossip shows in two seconds flat. I swear, she has all the numbers for the gossip channels on speed dial.”
The football players had gone ahead, but stopped and waited for us. The third one asked, “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” I shoved past him. While seeing the road through the trees, I saw the headlights for Braden’s car at the same time. When we cleared the trees and headed up the ditch, all of us panned out and walked in one line for the car.
When we got there, Bri opened her door and leaned against the car. Her hair was whipping behind her face and one hand was resting on her hip. She tugged her shirt and then adjusted it back, but it didn’t stick. It fell down, showing her black bra. Bri was clueless, scowling at us. She was the picture of fierce and alluring at the same time.
We were greeted with, “What were you guys doing there?”
She took in the whole line of guys before letting her eyes find mine, making me feel seared. It was the same effect every time. My insides felt yanked out, but I still wanted to touch her.
I looked away instead.
“We came to see you.” Braden motioned to the guys.
“Are you insane? How was tonight supposed to go down any other way? You guys are celebrities. You can’t be coming to house parties anymore.” There was a clipped bark to her voice, but it faded on the last word, and I glanced over. She sneaked a look at me.
“Yeah, we didn’t think ahead.” Braden threw a hand to the football guys. “Got some extra room?”
She shook her head. “There is no way this little car can fit all of you hulks.”
The guys laughed and one mentioned, “We can wait here. A bunch of our buddies are coming. They can pick us up.”
I should’ve thanked them for saving us from the chaos, and I heard Gunn and Braden doing exactly that, but I looked back at her. Her hand was still on her hip, but her shoulders were slumped forward. She was kicking at some gravel on the road.
The football guys headed farther down the road as Gunn and Braden got into the car. We were alone now, but there was still an audience.
She wouldn’t look at me anymore. I wanted to turn those dark eyes to me. I wanted to say something, but I had no idea what. I ended with, “You’re still really good.”
Her head lifted, and I saw it. There was so much there. Fear, caution, excitement, warmth, and another expression I couldn’t place. No, I did. She was still haunted.
She was mine.
No. She wasn’t.
She had gone to him that night.
Ah, fucking hell.
“We should probably talk.”
Her eyes opened at my tone, which was rough, and panic flared across her face for a moment. “Oh. Okay.”