Authors: Selena Laurence
E.M. Tippetts Book Designs
Other Books by Selena Laurence
The Hiding From Love Series (New Adult Contemporary Romance)
(Hiding From Love #1)
(Hiding From Love Novella #0.5)
(Hiding From Love #2)
Buried (Hiding From Love #3) Coming April, 2014
The Lush Series (Rock Star Contemporary Romance)
A Lush Betrayal (Lush No. 1)
For the Love of A Lush (Lush No. 2) Coming Spring 2014
Lowdown and Lush (Lush No. 3) Coming Summer 2014
A Lush Reunion (Lush No. 4) Coming Fall 2014
The Bittersweet Chronicles (Retro Romance Digital Novellas)
Book One: Carly – Coming Summer 2014
Book Two: Pax – Coming Fall 2014
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Your brother will be in your heart for a liftetime.
in the middle of my condo in downtown Portland, sweating. Not a nice, glowing, “you look healthy and vibrant” kind of sweat, but a serious, “I’ve just powerlifted for an hour in an unairconditioned gym” sweat. My hair is damp, I itch all over, and the Nirvana t-shirt I donned thirty minutes ago is soaked.
“Dave,” I growl into the phone when my manager picks up on the other end. “There is no fucking A/C in my apartment. None. It’s got to be a hundred degrees in here, and the place smells like a goddamn locker room.”
“Look, Joss,” —he’s got the placating tone in his voice, he’ll turn downright patronizing in about three minutes— “I’ve called your co-op board five times. I’m really sorry, but they can’t get anyone out there sooner than Friday. Just open the windows. You’ll get used to the noise after a day, and you’re three floors up. They can’t
I run my hand through my long, sticky hair and swear under my breath. How many times have we been over this?
“Daaave, must I repeat myself? There are women. Scores of women. Outside. On the sidewalk. Day. And. Night. They scream, they chant, they sing, and they throw their motherfucking underwear at me. Two of them tried to get into the building by hiding out in the laundry delivery carts yesterday. One tried to scale the side of the building the day before that. With spelunking gear, Dave. Spelunking gear.
“Every single time I fucking get close enough to the windows for them to see me, they scream so loud the neighbors start complaining. Then I have to cover up the tats, put on a button-up, and go kiss ass to that old bat Mrs. Burnstein on the fifth floor so I don’t get kicked out of the damn building. I can not open the fucking windows!” I roar.
I hear Dave sigh, and then in a clipped tone that tells me I’ve hurt his precious feelings, he says, “Fine. I’ll send someone over to work on the A/C without the co-op board’s approval. They’ll be there in the next hour. In the meantime, why don’t you go to the studio early? Mike and Colin are working out some of the licks for
You can listen in and I’ll have Tammy grab you some lunch. It’s cool over there. At least you’ll be comfortable.”
“Fine. And Dave?”
“Get me a goddamn hotel room until this shit is fixed.”
later, I slide into the backseat of a limo, narrowly avoiding the purple satin thong aimed at my head by one of the fans on the sidewalk outside of my building.
“How are you today, Mr. Jamison?” asks my regular driver, Juan. I always request Juan because he knows when to shut the fuck up and when I want to shoot the breeze. He’s a smart guy, although I think he’s probably had a pretty rough life, but he told me he’s got a fiancée and he’s in college part time, so it sounds like he’s got his shit together now.
“You don’t even want to know, Juan. But can I ask you one thing?”
He smiles at me in the rearview mirror.
“Why the hell do those girls think I want their underwear? I mean, why in the world would they think I find that even remotely sexy? Can you imagine if we were to get the hots for some starlet or pop singer and throw our boxers at her every time she came outside? Would she find that sexy?”
Juan is choking now, trying very hard to take my rant seriously but about to explode with laughter.
“Really, someone needs to explain to these girls that, just because their underwear has brighter colors and less fabric than mine, does not mean it’s sexier. And especially not when it’s thrown at my
. Fuck.” I lean an elbow on the window ledge of the car door and run my hand through my blond hair, now damp from the shower I took to get the sweat off. It falls back into my face, and I wonder for the umpteenth time today about shaving my head. Dave says that the female fans would freak. I’m not sure I give a shit.
Having listened quietly to my tales of thong woes, Juan gives up the fight as we come to a slowdown at an intersection leading to an onramp for I-5. He starts guffawing so hard I think tears are streaming down his face. I smile morosely from the backseat. I wonder if I’ve ever laughed with that kind of abandon. If I have, it certainly wasn’t any time in the last year.
When he’s finally able to form sentences again, Juan asks if I want to stop off anywhere before we go to the studio. I think hard for a minute about going by a liquor store and grabbing a bottle of tequila to help me cope with the next eight or nine hours with my band mates, but I decide I ought to tough it out. Mike’s bound to be loaded, and Colin’s always stoned. Walsh will be—Well, he’ll be Walsh. So, maybe I should be sober. Seems like someone should be sober, and these days, more often than not, that someone is me.
sitting at this coffee shop nearly half the day waiting to see him. I know he’ll show eventually, but at this rate, I won’t sleep for the next week with all the caffeine I’ve consumed.
I’m sure he thinks he’s solved his little problem with me. Seduce the co-ed, screw the co-ed, dump the co-ed. Yeah, and I fell right into it. I cannot believe how stupid I was. I thought that, at twenty-four, I was past making dumbass errors like that. But no. As my sister Tammy always says, “Dumb has no age limit, Mel.” Well, I’ll never admit this one to her. She’ll have my ass in a sling if she finds out I risked my future career on some forty-year-old Lothario who picks a different grad student to play around with every semester.
Tammy paid for my MFA degree. Mom and Dad would have if they could, but we grew up in the blue-collar part of Portland, Oregon. Our dad works for a paving contractor, and Mom is the secretary at the elementary school. We had a nice childhood, but there was never anything extra. No fancy ballet classes or soccer teams. And definitely no out-of-state graduate school.
Tammy went to community college and got an Associate’s degree in business. She did retail management at places like Forever 21 and Hollister until her fiancé’s band got big enough to hire her to help manage them. Now she sort of plays slave girl to them all day, making sure they get where they’re supposed to be and have what they need. It sure as hell isn’t a job I’d want, but they pay her really well, so she said I was going to school and I was going to make use of my artistic talent. I didn’t argue.
The door to the coffee shop dings and I look up as Professor Marin walks in. Asshole. I knew he’d show up here if I waited long enough.
Before he has a chance to see me, I stride over. “Excuse me? Professor Marin? May I have a word with you?”
His head swivels toward me, and the gracious smile on his face falters for a quick moment before it’s replaced by one that clearly includes gritted teeth and a very tense jaw.
“Melanie. Lovely to see you. What are you doing here?”
“Well, Professor, I have a few things I need to speak with you about. Can we sit for a moment?”
His eyes dart around the room. I can tell he’s looking to see who might notice us, and if there’s a way for him to get out of here.
I lean in closer and say under my breath, “Sit and talk to me or I’ll scream my fucking head off.”
He cringes, at both my language and my threat. As we walk over to a table in the most remote corner of the shop, he stops smiling and all pretense of politeness slides away like a snake across dry sand.
“What exactly do you hope to accomplish with this, Mel?” he asks coldly.
“A legitimate grade, that’s what,” I whisper-scream at him.
“You have a legitimate grade. It may not be the grade you’d hoped for, but I assure you, that C is every bit as legitimate as anyone else’s A or B.”
“You jerk.” I’m pretty good at saying these things in such a low voice and with such a monotonous tone you’d think I’d merely commented on the weather. For a minute I wonder if it’s a skill I could use in in a job. Probably not. “You gave me that C to deflect from the fact we were sleeping together. You thought if you gave me the lowest grade in the class no one would ever suspect you were spending your nights making me play naughty schoolgirl in my garage apartment. I want the grade I