Read Ballad (Rockstar #5) Online

Authors: Anne Mercier

Ballad (Rockstar #5) (3 page)

BOOK: Ballad (Rockstar #5)
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I make a face at him. “You’re so weird.”

“And you can’t take a compliment,” he counters.

“Touche.” I wait a beat then ask, “What are you going to do to me today?”

“Hmm,” he murmurs. Then, without warning, he unties the do-rag from my head.

“Hey!” I squeak.

“Oh, shush up. You act like we don’t know you’ve only got peach fuzz under there. I just like looking at the gorgeous color. I’m beyond fucking thrilled for you that the chemo and shit they fed you didn’t ruin your color or your porcelain skin. Women would kill for both.”

I just grunt, arms crossed over my chest. “I don’t like people looking at my nearly bald head.”

“Tough. I’m looking. Deal with it.”

He’s so bossy.

“Now, blonde, redhead, or brunette tonight?” he hums.

“For my debut? Let’s go natural with red.” I’ll feel better as myself. It’s easy to pretend to be someone else with the wigs, but tonight I want to be comfortable and to do that I need to be me.

“Red it is.”

Spenser reaches over and grabs a red wig with long, curling locks much like the hair I used to have. I won’t hold out hope to ever be able to grow my hair to those lengths again. I’m a realist and realistically speaking I’d have to be without invasive treatment for a long damn time in order to have them and that just isn’t going to happen. Remission, like love, is a lie. It’s false hope. It’s the calm, the eye of the storm, the reprieve from the shit that’s about to hit the fan.

He tugs the wig into place and I blink rapidly, fighting the tears that burn as I remember how much better life had been back when I was healthy. Now, well, now I’m sick even when I’m not sick.

“This is gorgeous on you,” Spenser tells me and I smirk at his enthusiasm.

The dressing room door flies open and in walks a tall cool drink of water. Long, dark hair framing an angular and spectacular face. And those eyes. I can’t see what color they are from here, but they pierce and look through a person right down to the very soul. I’m not sure I like that. Especially from someone I don’t know—and someone who looks as dangerous as this man.

“Knock much?” I snark.

“Nope,” is his only reply as he makes his way to the chair next to mine. Spenser gets all atwitter as dark and delicious walks with total control and masculinity in his ripped jeans, combat boots, t-shirt, and leather jacket.

“Who are you?” I ask as he takes a seat next to mine.

He smirks. “There are just enough people out there who have no clue who I am to keep me humble.”

Spenser rolls his eyes and tsks. “You, Lucian Cordero, do not have a single humble bone in your body.”

“Sure I do, only one, but it’s the one I’m not letting you touch.”

Spenser snorts. “That’s the least humble of them all.”

Holy Hannah. That’s Lucian Cordero. Lucian Cordero of Burners. Lucian Cordero
lead singer
of Burners. Oh, but he’s pretty. And the eyes I couldn’t see before? The color of ice. A massive contradiction to his warm laugh and welcoming smile. When his gaze lands on me, it slowly runs down the length of my satin robe-covered body and I’m acutely aware that I’m naked—very, very naked beneath the lustrous material. Then those eyes that see too much move in that snail’s pace back up my body and I straighten my spine.

His gaze meets mine and I lift a brow.

“We haven’t met,” he tells me with a frown.

“No, we haven’t,” I reply and Spenser smirks.

“I’m Lucian.”

I look him over in the mirror. Pretty is an understatement. He’s devastating—and I’m sure that applies to him in more ways than one.

“Coley.”

He tilts his head, trying to figure out who I am. I know the second it registers. Surprise, appreciation, sympathy, and more appreciation are apparent in his perusal. Such expressive eyes. I bet he hates that.

“The Blush Baby,” he announces, this time smiling a smile that can’t be mistaken for anything other than genuine.

“That’s me,” I tell him with the first sincere smile I’ve felt in days.

“Lucy knows her stuff.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“You should. Yes, you definitely should,” he answers, running his tongue along his bottom lip.

Holy Hannah. Yep. Devastating seems to be an understatement for the description of Lucian Cordero.

“Back off, Lucian. Coley’s a nice girl and you—are anything but,” Spenser warns.

“Of course I’m not a nice girl. And baby has nothing to fear from me,” Lucian declares straight-faced.

“Sure,” I say. “I know who you are and I know where you’ve been.”

“That’s handy because I know who
you
are and where
you’ve
been,” he retorts.

I watch in the mirror as all color drains from my face and I close my eyes. How? How can he know?

“Hey, whoa there,” Lucian soothes. “I didn’t mean anything by it.”

I meet his gaze in the mirror and he reaches out and gently urges me to turn my head with the pressure of one finger against my chin.
Such self-restraint, Coley.
I roll my eyes at myself.
Go on and turn your chin like a fawning fangirl.

I look into those ice blue eyes—so complex. Light blues melded into grays with flecks of deeper blue within.

“Baby, I didn’t mean to upset you. I just meant that I’ve read about the Blush Baby campaign and your history as well as Jake’s,” he tells me, leaning forward so his eyes are level with mine, closing the space between us.

I press my lips together—and my thighs. Seriously, this guy is hot and I’m not immune.

“Okay?” he asks.

I nod slightly.

“We’ve all got secrets, darlin’, and as much as we don’t want them to, secrets have a way of finding their way back to you and being revealed.”

“Yeah,” I whisper. That’s the truth of it. It’s going to circle around sooner or later. I hope it’s been enough years that they don’t recognize me as the Blush Baby.

“I’ll help keep your secrets safe,” he whispers.

I can’t hide the shock. “You don’t even know me. For all you know I killed someone.”

He shrugs. “You’re good people, baby. I can tell. Whatever you need, I’ve got your back.”

I study him—really study him and see the sincerity in his words. It’s not every day someone like Lucian offers to help keep you safe. Because that’s what he’s really offering. And like him, I can tell he’s good people too.

I nod. “Thanks.”

He leans in, I hadn’t noticed the fingers still holding my chin lowered to brush against my cheek, and then he does it. He presses his lips to mine. Soft, so soft I barely feel it, then again a little firmer, and again. Holy Hannah.

He pulls back and looks at my mouth, brushing his thumb across my lower lip. His gaze raises to mine and I can’t read what I’m seeing. All I know is it’s intense.

“Oh hell,” Spenser exclaims. “No, no, no. Lucian, I told you—”

Lucian cuts him a look, his thumb still resting on my lip.

“Well,” Spenser announces in surprise.
Well what?
“Who would have thought.”
Huh?
I must have missed something with this nonverbal man-speak.

Lucian’s eyes meet mine and he smiles. “Pretty baby, you’re a breath of fresh air.”

“I’m not your ‘baby’,” I blurt out. I have no idea why I said that and I wish I could take it back as I feel heat rise into my cheeks. A blushing redhead isn’t a pretty sight.

He chuckles. “No, not baby. Baby.”

“What’s the difference?”

He smirks. “Not b-a-b-y. B-B.”

“Huh?”

“B-B for Blush Baby. Jesus, Coley, you’d think you’ve never been kissed before,” Spenser snickers. Silence. “Oh shit. Please tell me Lucian Cordero was
not
your first kiss. Shit. If that’s the case, we’re all doomed. You’re going to marry him and have his babies for sure. Christ. And I let this happen. Lucy and Ben are going to kill me. Make sure they have a closed casket no matter what. I don’t want people staring at a dead, lifeless corpse that looks nothing like this awesomeness,” he prattles on.

Lucian smirks at me and I smirk back.

“You’re safe, Spense. Lucian wasn’t my first kiss,” I tell him.

“Well, damn. I was kind of hoping I was,” Lucian replies.

“What. The. Fuck?!” explodes from the doorway. We turn, Lucian’s hand still resting against my cheek and mouth, and we’re met with a red-faced Ben Kingston, hands fisted at his sides.

“What ‘what the fuck’?” I ask, narrowing my eyes.

He looks away from me to Lucian, who’s grinning.

“What’s up Ben?”

“Did you fucking kiss her?” Ben bites out.

Lucian chuckles. “Sure did. Just a few minutes ago. Sweetest kiss I’ve ever had, no lie.”

“You motherfucker,” Ben curses, making his way across the room in quick strides but stops halfway.

“What’s the problem?” Lucian asks, still grinning.

“Get your fucking hand off her. You don’t touch her and you sure as fuck don’t kiss her!” he yells.

“Hey! What the hell is wrong with you?” I yell back. “He didn’t do anything I didn’t welcome.”

“The hell you say,” Ben says, hands on hips.

“Who are you to say who can or can’t kiss me or touch me?” I ask the manwhore of the BFD tour. It’s no secret he fucks random chicks all the damn time.

“What?” he asks, confused.

“I asked who the hell you are to say who can or can’t touch or kiss me? If I want Lucian to kiss me, he will kiss me and it’s none of your damn business, Ben Kingston. Go find one of your whores and let her keep you busy. This,” I say, pointing a finger between me and Lucian, “is between me and him.”

Ben stands there, jaw ticking, teeth grinding, hands fisted at his sides. If this were a cartoon we’d see steam coming out of his ears. Hell, the top of his head would blow off from the steam and fall back down. Of all the people to think they have a say. I scoff in his direction. He gives me looks, heated ones, interested ones, but that’s as far as it goes so he can just step off.

I turn to Lucian, who’s still grinning, and kiss his thumb. Ben growls. I’m not kidding. He let out a growl. The man has issues. Lucian winks and drops his hand when I turn to face the mirror.

“Finish beautifying me, Spense,” I say to a dumbstruck Spenser who has his makeup brushes clutched tightly to his chest, his eyes wide and focused on Ben. “Spenser!” I say louder and he jerks.

“Oh, yes. Okay. Oh my. This is… I need Lucy,” he says softly. “She handles these things.” He sends a quick text then turns to me. I look in the mirror to see Ben staring at me. I wish he would stop. The looks seem like they mean more than what they do and it’s more than I can handle.

I turn away from Ben’s hard gaze and meet Lucian’s softer one. He gives me a wink and I smile at him. He seems nice and he gives me butterflies kinda the way Ben’s gaze does—kinda.

I hear the door open and I look in time to see Ben’s tall, muscular frame walk through the doorway. He doesn’t even look back. No. Not Ben. Instead, he slams the door behind him blanketing us in silence once again.

“Well then,” Spenser says, all flustered. He pulls his shirt from his body and fans himself. “Is it hot in here?”

“Scorching,” Lucian answers.

Holy Hannah. What’s going on? What just happened in the last thirty minutes has changed what I thought I knew and what I thought I wanted. I never considered there to be more than one possibility, more than one man who’d be interested in me. I’m sick. I’m no prize. Maybe holding out for Ben Kingston is a dumb idea. And, after that display, maybe it’s one I can stop entertaining. He doesn’t want me but doesn’t want anyone else to have me. That doesn’t work for me. Not at all.

As Spenser applies my makeup, Simone tends to Lucian.

Maybe Lucian Cordero isn’t bad news like they think. I mean, people change, right? Some people, anyway. But not Ben. Nope. Ben will always hide within the safety of distance. I’m not sure why and I’m not sure I even want to know the answer to that anymore. He’s kept me dangling with those looks for the last couple months. But now? I think I’m going to see what else is out there for me.

I don’t know Lucian but I do know what he makes me feel and it’s nothing I’ve ever felt before. Maybe Lucian feels something too. I guess only time will tell.

All I know right now is Ben Kingston better get himself in check and not mess with Lucian or the chance that Lucian and I might have to get close. He has no right. He’s made it plain he isn’t ever going to act on whatever lies behind those eyes and now it’s my turn to make it plain to him that he needs to stop with those empty-ended looks.

I’m an all or nothing type of girl and Ben has nothing to offer.

Lucian grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze, sending me one of those blinding smiles that I can’t help but return. My heart skips a beat and low in my belly I feel those flutters. When he lifts my hand to his lips and kisses my knuckles, I lean forward, his eyes go wide for just a second before settling back to soft and wanting. Then he leans forward and kisses me again. Just a soft brush of lips and I raise my hand to his cheek.

I lean back slightly and look into his eyes. Why is he doing this? Why me? Is it pity? I’ll kick him square in the balls if it is. If it’s to toy with the sick girl, he’ll get more than a kick in his jewels. If it’s to use me, he wouldn’t be the first. But if it’s for more? Then I want to get to know him better and see what ‘more’ means and where it leads.

“Oh shit!” Lucy exclaims from the doorway.

“Holy smokes,” Sera whispers, eyes wide.

Spenser turns to them, opens his mouth, then closes it.

“They rendered Spenser speechless,” Xander says from the doorway, grinning like a loon. “What’s up Lucian?”

Lucian presses his lips to mine again. “This isn’t a game to me.”

It’s my turn to stare wide-eyed. I nod.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” Xander says.

BOOK: Ballad (Rockstar #5)
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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