Authors: Aubrey Rose
BIG GIRL ROCKING IN THE SUNSHINE
An Erotic Romance
by Aubrey Rose
She wants to help, but can’t see the risk she’s taking.
Shannon is thrilled to be along on tour with
. As the official band photographer, she begins to grow closer and closer to the band. But how close is too close?
He can’t see through his jealousy.
When Julian sees Shannon in Asher’s arms, he retreats to his old ways – self-loathing and self-destruction. He aches for Shannon, but thinks she’s abandoned him. He should have seen it coming. He shouldn’t have opened his heart up. Not to anyone.
Will a dream come true turn into a nightmare?
Copyright 2013 by Aubrey Rose
First Edition: April 2013
Cover design by Aubrey Rose
Shannon flipped her long red hair back, trying not to look as out of place as she felt. Every fan in the crowd seemed to be a different version of the same skinny, bleached-blond beauty.
Oh well, guess I didn’t get the memo.
She raised her camera up and took two steps backward in the sand to frame the shot, bumping into a group of cheering fans as she moved back.
“Oops, sorry!” She steadied herself and focused her camera on the singer of the band that was up on stage. It was a group of girls who were rocking out like their life depended on it. The banner strung out over the stage behind them read
. They were opening for
, and Shannon wanted to make sure she got good shots of everything, even the opening act.
“Watch yourself,” one of the fans said. Shannon apologized again, but as she turned away she could hear them fuming behind her: “… as fat as a walrus seal. And just as clumsy!”
Shannon would normally have been crushed by such a remark, but today nothing could put her in a foul mood. Not while she was on tour with her man, the lead guitarist for
. The San Diego sunshine was still warming the sand in the late afternoon, and from the front of the stage she could see the ocean crashing into the pier just a step away. It was the perfect venue for a show - the stage set up right next to the beach on the sandy dunes. And even though it was early spring, the weather couldn’t have been more beautiful.
The only problem, in fact, was that the sunshine made it somewhat hard to get good shots of the band on stage. She had hoped to figure it out by shooting the opening band,
. But as the singer hit the last note of their last song, Shannon realized that there was no way she was going to be able to get any good shots of
in the over-bright sun.
Some people thought the more light, the better, but photographers knew that too much sun caused no end of trouble. The high contrast created blown-out highlights in the images, and too much contrast made it hard to fix afterward. The shadows cast by an overhead sun could even make people’s faces look gaunt, like skeletons.
Julian had trusted her to shoot the last stop on their tour, though, and Shannon was determined to make it work. As
exited the stage, she darted up to the side stairs. The band had already come out of the dressing rooms in the building behind the stage, and she could see Daniel checking over their gear.
“Hold on,” the security guard said, putting up his hands to stop her.
“I’m with the band,” Shannon said, holding out her backstage pass. “I need to get on stage.”
He waved her along, stepping back to contain the mob of girls behind her who were already screaming Alex Wilder’s name.
“Hey sexy, what are you doing here?” Julian said when he saw Shannon backstage. His guitar was slung over his shoulder and he bent down to give Shannon a kiss. The brief contact made Shannon’s stomach twist with desire.
“I brought some windshield reflectors,” Shannon said, craning her head to look around the band’s gear. “I left them next to the amps. Are they-”
She saw what she was looking for and bent over to grab them.
“Perfect. Any chance I can set these up onstage?”
“Sure,” Julian said, smiling at Shannon’s fervor. “What for?”
“Just need to get some light reflected onto you guys. Or else the sun is going to wash you out in the photos.”
“My beautiful photography genius.” Julian kissed her forehead, hugging her close. She felt his hands begin to drift down her hips.
“Julian! Later, later!” She hated to leave him. “I have to set this up.”
“Of course. My very serious and very professional photography genius.” He released her from his embrace.
“Oh hush, you!” Shannon smiled as she turned away and skipped up the stage steps to set up the reflectors. The road crew for
was still dismantling their sound equipment as she placed the reflectors across the edge of the stage, out of the way of the band but still close enough to reflect light. She darted a glance down to the audience, and her breath caught in her throat.
The raised stage here had no curtain; everything was open to the audience. From down in the crowd, Shannon hadn’t realized how vast the audience of people was. Looking out now, though, she saw thousands and thousands of scantily-clad fans swarming across the sand. The ocean was in clear view, too, with the sun reflecting off the waves crashing down on the beach. Shannon snapped a lens hood onto her camera and started shooting. When the crew from
came to set up the stage, she continued to take photos, adjusting the reflectors based on how they looked. Julian smiled as she came back down the stairs.
“You look determined. And professional. And sexy as hell.”
Shannon simply held up the camera and snapped away.
“Portrait of a rock star,” she said.
“Portrait of a man in love,” Julian echoed, and then he was walking up the stairs and onto the stage behind Alex, and the crowd was screaming the band’s name. Shannon’s heart leapt in her chest.
Julian had asked her to come to the last stop on their tour to photograph the band, and she knew he liked her, but he had never once mentioned love. Until now.
Her blood pumped hard through her veins.
“Pull yourself together, Shannon,” she said to herself, holding her camera up to her chest. “You have a job to do.”
Shannon pushed through the crowd, snapping shots from different angles. The sun was beginning to sink down toward the horizon and the light shone dimly onto the band as the music started up. The sound system blared the first guitar intro, and the crowd screamed in unison. Shannon could hear a mob of girls shouting Julian’s name and she smiled.
He’s all mine.
The drum beat pounded in her heart, making her grateful that Julian had given her earplugs to protect her eardrums. It was
, even on an outside stage. She got a great shot of Alex leaning down to touch the sea of hands reaching out to the stage. Another one of Daniel fiercely playing his bass, concentrating only on the strings. Asher’s hair was flying all over the place while he drummed, but she had fun trying for a close-up shot through his drum kit from the front of the stage. She could feel the music throbbing through her body as she took the photos, and the energy of the crowd pulsed electric in the air.
She took photos of the fans, too. One of the girls had a
tattoo inked on her entire back, the band’s name surrounded by roses and hearts. A group of guys dressed only in skimpy swim trunks posed next to a banner sign reading “I LOVE ALEX WILDER”. Too many girls flashed Shannon for her to keep count; she pretended to take pictures and moved away from them quickly.
Before the set was done, Shannon got backstage to get some pictures from the back. She climbed the ladder behind the stage and tried to be as unobtrusive as possible. The shots were perfect. You could see the sun setting over the ocean, the audience backlit by the orange and red rays. Alex and Julian were playing together, the ocean visible between their two guitars.
Perfect, just perfect.
Shannon had already gone back around to the crowd to take more sideview pictures when she saw Pat hurrying the band back to their dressing rooms. She squirmed through the waves of fans who were trying to push their way backstage toward the band, worried all the way that her camera would be crushed by the enthused mob. She got past one security guard, but as she made her way toward the building the security people were turning people away.
“Sorry, emergency,” the guard said. “Can’t let anyone back here.”
“I’m with the band,” Shannon said, yelling so that the guard could hear her over the roar of the crowd. “What emergency?”
The guard shrugged and let her in. She saw Pat just inside the hallway.
“What’s happening?” she asked, breathless. “They said there was an emergency.”
“It’s a PR emergency,” the manager said, his forehead beaded with sweat. He was texting someone on his cell phone, his thumbs moving rapid-fire on the keys.
“They’re all in Alex’s room,” Pat said, pointing his thumb back at the door marked
before going back to his texts. “You probably don’t want to go in there.”
“What? Why not?”
“It’s nothing. Alex is just a bit worked up.”
Something heavy crashed against the dressing room door from inside, and Shannon’s eyes widened.
“Alright, he’s a lot worked up.” Pat read an incoming message on his phone, and groaned.
Shannon pushed past him impatiently and opened Alex’s dressing room door. As she walked through the doorway a chair skidded across the floor and banged hard into a table.
“What the FUCK?” Alex yelled. His flushed face was knotted into a mixture of sorrow and anger. Julian leaned against the dressing room counter, and both Daniel and Asher sat in chairs, watching with not a small amount of worry.
“What’s going on?” Shannon asked. She took a tentative step inside the dressing room as Alex whirled his arm around, scattering the venue financial paperwork into the air.
“Don’t ask,” Asher said. Daniel shook his head in agreement.
“What in the good goddamn FUCK?” Alex threw himself backwards against the wall, his head held in his hands as though it would burst if he let go. His arms vibrated with tension.
“This can’t be happening,” he said. His head shook. “Not happening. Not now.”
Shannon’s eyes moved to Julian, who nodded toward the television.
“BREAKING NEWS!” It was one of those Hollywood entertainment channels. On screen was a photograph of Alex Wilder locked in a passionate embrace. The surprising part came when Shannon saw who Alex was kissing.
“Is that Jason?”
Alex spun around toward Shannon.
“You know him?”
“Um… yeah.” Everybody was staring at Shannon. The air in the room was thick with confusion. “He’s my friend.”
“Did you take that picture?”
Alex pushed aside the chair in front of him and strode towards Shannon. Immediately Julian stood up.
“No!” Shannon cried out. “No, of course not!”
“You tell your goddamn friend that whoever he got to snap this picture is going to get sued off of his ass for slander. You know what they’re saying about me?” Alex stood right in her face, his breath hot with anger.
“Hey, don’t talk to her that way.” Julian reached Alex and grabbed ahold of one of his shoulders.
“Don’t touch me!” Alex turned and tried to shake Julian off. “It’s her fucking friend!”
“It’s not her fault you’re gay!”
It felt like slow motion. Alex’s fist pulled back, and Shannon could only watch in horrified paralysis as he hit Julian hard, right in the face. Julian’s head whipped back and he stumbled backwards from the punch.
“Fuck!” Julian’s hand came up to hold his cheek. Alex, still frenzied, went to throw another punch and Julian caught his arm, wrenching it forward. Alex was pulled off balance and Julian shoved him across the dressing room counter. Shannon heard the dressing mirror lights shatter as Alex’s lower body smashed into them.
“Stop it!” she cried out. Julian stepped back as Pat rushed through the door.
“Owww,” Alex moaned. He held his side.
“Everybody out!” the manager cried. Asher and Daniel stood up in immediate synchrony and made for the door. Julian looked back at Shannon.
“Everybody out!” he said. “Only Alex can stay. Everybody else out!”
Julian drew one arm around Shannon and led her out, looking backwards over his shoulder at Alex, still prostrate on the counter. There was a look of desperation in his eyes, and Shannon had the strange urge to go back and give him a hug. He seemed entirely alone and angry, like a wild dog backed into a corner and forced to lash out.