Read Dark Without You Online

Authors: Sue Lyndon

Tags: #Erotic Romance

Dark Without You

BOOK: Dark Without You
9.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

~ Look for these titles from Sue Lyndon ~

 

Now Available:

 

Mountain Devil

 

 

 

Dark Without You

Sue Lyndon

Copyright Warning

EBooks are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared, or given away. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is a crime punishable by law. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded to or downloaded from file sharing sites, or distributed in any other way via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/).

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real in any way. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.

Published By:

Etopia Press

P.O. Box 66

Medford, OR 97501

http://www.etopia-press.net

Dark Without You

Copyright © 2012 by Sue Lyndon

ISBN: 978-1-937976-63-7

Edited by Jennifer Fitzpatrick

Cover by Amanda Kelsey

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

First Etopia Press electronic publication: August 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

A deep and growing frustration had Andy on edge. Muttering curses under his breath, he banged a stiff packet of sugar against the sticky diner table. He tore it over his coffee and grabbed two more packs, only to give them the same brutal treatment. Months on the road as a drummer touring with the band Soul Smashers had taken its toll. Everything pissed him off. Stiff packets of sugar were the least of his worries. He wanted out. He wanted to be as far away from the limelight as humanly possible. Cupping the coffee between his hands, he inhaled the powerful aroma and took a long sip. The bittersweet, hot liquid rolled down his throat and spread through his center like a cascade reaching every cell in his body.

Now that he was more alert, it was time for a difficult conversation with his breakfast companion. He stared across the table at Rich, his band manager and longtime friend. Seemingly unaware of Andy’s turmoil, Rich was sending e-mails on his phone while stuffing his face with blueberry pancakes. The drummer took a deep breath and cleared his throat.

Rich looked up, chewing vigorously. “So why the hell did you wake me up this early?” he asked through his mouthful of food.

Here it goes, Andy thought. He sat his beverage down and straightened up in the booth, directly meeting the other man’s curious gaze. “I can’t finish the tour. I want out.” He ran a hand through his shoulder-length blond hair and reached for his coffee with the same fidgeting hand.

Rich leaned back, his hearty appetite suddenly vanished. “She was a groupie, Andy, nothing more,” he said. “A whore.”

Andy’s face heated as his temper flared. The deep frustration bottomed out until a white-hot pain seared across his heart for what seemed like the thousandth time. He leaned forward, fisting his hands in the air. “Her name was Madison. And she was no whore.” Except she was, sort of. The coffee was suddenly tasteless. His throat felt like sandpaper and blood. He swallowed hard.

“Whatever she was, she’s gone.” Rich’s tone was softer now. “And we have contracts signed with fifteen more venues, twelve of which are completely sold out. Don’t be stupid, man. If you want to quit the band after the tour, let’s talk about it then. But don’t leave your brothers hanging. Do you really think we’d be able to find a replacement for you that easily?”

As much as Andy wanted to drop everything and drive away from whatever pit stop town this was, he knew Rich was right. Soul Smashers’ second record was huge and most of the venues had sold out. Overnight, they had become household names. Overnight, they had become rich beyond their wildest imaginations. If only Madison hadn’t played Andy for a fool, then this shit storm wouldn’t seem so dense. Her betrayal had been the tipping point—the confirmation that this wasn’t the kind of life he wanted.

“Andy? What say you? Are you in?” Rich was pleading. Of course he’d be put out if Andy quit. So would the other members of the band—Aaron, Derrick, and Paul. The five of them had gone to the same high school and started the band in Rich’s garage. Rich had begun on guitar, but Paul eventually took over and Rich found his talents in management.

Andy took another long sip of coffee, trying to banish the memory of Madison. Eventually, his sense of duty to his friends won out. “All right,” he said. “I’m in.”

The waitress bustled by to refill their coffee cups. Andy and Rich stared at each other in awkward silence until the woman left. “What about after the tour?” Rich asked, the vein on his temple pulsing. “You gonna leave us high and dry after the last show?”

Andy unclenched his fists and let loose a deep sigh. “Just get me a fucking coffee to go, and I’ll meet you out front,” he said, sliding out of the booth. Outside, Andy leaned against the building and drank in the morning like some kind of therapeutic drug. The sun peeked over a distant mountain, spilling bright yellow ribbons across the green valley.

He kicked a stray rock into the parking lot, cursing Madison under his breath. She was just a girl. A warm cunt. For three weeks, Madison had stayed on their bus and slept by his side—only to leave a note on his pillow one morning:

It’s been a blast, but I have to leave. Good luck with the rest of the tour.

He’d fallen hard and fast for the pretty blonde, and he’d thought she cared about him. Her easygoing, sweet nature—not to mention her willingness to entertain his darkest desires in the bedroom—had been his salvation in the midst of the stressful tour. Now it was impossible not to be bitter, especially after Andy discovered his wallet short a couple hundred dollars. No one knew about that part of his misfortune though, not even Rich. Leave it to Andy to be hung up on a girl who’d robbed him.

He didn’t want Madison back. He merely wished he’d never met the girl in the first place. The on-the-road-with-groupies situation made him uneasy. Sure, he liked sex as much as the next guy, but he wasn’t as casual about it as the rest of his bandmates. He preferred to possess one woman and to wear the pants in any relationship he entered. Being a tad old-fashioned
and
being a drummer in a metal band made for strange bedfellows.

His stomach churned. This wasn’t for him. He should leave the band after the tour ended.

The money he’d earned from record sales and concerts would last years, so he figured he’d have plenty of time to come up with Plan B. One thing was for certain: Andy wanted his life to change. All he had to do was survive the next few weeks, and then he could cut himself loose from the band. The guys would give him hell—but in the end they’d understand.

The first sip of the coffee Rich brought him tasted sweet and bitter and strong. Just the way Andy liked it.

 

* * *

 

Alice Grove sped away from Salisbury University toward the little house she shared with her brother, knowing the place was all hers for the summer. Rich was busy following his
boy band
around the country. She smiled at the thought of how angry he became when she called Soul Smashers a boy band. Really, they were a metal band. Rich needed to lighten up.

The house was as she’d left it, clean and empty. Sometimes she considered getting a dog for company, but she never made it halfway to the pet store without making a U-turn. Long-term commitments scared the hell out of her. Any of her previous boyfriends could attest to that. A school counselor once said it was because her parents died unexpectedly, although Alice chose not to ponder the reason any further.

She sighed and tossed her backpack on the floor. She was fine alone. One more semester and she’d have her degree. One more semester and she wouldn’t have to depend on Rich for money.

Alice had just finished her last summer class. With only three classes left and an internship during the fall, she would be graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in no time. Finding a job after that would be a piece of cake—she hoped.

She found the answering machine blinking red in the kitchen. From force of habit, Alice pulled her cell phone from her purse. Four missed calls from Rich. Of course. She smiled and wondered what her uptight brother wanted this time. Three weeks ago he’d wanted her to overnight his favorite blue sweater to a random town in Maine. “Are all the clothing stores in Maine out of blue sweaters?” she’d asked teasingly. But Rich hadn’t laughed. He hadn’t laughed in years, not since their parents died in a car accident. In the end she’d shipped his stupid blue sweater to Maine, wishing her brother would rediscover his sense of humor.

Just as Alice reached for the phone, it rang. “Hello?”

“Alice! I’ve been calling you all freaking day. Thanks for returning my message.” It was Rich, complete with his perpetual foul mood.

“I had the last final for my summer class. I just walked in the door. What was the message? Did the blue sweater not make it?”

“Very funny,” he said, his tone dry and dismissive. “What are you doing for the next couple of weeks?”

“Studying for my fall classes and helping Uncle Mitch out in the dealership office. I already told you several times,” Alice replied, dreading what Rich would request.
What are you doing for the next couple of
weeks
was a far cry from
overnight me that blue sweater
.

“Not anymore,” Rich said. “Pack some things and get a ticket to Chicago. The band will be there tomorrow night. I need you to finish the tour with us, Alice. It’s kind of an emergency.” A strange desperation had crept into his voice.

“What’s this about?” she asked suspiciously. Rich was a capable manager, and Alice knew nothing about music. She could barely hum a nursery rhyme, and her management skills stopped short of bookkeeping.

“We have fifteen shows left and things are starting to fall apart. Just this morning Andy tried to leave the tour.”

Alice’s breath caught in her throat at the mention of Andy. Throughout high school, she’d had the biggest crush on the drummer. Even though they’d spent a lot of time together, she’d always kept an emotional distance from the enigmatic Andy Steele. The protective way he’d treated her growing up had seemed almost parental at times. With Rich gone working most days and nights, Andy had kept an eye on her during her wild high school years. Alice still wondered what motivated him to practically stalk her at times. He’d had a tendency to show up at the most inopportune moments—like when she was about to slip into a college party at SU or skip school to spend a day at the beach.

A sharp sadness squeezed her heart. It was a stupid, pointless crush. Someone with a killer body who was in a famous band was clearly out of her league. Alice aspired to graduate from college and get a quiet, steady job so she could finally be independent. Andy aspired to put out record after record with his rising band. Didn’t he? Even before Soul Smashers made it big, Alice was water and Andy was oil. At least when it came to the things they wanted out of life.

“Andy wants to quit?” she asked, careful to maintain a neutral tone.

“Yes and that’s why I need you,” Rich said. “Some groupie broke his heart and now he wants to quit.”

“What am I supposed to do about that?” she asked. A moment of silence passed, and then the veil of confusion lifted. Her stomach clenched painfully. “You have some nerve, Rich.” Her brother had known about her crush on Andy. Back before their parents died, he used to tease Alice endlessly about it.

“I’m not asking what you think I’m asking.”

“Really? Because it sounds like you’re asking me to fly to Chicago and
comfort
Andy. I’m not some groupie, Rich. I’m your sister. How could you ask such a thing?” Alice gripped the phone so hard her knuckles turned white. It was bad enough that Rich never laughed or smiled or joked, but now this? She was his sister, not a whore.

“Andy had a crush on you when you were still in high school,” Rich finally said. “He got really drunk and told me about it one night. He never acted on it because you weren’t legal. Remember that time you came to see Soul Smashers on opening night in Virginia after your eighteenth birthday? He spent an hour picking out his clothes. He was actually nervous about seeing you, Alice. I swear it.”

Alice remembered the night clearly. Soul Smashers had played in Virginia Beach. She’d watched the concert from backstage. Of course she’d brought her at-the-moment boyfriend along, and Andy hadn’t spoken more than two words to her the whole night.

“You’re not my pimp,” she said, but her tone was contemplative. If Rich claimed Andy had a crush on her once, she believed it. Rich might not be a ray of sunshine, but he’d never lied to her before. Damn him for dangling this carrot in front of her nose.

“Your tuition for next semester has already been paid, Alice. You’ll get to graduate and get a job no matter what. You’re the one with the brains. But right now, this band is all I have. If they fold, I’m not sure what I’ll do after the money dries up,” he confessed. “I’m not asking you to sleep with Andy, I swear it. I’m just asking you to show up and spend time with all of us. It’ll be nice for all the guys to see an old friend. And if Andy forgets about that groupie, then great.”

Alice was speechless. Never before had Rich appealed to her for help with anything. He was scared. He was actually scared.

Maybe this was exactly what she needed before her last semester of college. One final adventure before she had to be 100 percent responsible. Growing up, she’d been a fuckup and a pain in Rich’s ass at times. She’d barely graduated high school because of all her unexcused absences—absences that Rich helped her get expunged from her record at the last minute. How she’d managed to balance her wild inclinations against college classes was still a mystery to her, but her motivation had come largely from an overwhelming urge to please Rich. He was a bitter little man, but he took care of her, even when she didn’t deserve it.

“Well…I
have
missed you guys,” she said in a lighthearted tone. Then she grew more serious. “All right. I’ll visit you guys for a while. But I’m doing this for you, brother, not for Andy.” It was half-truth and half lie.

“Thank you,” Rich said, his voice overcome with relief. Alice couldn’t be sure, but it sounded like he was smiling. That was something she’d fly to Mars just to see. And knowing Andy had had a crush on her once was the icing on the cake.

 

* * *

 

Andy Steele tugged his hat down over his untamed hair, hoping no one would pay him any notice. He hated being recognized in public, so he’d taken to wearing hats. Although he
was
six foot seven and drove around in a huge tour bus, so even people who’d never heard of him would stop to stare. He almost choked on his iced tea when a Soul Smashers’ song began playing on the loudspeakers in the airport café. Relief rushed over him when no one looked his way. With fame came paranoia, and paranoia didn’t suit him well.

A few minutes later, Andy found the gate, cursing Rich for having a hangover. The jerk hadn’t had the decency to sober up for his sister’s arrival. Poor Alice. She didn’t have many family members left, just Rich and an uncle. Rich could at least make an effort. The band manager thought money solved all problems, even if that problem was his own sister. Instead of giving her a healthy dose of affection during the time she’d needed it most, Rich thought the best way to deal with Alice was to make sure she had an overflowing bank account.

BOOK: Dark Without You
9.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Sons of Fortune by Malcolm Macdonald
Memorías de puercoespín by Alain Mabanckou
Twice Tempted by Eileen Dreyer
Ouroboros 2: Before by Odette C. Bell
Rex Stout_Tecumseh Fox 03 by The Broken Vase
The Ancient Enemy by Christopher Rowley