Authors: Vivian Lux
A Rockstar Stepbrother Romance
All Rights Reserved
This book contains adult themes, explicit language and sexual situations. It is intended for mature audiences.
NOTE: All characters in the book are 18+ years of age, non-blood related, and all sexual acts are consensual.
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This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Any similarities to events or situations are also coincidental.
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(C) 2016 by Vivian Lux and Velvetfire Press
All Rights Reserved
To B., even though he thought Rane's brother should be named Drain.
To N. and E., Mama really loves that you go to school like big boys now.
To Jill for giving me Rane's name.
To my Vandals, thank you for the support, advice and the enthusiasm, and for being so dang patient whenever I disappear into the writing cave.
To Toni. If I can do it, you can do it. So do it!
To my wonderful readers. I hope you like it.
About this book:
Everything was easy...until I met
If at first you don't succeed, fuck it and move the hell on. I'm Rane Wilder and I'm not one to hold on to shit. Life as the guitarist in the biggest band on the planet is fun. Which is good.
Because the second it stops being fun, I'm out.
Being in the music video with Madeline Cole, that was fun too. Sure, the band had misgivings. Maddie's a crazy former child star who hit rock bottom hard, and is now trying to revitalize her career. She's a fiery redhead with big blue eyes and a bad reputation, but her mom is dating my dad, so I thought I'd do her a favor by giving her the work.
That's when things get difficult.
Because falling for Maddie is really easy. I can see the fire inside of her, and I love it that I'm the one who makes her burn.
But being with her? That's hard as hell.
Especially when our parents announce their engagement
I've fallen for a force of nature and she's about to become my stepsister.
And for the first time in my life, I can't move on.
Rehearsal was almost over and my brother had barely lifted his guitar. Frankly, it was pissing me off.
I set my Gibson down on its stand and stalked over to where Keir was hunched over a borked old effects pedal. The piece of shit was at least forty years old, yet somehow, Keir thought it was necessary for "authentic sound."
"Are you still fucking around with that?" I asked him, folding my arms across my chest.
Keir looked up like he was startled I was even there, which only served to irk me further. This was the last band time we'd get in a while. The press junket for 'Desolation City' was starting tomorrow. We had a video shoot scheduled for the next two days, then a few of those infernal "buzz gigs" coming up, which sound awesome right up until you have to deal with being crammed into a too-small space with too many self-important people to even care about the music you're playing. But Keir saw a minor problem and—as usual—devoted all of his focus and energy on the minuscule shit.
He sat back on his heels and glared at me. "I'm not 'fucking around.' I'm fixing it."
I took a deep breath. Losing my temper would only push him further into it. I knew this from twenty-six years of experience. "You've been 'fixing it' for the entire rehearsal," I said in my 'patient older brother' voice. "Give it a rest, Bulldog."
Pepper smirked from behind her keyboards and went back to her endless arpeggios and scales. My father, who loved to sit in on our rehearsals, sighed heavily from the back corner.
Keir looked up sharply at his childhood nickname. "I would be done already," he started explaining, "but I need a pair of wire cutters and I forgot to bring mine today. I've been trying to splice the connection by hand, but..."
"But it still isn't working."
Keir opened his mouth, then shut it in defeat. "Not yet. But it will," he answered with a defiant jut of his chin.
"Let it fucking go, dude. That thing is a piece of shit. We have enough money; we'll just buy one that works."
Keir's eyes flashed at me, and I could tell he was about to start swinging. What did my shrink call it? Misdirected anger?
"You know, you're a lazy piece of shit, Rane. 'Just buy one.' Seriously? Did you fucking forget where we came from?"
"Oooh!" Twitch hooted like someone in the Jerry Springer audience and stood up from behind his drum kit, eager to watch the fireworks. But I wasn't in the mood.
"Yup." I shrugged. "Totally fucking forgot. You got me, little brother. I woke up rich and in the band that's 'saving rock and roll' or whatever the fuck they're saying this week. That's me. Amnesia central."
Keir growled something profane and stood up with his fists clenched. I stood my ground. Balzac set down his bass and went about quietly and resignedly moving breakables out of our path. This wasn't the first Ruthless rehearsal that would end with the Wilder brothers beating on each other and it definitely wasn't going to be the last.
Not while Keir continually insisted on being a stubborn, blinkered asshole, anyway.
I neatly sidestepped Keir's swing and turned to where Keith was calling from the side entrance. "What?"
"Cut it out." Our manager looked sweaty and put-out. But that was normal, too.
"He started it," Keir complained.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" I laughed. "What are you, twelve?"
"I don't give a shit," Keith said, his voice rising into panicky, girlish registers. "We've got a real problem here."
"Sure we do," I scoffed. The more Keith panicked, the less of a problem it actually was. This was an established fact.
Keith eyed me sourly and popped a pack of Rolaids out of the pocket of his pleated trousers. "Shaya's agent called," he half-spoke, half-burped. "She's got food poisoning and can't make it tomorrow."
The five of us looked at each other silently. Then every head in the room swiveled to me.
"So now what?" Keir asked.
"So now, we get someone else." I shrugged.
"Gonna be hard to find a decent actress on such short notice. And I'm pretty sure Warlox won't reschedule."
I heaved a sigh. "Where the fuck did he come up with that name?"
"Oh, I don't know,
. It's weird, for sure."
My brother was trying in vain to get me in a headlock when our father cleared his throat. "I, ah…" He paused, his soft voice hoarse with lack of use. "I might have someone."
Keir and I paused, though he managed one more slap to the back of my head before letting go. "Bitch," I muttered.
"That's great. Who do you have, Mr. Wilder?" Balzac looked like an escaped convict, and was approximately the height and width of a refrigerator, but he was always unfailingly polite with his elders.
"Sylvia's girl," Dad said softly, pointedly staring at his phone and avoiding our eyes.
"Really?" Keir blustered at the same time that I shook my head. "No. No way."
"Who?" Twitch demanded.
Keir was already laughing. "Holy shit, Dad, are you kidding?"
I folded my arms and waited. My dad had always done right by us. There had to be some reason he was suggesting this.
The old man scratched his chin in that slow, deliberate way of his. Keir tapped his foot, incensed that he couldn't just fix this shit right now. But I knew there was no point in hurrying my father when he had a point to make. We'd be here all day if he needed it.
"Madeline's looking for work. It'd be a favor to Sylvia. And me."
"Madeline who?" Twitch looked back and forth between Keir and me like he was watching a tennis match.
I rubbed my chin. "'Mad' Maddie Cole," I explained.
"No fucking way." Keir shook his head violently.
I held up my hand. "Wait, this makes sense. She needs work, we need an actress. Hire her and save the trouble of going through last minute auditions."
"'Save the trouble.' That's like your mantra. You're like a Zen master of laziness."
"I'm not lazy. I'm economical. Choose your fucking battles, Keir. You're going to give yourself a heart attack. Or me, for that matter."
"For you to have a heart attack, you'd need to have a heart first."
"Oh, burn. So wise for your age." Keir hated it when I pointed out our eleven-month age gap. "But hang on and think for a second. What's the video about?"
"Your psycho ex-girlfriend, Gina"
I grunted at the memory. "And who better to play a psycho than a chick famous for going psycho?"
Twitch had finally put the pieces together. "Are you guys talking about the chick who played Parker Paisley?
Parker?" He struck a pose and started singing in a high falsetto. "'Gonna rule the school / it's gonna be so cool...' Oh shit, how did the rest go?"
I gave him a blank look. "Sitcoms about teen princesses weren't exactly on my radar, Twitchy-man."
"Fuck you, man, she's gorgeous," Twitch protested.
"Pig," Pepper scoffed.
"Well, she is! Shit, when we used to watch that show..." He gestured towards his crotch and elbowed his twin. "You know you loved her too, sis."
Pepper rolled her eyes. "I'm done wasting my time crushing on straight girls." Then she sighed and bit her lip. "But I will admit...back then, though...holy shit."
"Okay, while this whole twin reminiscence of sexual awakening is adorable and all, the fact remains that Madeline Cole went off the deep end. Remember the whole..." Keir yanked at his hair and made a buzzing sound.
"Oh man, I totally forgot about that! Her hair!" Twitch exploded. "Didn't she, like, go insane and buzz her head and then get fired from the show? Yeah! Like a year or two ago? You're right, that chick is nuts. Gorgeous. But totally nuts!"
I ignored Twitch. I wasn't interested in ancient history. The past was the past, and what was important was getting tomorrow's shoot handled. "We'd get a lot of hits," I mused. "Fuck, we might even go viral. Far as I know, she hasn't worked in a while. We can call it a comeback.”
My dad had been watching this whole exchange, his face unreadably calm. He never showed his hand until he was absolutely sure of it. He should have been a poker player instead of a machinist. "So, should I call her or what, boys?"
Everyone looked at me again. Keir and I had reached an unspoken agreement way back when. He'd do the singing, but I was the voice of the band. Interviews, appearances, those things were my call. My brother loved the glare of the spotlight when we took the stage, but took his privacy seriously.
Me, I didn't give a shit either way. This was all just a game to me. So, I was going to be the one in this video. And hanging out with a crazy chick—that might be fun. "Yeah, I'd say let's do it." I nodded.
Keir shrugged. "I give up. Sure, whatever, what the fuck. But tomorrow, I'm bringing some holy water, an old priest and a young priest. Just in case."