This story takes place in between Dare to Dream and Dare to Love.
Rumors was hopping with activity as ladies dressed in silver and gold dresses, spiked heels and hair styled to perfection mingled with men decked out in crisp shirts and tailored pants. Soft music played overhead as the waitresses waited on tables and booths. I stood behind the bar, staring out at the crowd that would only get bigger with Zeal on stage to ring in the New Year. Lacey’s old man who owned a record label had booked my favorite band for the occasion. New Year’s Eve brought out the crazies, but coupled with a popular band that had ten number one hits, the night was sure to have some excitement
“You alive in there?” Kelton snapped his fingers at me from the other side of the bar. “I asked for a beer.” He snickered like his usually cocky self.
“Nice try.” I’d been managing Rumors for Mr. Robinson since I started working here at the end of my senior year three years ago. And my brother was always trying to weasel a beer or a shot out of my staff or me.
He shrugged. “I had to ask. Your dick hard because Zeal is performing tonight?”
“Fuck you.” Zeal was my favorite band, and I had to admit I had a fucking man crush on JJ Trent, the lead singer. The dude could weave words together that even got my heart pumping in overdrive, especially if Lacey and I were together and one of his songs was playing.
“Kody doesn’t know anything, right?”
“Nah. He and Kross are on their way,” Kelton said.
We were surprising Kody with a late Christmas present. He was going to shit his pants when he found out what we had in store for him. Which was another reason why my nerves were singing. I wanted to make sure I saw his face when we presented his gift.
“No date tonight?” I asked.
“Nope. I’m a free man, and I have a sea of women to choose from.” Kelton waved a hand around the club as the cocky grin of his only got wider.
No doubt he wouldn’t have any problems with the ladies. His black hair and blue eyes seemed to be the magnet that drew women in. “Is Chloe coming tonight?” He and Chloe had been dating off and on since high school. I could never keep track of his love life. I didn’t care to either.
“You know we broke up,” he said. “But her old man has some charity shindig she had to go to. All the best for me. Even though we’re not dating if she sees me with another woman, her claws come out. It fucks up the mood big time.”
Whatever. I was glad I didn’t have to play the field. I had my girl, the love of my life. I checked my watch. “I’m going to see if Zeal is about ready.” Lacey was back in the office with them, and I wanted to get my fix of her before the night got away from us, even if it was just a taste.
I ducked out from behind the bar, dodging the long line to the women’s bathroom. I slipped into the office, and lost my vision. Lacey was in JJ’s arms and his hand was so fucking close to her ass. Their conversation seemed to be surrounded about old times in LA or something on the topic. But all I heard was the pounding in my ears. I cleared my throat.
JJ let go of her.
She turned, giving me one of her get-over-it looks. Fuck that. Yeah, I was possessive and could be extremely jealous. But only when men’s hands were too close to her body parts that I considered off limits to anyone but me. The last thing I wanted to do was start a fight with someone I admired. I knew JJ and Lacey had history since she’d been to most of Zeal’s rehearsals at the record studio when she lived in LA.
She wiggled her curvaceous body, smiling the whole time. I couldn’t help but grin as I held back a groan, losing my jealousy. She wore a red dress that fell to mid thigh. Her long legs were covered in brand new thigh-high black suede boots I’d gotten her for Christmas. And her hair was twisted and messy on top of her head. At twenty-one-years-old, Lacey had grown into the sexiest woman I had ever laid eyes on. Sure, she was fucking hot in high school with her curves, her toned body and her long wavy hair. However, three years later, she’d filled out more in the hips and had a glow about her. She was definitely happier and her PTSD had waned, although if she had any episodes while at college, I wasn’t aware of them. Still, the older Lacey made my heart beat faster than it ever had.
“Hey,” she said as she lifted up on her toes and pecked a kiss on my lips. “I’ll be right back.” She disappeared into my private bathroom.
With Lacey out of the room, I took in the rest of the band. The keyboard player, Drain lounged on the couched, his long legs extended. Next to him, the guitarist, Vin nodded my way, his short brown hair spiked on his head. Then Pat, the drummer sipped on a soda as he twirled a drumstick in the other hand. And the last of the bunch was Jake, JJ’s brother. He was the band manager and the spitting image of JJ. Both had blond hair and green eyes with dimples that made the girls drool, according to Lacey. All of the band members sported short hair, ranged in age from twenty to twenty-one, and was in great physical shape. Which was another reason the girls fainted over the band.
“It’s time for you guys to warm up,” I said.
With the exception of JJ, the band filed out one by one.
JJ came up to me, shaking his shaggy blond hair out of his dark green eyes. “You’re one lucky dude, man. I remember Lacey when she had no curves.”
I took in a deep breath. “I am. And whether I admire you or not, I suggest you keep your hands off her ass.” My voice was low and deadly. Yeah, I was marking my territory, and I didn’t give a flying fuck who JJ was at the moment.
He clapped a hand on my back. “I wouldn’t dream of worming in on a dude’s territory. Fuck, I’d say the same thing if she was my girl.” He chuckled all the way out of the office.
I stalked into the bathroom, desperately needing my Lacey fix. I didn’t get many chances with her away at college.
She was moving a stray hair away from her face.
I twirled her around and snagged her to me. As soon as her chest was plastered against mine, my dick responded instantly.
She giggled. “Are you having a rough night?”
“You know I hate when men other than family have their hands on you, especially when they venture to close to your ass.”
“Kade, it’s only JJ. He’s an old friend. Besides, he didn’t touch my butt. Otherwise, I would’ve drove my knee into his balls.”
No doubt that was true. She’d done it to me, and I didn’t even touch her ass. Then again, I’d been a stranger to her when I had her up against shelves in a janitor’s closet in high school. I silently winced at that thought. Or I should say my balls cringed. It hurt like a motherfucker when her knee connected with my groin.
She rubbed a hand down over my belt buckle, batting her long lashes that framed her green eyes. “Mr. Steel is ready.” She bit her lip. “Lock the door.”
I arched an eyebrow. “You sure?” When I said I wanted a taste that was only to kiss her. But damn. If she was game then fuck yeah. We had time for a quickie. “Your hair will get messed up.”
“Doesn’t matter. It can be fixed.”
Her carefree attitude was one of the things I loved about her. She wasn’t one of those girly girls. Hell, she played men’s baseball.
I grinned as I locked the door. When I turned around she had her dressed hiked up to her waist, wearing a red thong another present from me for Christmas. The words you’re mine was scripted on it in black stitching. My dick jerked at the sight of her in those fuck-me boots and the thong she was shimmying out of.
“Leave the boots on,” I growled as I made quick work of shucking out of my jeans.
I gripped her waist and lifted her into my arms. Her hands locked around my neck. Then her mouth crashed to mine, hot and urgent. She devoured my lips before sucking on my tongue. I guided her down until I was completely inside her before anchoring us to the closet door. I’d love to take my time. I’d love to lay her out on my bed. I’d love to watch her do sexy things to herself. She always took foreplay to a whole new level. But this wasn’t the place, and time was limited. So, I drove in and out, slow to start, absorbing us and how ready she was for me.
She responded with soft moans, her hands rushing through my hair, her mouth now on my ear.
“Faster,” she said, her breathing picking up.
Damn. Sweat beaded on my body. I held her hips and stopped.
She leaned back. “What’re you doing?”
Even though time wasn’t on our side, my gaze roamed over her face, wanting, no needing to connect on higher level other than sex. Her cheeks were dark red, her eyelids were at half-mast, her lips were slightly swollen and strands of hair fell in all directions. My dick swelled to huge proportions at how beautiful she was, and she was all mine.
“I love the crap out of you,” I said in a hoarse voice.
“Then show me,” she said. “Please.”
I thrust in and out, picking up the pace. She spewed soft little noises. The closest doors rattled as I kept up a steady rhythm. She tangled her hands in my hair, dragging her nails through my scalp. Her moans came faster as she dug the heels of her boots into my ass. Then she stiffened, tightening her body around me.
“That’s it, baby. Let it go.”
She continued to breath heavy, as I drove in then out, quicker, harder and higher until she yanked on my hair. As though that was my trigger, I exploded inside of her, pressing her against the door, holding back a groan. Not that anyone would hear us over the screaming girls out in the club. But in case anyone was in the office.
I blew out a long breath as she smooth back my hair. Then I kissed her long and deep, not wanting to leave this spot, not wanting to put her on two feet.
“Kade,” Kelton called. “Are you in here?” Then he banged on the door. “Stop screwing your girl, and get the fuck out here. The band is about to go on. And Kody and Kross are here.”
Lacey laughed as I set her down. “Never fails, he always interrupts.”
“We’ll be right out,” I snapped.
Five minutes later, Lacey and I were at the bar. The triplets took one look at us and rolled their eyes. I grinned. Lacey was home for the holidays, and I didn’t get many chances to be alone with her before she returned to school, especially with the holidays and family gatherings.
I scanned the club. The waitresses were darting from table to table while two bartenders tended to customers, flipping bottles of liquor and pouring mugs of beer. The bouncers were positioned around the stage just in case anyone got any ideas about tackling JJ or other members of the band. Which was not far fetched. During several of their concerts, girls were known to throw their bra and panties at them, and some even diving on stage to get a feel or hug or even kiss from any of the band members.
“So, Zeal, huh?” Kody asked, his face flashing with excitement like a schoolgirl about to see the new boy band in town. “Man, I’d give anything to jam with Vin.”
“You can meet him during a set break,” Lacey said, curling into my arms.
“I’m not leaving until I do,” Kody returned.
Girls walked by, eyeing the triplets. One with long red nails, dragged her finger across Kelton’s chin and said, “Later, hot stuff.”
Then out of nowhere a girl dressed in a skintight silver dress waved at us as she plowed through the crowd. On my left, Kross cringed.
“OMG!” Becca Young, Lacey’s high school friend, threw her arms around Lacey.
The two embraced. “It’s so good to see you,” Lacey said as they meandered into the hall, chatting.
Kross sighed as though he was relieved she left.
“It seems you don’t want anything to do with her.” I butted up to the bar with my back to it, and then rested my elbows on top.
“We had a good time in high school, but she talked about Langley constantly.”
“Speak of the devil.” Kelton who was standing on the other side of Kross pointed ahead of us.”
Tyler sauntered up, taller than I remembered and had girls ogling him as he past a group of them. My blood started to thicken. He always had his eye on Lacey. In fact, he confessed his love for her to me when we were in high school. My blood gelled a little bit more at that thought.
Tyler ran his hands through his blond hair. “I heard this is the place to be tonight.”
Kody ponied up to stand on my right. “Man, are you taking steroids?” He asked Tyler.
Tyler Langley was a big time quarterback for Florida State. My brothers and I occasionally caught one of his games on TV.
“I could ask you guys the same thing,” Tyler said.
A scuffled broke out around the stage as JJ tapped on the mike. I was ready to pop off the bar when one of the bouncers got it under control.
“Hey, everyone. Who’s ready to party?” JJ’s voice blared from the speakers.
Screams, whistles and shouts erupted as people shuffled closer to the stage.
“We’re going to start with “Change.”
The girls screamed at the top of their lungs.
Tyler found a spot on the other side of Kody. Two girls hopped up to sit on the bar on the other side of Kelton. Leo, one of the bartenders, was about to tell them to get down, but I held up my hand then shook my head at him. It was New Year’s Eve, and we had one of the top bands in the country playing. I wanted everyone to have fun.
George, one of my bouncers, strutted over. His linebacker physique kept several fights from turning into hospital cases many nights over the years. “Fire Marshall is here.”
What the fuck? I mashed my lips together, hard. “Have you been counting as you let people in?”
“We have, but you know. It’s a big event, and this place isn’t that accommodating for Zeal.”
I searched the doorway to the main entrance. Three firemen scanned the room.
“How many in here?” I asked George.
“We’re at our limit of 500.”
George and I stalked through the throng of people.
“Are you the manager?” An older gentleman who was dressed out in full fire gear asked.
“Yes, sir. Is there a problem? We got all the required approvals for tonight.” We had to alert the fire and police department of this shindig.
“Just making our rounds,” the fireman said. “It looks like you’re at your limit. So I’d suggest you ensure that no one else is allowed in.”
I flicked my head at George. “Check the entrance crew.”
He nodded as he left.
I wasn’t too worried. We had our bases covered. With Zeal the hot item in town, I’d hired off-duty cops to cover all exits and entrances along with my crew just in case anyone had any idea of sneaking in. Plus, Zeal had their own bodyguards. They’d hired the Guardian, a bodyguard and bouncer service owned by Jeremy Pitt, Russian mob boss and Lacey’s uncle. In fact, my best friend, Hunt, was working Zeal’s detail tonight. He got stuck babysitting their bus out back.
Zeal was halfway through their song.
“Are we good?” I asked the fireman.
He spoke into his radio that was tacked onto his shoulder. “Clear?”
I couldn’t make out what the guy on the other end said.
“You’re good. Have a nice night.” The fireman and his team walked out.
I turned around and about lost my shit for the second time tonight. Tyler had his arms around Lacey. Breathe, man. You can’t freak out every time a dude hugs your girl. I knew my subconscious was right. I knew I had to cool my jets. His hands weren’t anywhere near her ass, but it was Tyler—the guy who confessed his love for her.
I clenched my teeth as I ducked behind the bar.
“What’s wrong?” Leo asked, wiping his hands on his jeans.
“Nothing.” I poured a shot of tequila. I had to get over my possessive and jealous streak. After all, Lacey and I trusted each other. It’s Tyler fucking Langley, the devil inside me roared. I knocked back the shot, the amber liquid burning a path down my throat.
“Feel better?” Leo was making three margaritas.
“Just peachy, man.” I ambled down to the end of the bar where the waitresses collected the drinks, and I spied Hunt on his way toward me. “Hey, man. I thought you were guarding the bus?”
“I’m on a quick bathroom break. I need a bottle of water.” His white T-shirt with Zeal’s name plastered on the front in black had red spots on the sleeves around his massive biceps.
“Trouble outback?” I pointed to his shirt.
“Yeah, some dude tried to sneak into the bus. Things got a little crazy.” He combed his fingers through his blond hair.
I’d hate to be on the other side of Hunt’s fists or strength. The dude had only gotten more muscular over the years. I grabbed a bottle of water from the bar fridge and tossed it to him. Then I ducked under the bar to stand next to him.
“What’s wrong with you?” he asked, knowing me better than anyone.
My gaze darted to Tyler who was talking to Becca and Lacey.
He tracked my line of sight then said, “Really? It’s been three fucking years, man. Get over it. Besides, I talked to him after he parked his car. He’s with Becca tonight.”
That should quell the pangs of jealousy. But my mind wouldn’t let it go.
Hunt slapped me on the back. “Look, I know how possessive you are, but you start down this path, your migraines will return. And if I’m not mistaken, you haven’t had any since high school. Right?”
My stress level had been non-existent with the exception of club drama or brawls. But I could handle shit like that. What I couldn’t handle was anything that would put Lacey in danger or upset her, or any drama that would negatively affect my family, my mom especially. And right now, my mom was home, happy and enjoying life with my dad and us. And Lacey was in a good place, especially with her mob grandfather still in jail. Besides, Lacey wouldn’t let any guy take advantage of her. After all, she’d kick them in the nuts. So, I shoved my possessiveness aside. This was a night of celebrations, family, friends and my girl.
The song was ending. “I’m cool,” I said to Hunt.
“I got to get back,” Hunt said. “I’ll come back in later.” He weaved through the groups gathered near the doorway to hall then disappeared.
I joined Lacey and the others. Tyler had his arm draped around Becca. The triplets were enjoying Zeal.
Lacey placed her palm on my cheek. “Are you okay? You look pissed. Are the firemen going to shut us down?”
“We’re good.” I drew her to me. “So, Becca and Tyler?”
“They’re on their first date. Isn’t that awesome?”
“You know what’s awesome? You.” I kissed her neck.
She blushed just as JJ crooned the last note. The place went crazy. The decibel level was off the hook. After a good minute, the place quieted as the band exchanged a silent message. Then Vin picked up an extra guitar.
My heart sped up as I glanced at Kross and Kelton. They grinned. Lacey wiggled into me, excited as well.
“For this next song,” JJ said. “We’d like to have Kody Maxwell join on us on stage.”
I lost the breath in my lungs as I looked at Kody who had a what-the-fuck expression in his blue eyes.
He pushed off the bar, his mouth agape. “What did you guys do?” He pinned a looked on Kelton, Kross and me.
“Merry, fucking, Christmas, brother.” Kelton slapped him on the back. “Get on stage.”
Before Kody took another step, I threw my arms around him. “You deserve the best, man. We love you.”
Then Kross pushed him toward the stage. “Go, bro. The girls are waiting.”
Lacey had tears in her eyes. I had to admit, I did, too.
The crowd parted as Kody slowly made his way up onto the stage. Then Vin handed him a guitar that had Kody’s name scripted on the front. We’d planned on giving it to him at Christmas, but when we found out that Zeal would be playing, Lacey had the brilliant idea of having Kody jam with the band.
Kody shook his head as he examined the guitar. Then he turned to us. His blue eyes were wide as could be.
You could hear a pin drop as Kody strapped the guitar around him before tuning a few chords. JJ said something to him. Kody reared back. Then both JJ and Kody ponied up to the mike. With a strum of his guitar, Kody started Zeal’s most popular song of all time, “Collision.” The keyboard player followed before the soft beat of the drums entered.
Couples cozied up to each other. Lacey melted into me with her back to my front. I pressed on her abs, tracing circles as we swayed to the music.
“I travel far and wide in my dreams and in my head,” Kody sang. “It’s you I’m searching for.” Women screamed. “A soul so pure you light my darkness. I need your touch. Ignite me. I need your kiss. Electrify me. I need your soul to live.”
JJ sang the next verse as Kody strummed his guitar, looking like he was in heaven. Then Vin sidled up to him as they both jammed together. Tears burned my eyes at the sight of how happy he was. I checked on Kross and Kelton. They were still grinning as they watched our brother have the time of his life.
“Are you cold?” I kissed her hair.
She turned into me. “I love that part of the song, and I love you.” Her hand moved in between us.
I closed my eyes as she rubbed over the zipper of my jeans. Fucking clothes. “You keep that up—” I lowered my lips to hers, opening my eyes. “—I’ll have every layer of clothing on your body off before you can blink.”
“I want a play-by-play. Tell me, Kade.” Lust filled her eyes.
I swallowed. If I gave her what she wanted, my dick was going to burst out of my jeans. I smirked, thinking about a time when we were in high school. We were sitting on the couch in the theater room, and I was giving her a play-by-play when my old man walked in. I wasn’t sure if he heard everything or just the last part where I’d said, “When I’m done licking every inch of your body, you’ll be screaming for Mr. Steel.” She turned a million shades of red when my father cleared his throat.
No one around was paying us any attention. Even if they were, I didn’t give a crap. But my brother was on stage. “I have plans for us later that will rock your world,” I said into her ear. No more bathrooms. Tonight, her and I would ring in the New Year in our suite I had reserved at the Ritz.
She smiled, then turned to watch Kody. I held her tightly as my heart burst with happiness, not only with her in my arms, but Kody was living out one of his dreams.
Once the song ended, women shouted Kody’s and JJ’s names.
“I need to learn how to fucking sing,” Kelton said. “Look at those women.”
Kross tapped on the head. “Like you can’t get girls. Please.”
Kody found his way back to us with his guitar in his hand. “Man. I have no words.”
I didn’t either. Life was all about family, seeing my brothers happy, and doing what they loved.
“Okay,” JJ blared to the crowd. “It’s countdown time.”
Couples got closer. Others scrambled for drinks.
“Ten,” JJ said. Everyone followed. “Nine, eight…”
Lacey grabbed my hand. “Five,” she shouted with the crowd.
Tyler and Becca held hands, seemingly happy.
“Two, one,” my brothers and me chimed in. “Happy New Year!”
Zeal launched into a rendition of “Auld Lang Syne.”
Instead of plastering my lips to my girl, which I would do later, I huddled her and my brothers in for a group hug. “To family,” I said.
“Family,” they chorused.
Copyright 2017 – S.B. Alexander