For Abby Renard, the plan was supposed to be simple—join her brothers’ band on the last leg of their summer tour and decide if she’s finally ready for the limelight by becoming its fourth member. Of course, she never imagined stumbling onto the wrong tour bus at Rock Nation would accidentally land her in the bed of Jake Slater, the notorious womanizing lead singer of Runaway Train. When he mistakes her for one of his groupie’s, Abby quickly lets him know she sure as hell isn't in his bed on purpose.
Jake Slater never imagined the angel who fell into his bed would resist his charms by promptly kneeing him in the balls. Of course, the fact she seems like a prissy choir girl makes her anything but his type. So he is more than surprised when after betting Abby she wouldn’t last a week on their tour bus, she is more than willing to prove him wrong. But as Jake’s personal life begins to implode around him, he finds an unlikely ally in Abby. He’s never met a woman he can talk to, joke with, or most importantly make music with.
As the week starts comes to a close, neither Abby nor Jake is ready to let go. Can a sweetheart Country songstress and a bad boy of Rock N Roll actually have a future together?
My cowboy boots clomped across the pockmarked pavement as I weaved in and out of the rows of tour buses. Screamo rock music blared around me, echoing through the cramped parking lot. Roadies and technicians brushed past me with scratchy conversations emitting from their headsets and walkie-talkies. Once they swept their gaze over the dangling authorized pass around my neck, they didn’t ask what I was doing, nor did they ask if they could give me a hand.
Intense June heat beat against my back and singed the bare flesh above my thin sundress straps. I grunted and gave a tug on the rolling suitcase behind me while the guitar case I carried at my right side felt like it was weighed down with lead.
Rock Nation was one of the biggest music festivals in the country. A hundred bands performed over three days, and the shows lasted around the clock. Music fanatics camped out in the middle of the desert and somewhat recreated
Woodstock. Well, that’s just what I’d been told. It wasn’t like I’d spent the last two days with thousands of stinky, mud-caked strangers. I’d just come off a 737 from and hopped the closest cab. Austin, Texas
My only real interest in being at Rock Nation was seeing Jacob’s Ladder—the chart topping, Christian rock cross-over band. The three members, Gabe, Eli, and Micah, just happened to be my older brothers, and the reason I was wandering around a parking lot in the middle of the desert.
Sweating profusely, lost, and frustrated was not quite what I had envisioned when my brothers asked me to join them on their summer tour. It wasn’t the first time I had gone around the country with them since they had burst into the limelight two years ago. But it was the first time I had to decide if the rootless existence of a musician was really for me. After singing my ass off, as my brother Eli said, for the label executives, I had been offered the role as lead singer as soon as my brother, Micah, exited the band to get married and join the seminary.
After rolling my suitcase to a halt, I sat my guitar case down. Shielding my hand over my eyes from the glaring sun, I peered at the buses. Trust me, when you’ve seen one tour bus, you’ve seen them all. Very few boasted the band’s name who called them their home away from home. Right now, I was faced with row after row of them compressed together so tight you could barely move between them.
Peering at the windshields, I searched for the usual multicolored paper with the bus number. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what number I was supposed to be looking for. I dug my phone out of my purse and gazed at Gabe's text. Can’t come to meet you like we planned. Crashing after the show. Pass will be in the box office. Come on to the bus. It’s 419. We take off at with or without you.
With a frustrated grunt, I shoved my phone back into my purse. Most of the time, the boys were a lot more considerate of me. I guess they thought since this wasn’t my first time at the rodeo, so to speak, I should be able to take care of myself. Usually, they tried to treat me like I was still ten, instead of twenty-one.
“Okay, so where the heck is Bus 419?” I growled.
“Yeah, just how much you wanna see Blaine Bennett?” a voice said over my shoulder.
I whirled around to see roadie grinning wickedly at a very scantily clad girl. At the mention of getting closer to her idol, she pressed herself against him. “Really bad,” she purred.
Oh, ew. It was way too early for this kinda crap. “Um, excuse me?” I questioned.
While the girl acknowledged me, the roadie tuned me out. “Hello, I’m talking to you! I mean, I may not be rubbed up against you, but I am speaking.”
The roadie gave a grunt of frustration before turning around. His irritation faded a little as he did a pervy head to toe appraisal of me. “And just what can I do for you, sugar?”
The girl must’ve thought she was losing her chance to see Blaine whoever he was because she stepped around the roadie and tried blocking his view of me.
Craning my neck, I said, “Listen, I really need to find bus 419. I’ve got to find Jacob’s Ladder.”
The roadie’s eyes rolled back in his head, and I didn’t even want to guess what Miss Thing was doing to him. I glanced away and let the waves of disgust roll over me. I was so going to give the boys a piece of my mind when I finally found them. Realizing I was getting nowhere with the roadie, I stomped my boot on the pavement like the irritated child I felt like. “Look, I have a pass, and if don’t get to Jacob’s Ladder’s bus ASAP, they’re going to be epically pissed. And believe me, I’m going to give them a full-on description of you so they can totally get your useless ass fired!”
The roadie momentarily jolted back into reality and pushed the girl back a little. “Hang on just a second, babe. She’s going to irritate the hell out of me until I get her to the bus.”
The girl’s lips curved down in a pout. “You promise you’ll come back and get me to see Blaine?”
He bobbed his head enthusiastically. “As long as you keep doing what you were doing.”
She grinned as he turned and trudged over to me. “If I don’t get Jake’s prize piece of ass to him, he really will fire me,” the roadie mumbled.
“Huh?” I questioned, as he jerked me by the elbow.
We wove in-between several more buses. When we arrived at one, he banged on the door. The driver appeared in the doorway with a biscuit in one hand and a head-set in the other. “Yeah?”
“She’s supposed to be on the bus,” the roadie said.
The driver eyed my luggage and guitar case. “You sure?”
I huffed exasperatedly. “Um, yeah, the guys are going to be really ticked if you leave without me,” I snapped.
With a snort, the roadie said, “Guess she’s their entertainment for the road.”
“I’m their sister, thank you very much."
“Whatever ya say, babe. No judgment from me,” the driver replied. He put down his biscuit and headset and leaned forward to take my guitar case. “The guys are—”
“Still asleep. Yeah, I know, and trust me, I also know better than to disturb them!” I said climbing up the stairs.
I turned around as the roadie shoved my suitcase at me. “Thanks. You’ve been so much help,” I said.
He grumbled something under his breath before stalking away. The driver closed and locked the door before easing back down in his seat.
Motioning towards the living area, I said, “I’ll just go make myself comfortable until the guys wake up.”
“Fine,” he muttered before putting on his headset. I guess he was more than ready to tune me out.
I walked down the aisle and flopped down in the captain’s chair. Ugh, what an absolutely shitty morning. Rubbing my temples, I tried soothing the headache that was already forming. Not to mention the fact my stomach was grumbling because I hadn’t eaten anything yet, and that was a huge no-no for me with my hypoglycemia. I’d over-slept and been in such a rush to get to the airport that I’d forgot to grab the snack bag my mom, who still couldn’t grasp I was twenty-one now, had packed for me. I didn’t dare take a peek in the cabinets to see what sustenance the boys might have. I was pretty sure they lived from fast food joint to side of the road diner.
Instead, I leaned back and closed my eyes, hoping a quick nap might get rid of my headache. It wasn’t long before the gentle sway of the bus along the highway lulled me to sleep.
When I woke up, my neck ached from banging against the large picture window. Raising my hands over my head, I stretched and yawned. The view outside boasted wide open spaces for as long and far as I could see. Jeez, how long had I been out? A glance at my phone showed almost an hour. I whirled around in the captain’s chair to find the living area of the bus still empty and quiet as a tomb.
The boys must’ve been on one of their coma binges after an adrenaline sucking weekend. Sometimes they could go for forty-eight straight hours without sleep, but then they would crash and burn for a whole day.
I picked up my phone and texted Gabe. Wake up, sleepyhead! Feelin’ lonely. My bros suck at welcoming their baby sister!
It was only a second before my phone buzzed. Hey Little Girl. Come on back to the bedroom. I’m just chillin’
I smiled and texted, B right there
Pulling myself out of the chair, I made my way past the bunks where Eli and Micah snored. I eased the bedroom door open, finding the room bathed in darkness. “Gabe?”
I was surprised not to find the television on or him playing Xbox. “I just texted you, so don’t think you’re going to pretend you’re asleep or something.”
A mound of clothes caused me to stumble forward, and I pitched onto the side of the bed. “Gabriel Andrew Renard, if this is your idea of a joke, it isn’t funny!”
A long moan erupted from underneath the covers as a body shifted toward me. When I was little, the boys, Gabe especially, used to love to scare me. I had a feeling where this was heading, and after the morning I’d had, I wasn’t in the mood. “Okay, fine. If you’re going to be a jerk, then I’m going back outside.” I grunted with frustration and started to hoist myself off the bed.
An arm snaked around my waist, jerking me down further onto the mattress. “What—” I started before the warm flesh of a man’s body pushed me onto my back and covered me with his weight. It took all of one second to realize this was so not Gabe.
Scorching hot lips met my own, and I shuddered. They pressed eagerly and with intense longing while fingers wrapped and tangled their way through my hair. When I opened my mouth to protest, a tongue darted inside, dancing tantalizing against my own.
For a moment, my traitorous body enjoyed the sensations pulsing through me. Then I realized I was allowing some stranger some heavy first base action while his hand started to round second. With all the strength I had, I pushed against him.
“Get off me!” I screeched.
He ignored me as his fingers fisted the hem of my sundress. A lazy chuckle erupted from him. “Bree, babe, what the hell are you doing wearing clothes to bed?”
Bree? This jerk was mauling me because he thought I was someone else. I gritted my teeth and smacked his bare, and very sculpted, chest. Hard. “I’m not Bree!”
The hands left my body, and I heard fumbling above me. The light on the bedside table flickered on. I sucked in a breath at the drop-dead gorgeous face hovering over mine. His dark hair was buzzed short, and several piercings glittered in his ears. Blue eyes, hazy with a mixture of sleep deprivation and desire, stared down me. He drank in my appearance, stopping to linger on my heaving chest and how my dress had bunched up my thighs. A seductive grin stretched across his face. “No, you’re definitely not Bree. You put her to shame, Angel.”
When he started to lean over to kiss me again, I brought my hand in front of his face. “Look, if Gabe put you up to this, the joke is up. You got me. Ha, ha.”
His brows furrowed, and I noticed the silver hoop in one of them. “Who the hell is Gabe?”
My heart shuddered a little, and I tried to still the fear prickling over my body. “My brothers didn’t put you up to this?”
“No, babe, I don’t think so.”
“Oh God,” I moaned, bringing my hand over my eyes.
“So you’re telling me you didn’t sneak into my bed on purpose?”
I snatched my hand away and glared up at him. “Of course I didn’t! I don’t even know you.”
“Well, give me a chance to get to know you better.” He pressed into me again, and for a brief instant, I fought the longing crisscrossing over my body. After all, I’d never kissed a strange guy or been in a stranger’s bed. I’d never even been in a boyfriend’s bed. My experience with guys was pretty much non-existent.
“No, I have to go,” I murmured against his urgent lips.
“You don’t have to fight it. I promise I won’t think bad of you later on. And I’ll make you feel so fucking good, you sure as hell won’t be thinking bad of yourself either, Angel.”
When it was very clear he wasn’t going to let me up, my desire got doused with anger. Who the heck did he think he was pinning me down and trying to get to know me better? Drawing all the strength I could muster, I brought my knee up against his groin.
“FUCK!” he groaned, rolling off of me.
Seizing the opportunity, I scrambled out of the bed. I threw open the bedroom door and stomped out into the hallway. “Okay, boys, you’ve had your fun, so cut the crap! You better get your sorry asses up right now!” I screamed.
Three pairs of legs dangled out of the bunks. Almost in unison, they hopped out onto the floor. Three bleary eyed, heavily tattooed rockers in various states of undress, stared at me with bewildered expressions.
“Oh shit,” I murmured before I pitched forward and everything went black.