Authors: C. M. Stunich
Tags: #Rock Star
“When you're born wrong, sometimes you get bent and you get fucked. Sometimes your life takes you places you don't want to go. Sometimes, it does.”
Hard Rock Roots
Table of Contents
Copyright © C.M. Stunich 2014
All rights 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 or reviews.
For information address Sarian Royal Indie Publishing, 1863 Pioneer Pkwy. E Ste. 203, Springfield, OR 97477-3907.
ISBN-10: 1938623703 (eBook)
Cover art and design © Amanda Carroll and Sarian Royal
"Optimus Princeps" Font © Manfred Klein
"El&Font Gohtic!" Font
© Jerome Delage
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, businesses, or locales is coincidental and is not intended by the author.
this one's simple.
for my readers.
because you mean the world to me.
*Author's Note: Are you used to these notes yet? Don't you love them? ;) Well, I'm just here to tell you that this is book five in the Hard Rock Roots series. The books should be read in order so the full story can be understood. As always, Turner and Naomi will be back in a future book. For now, I hope that if you hate Dax today, you'll love him tomorrow. Read in and rock out. Kisses. ~CM
“Hard Rock Roots” Reading Order:
Book #1: Real Ugly; Book #2: Get Bent; Book #3: Tough Luck; Book #4: Bad Day; Book #5 Born Wrong
I've never been so scared in all of my life.
“Oh my God, I am
nervous,” Hayden says, pretending she doesn't see the exchange between Turner and Naomi. But I do. They're kissing now, not just once, but twice,
times. I roll my eyes and focus my gaze back on the black curtains swirling in front of my face. The fabric flows like a specter, whirled around by the staff as they move Indecency's instruments off the stage and move ours on. I crack my knuckles and try to breathe.
In my mind, the audience already hates me. I'm just that emo bitch, that stupid drummer fag. That's what the Turners of the world think of me anyway. The number of people I've slept with isn't comparable to the population of a small country, and I don't post pictures of my dick online. I guess that makes me a loser. I get more hate mail than the rest of the band combined. But that's okay. In fact, I try to think of it as a good thing. If their expectations are so low, then it shouldn't be hard to impress them. One day, the audience will realize that I'm not just a robot on repeat, pounding out Naomi's songs for their listening pleasure. There's a little bit of me in there, too, and it is
Hey, her and Hayden might be the stars, but even stars need a sky, right?
I close my eyes and turn away, trying my best to drown out the roar of thousands. Outside this dark bubble backstage, there's a sun shining bright, ready to burn. Turner and Naomi took care of that for us, took the audience from lukewarm to scalding.
This is going to hurt, isn't it?
“I am just freaking the fuck out. How about you, Dax?” Hayden asks me, reaching over and massaging my shoulder with her nails. I jerk away and wrap my arms around myself, casting a glance over my shoulder at the departing backs of Indecency. Unlike Hayden Lee, I really am nervous.
“I'm sick to my fucking stomach, Hayden,” I say, trying to keep my voice soft. I'm the only person on this earth that's nice to her, the only one who thinks she's redeemable. Deep down, she's a good person. I
it; I just have to find a way to prove it to everyone else. Right now however, the only thing I'm really capable of is trying to give myself an internal pep talk. I've never felt like this before, not even at the show in Little Rock. There are cameras here, broadcasting us to the world. This moment, whether good or bad, is going to be written into human history for the foreseeable future. In the past, I've rationalized my fear of performing live by telling myself that the only people who could see me, who would even know if I fucked up, were the people in the audience. This time, everyone will know.
I feel my eyes growing wide, the blood draining from my face.
Arnold and the rest of the McCann clan could be watching. Ugh.
I squeeze my eyes shut, try not to think back on the last conversation we had.
You're a freak, Dax, and I could never,
be proud to call you my son. And if your mother was still alive... Shame on you for wasting her life, boy. Shame on you.
Somebody touches my shoulder again, and I jump, spinning to find Naomi standing behind me with a slight frown. My heart is pumping like crazy, smashing against the inside of my chest and drawing breaths from me in ragged gasps. I'm such a wreck.
I untangle my arms from around my chest and dip my hands into the pockets of the sleeveless hoodie I'm wearing. It's not really something I'd have picked for myself, but it's alright. There's a glow-in-the-dark skeleton design on the front, and it does a decent job of showing off my tattoos. I run one hand across the grim reaper tat on my forearm.
“Where the hell are they going?” I ask, tilting my chin at the door. Turner's in a big, fucking hurry. So much so that he doesn't even bother to turn around and look at Naomi on his way out. I figure it must have something to do with his friend, Trey. Yet another asshole, like a Turner clone. I don't like Treyjan, but I also hope that nothing bad's happened to him. This whole thing, this devious plot crap, is bullshit. Nobody deserves to die swimming in bullshit.
“To the hospital,” Naomi says, voice cracking a bit. She's exhausted; I can tell by the way her shoulders sag and her hands shake. Four years of playing together, touring together, and I know what she's feeling just by looking at her. And that's not just because I'm in love with the girl – I can read this band like a book. Kash is feeling guilty about his love triangle; he always texts a lot when he's feeling conflicted. And Blair? She's lonely. I watch her standing still, like a statue in a crowd of people, the only person in this room who isn't hyperactive, brimming with energy. “Trey's awake.” I look back at her face, let myself burn in the sienna glaze of her eyes. She doesn't look away, just holds my gaze tight. “They're going to go see him, and come back tomorrow. I guess after our set we're heading to the hotel or something.” Her eyes stay locked on mine while she digs around in her pocket looking for something, probably a cigarette. When she doesn't find any, a frown drags the corners of her lips down.
“Here.” I reach into the front pocket of the sweater and come up with a box of cigs, handing one to her and pulling out my lighter. Naomi takes the cigarette between her lips and sighs in pleasure.
“Thanks.” Droplets of sweat slide down her neck and slither across her chest, tempting my gaze downwards, over her tattoo and towards her breasts. It takes a physical effort from me to hold my head up and stay focused on her eyes. I don't like how long she's holding me here. Naomi has something to say; I can tell.
And I'm not going to like it.
” Hayden whines from behind me. Naomi's lip twitches, but I keep my expression neutral and ignore her. She just wants attention, is desperate for it. I think it's because she misses her family so much, and I'm not just talking about her brothers and her dad. Her other family. The one nobody else knows about.
“You have something to tell me, don't you?” I ask, getting out a cigarette of my own. I want to close my eyes and scream, let my voice curdle the blood of everyone backstage, melt them into nothing and get them the hell away from me. I already know what this is about. I've known for a long, long time. Since Naomi told Turner about her abortion. Since she came back from the grave. Since the hallway at the hotel last night. But mix this crap with my nerves? I feel fucking suicidal. Or homicidal maybe.
Oh my God. Oh my fucking God, not now, Naomi.
“You...” Naomi begins and then pauses, taking a step back. It's so hot in here; the air is swirling with the heat of a thousand plus bodies, too many voices, too much pain. We all carry some around, that's normal. But the people here? They're drenched in it, drowning in their own misery. And supposedly I'm the 'emo' one? Fuck. Why? Because I have ghosts tattooed on my freaking bicep? I feel like I'm one of the most stable people here. I have issues, sure, but I have normal issues. My family hates me, and I killed my mom. No big deal, right?
My eyelashes flicker and come to rest on my cheeks, blocking out the movement around me.
I know Naomi can see the words tattooed on my eyelids. I told her what they meant because I wanted her to understand me, at least a little. I wanted to try. She's fascinating to me. I can't take my eyes off of her when she's onstage, can't look away when she's bent over her notebook, scribbling away. I'm in
with her and all she gives a rat's ass about is Turner Campbell.
My lip curls involuntarily, and I take a step back, opening my eyes to find that she's still staring at me. Naomi wets her lips and looks away suddenly.
“You kiss beautifully, Dax,” she tells me honestly, and my heart beat slows, comes to a complete stop, just so I can hear her better. “You could kill with that mouth, drop a girl into death and have her sighing in pleasure, desperate for it.” Naomi plays with her cigarette with shaking fingers, blowing smoke rings into the dense air around us. A roadie bumps into her arm and she frowns. Her eyes come back to rest on mine and stay there. Four years we've been friends. When I first met her, when Hayden brought Naomi back to my garage to play for us, I didn't like her. Not one bit. But as the years went on … I sigh. This trip down memory fucking lane is going nowhere for me.
“But that's not good enough,” I say, and I try not to grit my teeth. I move back another step and stab my cigarette into a glass ashtray. “Because you want Turner Campbell. Because fucking everybody and their grandma wants Turner motherfucking Campbell.” I pretend I don't see Hayden tilting her head, hazelnut hair spilling over her shoulder. I don't want her to look at me right now, watch me be shot down. This a moment nobody should have to see.