Authors: Jasinda Wilder
Rock Stars Do It Forever
Copyright © 2012 Jasinda Wilder
All rights reserved.
Rock Stars Do It Forever
Snow swirled, small stinging flecks drifting and windblown and never accumulating, touching Jamie’s nose and cheeks like frozen fingers as she rested her face against the scratchy wool of Chase’s coat. Her heart thudded crazily in her breast, adrenalized with the knowledge that she was indulging in something forbidden, something that surely would come with a high cost. She was giving in to something that felt inevitable, as unavoidable as the movement of the stars across the sky, as unstoppable as gravity or time or each breath drawn into shuddering lungs.
Chase’s arms were wrapped around her, strong and thick and comforting, holding her close to his warmth and spicy male scent, blocking out the world. The cold around them only added to the sense of isolation, the feeling that they two were the only ones in the world. Jamie had spent so long denying her feelings for Chase, reminding herself why she couldn’t be with him, why it was wrong, why it couldn’t happen. Now here she was in his arms, and nothing had ever felt so right. Standing chest to chest, breathing in his scent and his strength…nothing had ever felt so much like home.
For Jamie, whose life had been one ratty, barely-able-to-afford-it apartment after another from the age of sixteen, home was a nebulous concept, a thing to be desired but never had. Home was the latest one-year lease, non-refundable deposit, one-room apartment with a galley kitchen and blank white walls. Home was wherever she had a bed and a bottle of vodka.
Now, home suddenly had become this man, wherever he was. She’d spent weeks and months traipsing from suburban Detroit to Chicago, back and forth every weekend, until she was more familiar with the inside of her battered blue Buick LeSabre than the inside of her battered Clawson apartment.
Home. Jamie breathed in again, deeply. Wool of Chase’s thick navy peacoat, his cologne—some spicy, citrusy smell that seemed at once exotic and deeply masculine—tangled up with body wash and the smell of fall morphing into winter, the smell of fresh snow and cold, crisp air. She tightened her grip on Chase’s shoulders, her arms curling up from underneath his armpits, clinging to his shoulder blades for dear life, as if he might be ripped away.
“You don’t need to crush me, Jay,” his voice rumbled, amused. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“Yes, you are.” She fought the overwhelming rush of emotions threatening to choke off her words. “You’re always going away.”
Chase laughed, another rolling rumble. “Hate to break it to you, babe, but you’re the one who kept running from
Jamie sniffed—from the cold, of course. “I had to.”
Jamie shrugged, a small movement almost lost against Chase’s bulk. “Nothing. I just can’t fight it anymore.”
“Fight what?” Something in his voice had Jamie thinking Chase knew the answer but wanted to hear her say it out loud.
She pushed back a little and tucked her hands in between them, gazing up into his dark eyes. “You know.”
“Yeah, but I just want to hear you say it again.”
Jamie let her forehead rest against his chest. “Fine,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck, “if you must hear it again. I love you, Chase Delany.”
His eyes burned, lit from within, fiery brown locked on her wavering green. “You love me.”
His hands rested on her waist, skated up her sides to her shoulders, then cupped her face, powerful callused paws cradling her cheeks with tender gentility. “I might like you a little bit, too.”
Jamie frowned. “
bit? I’m not so sure this’ll work if that’s all you’ve got for me.” She pushed up on her toes and bit Chase’s lower lip between her teeth.
Chase turned the bite into a kiss, and, unlike the others, this kiss was not the product of desperation. He took her mouth and her lips with hungry determination, devouring her breath with his, driving his tongue into her mouth and exploring it with possessive need. His thumbs brushed over her cheekbones and his lips crushed hers, his tongue tasted hers, and his body was hard and solid against hers. Jamie melted into the kiss, feeling the edges of her soul bleeding into his, the joining of their mouths only the beginning, only the visible tip of the mountain.
“Does that help?” Chase asked.
“Nope. I need to hear it. I need the words.” She pressed a kiss to the hard line of his jaw. “I need you to
“I can do that,” Chase murmured. “I’ve loved you since the second you walked into my dressing room in Las Vegas.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Jamie said. “About showing me…?”
Chase laughed. “Well, I have a show. Have to be on stage warming up in an hour. Come with me.”
“Like you could pry me away from you at this point,” Jamie said.
Jamie shook her head. “No, I just ate.”
Chase cocked his head. “Something tells me I won’t like the answer if I ask who you ate with.”
Jamie’s eyes narrowed. “No, you wouldn’t.”
“Is that why you were crying when you ran into me?” Chase said.
“I wasn’t crying when I ran into you. I was trying
to cry. Then I smacked into you, and that’s what started me crying.”
Chase pulled her into a walk and tangled his fingers in hers. “Who was he?”
“Why do you want to know?” Jamie glanced up at him. “Does it matter?”
“Yes. If he made you cry, then I need to kick his ass.”
Jamie snorted a laugh. “If you’re gonna kick the ass of the person who’s made me cry the most in my life, then you’ll have to kick your own ass.”
“There’s something confusing about that statement, but I’m not sure what it is.” Chase shook his head. “But for real? You’ve cried about me?”
Jamie ducked her head, watching the snow drifting in circling swirls between her feet. “Chase, I’ve never cried so much in my whole life as I have since I met you. It’s not…it’s not really your fault, directly. It’s just the situation. I’m not a crying type, honestly. I don’t go bawling into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s every time something shitty happens. But something about this whole situation between us just fucks me up in the head.”
Chase nodded. “I know what you mean.” He squeezed her hand. “Tell me about him, though. This situation is fucked up enough without any secrets.”
“It’s not a secret. But fine, if you must know. His name was Ian. He was from London. I met him…” She trailed off, laughing. “Actually, I met him when I was trying to run away from how I felt about you. I ended up somewhere north of Flint in a shitty dive bar off the freeway. He was the only one there who wasn’t a trucker or a gap-toothed yokel.”
“Good reason to like a guy, I suppose.”
“I liked him because he made me feel something. I’d been trying to just
feel for a long time. He wasn’t you, but he was nice. Kinda sexy. Had a hot accent.” Jamie sucked in a long breath. “Ian was…wonderful. Treated me great. Eventually moved here to Chicago to be with me. He claimed it was because his mother moved here, but I think she moved here to be closer to him. I don’t know. I’ve been coming to Chicago to be with him every weekend for months now.”
“He made you come to
every weekend?” Chase sounded incensed.
“I did it voluntarily. He came to Detroit, too, but I liked driving down to Chicago, because driving was…a relief. I could shut down and just drive.”
“Am I missing something? You said he was wonderful, but it sounds almost like you were trying to get away from what he made you feel.”
“Damn your insightfulness.” Jamie dug her other hand into her coat pocket. “I didn’t love him. I couldn’t, and I didn’t try to convince myself I did. I just wanted to not be alone. I couldn’t have you, but I thought maybe if I tried hard enough, I could be happy with
one. If it could have been anyone, it would have been Ian.”
“He knew I wasn’t happy. I met him for dinner a few blocks away, maybe two hours ago. He just wanted to know what was going on, why I wasn’t happy. I tried to explain…well, no, I didn’t. I knew he wouldn’t get it. How do you explain this thing between us?”
Chase expelled a breath heavy with sympathetic understanding. “You don’t. Fuck, I didn’t even
to explain it to Tess. She broke up with me just before you ran into me.”
“My version of Ian. My attempt to be okay without you.”
Jamie glanced up at him. “Didn’t work any better than mine, did it?”
Chase huffed a sarcastic laugh. “Not hardly. Clearly. Staying away from you…it’s like…trying to defy gravity.”
“Gonna sing me some
?” Jamie teased.
Chase quirked an eyebrow at her, then did a surprising rendition of the iconic song in question. Jamie found herself stunned. Chase’s voice, what little she’d heard of it, was lower, growly, more of a rock voice, and she hadn’t thought him capable of hitting some of the notes in that song. He did, though, and amazingly well.
“You just can’t help it, can you?” Jamie asked, laughing.
He shrugged, grinning. “Not really, no. I was just joking with you, though, singing the song. It was shitty, too. That song is written as a duet, and it’s
out of my range.”
“I didn’t notice anything off.”
Chase waved a hand dismissively. “Most wouldn’t. I did it fair justice, but a real Broadway singer would have cringed.”
“I don’t know. I thought you sounded amazing. You shouldn’t doubt yourself.”
He just shrugged. “I’m not doubting myself. I’m in a rock band. I have no designs or aspirations on Broadway. I have enough of a musical ear to be able to sing pretty much anything I hear, but my voice just isn’t that kind of voice.” He glanced at her. “You know I majored in musical theater in college?”
Jamie stopped walking, staring at him. “Are you shitting me?”
Chase rubbed the back of his neck. “No. Why is that so surprising? I’ve always loved music, and yes, I’ve always loved being the center of attention.”
“I guess I shouldn’t be shocked,” Jamie said, walking with Chase again. “I guess you just seem so much like a natural born rock star that I can’t picture you prancing around singing ‘Maria.’”
Chase laughed. “Actually, I did that show my sophomore year of college. I was a kick-ass Tony, I’ll have you know.”
“I’m not about to debate that,” Jamie said, trying to picture Chase with slicked-back hair and tight black jeans. It wasn’t a difficult image to summon, oddly.
Chase stopped into a pizzeria and got a couple to-go slices, ate them as they made their way to the venue where Six Foot Tall was playing. Jamie sat at the bar and nursed a glass of wine while she watched the band set up and warm up. She watched Chase test his microphone. Doubts crept in.
What the hell am I doing?
She shouldn’t be here. Shouldn’t be considering what she was considering. A couple of kisses, a declaration of love…those were all good and well, but nothing had changed. Being with Chase would still be fraught with problems.
She should just get up and leave. Not tempt either of them anymore.
Jamie stared down into the rippling red depths of her wine, arguing with herself. If she walked away again, she wasn’t sure she would ever recover. She’d turn into a cat lady. Or a dog lady, since she hated cats. Or maybe a fish lady. One of those really,
crazy people with fish tanks on every wall. Chase would be okay, right? He’d get over it. Just like she would.
Part of her kept wondering why she was fighting this so hard. Hadn’t Anna said she’d find a way to deal with it if Jamie and Chase got together?
Chase’s deep voice rumbled in her ear. “Not thinking of bolting on me, are you?”
Jamie started, not having heard him approach. “What? No! Yes. Maybe. No.” She took a swallow of her wine to cover her nerves.
Chase dragged a fingernail across her hand clutching the wine glass, then to her wrist, then up her forearm. Jamie shivered and swiveled her gaze from the ruby liquid to his intense mocha gaze. The heat in his eyes had the doubts melting like an ice cube under a summer sun, had desire pulsing from a flicker into an inferno. The only point of contact between them was his finger trailing a line of fire from her elbow up her shirt sleeve to her shoulder, but that was enough to push a balloon of pressure into her womb, to send heat cresting between her thighs.