Available at...
Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Genre(s): ,
Released: October 10, 2015
Length: Novel

Book Description

I hate rockstars. All of them. But there’s one in particular…

Drax is cocky, brash and one pitchfork away from being the devil himself. But he’s also the sexiest jerkwad I’ve ever met. Worse than that, he seems to crave my curves just as much as I long for his rock-hard, tattoo-covered body.

What am I supposed to do, just ignore those mesmerizing ice-blue eyes? Or how all my bits and pieces tighten whenever he’s near? Or the way his voice gets all husky when he calls me Lola?

Yeah, right.

That’s how I ended up on a tour bus headed for Vegas as the band’s new manager. But it’s only temporary, much like what’s going on between Drax and me. I just wish he’d got the memo. Oh sure, he’s putting on a good show that this is more than a fling, but I know he’s just like every other bad boy, heavy metal musician.

Want to know the worst part? I don’t like heavy metal or bad boys.

Maybe I’ll lie to myself a little longer.

A review from...

... LRC

Loved this book! Just like Drax seemed like he knew from the moment he met Lola that she was the one, I knew from the opening paragraphs that I was going to love this book. The author created really in-depth characters in a well-developed story. There was a lot going on in the band that they had to address. Then the relationship between Drax and Lauren was so up and down it was easy to get whiplash! Great book! This is the first book I've read by this author but it won't be the last.

Read the First Three Chapters


“Yo, bitch! When’s Drax gonna get here?”

I do my best to be polite to the scraggly fanboy glaring at me from the front of the line. He’s trying to look threatening, with his kohl-lined eyes and badly dyed, shaggy black hair, but he just makes me want to giggle. And I might, if I wasn’t so pissed off already.

“Any time now, sir.”

Sir! Right.

The fifty or so fans that have already lined up this morning to meet the lead singer of Roadkill are all about the same caliber. A cross between goths and Satan worshippers. Almost all guys, and the handful of girls look exactly like the boys but with boobs. Half of them have piercings studding their faces, and the other half are posers with stick-ons and those ridiculous ‘tattoo’ arm stockings.

But all of them are customers, so no matter how nasty they are, I have to be polite. Unless they touch me. Then all bets are off.

The truth of the matter is that I have no idea when Drax — real name: Draymond Maxwell — is going to show. He’s already nearly a half-hour late for set-up, and the signing is supposed to start in five minutes. My dads will be devastated if this little pre-concert signing gets canceled.

Yeah, you read that right. I said ‘dads’. Fact is, my fathers were the best parents a girl growing up in San Francisco could ever have. They played tea party with me, taught me all about my girly works before I got too much wacky info from other kids at school, and when it was time to play dress-up, Papi happily let me raid his walk-in closet that was filled to bursting with gorgeous gowns and wigs.

And right now, he and Dad are grinning and waving at me like maniacs from inside Raines Records, so proud that their little ‘Lola’ was trusted with a promotion all of her own. As if. My boss didn’t have any other choice but to send me.

Dammit, where is Drax?

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate rockstars? So arrogant, so inconsiderate. It’s like they thrive on it. Having helped my dads with dozens of fan signings at the store when I was growing up, I’ve seen this exact scenario play out over and over again. So why am I surprised?

“Sweetie, relax,” Dad says, poking his head out of the door. Inside, I hear the door chime playing an instrumental version of The Weather Girls’ classic It’s Raining Men. So very perfect for a store named Raines Records, especially one nestled in the middle of the Castro district of the city.

“Dad, do you know me at all?”

Telling me to relax is like telling a nervous chihuahua to relax. Ain’t gonna happen.

“It’s only ten. That’s like sunrise for a musician. He’ll show. They always do, you know that. Here, have a pull.”

He holds out a vaporizer that I know is packed with the finest weed available in California, which is saying a lot. Even though vapes don’t put out smoke, there’s no hiding what’s inside. The skunky scent wraps around me like a depressing cloak.

“Dad, you know I don’t do that stuff.”

I don’t need to tell him why; he knows better than anyone.

“I know, Lauren. I just thought it would help take the edge off. Besides, you’re nothing like your mom, you know. I mean, you look exactly like her, but you don’t have the same addictive personality. I’m sure it would be fine.”

He pushes the vape at me again but I just hold up a hand.

“It’s not a theory I’m willing to test, Dad. I’ll just have to suffer through my anxiety like a normal person.”

Hurt flashes across his face for a split second but then he smiles and tucks a dark brown curl  behind my ear, like when I was seven.

“Lauren, honey, sometimes I think you try a little too hard to be normal. Weird is good.”

“Fuckin’ A,” chimes in the dufus at the front of the line. “Hey, gramps, can I have a tug off that?”

We both ignore him. But I don’t have the time or energy for this lecture again. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dad with all my heart but he can be a real pain sometimes. He and Papi are so…free. They wear ‘weird’ like a badge of honor. It drives me nuts.

Now Papi wedges his shaved head out the door next to Dad’s. Normally, I can’t help grinning when they do that. They’re like salt and pepper shakers — an old white guy with a wild mop of grey hair and a downright beautiful Puerto Rican with dark skin, impossibly high cheekbones and almost-black eyes. I honestly wish I was a blood relative because Papi never seems to age. Dad, on the other hand… Well, let’s just say that I keep to a very strict skin regimen to counteract my genetics.

Now if I could only stick to a strict exercise regimen and give up the maple bars, but alas…

“Lola-mami, come inside,” Papi urges. “Da wind es muy frio.”

He’s right, it’s cold. Just another typical summer day in San Francisco. Inuits would get chilled by the fog rolling in from the ocean and the gale-strength winds that blew it in. But my anger keeps me nice and toasty, thank you very much.

A cable car filled with gawking tourists trundles by and Papi waves at them like they’re long-lost relatives. Dad leans over and gives him a kiss on the cheek, and suddenly cameras flash like crazy trying to capture the gay guys kissing on the street. No doubt the pics will be flying all over social media in about thirty seconds. I just roll my eyes. It doesn’t matter if they’re straight or gay, parents delight in tormenting their kids.

All my life, I’ve striven for order. At fifteen, I helped my dads develop their accounting system. That experience taught me that numbers aren’t for me, but I adored organizing events at the store. And now I’m on the verge of landing my dream job and this asshole rocker is going to blow it for me.

I shake the hair tucked behind my ear back in my face, curls bouncing in the most annoying way. I keep threatening to chop it all off but Papi has a conniption any time I mention it. “Ay, no! No my rizos, my curls!”

I did concede to him on my wardrobe for today though. Normally, I’m quite happy living in my boring, every day outfit of black stretch pants and a neutral oversized button-down that covers my big ol’ butt. But Papi wasn’t having it.

“You need to cho off dat booty, Lola-mami,” he told me this morning.

Did I mention I still live at home above the record store?


Besides, this was my first real promotion gig and I wanted to look as nice as possible, so I let him dress me however he liked. His gorgeous black eyes lit up for a moment before I told him I still retained ultimate veto power. Then he just looked confused.

“Say wha?”

“If I don’t like what you pick out, I don’t have to wear it.”

He pouted at this but then got to work. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. When I looked in the mirror before coming downstairs to get ready for the signing, I barely recognized myself. I still looked like me, but a better version.

Instead of stretch pants and my comfy Clarks shoes, he put me in nude thigh-high stockings, a pair of black riding boots, and a blue form-fitting dress with a gorgeous black baroque-style design all over it. Instead of making me look even bigger than I already am, it hugged all the right curves and minimized the other ones. I swear, this dress is magical.

He added a touch more makeup than I normally wear — which consists of concealer, if I have a zit, and powder — and used some kind of torture device on my hair to make my curls turn into soft wavelets.

Tan hermosa.” So beautiful. Of course he’s my father so he has to say that, but this time, looking in the wall of mirrors in their bedroom, I agreed.

No matter what Dad says about me looking like my egg donor, I take after him. Stocky, dense, big-boned — whatever descriptor you want to use, I’m no runway model. But somehow Papi turned me into one.

Needless to say, I’m going to let him dress me up a lot more from now on.

But as pretty as I felt this morning, fear and anxiety are making me feel gross right now. I have this bad habit of chewing my fingernails when I’m nervous, and apparently I’m doing it right now because Papi slaps at my hand lightly.

“Papi, please. I’m sorta freaking out here. This was my big break and now Harry’s going to fire me.”

“Lola-mami, stop being so dramatic.”

That’s rich. Papi, the draggiest of drag queens, is telling me, the straight-A student who’s never so much as gotten drunk, to stop being dramatic. I’m either going to laugh or cry. Probably both.

You know what? Screw this. Drax can kiss my big ol’ fat ass if he thinks I’m going just going to stand around outside my fathers’s record store waiting for him like a chump.

I’m about to trudge inside when I hear the rumbling of a motorcycle coming up the street. All the fandorks crane their necks, trying to see if it’s Drax. I know from last night’s cram session on the Internet that he loads a chopper in his tour bus so he can ride around whatever town he’s in. I pray this is him. If it’s not, we might have a riot on our hands. And a murdered rocker when he finally shows up.

By the way the fans are grunting and smirking — not really smiling, you understand, because they’re way too cool for that — I’m guessing it’s him. When a big black Harley rolls up on the sidewalk, heedless of pedestrians, and parks right in front of the store, I know it. The nerve! I stomp over to leather-clad figure before he gets his skull cap helmet off.

“First of all, you’re late. Second of all, there’s a parking spot right there,” I seethe, waving a finger at the spot we coned off for him.

He pulls the helmet free, shaking black hair out of his face. I’m so angry I could spit, but when he turns his ice blue eyes on me, I freeze. Chills race across my skin and all the hairs on my body stand on end. All of them.

I’ve never looked into eyes like his before. They’re so pale, almost translucent. If I could think properly, I would wonder if they’re contacts, but any coherent thought I might have had has run screaming down Market Street. My breath has apparently followed it.

I’m keenly aware that those eyes are now skimming my body and a smirk has settled on his perfectly pursed lips. His gaze returns to mine as he dismounts. He’s tall. Towering, even. And big. Burly, like a lumberjack. Like a lumberjack whose log a girl could ride for hours.

I have to crane my neck back just to maintain eye contact, which I’m powerless to break. I’m completely and totally immobilized by the strange effect he has on me. Is this what it’s like to be hypnotized? I don’t even care, I just want him to keep looking at me like he’s doing now. Like I’m a scrumptious little cream puff he can’t wait to sink his teeth into.

The sharp scent of hot leather wafts up from his body as he moves in close. Too close, yet not even remotely close enough. The hot touch of his hand on the swell of my ample hip registers somewhere deep in my consciousness but it’s slow to reach my brain, like when you’re Skyping with someone and there’s a lag. My lips move but no sound comes out.

He dips his head low, his three-day old scruff scratching my cheek as he leans in to whisper in my ear. Is he going to tell me I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen? That he’s fallen in love with me? Is he going ask me to marry him and have his beautiful blue-eyed babies? I’m quite literally breathless with anticipation and lean my body into his, helpless to do otherwise.

“Who the fuck are you?”


Drax walks away, leaving me swaying in the aftermath of his arrival. His words are like a sharp slap to the face, or like that time my bestie Pepper talked me into doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Wherever my brain went, it pours back into my body in a rush and leaves me blinking in rage and humiliation.

Sounds finally begin to filter through my daze, and I can hear Drax’s fans screaming and cursing at him. Of course, that’s all out of admiration. I want to curse him for entirely different reasons.

It’s Raining Men penetrates the fog and I know my dads are dragging him inside, away from his adoring — probably violently so — fans. And here I am, still standing on the sidewalk. Fury bubbles up inside me, and I have no one to take it out on.

I level a cold glare at Fanboy #1 and snap, “Anything happens to that bike, it’s on you.”

He blinks like I smacked his hand with a ruler and just nods. I feel a teensy bit guilty, but then I remember him calling me ‘bitch’ and I get over it.

By the time I get inside, Papi is gushing all over Drax like a groupie. Dad’s behind the counter, fumbling around in the mini-fridge and laughing at Papi’s antics.

“Ay, chulo,” Papi coos, stroking Drax’s big, leather-clad arms appreciatively. “You so strong. You work out?”

Drax shrugs out of his riding jacket to reveal a skin-tight black T-shirt that leaves little to the imagination. Spotting me walking up behind them, he tosses the jacket at me. I imagine wrapping it around that big head of his and smothering him with it, but I’m distracted by him flexing a tattooed bicep in Papi’s delighted face. I have to admit, it’s pretty impressive.

“What do you think?”

“Oooh,” Papi squeals, clapping his hands frantically before realizing he’s wasting a golden opportunity and wraps them around the bulging muscle.

I have to hand it to Drax, he’s is a good sport. Not a lot of straight guys, especially hard-core metal-heads, would be comfortable with a gay man fondling their body, but Drax is grinning. Whatever. He may be a good sport but he’s still a jerk.

“Luis, stop manhandling that poor boy,” Dad says, handing Drax a bottle of water. “Drax, is it? That can’t be your real name.”

The rocker nods while downing the entire bottle in one tip of the head. I can’t help but watch the way his Adam’s apple bobs with each chug, the dark stubble peppering his neck rippling in a most inviting manner.

“Draymond Maxwell,” he finally answers.

“Draymond, I’m Malcolm Raines, co-owner of Raines Records. You’ve already met my husband and business partner, Luis Gonzales-Raines. And of course you know our beautiful and talented daughter Lauren Raines.”

Drax’s eyebrows shoot up in surprise and he turns to me. Once again, that icy hot gaze nearly stops me in my tracks. “You’re not with Harry Stephens Productions?”

“No…I mean, yes…I mean…” Dammit! I’m all twisted up and mixed around, or something like that. Taking a deep breath, I try again.

“Harry sent me.”

No need to mention that my cantankerous boss had no choice but to send me. His company normally has two concert promoters on staff, including Harry but most definitely not including me. They’re the ones who usually handle stuff like this. I’m just an assistant, for criminy sakes.

But Michelle Ophus, Harry’s other promoter, got headhunted by a big-name promoter and quit without notice last week. Drax was her client and Harry was busy with a big evangelical production running tonight, at the same time as Drax’s concert but across the bay. So he sent me, and with such encouraging words, I might add.

“Fuck this up and you’re fired,” he said as I walked out of the office this morning. No pressure, right?

Jerkwad. But if I do well with this, that jerkwad might take me on as a full-time promoter, so I’m determined to make everything go perfectly.

Dad clears his throat and I realize I’m staring at Drax, who is wearing the most irritating, knowing grin. Oh God! My skin flushes and I scurry behind the curtain we set up to hide boxes of head shots and other junk necessary for a signing like this. Like a coat rack for the heavy leather jacket he tossed at me.

Thank goodness I was raised in this store, and know exactly what goes into a signing or I might have forgotten something. I hate forgetting things. I also breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Michelle was able to totally organize tonight’s concert before quitting. All I have to do is get Drax to the venue. Easy, right?

I cut open a box of the head shots Drax will be signing and pull one out. I’ve never seen one quite like it. It’s a black-and-white photo of his face, very tightly cropped. The edges are almost black, fading toward his amazing eyes, which are the only spot of color in the photo. The same icy blue that paralyzed me is staring back at me, and I’ll be damned if I don’t go all fluttery inside.

“Want me to sign that for you?” His voice is deep and rumbling, like a big truck rolling by outside…or an earthquake, which seem appropriate considering how shaken I am already. I spin around, startled, my hands accidentally crumpling the photo in a tight grip.

There’s only a few feet of room back here but it seems to take him a year to walk the three steps required to reach me. He stops inches away. I can still smell the heady aroma of leather but now something more earthy is added. It’s almost buttery but there’s a kick of spice to it. It’s all I can do to stop myself from closing my eyes and sucking in a deep breath of his scent.


His voice is a hot whisper of air across my skin as he slips the photo from my frozen fingers. I don’t dare look up at him. If I do, I’ll drown in those eyes. But they’re almost calling out to me. The temptation is irresistible.

My gaze travels up the cotton-covered ridges and valleys of his chest, over the taut sinew of his neck and hard edge of his jaw, where a muscle is spasming, until it meets his. He’s looking at me like I’m his next meal, and so help me, I wish I was. Jerk or not, I’d let this man, this beast, devour me whole, right here behind that flimsy black curtain in the middle of my dads’ store.

If only he’d ask…

“Lola-mami, da peoples es getting restless, querida. You should—“

Papi’s high nasal voice breaks off as he pokes his head behind the curtain and sees…well, I have no idea what he sees, honestly. And I don’t want to know. But his megawatt grin gives me a pretty good idea.

The spell is broken and I take a step back from Drax, almost tripping over a stray box of headshots. I clear my throat and smooth my already smooth dress. Drax watches my every move like a predator tracking his prey, but I force my gaze away from his. It’s like a tractor beam or something. If I avoid looking directly into his eyes, maybe I’ll survive this.

He snatches up a silver Sharpie and uses his thigh as a surface on which to smooth the photo enough to sign.

“Here,” he says, giving me a panty-dampening smile.

I blindly take the signed photo he’s holding out and wonder what just happened. I don’t even know this guy, and I like him even less, yet he has some strange power over me. No man has ever affected me like this and I’m not sure I like it one tiny bit. I feel so out of control, and I hate being out of control.

I can feel my cheeks glowing as bright as Rudolph’s nose and Papi’s silly grin isn’t helping matters any. Drax has turned to his jacket and is fumbling around in a pocket, so I drop his photo onto a chair and hurry out to the signing table with a big stack of photos and silver pens.

Clearly, I’m going to have to keep my distance from him. He has some kind of weird primal magnetism that leaves me as weak as a kitten. I have no desire to bring the kind of drama that follows a man like him into my life. And if Harry ever got wind that I was canoodling with a client, my fledgling career as a concert promoter would be over before it even begins.

Besides, why would a guy like Drax want a girl like me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m cute as hell, especially today. But let’s get real for a second. You never see ‘curvy and cute’ dangling off the arm of a ‘hotter than Hades’ rockstar. Doesn’t happen. It’d be like trying to breed a fluffy little bunny with a man-eating tiger.

Nope, I’ll just have to be satisfied with knowing that, for however brief a moment, Draymond ‘Drax’ Maxwell thought I was yummy.


The signing has flown by. The fifty fans who’d lined up early were joined by another couple hundred by the end of the two hours. I plopped countless piles of head shots on the signing table, always careful not to look into Drax’s Photoshopped, two-dimensional eyes. Or his three-dimensional ones, either, for that matter.

It’s well past when the signing should have been over but Drax is still cheerfully signing for the stragglers that keep popping in — well, as cheerfully as a heavy metal singer can be between the hours of ten and noon. The shop is bustling as people browse Raines Records’s eclectic selection, and Dad’s old-fashioned cash register never stops ringing up sales. This will be a good day for my dads, and that makes it all worth while.

I have to say, I was really impressed watching Drax work the crowd. He was equal parts attentive and rude to every dreary demon-lover who approached the table, and they gobbled it up like candy.

“Okay, you motherfuckers, let’s do this shit!” he shouted after Dad opened the door to the crowd. The cheer inside and out was deafening.

When Fanboy#1 approached the table — one of his fake tattoo sleeves wrinkling at the crook of his elbow — Drax tipped a tiny wink my way and asked him, “How’s my bike, asshole?”

I nearly snorted out a laugh, and I swear the kid almost crapped his skinny black jeans. Here he’d spent hours waiting in line so he could be the first to get Drax’s autograph and what does his idol do? Insults him! The funniest thing of all was that the moron couldn’t speak, not even to spit out his name. Drax ended up signing the headshot Kiss my ass, kid. Drax.

When the guy read it, he broke out into a grin a mile wide and ran out of the store. He’s still visible through the window, standing guard over Drax’s bike two hours later.

I’m leaning against a nearby table, watching Drax — I’m helpless to do otherwise — when Papi sidles up next to me and elbows me in the ribs.

“Lola-mami, you should…” He waggles his perfectly sculpted eyebrows at me, then very obviously jerks his head toward Drax. “I seen how you looked at him.”



“You saw how I looked at him. Which you didn’t, by the way. Whatever you think you saw, Papi, you didn’t.”

He waves away my correction and claim like they were annoying gnats. “Don’t try to confuse me with your silly English lessons, querida. I know what I seen. I seen him look at you da same.”

Part of me thrills at the very thought but I won’t succumb to false hope. Maybe Drax had looked at me with lust behind that curtain, but at some point during the signing, I realized I was probably mistaken. Every single female who approached him swooned almost the exact same way I had. Maybe it’s just a hazard of the job. You know, women dropping like horny flies all around you.

“Whatever, Papi. I know you think he’s hot—“ he snorts, as if to say ‘Duuuh’; I ignore him “—but I have a lot to do tonight and trying to seduce a devil-worshipping man-whore isn’t on the list.”

“Mmm hmm.” He raises an eyebrow at me and purses his lightly glossed lips. It’s his ‘The lady doth protest too much’ look.

Then he whirls away to help a gorgeous, statuesque blonde. She’s dressed to the nines in a skin-tight pink Band Aid — I mean, dress — and sparkly pink stilettos. Poor thing. When she came in looking for an old out-of-print Donna Summer CD, she probably had no idea she was wading into a sea of angsty, father-hating post-adolescents.

I’m humming an old Sesame Street song as I approach the signing table. The last fanboy has scurried away, clutching his prize, and it’s time to wrap up this shindig.

“Hey, Lola,” Drax drawls, emphasizing my dads’ nickname for me. Then he holds up a finger and says, “Wait, don’t tell me.”

I have no idea what he’s talking about so I stay quiet.

“‘One of These Things Is Not Like the Other’, right?”

I can’t help but burst out laughing. “You watched Sesame Street?”

“‘Course. Who didn’t?”

“It’s just funny to think of you as a Big Bird fan.”

His smile literally makes my knees go weak. No, I’m not even kidding. I nearly crumple.

“Big Bird’s the shit. He’s the ultimate rockstar.”

“Yeah, right,” I snort as I start tidying up the table.

“No, seriously. Dude’s bad ass. Look at how he handles all those other whackjobs on The Street. Plus, he’s a singer. Hell, he’s got more Twitter followers than me!”

I try not to drool when he stands to his full height, working out the kinks in his back after sitting for so long. It’s like watching my very own personal strip show — minus the stripping, of course, but the effect is the same. I have to look away or I’m pretty sure my panties will float away on the ensuing flood of desire.

Clearing my throat, I’m about to ask him if he’s ready to leave for the concert venue when I look up. He’s watching the Barbie wannabe and jealousy twists up my guts. Which is ridiculous. We’re polar opposites, Drax and me. He’s a flamboyant, attention-seeking entertainer. I’m…not.

Still, I’m not at all happy about him ogling that woman so I ‘accidentally’ drop a box of headshots on the table, making him jump and forcing his electric orbs on me. As soon as he turns my way, it’s like a cool breeze whispering across my hot skin. But I’m over the initial shock of animal attraction and can now speak freely.

Or…maybe not.

His eyes bore into me as I stand before him, mute and stupid. Then it gets worse. They start to twinkle with amusement.

“Pretty good turn-out, wouldn’t you say?”

He’s thrown me a life preserver and I clutch it like a drowning woman.

“Yeah,” I croak, clearing my throat and my mind. “Very much so, considering the location. Not a lot of metal-heads in The Castro.”

His chuckle rumbles through me like a train. “No joke. How did that happen, anyway? Nepotism?”

A wink sends ripples of sizzling electricity buzzing through my body. I swear to all that’s holy — or unholy, in this case — I almost sigh like a groupie. I manage to get a hold of myself and force something resembling a smile to my lips.

“Kinda. The store you were originally booked at canceled after they realized they’d double-booked the day. I called my dads as a favor to Harry, and they were — and I’m not kidding — ecstatic about it.”

“Well, thank you and thank them. Lola to the rescue!”

I blush at the compliment. I’m loathe for him to leave but I’m not sure how much more of this I can take. If I had a few minutes to myself, I’m sure I could settle down enough to finish this gig.

“You only have a couple hours before you need to be at the venue,” I remind him.

It’s an outdoor amphitheater across the bay that holds a little over eight thousand. Not a stadium, of course, but the show is nearly sold out. That’s not shabby at all in the world of rock concerts. Too bad I’ll have to listen to it.

Drax crosses his arms and rests one narrow hip against the table in that oh-so-delicious bad-boy way that gets my insides boiling.

“Trying to get rid of me so soon?”

Seems as if there should be a limit to how red a person can turn but apparently my skin didn’t get the memo.

“No, not at all,” I stammer. “I just didn’t know…I mean, if you want to eat or…”

I can’t believe he just stands there and watches me squirm. I swear, he’s actually enjoying it!

“Tell me, Lola. You like my music?”

My eyes widen at the question. What a sight I must be: Red face, bulging eyes, mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water.

“I, uh, well, um…”

He smirks. “It’s okay, I can take it.”

I swallow hard and look everywhere but directly into his eyes. It’s less out of embarrassment and more out of survival.

“Actually, I kinda hate hard rock.”

“Hard alternative,” he corrects.

I shrug. “Whatever you call it, it doesn’t suit me. I’d rather listen to Taylor Swift or Tom Waits.”

“That’s a pretty diverse range, right there.”

He doesn’t laugh outright but I can hear the amusement in his voice. That raises my hackles a bit, so I lift my chin defiantly and meet his gaze.

“What can I say? I grew up in a funky record store. I’d also rather stay home on a Friday night with some hot cocoa and an old Hitchcock movie than go to a rock show. What do you think of that?”

The twinkle spreads into a dangerous smile. “Mmm, I think that sounds like an invitation.”

With a wink, Drax turns to duck behind the curtain and my eyes automatically drop to his leather-clad butt. So firm…

GAH! Stop that!

I gather up what’s left of his head shots and pens, and follow him back. No good can come from being in such close quarters with this man, my brain tells me, but my feet seem to have a will of their own.

My head’s down as I duck through the curtain, hoping to avoid awkward eye contact, which is why I’m taken by surprise. The moment the black drapery swooshes closed behind me, Drax’s muscular, tattooed arms wrap around me, pulling me into his very big, very firm body.

One part in particular is especially big and firm. Rock hard, as a matter of fact.